Govt Slams Last Night’s Fail


A telling off from the Government this afternoon over Auckland’s public transport performance last night.

Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully said Auckland’s public transport system had ” failed to deliver to the required standard.

“In spite of reasonably successful trial events, there is no escaping the fact that last night’s performance was short of the standard required.

“Urgent steps will now need to be taken to ensure that these matters are rectified before the next large Eden Park match next weekend.”

And he also complained about the problems along the waterfront stretch of the closed off Quay St which led to ferry services being cancelled and people stranded on the North Shore or unable to get back to the CBD.

Thousands thronged closed off Quay St

“While Queens Wharf operations were highly successful, event arrangements for those in the Quay St area simply did not meet the needs of the extremely large crowd that gathered. While such large gatherings will occur infrequently, it is important that the structural problems evident in this area are addressed quickly.”

Minister McCully when he launched Queens Wharf when it opened to the public


“I welcome the fact that Mayor Len Brown has committed the city to addressing the areas of deficiency that fall within its responsibility. Over the next few days I will continue to meet with relevant agencies to ensure there is a quick resolution of outstanding issues,” said Mr McCully.

“I emphasize the need for this to be a constructive process. We need all agencies working together to deliver a quality performance over the next six weeks.”

The "game plan" for these regular commuters trying to get home didn't go well

As pointed out by a reader in a comments thread on February 2, the Auckland Chamber of Commerce CEO Michael Barnett had issued a press statement  headed Auckland Transport “Will be Ready” for Rugby World Cup 2011

That February statement began:

A huge amount of work has been done over the past year and will continue this year to make sure Auckland transport is ready for the Rugby World Cup 2011 – “and I have total confidence we will be ready and able to provide a first class service for visitors and get maximum benefit from hosting the event,” said Auckland Chamber of Commerce CEO Michael Barnett.
Mr Barnett, who is planning co-ordinator for Auckland’s RWC arrangements, was commenting on a Wellington report today that Auckland is not ready to cope with the more than 60,000 overseas visitors expected to flood the city for the 2011 RWC.
“It is a shame that a Wellington media organisation used an outdated report written in the middle of last year without covering the huge progress made since it was prepared,” he said.
We know how many people we need to move, when we need to move them and how we will move them. It will be rail, bus, coach, and walking opportunities. ….”

And the statement concluded:

“This is one occasion when failure is not an option. There are international experts who have been brought to Auckland and are working full time on transport planning for this event so that we get it right – “and we will,” stressed Mr Barnett.

Today in a statement the same Mr Barnett says “history should have told Auckland Transport that rail alone was never going to cope for a sold out Eden Park.”

“Yet all their planning directed people to use the trains. From mid-morning yesterday it was clear that the trains were overloaded. Auckland Transport failed to respond quickly enough.

“Expecting people to sit on a stalled train for more than an hour is unacceptable. The whole day was under-planned and under resourced.

“A better spread of buses for moving people to the rugby and other venues when the next big match against France takes place is essential.”

He said it was also a mistake to direct Aucklanders to the waterfront with an expectation of getting onto Queens Wharf. We should have had more venues set up with big television screens for watching the match and entertainment.”

And Labour’s Tourism spokesperson Kelvin Davis  in a statement published on Scoop is calling “the Prime Minister’s self-lauded Party Central Party Shambles.”

The latest update of what went wrong is here

See photos and commentary from last night’s train disaster

World media miss Auckland’s transport fail

Photos of Aucklanders ignoring traffic in Queen St to party

Photos of Aucklanders celebrating 


What Party Central looks like 









  1. sj says:

    In spite of reasonably successful trial events, there is no escaping the fact that last night’s performance was short of the standard required.

    That’s because our PT system isn’t built to the required standard!

  2. James says:

    Maybe the Government can help fund pt instead of criticizing it!
    Maybe we need to borrow trains from Wellington for our Auckland games or even get them from Australia!

  3. Anthony says:

    Bloody Hell, If the Government paid more attention to the PT system before these events then this nightmare wouldn’t have been as bad.

  4. Commuter says:

    That’s because National governments for the past 80 years have done their best to stymie every move to improve Auckland’s public transport network and they’re still at it. The problem, Mr McCully, presently lies with central government and it’s all very well trying to spin it as a local (ie Len Brown) problem. Perhaps you should undertake a little review of the antics of your cabinet mate and chief National party organiser, Mr Joyce, before you start berating Auckland for the institutional failures brought on by your own government’s policies.

  5. Andu says:

    It just seems so obvious now in hindsight. If numbers are much greater than anticipated and everyone opts for trains how an earth will our very limited network cope if something goes wrong??

    I’m glad everything else more or less went to plan, the poor train and ferry passengers I feel were let down so badly.

    Very poor planning, and I’m really pissed that cars were still allowed around the CBD. And yes there should’ve been more venues for people to relax and watch the game, not just Party Central.

  6. Wasp says:

    How utterly patronising and how hypocritical of McCully.

    Its HIS government that has royally stuffed Auckland around on public transport and insisted roads are the answer.

    You, Joyce, Key and others in National denied Auckland the opportunity to improve public transport before the RWC by cutting funding and basically being smart arses at the Auckland Council maybe to punish Aucklander’s for not voting in their poodle John Banks.

    You want this addressed do you, well stop ignoring the fact that Auckland’s public transport system is 3rd world and fund it accordingly.

    Get a vision and think beyond your roading lobby donors National!

  7. Commuter says:

    More crap from the National party on how they try to stuff up Auckland’s PT:

  8. Jon Reeves says:

    While it is very fair to look at underfunding, and funding cuts in PT by Steven Joyce and his National Party, I am pleased to say the transport failure, so far, has not been mentioned whatsoever on French or UK TV.

    Be that as it may, about time NZ employed Swiss transport planners as they are probably the most experienced and under rated in the world.

    I would think a team of Swiss transport planners, with follow up funding backed by the Government, could get Auckland moving.

    However, they are not the road and trucking lobby. So the National Party won’t like them.

  9. Martin says:

    @ Jon Reeves

    I agree with some of what you say, I spent an our on the Jubilee line two stops from wembley in ’08 due to someone pushing the emergnecy button and missed half of the Foo Fighters largest gig to date (90+ thousand there).

    Switzerland has a small population base and a history of PT so is not a great a candidate.

    Better to use somewhere where cars ruled the roost but PT has taken over like Vancover, Berlin, London or Nottingham.

  10. Cam says:

    They are kidding aren’t they? Surely they are. This government that wont give PT the steam of their s**t are now turing around and berating Auckland for it’s poor performance. They have a lot of nerve.

  11. Jon Reeves says:

    @ martin. I think a city like Zurich with about 1.5 million people does alot better than Auckland does with 1.3 million transport wise.

    If Swiss can run integrated transport systems efficiently to the millisecond then I am confident their experience is better than many UK “experts” Auckland are using.

    Of course, their suggestions would require funding from Government, and we all know the Nats are sold out to roading and trucking lobbies.

  12. Paul says:

    Len Brown missed a good opportunity to show up the National and Labour (yes both, we just had 9 years of Labour underinvestment too) governments historical lack or required investment in Auckland’s transport system. This would have been the right time to raise the city loop project but instead a blame others approach was the order of the day. Half the problem is not the governments it is the generations of Auckland voters that allowed Auckland to get this way through their support bad local and government politicians.

  13. BD says:

    It’s not the public transport fault, Auckland Transport didn’t cater for enough people, it would have been ok up to like 30,000 people but above this figure, it was almost impossible. It was also bad management in train stations, the government should have helped Auckland Transport out by giving them more resources but they didn’t and instead tried to find a way to bash Auckland Council off.

    Auckland Transport should have opened the Strand as an additional station not only used for emergency at least then they would have had some extra platforms for loading the people off and getting them to the waterfront and to Eden Park on time. Better management would have prevented a major disaster.

    Another thing they should have done is closed more roads off and have better crowd management around train station, they should have also had crowd management on the roads surrounding the train stations. The government has no right to slag off public transport when for more than 80 years they have denied Auckland the right to a decent public transport system for the past 80 years or so.

  14. Rene says:

    And how many years did Labour enjoy in power to rectify the issue?. Seems to be a common thread on this blog to criticise National without holding the last labour government and previous Auckland local authorities to the same sort of scrutiny.

    I’m no National apologist but for heavens sake give it bone.

    The biggest mistake on Friday night (and I think I’m entitled to comment after having to walk back to Mt Albert from downtown) is the focus on the CBD as the main party area. There really should have been mini-party centrals set up in other parts of Auckland to divert the masses.

    I would really like someone to take the numbers that have been bandied about the crowds on Friday night, and plug them into a some sort of Auckland “rail-loop” model / simulator to actually demonstrate how the the rail loop could have helped the situation. But I fear that instead of using Friday night to provide another case for the loop we’ll just get another round of slagging this governement.

    I for one believe Len “the world is in the house, oh yeah” Brown to stop looking like a quivering mess and front foot this. I’m not holding my breath.

  15. peter says:

    Selfish Ports of Auckland reserved a whole wharf for themselves next to party central. Kept lowly Auckland public peasants out and kept it for Ports of Auckland staff and corporate elite.


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>