ARC Fury Over Joyce


Anger today at the “discovery” that the government isn’t properly funding Auckland’s rail electrification after all.

The government is now making noises that Auckland ratepayers will be forking out for Auckland’s electric trains, which the government had given the impression it was funding - and it’s estimated by council officers that ratepayers will have to fork out another $20m.

This has led ARC and ARTA chiefs to request a meeting with the transport minister.

During an emotional debate at the ARC transport and ruban development meeting, ARC Chair Mike Lee said it seemed that the government aimed to “screw more money out of Auckland ratepayers” with that money going to a new transport agency, set up under the local government re-organisation and not publicly accountable.

“I’m very concerned that after replacing the planned Auckland regional petrol tax, we’re starting to see the fine print.

“And that fine print revales the government isn’t really funding Auckland’s train electrification.”

He questioned whether transport minister Steven Joyce supports or appreciates commuter rail.

“The Minister is very intelligent and a smart man and wise enough to know Auckland’s rail electrification has huge support.”

But the minister “fails to understand it’s an economic, not commercial, investment as part of building a city’s infrastructure.

Mr Lee said the minister failed to understand the effect wasn’t just for people using rail but that more people travelling on rail reduced congestion on Auckland’s roads.

He said he acknowledged that the minister had approved electrification but it was unfair to suggest Auckland local government wasn’t paying a fair share.

It was also worth noting that Auckland’s system was more complicated than Wellington because it used Veolia to run the service and so was more economical.

Joyce: 'Wise, intelligent but doesn't get rail's wider benefits'

Councillor Bill Burrill was the only councillor to speak in support of the minister saying that rail commuters should be paying a fair amount in fares towards the cost.

“Passengers are paying a token at the moment.”

EARLIER: New trains: Who pays?




  1. Gus says:

    Unfortunately our Government’s attitude is that owning a car is a right, and any improvements to public transport is a privilege we should be so thankful for.

    They couldn’t have their thinking more wrong.

  2. John Dalley says:

    Was that Steven Joyce Minister of Transport or Steven Joyce Minister of ROADS!
    The man is turning out to be a joke.

  3. William M says:

    Can’t agree more. He likes to say “yes” but really mean “no”. What’s more - he’s an Aucklander?! Surely he sees that congestion could be relieved by rail on all fronts (commuter, freight)… but no… he’d rather see more containers pull out of downtown onto Stanley St and into Spag Junction so he can justify roads people use during the Holiday Break.

    Don’t get me started on Joyce.

  4. cam says:

    Well this is not really a revelation, We know Stephen Joyce thinks spending money on public transport, and rail in particular, is a waste. We also know he has a rigid user pays ideology. There will be no further investment in Auckland’s metro rail under this government despite what some of their PR may imply. You can forget about them funding the CBD loop. That’s not being negative that’s just the way it is, if it was soley up to him he wouldn’t give rail the steam off his s**t. He thinks roads pay their way and rail is a leech sucking money off the taxpayer what he’s trying to do here is hammer the message home by saying if you want rail Auckland that’s fine you can pay the full cost yourselves, which has been their policy since the 2008 election. Of course he ignores the subsides to roads but by now did we expect any different?

  5. Geoff says:

    Not defending Joyce here, but under the fuel tax scheme, wasn’t it going to be Aucklanders paying for the trains? I have always been under the impression that when the fuel tax was scrapped, the replacement funding would be central government paying for the trains (through a loan to KR) which would then be recovered from Aucklanders through charges to ARTA.

    What’s changed from that?

  6. ingolfson says:

    The difference is that now Aucklanders have no extra funding source like the would have had from the fuel tax. Auckland had decided that rather than let our rail system continue to rot into obselescence, it was preferable to have motorists pay some more (who after all are major beneficients of a rail system - see Onehunga line, with 85% of the BCR benefits accrued from motorists) .

    Now with this scenario where we have to pay for the loan, we get less service, because that extra money has to come out of some other budget. Likely other PT projects.

  7. Kurt says:

    To be completely fair its the National party to the core not just Steven Joyce who loath train serviced public transport or any support of it. You only need to look at all the smart arsed comments against Kiwirail from various ministers. So for them to see the continual impressive growth of train service popularity despite the poor reliability must really grate.

  8. cam says:

    Geoff the difference as ingolfson quite rightly points out is they would have had an extra funding stream in place (the fuel tax) to service the debt.

  9. DanC says:

    Protest march?

  10. Jeremy Harris says:

    Ah Joyce, for when work doesn’t provide the stress levels I need, I evaluate his ability to future proof and build an economy…


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