Councillor War On Rail Graffiti


The Eden-Albert Community Board has taken up the issue of graffiti alongside the rail network and the state of the Mt Albert train station.

Councillor Cathy Casey says that Mt Albert station deserves better than just a makeover and promise of regular maintenance but also “there also needs to be a long-term plan in place for the whole rail corridor including a number for the public to call to report vandalism, graffiti and the like and an action plan to deal with it smartly.

“Auckland City Council has proved that zero tolerance for graffiti works, now Kiwirail and ARTA need to make it a priority too.”
A full upgrade of the station is obviously now going to be some years distant while a Mt Albert Precinct Plan is developed.
“In the meantime the travelling public has to put up with an unsafe, dirty, graffiti-covered station Mt Albert station.”

She reported to the board that she and another local City Vision councillor, Glenda Fryer spent an hour with an ARTA official pointing out to him a long list of deficiencies with regard to the sorry state of the station and its approaches including:

  • graffiti on the underpasses
  • graffiti and etching on the new shelters
  • graffiti on the buildings backing on to the station
  • overgrown shrubbery and weeds along the tracks
  • out of control weeds alongside the approach paths
  • litter and dumped rubbish along the tracks
  • litter on approach paths
  • broken fences along the railway line
  • broken guttering along approach paths causing flooding during heavy rain
  • overgrown plantings and debris at street entrance to station

The view from Mt Albert platform

The councillors discovered the fragmented state of responsibility under the present system-
ARTA has responsibility for the station itself and its approach paths
Kiwirail is responsible for the rail tracks and underpasses
Auckland City Council is responsible for public access into the ARTA paths
Private landowners (and their tenants) have responsibility for property backing on to the station.

The official gave a commitment on behalf of ARTA to clean up the litter and graffiti along the
paths and in the underpasses.

The councillors met with KiwiRail CEO Jim Quinn the CEO of Kiwirail and said that he gave a commitment on behalf of Kiwirail to clear up the land for which KiwiRail has responsibility i.e. Kiwirail will remove litter, fix broken fencing, weed out the scrub and remove the graffiti under the Carrington Road overbridge.

Cr Casey says: “Solving the problem of graffiti and litter around the Mt Albert train station in the long term needs some co-ordination between the agencies concerned. Although the path to the station is Auckland City Council property, we watched a council litter picker upper on a scooter pick up from the gutter along New North Road but drive past the littered path into the station! Council needs to ensure regular clean up the path to the station from the New North Road end.

Onehunga's new station has already got graffiti before it has opened

“The council could also play a part in contacting property owners (and or tenants) who back on to the station to see if Council or the Community Board can assist them to tidy up the rear of their buildings and remove the graffiti.

The community board passed a motion expressing concern at the current poor state of Mt Albert train station and its approaches and requests that the responsible agencies (ARTA, Kiwirail and Auckland City Council) provide reports to the board on cleaning up and maintaining the station, and any future upgrading plans.



  1. joust says:

    well done councillor! Having the station even a little bit tidier will be so good for the area. Multiple stakeholders certainly complicates the issue.

  2. DanC says:

    I reckon they should offer a reward scheme for “dob a tagger” The names they tag other people must know who the person is. Then once caught… don’t get me started!

  3. Matt L says:

    At least when the new super city comes in the number of parties involved will drop slightly. Auckland Transport will take over the Auckland City Council and ARTA responsibilities.

  4. Commuter says:

    It’s excellent news that, finally, someone on the council is addressing the issue; perhaps they could also address the matter of pest plants growing rampant along the embankments, some of it on council-owned land, eg the Chalmers Reserve.

  5. patrick says:

    Great news
    It’s good having new stations and trains but if the view is along the tracks is polluted by graffiti and weeds etc the experience of train travel severely compromised

  6. San Luca says:

    I don’t like tagging and the majority of graffiti around, however I believe zero tolerance doesn’t work at all. I think “1% tolerance” is a much better approach. At Mt Eden station there is some graffiti that has remained there for over 4 years. Like Swiper (from Dora the explorer) saying “back in the days”. It doesn’t get tagged over because it is respected an is considered good. I think leaving good quality graffiti work encourages “graf artisits”. And to be honest as I am arriving at morningside station the giant “MORNINGSIDE” graffiti west of the station is a little bit like the Hollywood sign. It has the potential to become a real icon in the area.

  7. Kurt says:

    “Graf artists” can graf all they like inside their own public toilets masquerading as homes. Leave public places out of it. There is no good graffiti anywhere, just a filthy mess that adds to the vandalism and degradation of any area.

    Zero tolerance works.

    There is nothing more infuriating than sitting on a train and trying to see out the windows through some rock apes etching at any number of visually destroyed public amenities as you travel along.

  8. Mike F says:

    I live next to a station and have over the past few years had my fair share of run in’s with these vandals. I’m not afraid to confront these vandals,usually they just take off. Only had one instance of verbal abuse by a group of girls (one was etching signs)

    As for other parts of the network simply do like overseas with huge fines. Last year whilst in England I saw signs stating 1000 pound fine for trespassing !

  9. San Luca says:

    I don’t like (most) graffiti just as much as the next person but even with my dealings with Graffiti removal companies and people within Councils their opinion is that zero tolerance does not work

  10. Dr Cathy Casey says:

    Thanks for positive support to get Mt Albert Station cleaned up and kept clean. Pleased to report that The Aucklander highlighted the state of the station in an article this week (“Dud on the Tracks : Fed up commuters fear Mt Albert train station has a one-way ticket to becoming a dump” 5 August 2010 p.6) This is great because it increases the pressure on ARTA, Kiwirail and the Council to get a move on. I note that ARTA is now saying that Department of Corrections community service workers will be picking up rubbish, removing graffiti and cleaning weeds and that “the work will begin this month”. Spoke to the Council manager in charge yesterday (Kevin Marriot). He says he will be ensuring the Council path is swept and kept clean and will liaise with the other agencies to get a coherent maintenance plan in place for entranceways. Kiwirail is still being remarkably quiet about when it intends to put its clean-up commitment into action. I drop off and pick up my 12 year-old stepdaughter M-F from Mt Albert station so I will report any progress!
    Check out the City Vision media release on Mt Albert station at


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