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Steven Moans About Transport Blogs - Featured - AKT

Steven Moans About Transport Blogs


Transport Minister Steven Joyce had a go at “left-wing transport blogs” this afternoon in parliament when being questioned over why he did not go along with the Auckland Council call for a City Rail Loop.
To quote from questioning from Labour’s Phil Tywford:

Twyford: In relation to the Ministry of Transport’s review of the city rail links business case, which has led to the number that the Minister just quoted, does he know that that review relies on Fanshawe Street, Albert Street, and Symonds Street coping with more than 1,000 buses per hour by 2040, and are such huge numbers of diesel buses in the city centre consistent with this Government’s vision for Auckland?
Joyce: I think the member will find he has been reading too many left-wing transport blogs.
Bill English: How many are there?
Joyce: Oh, there are two or three. The reality is that the Government’s review of the business case does not require any such thing. The reality is, and it is very important, that we assess all the options for transport into the central business district in Auckland, going forwards, and I think it is important we do that without rushing straight to one solution. That is what the Government is seeking and that is what the business case review recommend

BTW, AKT is not a “left wing” blog. I can not speak for other transport blogs. I have made it clear in the about section from day one I am a-political, the only membership group I have ever belonged to is a gym and  I have been scathing of Labour. I have always acknowledged that the Minister is a very competent politician and campaign manager. I  do disagree strongly obviously with the Minister on the issue of the loop and his priority with motorways and I have always supported Len Brown’s transport vision for Auckland and his mantra to make the city the most livable in the world.


Anyway back to the question and answers.

Asked whether given that Auckland Council confirmed by 18 votes to two that the city rail link was the “top priority transport project for Auckland,” was he concerned about the level of misalignment between the Government’s transport priorities for Auckland and those of Auckland Council, the Minister said: No, it is quite common for councils to have views and then to come to Government to seek funding for different projects. The Government, of course, has to prioritise all the projects across the country, and it tends to do so with things such as benefit-cost ratios to allow it to evaluate the difference projects.”

Annette King interjected: : Like the “Holiday Highway”.

Steven replied: “I will come to that—has a benefit-cost ratio of 0.3, as against some of the other projects that members opposite are concerned about, which are all in excess of one.”

And later:

Minister: Well, the Auckland Council and the Government have agreed on a forward plan for discussing that project alongside other projects. That involves, firstly, finalising and implementing the Auckland Spatial Plan and the city centre master plan to establish achievable growth projections for the central business district; secondly, demonstrating a commitment to resolving current and emerging central business district access issues—for example, by improving bus operations and addressing capacity issues; thirdly, development of a robust and achievable multi-modal programme for transport in the central business district, which considers a thorough analysis of alternatives and identifies the optimal mix of modes to meet demand; fourthly, beginning implementation of large-scale residential developments along the rail corridors, which were anticipated by the Auckland regional growth strategy; and fifthly, implementation of additional park and ride sites and changes to bus feeder services where appropriate, in terms of overall public transport demand. I think that those sorts of initiatives will ensure that we come to a cost effective and appropriate transport response in Auckland for the benefit of Aucklanders, and also, for the whole country.

Phil Twyford: Why is this Government so intent on undermining the council’s transport goals and its plan for a compact city, and so reluctant to work with Mayor Len Brown and the Auckland Council on making Auckland the most liveable city in the world?

Steven Joyce: For goodness’ sake! I mean, really. I tell Mr “Twifford” that we have just announced the investment—

Phil Twyford: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister seems to have fallen into Rodney Hide’s—

Mr Speaker: Whether the Minister has fallen into anything to do with Rodney Hide is nothing to do with the proceedings of this House. If the member wishes to raise a point of order, it must relate to the proceedings of the House.

Steven Joyce:: I was just trying to point out to the member that the reality is that the Government has just announced a very good project with the Auckland Council. We have worked together and agreed a 50 percent increase in the number of electric trains that was contemplated by the previous Government and previous Auckland Councils, to ensure that we have a modern electric fleet in Auckland. That is the sort of cooperation we are achieving. It is going very well between us and the Auckland Council.

Meanwhile Greens MP Gareth Hughes writes about the sorry end to his petition for a CBD Link and how National did not want to listen.
In his minority view on the committee’s sorry workings:

“The Green Party member is disappointed that the committee did not want to hear a submission from the Auckland Council on this CBD rail link petition. The member believed it was important to hear from the Auckland Council because it is currently planning designations for the rail link and has prepared an in-depth and internationally peer-reviewed report that reaches different conclusions than the combined
Ministry of Transport and New Zealand Transport Agency submission presented to the
committee. This would have complemented the submission by the Government department and
agency, and given the committee a broader as well as an Auckland understanding of the issues.”

Not good enough.




  1. Matt L says:

    I am also not a supporter of left wing politics and I know many many others like me who think the CRL is long overdue and should be the top priority.

  2. Sam Vilain says:

    Hmm, being scathing about Labour is a hallmark of a true Left Winger, didn’t you know.

  3. Travis says:

    Smart Transport is hardly a left wing issue.

  4. Andu says:

    Hehe, you’ve annoyed him. Keep Going.

  5. Andu says:

    Very True. Look at Boris Johnson. Buffoonish Tory he may be, but he fights tooth and nail for good Transport and bike initiatives.

  6. Tim Gummer says:

    And Mike Bloomberg, NYC. A billionaire who rides the train to work.

    Here, Bob Jones has called for the Copenhagenizing of Christchurch, and repealing our failed cycle helmet law, while Mayor Bob Parker has committed to a strongly sustainable plan for that city’s transport. Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule, has made his town a pilot city for active transport initiatives, is President of Local Government NZ, fronted up at the Smart Transport Conference, and is a National party member

    In the meantime, Russell Norman can be heard quietly musing how fiscally conservative the Greens now appear in contrast to Joyce’s intensions to bankrupt NZ with redundant and wasteful transport policies.

    If only the public realized how much of the economy was tied up in transport, and what is at stake, then we might see an actual national debate around these issues.

  7. Matt says:

    Well I don’t think I’m left wing either - I’m just a humble bicycle blogger, but I am questioning whether a man with two criminal convictions for dangerous driving should be allowed to be Transport Minister -


  8. Matt says:

    That is disclosure that he has convictions, but it does not answer the question on whether he is fit to be Transport Minister. Convictions like that are serious, and it does raise real doubts to whether he is fit to have ministerial responsibilities that cover his previous law-breaking.

    I am not satisfied. Why haven’t more questions been asked? He needs to be more forthcoming.

    This isn’t a question of his driving ability. This is a question of his fitness to be a minister with ministerial duties covering the area of law which his a convicted law-breaker of. We don’t know how trivial or serious the charges were. All we know is that he was convicted of them. The public should know how trivial or serious his crimes were, so that we can properly assess whether he is fit to be in office or not.

  9. AKT says:

    Sorry but this is not the place for a debate about his driving. We are not going to be judge and jury here on it.

  10. Scott says:

    I consider my views to be mid-right on the political spectrum. I consider the NZ national party to be mid left by international standards.

    I consider this and the other main Ak transport blog to be central with there political stance. Many of the comment posters are very left with however.

    “50 percent increase in the number of electric trains” is this true? I thought the it was a 50% increase in EMU’s, which is less than a 50% increase in trains as some EMU’s replace Locos?

  11. Malcolm says:

    Haha, left wing transport blogs.

    I dont understand why promotion of public transport of active transport modes is seen as left wing. Its just good economic sense.

  12. James says:

    Now we only need to get pressure on him and we *might* get lucky one day…one day (dreaming about CRL and trams on Q’Street)

  13. Doloras says:

    But the point is that rightists who support PT, while valued, are a minority. Majority “right” or “centre-right” opinion is that public transport is a plot by social engineers and dirty hippies to take away our personal freedom to pay $$$ for petrol and drive cars everywhere. Check any Kiwiblog comments thread for proof.

  14. Antz says:

    I think it is only a matter of time before he starts giving way….

  15. Cam says:

    So anyone who disagrees with Joyce’s skewed view of transport “planning” is left wing. This seems to be his new defence. When asked to comment on statements in a Rudman Herald article about his officials putting pressure on the council over the spacial plan he dismissed it as a left wing columnist with an agenda.

    Wanting a functioning modern public transport system for you city just like about every other decent first world city is not particularly left wing. But them again I suppose that depends how distorted your world view is.

  16. George D says:

    I think it is only a matter of time before he starts giving way….

    Give way to the left or the right? They’re changing the rules, I’m confused.

  17. Jeremy says:

    Like the host from BBC’s HardTalk said good journalism will always be in demand because people can tell the difference between quality journalism and a single person’s rant or prejudiced opinion which may or may not be dressed up as something else. News is almost user choice now, this site and Auckland Transport are both run by intelligent people (with more expertise than any politician) and has good discussion on the topic. I’m personally not politically minded but that changed during the Auckland mayoralty, for me that election shifted media choice heavily to the internet (and me to this site) more than any general election.

  18. Jon C says:

    @Jeremy That’s kind. Appreciated. You are right about news being user choice now, no longer having to settle for the traditional sources. Thank goodness for that.

  19. Carl says:

    I’m not interested in politics, but I do like a good information portal like this. I’m not in NZ at the moment but its nice to know there are people whom are happy to express there feelings. I think everybody would agree that somethings are agreed and somethings are disagreed.

    it teaches people things, it may make some people smarter it may make some people take a step back.

    I think the best thing that come about is that he has “mentioned” the very idea of us (as a website and others) talking about the situation.

    which all of sudden, makes its very real and shows that some people are reading out pleas, or comments, our rants, our thoughts.

    this can only be a good thing.

  20. Paul in Sydney says:

    @Carl - well put

    SJ - He’s reading, lets hope he’s listening

    I’m not a voter but many who read these “Lefty” blogs are. Maybe it was a compliment, at least recognition

    Keep the news coming Jon

  21. Neil says:

    It is obvious that this National Government has implemented a policy of slamming any move made by Len Brown. All because John Banks didn’t get voted in as mayor.

    This is all positioning for the next council election in Auckland. To convince the voters that Len Brown cannot get anything done and to support a National backed mayoral candidate.

    I for one like the vision of Len Brown. Much better that the nepotistic activities of John Banks. Check out who got $5 million for the all tides swimming at Judges Bay. Just beside the Parnell bathes. Maybe it made the view of Judges Bay nicer. . . .

    Nice if you have friends in council. . .

    Best wishes

  22. Sir Rob says:

    next Comrade Joyce will be saying there are “Dancing Cossacks” at these blogs

  23. James B says:

    Full Marx to the minister. He can tell who’s left Lenin. We should stop Stalin and admit it. Krushev.

    Sorry that was too hard to resist.

  24. Matt says:

    I suppose SJ’s “left wing” comment can be seen as quite revealing as to the way he contextualizes transport discussions. Does he see PT as inherently “left wing” and not something a National conservative government should be encouraging? If so how can he be entrusted to make sound and rational decisions on such matters of great importance.

    He is clearly blinkered.

  25. Matt L says:

    Doloras – It sounds like you are generalising people just like Joyce does. I know heaps of people who support better PT and also support National because transport isn’t the only thing they vote on. I would say that in Auckland at least people from all sides of the political spectrum see improved PT as a priority with only those at extreme end of the spectrum thinking that PT is bad.

    Outside of Auckland there is a big lack of understanding of the issues but in those situations I feel their opposition to things like spending money on PT is actually more based on them not liking Auckland more than anything i.e. I often get the impression that people from small towns only see Auckland as another small town so when the government spends money on the city they feel like we are a leeching off them even though the reality is we pay more in taxes than we have spent on us. Further if you live in a small town its hard to imagine the need for decent PT so spending millions on things like subsidies seems unfair but that is because no one ever tells the full picture that the subsidies prevent even more money from having to be spent on bigger and bigger roads. Of course most of the National politicians are from small towns so its not surprising at the anti PT line prevalent from them.

    I think what is needed is for the council to more clearly explain to the public the benefit of improving PT for not only the city but for the country.

  26. Jon R says:

    I am surprised Joyce reads these blogs. I am surprised he can even read.

  27. Kegan says:

    @Jon R
    “I am surprised he can even read.”

    Petty naming calling - always a sign of strong arguments. Please stop it.

  28. Ian says:

    It’s the left wing in action. Such a persuasive argument.

  29. ingolfson says:

    “@Jeremy That’s kind. Appreciated. You are right about news being user choice now, no longer having to settle for the traditional sources. Thank goodness for that.”

    The downside is that everyone just reads what he/she wants to hear. Solidfying the boundaries & perceived differences, instead of trying to work together. I know what Jon is talking about, but having common news sources is actually extremely useful for a society. So in that regard, user choice is actually a two-edged sword.

  30. Pickle says:

    Right wing people should support public transport because it economically makes sense. However we know that many right wing people do not base their decisions on what’s best for the economy. National clearly believe that public transport = socialism and that’s why they don’t support it.

  31. geoff_184 says:

    From the opposite side of the planet, Mr Reeves wrote:
    “I am surprised Joyce reads these blogs. I am surprised he can even read”

    Why do you expect the guy to listen to you or your ideas when you do nothing but insult him?

    In what kind of light does it place CBT when one of their key people behaves like this all the time?

    How do you feel you further your cause when you spend all your time publicly insulting the very people you want to listen to you, and fund your projects?

    I’m surprised CBT hasn’t given you the boot, as lobby groups, to be effective, need to be very tactful. You’ve pretty much removed any chance CBT ever had at getting the government’s ear, if indeed Mr Joyce reads the PT blogs and forums.

    You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

  32. I think it is only a matter of time before he starts giving way….


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