Key Says Train Fail Auckland’s Problem


Prime Minister John Key says an initial report to Transport Minister Steven Joyce catalogued a number of issues that contributed to Auckland’s Friday night RWC train fail.

By 5pm 55 people had claimed for compensation for missing the opening ceremony.

Answering questions at this afternoon’s post cabinet meeting , he said the initial report showed some of those issues were beyond people’s control such as people jumping on and off , and there was a medical emergency when someone had a major cardiac attack.

But others issues were not beyond people’s control - and he and Ministers had earlier before Saturday received assurances from Auckland Transport that they would cope.

He suggested the solution could be more buses.

These were the queues for the buses on Friday - but people got there and were happier

He said he was “not particularly interested in finger pointing”  but in making sure “those issues need to resolved.”

“What we are interested in is helping Auckland fix the problems and ensuring people get to the games at Eden Park don’t face the same problems again.”

Likewise the issues on Friday with crowd control over the waterfront needed getting fixed in time for this coming weekend.

Asked if the RWC Minister Murray McCully had some responsibility, he said transport and the waterfront with the exception of Queens Wharf was “Auckland’s responsibility.” They deliver transport.

Mr McCully has refused to apologise. Asked if that was the wrong call, the prime minister said:” No, look everyone’s trying to understand what went wrong but the important point of understanding what went wrong is to make sure it absolutely doesn’t happen in the future.

“There will always be some delays when you’re moving so many people around to an international event and that will always frustrate some people.”

Asked who should shoulder the blame, Mr Key said he felt sorry for those affected but he would await the report from Auckland Transport which was exploring the issues as Auckland Council was responsible for the delivery.

That report will be considered by an Auckland Council meeting on Wednesday afternoon and decisions announced then about what the Council and relevant transport authorities and operators would do for Saturday.

To numerous questions about the issue of responsibility, he insisted there needed to be “some context” around Friday night as an  overwhelming number of people in Auckland and in New Zealand had an amazing night on Friday night.

“A small group didn’t and I can understand their frustration and it will be fixed. Period.

“The first thing is 200,000 people went down to the waterfront. I am very much a glass half-full sort of guy but I wouldn’t have precdicted that number of people would have gone down to the waterfront.

“It was just a tremendous night, a beautiful night. .. people came out to watch the fireworks so you had a bit of an overload there.”

He said  that Auckland Mayor Len Brown has been upfront with the media about what went wrong on the night and RWC Minister Murray McCully and Transport Minister Minister Steven Joyce have been keeping close to the information as it comes to hand.

He said Saturday’s Australia Ireland game at Eden Park will be a sell-out and there is also a big night at the Cloud with Che Fu performing.,

The prime minister said theere were 30,000 visitors to Queens Wharf on Saturday and 15,000 oduring Sunday despite bad weather and he called it an exceptional venue that people had enjoyed.

Greens MP Gareth Hughes says the roots of Auckland’s transport woes are a deep bias in transport planning and Government funding according to the Greens.

Tonight on TVONE’s Len Brown fronted up on Close Up. Neither Veolia nor Mr McCully would appear.

The Mayor said: “The transport advisers said what we got was at the higher limit (in numbers) and they could have probably copde with 100, 150,000 but this pushed it over the top.”

He said there were significant problems in communication or lack of it and issues “mainly genuine” of people pressing the emergency button but would not get into more detail until the report from Auckland Transport arrived.

Latest: Council decision on Wednesday, 55 apply for compensation
Over 100 comments on Friday night’s disaster as it unfolded

Auckland escapes a bullet - most global media don’t mention the Auckland failure

Urgent review ordered

Government attacks transport fail

What happened in Queen St when pedestrians took over

Photos from the craziness on the streets

What Party Central looks like




  1. Gary Young says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong Mr. Key but wasn’t ‘Party Central’ on Queen’s Wharf your idea?

  2. James says:

    Mr Key has his own private car and was at the opening ceremony pronouncing Trophy wrong…bet that if he takes the train once he would want a world class service! :)

  3. Jacky says:

    Hello Guys

    I cannot say it is all the fault of the actual government fault, I think the actual Auckland transport has some problem itself.

    First of all, in terms of planning, there is some problems. They have said they have get the testing and trailing from the last Bledisloe Cup at Eden Park. If you look back at the video, the stadium wasn’t full, especially at the side stand.. I doubt it is as full as what we saw at the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony. Auckland has been told that the Eden Park will be at full capacity. It should be organized with 4 times the capacity, rather than just using the same system on what you have planned for during the Bledisloe Cup

    2. I cannot understand in terms of the train station at Britomart. Don’t we love to use the traffic controller around malls and banks? They should have those and tell them where to line up? so that there is traffic flow for the people to walk from each direction?

    3. Also, What is the point having the backup station next to britomart if it is not going to be used. U know, as I was thinking, have a think this week, if people using the Eastern line to Eden park, they have to transfer at Britomart, why can’t Auckland Transport advises the train company that make the stop for all Britomart station and then continue the journey to Eden park? That will save the hassle for people who taking eastern line without the concern of transferring at Britomart…

    4. Queen Street itself - When I was there, it was already out of control. People walking on the street bus while bus is turning into Queen Street. It is so dangerous.

    From Day 1 of the planning for this tourament, the Queen Street should be closed for the opening day, should not have any traffic going in and out. Use that as a party central too

    5. In terms of the TV at Quay Street, do they ever be tested before the big day? how can that be happen? have the Auckland council decided to ask for a remedy from the company who provided this tv for all us out there?

    Look!!! at the end of the day, other than this glitches, we all have a very good nights and very good start. there shouldn’t be figer pointing now. They should be more organized and starts planning again properly for the next 6 weeks.


  4. Andu says:

    Party Central absolutely was Central Governments big idea. And it was full with only about 12000 people?
    What to do with the other 170000 people? Aucklands problem, are they? ”Sorry we’re full, you’ve come all the way here, now ‘party’ somewhere else.

    Bad planning all around, Auckland needs to shoulder some responsibility, but Party ‘Central’ was a stupid idea from the beginning, and it is extremely bad form for McCully and Key to fob it off as ‘Aucklands Problem’ Especially since they have continued the fine tradition of doing nothing to improve Auckland’s Public Transport, which Auckland voters are crying out for.

    Arseholes, both of them.

    I hope this is an election issue.

  5. Harry McDonald says:

    Andu: beat me to it!
    Key’s attitude is a disgrace.

  6. Chris says:

    Key still is the best prime minister we will ever have

  7. Chris says:

    McCully/Key need to man up and accept some responsibility for what happend on Friday night. To do otherwise is cowardly, and plain bad manners.

  8. geoff_184 says:

    Chris, the PM apologized on National Radio tonight.

    Veolia on the other hand, are refusing to apologize. They are just saying they were following AT orders. Be that as it may, they should still apologize. It’s just good customer service.

  9. Rene says:

    What do guys think would have happened if we actually had the stadium downtown as well?

    To give the government a serving because it sponsored the party central facilites is a bit rich. The fault lies squarely on the shoulders of the Auckland authorities in the lack of foresight.

    Watching mayor Brown on TV last night with no answers but a bagful of excuses was a joke. Now he’s going to hide behind a report even though he has stated in the media well before the World Cup how involved he has been in the planning and preparation of the transport strategy.

    Auckland has known for years the state of the facilites they had at their disposal to make this work. Sure, they arent great and we need to have better transport systems (including the loop etc) but they should have better understood the contingencies required.

    To blame Key for the supposed 200k people turning up downtown is churlish and akin to blaming Trevor Mallard for the All Blacks losing in the last RWC quarter final.

  10. Alice says:

    Good on Len Brown for being the only one with enough balls to front up to the people. Shame on McCully for hiding behind John Key’s skirt when he should be acting like the Minister responsible for the RWC.

  11. Carl says:

    Does anyone here actually work in events or the events field? because really if you don’t you have no idea what your talking about.

    Just because your standing on one side of the fence doesn’t mean you understand what is going on, on the other.

    anyway this whole finger pointing, blaming this department blaming that department

    SERIALLY STFU, everybody who decided to make this happen is to blame.

    we have no trains = a fail
    we have no experience in hosting massive events in the last 5 /10 years = fail

    (america’s cup doesn’t count because its controlled on the water)

    if we are chasing the Comm Games, serially there is some work to be done. instead of everybody in power taking sides to run away from the blame, sit down, shut up and work it out together.

    and in the mean time catch a train out to the ground and see the problems. no point banging on about how good the “idea” of how good the trains might be if your going to show up in a motorcade now is there.

    as I have always said, rather blame blame blame, just get in there and down the work and get it sorted.

    is that not what we are known for around the world? because it was last time i checked.

  12. Carl says:

    as for the waterfront issue, simple solution as said before it started.

    make a it a “free” ticketed event. if you don’t have a ticket you can’t get in. And keep the kids at home, sorry but open it up for adults only, let the beer flow let the good times roll and leave the prams and babies at home.

    let people enjoy themselves with a few beers and some food and meet some people from a different country in a controlled environment. If you don’t have a ticket, to bad. The Comm games, the Olympics do this all the time, free ticketed parties.

    it works and it works everytime, and like here in australia, if you don’t have a ticket and begin to cause trouble, the police issue you with a move on notice, if you don’t leave you get taken away.

    it only takes 3 or 4 people to test it before everybody goes about there bizo and gets out of the way.

  13. Jon C says:

    @Alice Yes good on Mayor Brown for fronting up to media and owning the issue.

  14. Bryan says:

    Carl, don’t they have families in Australia, or were the Olympic and Commonwealth Games just put on to provide free booze-ups for swinging singles (at everybody else’s expense)?

    Shed 10 at Party Central reminds me of a 1970s suburban tavern - the type you had to hose out in the morning.

    A free ticketed event for families at the Domain would have caused less trouble, and kept Britomart clear for real rugby fans to get to the game.

  15. Carl says:

    Bryan - sadly Children and large ticketed “boozy” events do not work.

    It is unsafe for them when you are talking 10,000 + people in a confined space with booze.

    thats what I am meaning if you are confused. By all means make a non drinking children’s / family area, but sadly events are driven by revenue and that means beer sales.

    children don’t drink, nor do they generally eat more than one thing on the menu.

    guys its a event, its there to make money first and to sadly make money second. The world does not throw events for the love it, they throw events to make money.

    Again I’m not saying people with children not have a good time, because that is totally wrong, but there is a time and a place for rules and restrictions and to me, I feel this event should be “ticketed” but free, and 18 + only in some sections, and all possibly all ages and booze free in others.

    I understand Parents want to have a drink (and so they should) but the danger is underage drinking of the 15-17 year old bracket. That can’t happen and they shouldn’t be put in a situation were it can happen.

    otherwise future events will get canceled because the fun police will step in.

    Stamp out the ground your on from the word go and then the issues should only be minor.

    One thing id love to know is, did someone actually measure out the weight the wharf can actually hold?

    love to know the OH & S figures on that one, with whats going on right now.

  16. Carl says:

    oh and Bryan - yes sorry I didn’t see your’e bit on the domain,

    agree with you totally there, thats what I’m meaning I guess.

    One event for the young yahoo’s like myself (or the older ones that want to relive their youfffff) and a family event somewhere else.


  17. Aidan says:

    Len Brown’s administration has been led to the slaughter by John Key and his eunuch Murray ‘McGirly’. In any organisation, failures of this magnitude would result in heads rolling, starting from the very top. The Auckland RWC transport fiasco is the perfect platform for John’s favoured buddy John Banks to sweep in for the Auckland mayoralty. With Key’s ‘sit on the fence’ leadership style and lack of enthusiasm to give support to Auckland’s transport initiatives, it would seem the Brown administration was setup to fail from the outset, at the expense of taxpayers, ratepayers and RWC supporters and visitors. As for McGirly, he needs to hop back on the white horse Sir John Key rode in on and side saddle himself back to parliament to get his lashings. The welts on his backside will serve as a future reminder to him which end is up when speaking on important matters of national importance.


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