Govt Blames Labour Over RWC Electrics


Transport Minister Steven Joyce today distanced himself from the suggestion Auckland’s new electric trains could have been in place for the Rugby World Cup, helping avoid Friday night’s Train Fail for the opening match.
And he is correct in blaming Labour’s tardiness.
Mr Joyce told parliament that the decision not to have the in time was made by the “previous Labour-Greens Government in 2007”
“When it announced its initial regional fuel tax to fund new trains it declared—and, in fact, the former Minister of Transport declared—that they would not be available in time for 2011, because it would be too risky.”

The Minister met the Mayor of Auckland and Auckland Transport this morning, and said they were committed to “ensuring that additional capacity is made available over the rest of the tournament.”
“Significant back-up plans were available, including a number of, if you like, reserve buses—and tens of those. But again, I think it is fair to say—and in defence of the people in Auckland who were charged with providing the services—that the demand was unprecedented and certainly greater than anybody anticipated.”
Asked if he would demand an independent report on Friday’s problems, he said only that the Government will assess the Council/ Auckland Transport review when it receives it during the next 24 hours.

Angry scenes at Britomart on Friday

Asked by Labour’s Phil Tywford about an old report created by the Auckland Regional Transport Authority that indicated a number of things needed to be addressed prior to the Rugby World Cup proceeding, Mr Joyce said all of those matters have been addressed, including making available the amount of capacity the report anticipated would be required.

“Those matters also included dealing with parking availability; ensuring that the train fleet would be available, increasing from 32 sets to 38 sets; ensuring that there was no shortage of additional facilities such as barriers, bollards, fencing, and communication systems; and, of course, ensuring integrated ticketing was available to allow free travel for holders of match tickets. All those matters were addressed and were in place, but again, the amount of demand on Friday was unprecedented and was not anticipated by that report.




  1. San Luca says:

    Although I like the guy, Mike Lee didn’t want the electrification completed for the world cup. I guess it is better to do it once & to do right

  2. Andu says:

    The last Labour government was utterly hopeless with improving PT for way too long. Its just a long tradition of road obsession and screwing Auckland over in government. It’s ridiculous that National can ‘blame’ Labour for anything though when they’re just doing the same damn thing! Except worse!

  3. Alphatron says:

    To be fair to the last Labour government, a robust business case for electrification and electric trains was not made by ARTA until late 2006, with the subsequent go ahead announced by the govt in the 2007 budget.

    Previous so called business cases such as the Boston Consulting Group document in 2003 were based on unrealistic assumptions and therefore did not gain support. from key stakeholders

  4. Feijoa says:

    Mr Joyce sounds half-reasonable here — nice he’s not knee-jerk reacting like some of the media commentators I’ve heard… and fellow Ministers…

  5. Travis says:

    Yup….definitely a well handled issue by Joyce….using diplomacy a bit better than the old boozer McCully….

  6. minga says:

    Is it just me, or does anyone else fail to see how the Auckland network being electrified would have changed the situation on Friday one iota?

    Electrifying the Auckland network is not a quick or easy or cheap task (I’m involved in it), it’s not something you can magically do overnight before the RWC. It literally takes years, and some DART works needed to be completed first. And of course there will have to be electric trains delivered before there is a change in the rolling stock.

  7. Patrick R says:

    Yes there has been a concerted change of tone from Joyce… the message must have got back to Crosby Textor that his arrogance was counter productive. Impressive self control being exhibited.

    The spots have changed, has the Leopard?

  8. Riccardo says:

    Sydney Olympics was a public holiday and the rail system only used for that, not for commuters.

    Ditto the bicentenary celebrations in 1988. And even then the system got indigestion trying to carry all the crowds.

  9. Carl says:

    more finger pointing, boring, POINT is, it doesn’t work and it can’t handle the situation. Rather than blame someone else, SHUT up and fix it. end of story, but to be honest, Auckland wont get another high profile event in the next 15-20 years, so there is probably no point.


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