Banks To the Rescue?


Former Auckland Mayor and ACT MP hopeful John Banks is among those honoured in today’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list - a companion of the Queen’s Service Order for public service.
In his comments in the morning paper today:

He said if he got back into Parliament in the November election, he would continue to be a flagbearer for Auckland issues, particularly the inner-city rail loop which, he said, would be built. “The problem is the very real challenge around the global recession, but the designation of the route and work to bring it to fruition need to continue.”

Banks at the opening of the Grafton station

Good to see Banks is promising to argue for the CBD link but it is fair to say his record on transport issues has been patchy and characterised by a change of mind on issues. His vagueness about whether he had changed his mind on rail projects just before the election helped lose him votes.

Columnist Rod Oram, in his weekly Star-Times piece said on the rail link:

“It (the Government) pushed for more roads and low density, which would force Auckland to ooze inefficiently, uneconomically and unattractively over the surrounding countryside. This is just the latest attempt by the government to force its wrong-headed views on us. It won’t be the last.”
It’s another fine piece by Oram but I don’t share his enthusiasm in his opening paragraph in which he wrote:
“Auckland won a big victory for rail and common sense last week. The government agreed the council should designate the route for the CBD rail loop.”

That was no victory but a booby prize. Auckland won nothing last week. As Cr Mike Lee said it is a major setback. Joyce’s attitude was Auckland can go ahead and waste its own money protecting the route - but don’t look for Government funds as it is not going to be supported by Central Government.
Let’s not sugar coat what happened. The Government doesn’t want the project and won’t buy into it as long as it is in government.
After 2 years of work protecting the route, there is no indication the government’s mind will have changed to then move forward with the project. In fact the business case and related documents will have long be relegated to the Government’s dusty shelves.

Meanwhile National Business Review predictably rejects the Brown rail vision and don’t think its supporters understand transport in Auckland in the future.




  1. Cam says:

    Yep all true. And lets no forget when it does finally go ahead it will be ven more expensive than it is now.

    The saddest thing about this government is it has no vision for Auckland or for that matter the country as a whole. The whole ambitious for NZ thing is little more than a slogan. They seem to think things will just move on as they have done in the past and if they just cut taxes and reduce the civil service and goverenment asset holdings then everything will just flow on from there. It’s dissapointing, because it means we will slip even further while they tread water.

  2. Matt L says:

    I was pleasntly surprised to read that statement from John Banks this morning, especially out of all of the things he could have said. If he does happen to get into parliament it will be interesting to see if the rest of Act support him on that, especially given Don Brash’s comments about rail in the past.

  3. Patrick R says:

    Don’t trust Banks on this, the caveat is already there, no way of funding it … blah, blah. All this means is that their polling shows that the people want it, even ‘right thinking’ people.

    Anyone else feel that this cosy little gong to the Nat’s wink, wink, nudge, nudge Epsom partner is an outrageous abuse of office?

    Also Cam, the problem isn’t no vision, it’s that Joyce and friends have a very definite nightmare vision for AK: continuing the value, low quality, insipid uneconomic spread of the place like a melanoma out across the country-side.

  4. Ian says:

    As I remember it, Banks went cold on the expansion of rail when the matter became one of funding not just the under ground link, but also lines to the North Shore and the airport. Let’s face it, either Act or National will take Epsom so better an MP who backs the link than one who doesn’t.

  5. Patrick R says:

    But Ian it is clear that he supports it in the same way that Nikki Kaye does: it theory only. Words are cheap, if he had an actual programme to fund it, like cancelling Puford, fixing SH1 and using the NLTF to help fund the CRL I would be more convinced. This is just politics. He will fall into line behind like he did last time once elected.

  6. John Dalley says:

    If Banks in his first term as major had been able to get out oft the Britomart contract, it still would not be build.
    The man is a danger to the advancement to PT in Auckland.

  7. Commuter says:

    Pedants’ corner: Banks already is a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order (QSO); in the latest bout of honours he has been made a Companion of the Order of New Zealand Merit (CNZM). I presume both have been awarded for services to the National party, with the latest being given for his somewhat convenient ACT candidacy for Epsom. I don’t think his performance as mayor of Auckland warrants any honour whatsoever.

  8. DanC says:

    If Banks protested against the lack of involvement from the government then I’d give him my time. He’s done transport little in the way of favors in the past. Any ones allowed to change opinions but I’d need to see more from him.

  9. George D says:

    Banks opposed Britomart. Citizens and Ratepayers, National, and ACT, the three political organisations he is initimately connected with, have all shown considerable disdain for public transport, treating it as something that must be conserved as a public service for the poorest and those who cannot drive.

    Banks is on the far right of the political spectrum. He believes in private ownership and private goods. He does not believe in levying taxes for things that are public goods.

    Commenters above are absolutely right. Don’t trust Banks. He supports ‘good things’ like a rail link, but opposes the means to fund it.

  10. Ingolfson says:

    Indeed, talk is cheap. I’d probably vote anyone but this guy, with his track record of anti-PT and asset sales sentiment.

  11. Chris says:

    Id never trust him. Len Brown is great, but the government wont fund his plans.

  12. Matt L says:

    I think people are being a bit hard on Banks on this occasion, I am not a fan but to be fair the article was about his Queens Birthday honour not his upcoming election policies. The fact that he one thing he specifically mentioned happened to be the tunnel is a positive thing and lets see it for that.

    If he is still vague about timings and how to pay for it during the election then you can bag him but for now please rise above the petty attacks. I know he changed his tune on supporting rail to the airport and shore but I don’t recall him doing that for the CBD tunnel.

  13. Ingolfson says:

    “The fact that he one thing he specifically mentioned happened to be the tunnel is a positive thing and lets see it for that.”

    I would be happy with that, and even agree with Matt L’s comment, IF Banks wasn’t currently running for elected office again - which means that anything he says is to be treated as campaign material, and therefore, he’s open for criticism.


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