A guest post from Phil Hayward.
Auckland Voters have a lot more re-thinking to do than they realise so far.
â€śNew mediaâ€ť has a valuable role to play in informing the public not just of politicians personal scandals that the MSM might not have covered, but of important policy issues on which the MSM are misinforming the public.
It is extraordinary that in Auckland, a Unitary Plan has passed the â€śnotificationâ€ť stage (in September 2013) while afflicted with so many obvious flaws, and with bureaucratic input so obviously incompetent and ideologically-based.
The essence of the Plan that the voting public has now granted a mandate to by electing Len Brown, is that Auckland needs to grow by intensification and become a high density city based on â€śsustainable public transportâ€ť. Alternative visions such as that of Dushko Bogunovich, Professor of urban design, and his colleagues at Unitec, of a low, dispersed and leafy Green eco-friendly and high-tech Auckland, are off the table for now.
As with CAGW, one wonders just how many scandals and exposures are needed before people will question the orthodoxy. Auckland Councillors passed the Unitary Plan for notification, in spite of the following realities.
In October 2011, Tony Randle, a well-qualified concerned citizen, published a â€śReviewâ€ť of the CBD Rail Link Business Case â€śAlternatives Optionâ€ť. He showed convincingly that the busway option was the superior one, and that the studyâ€™s conclusions in favour of the Rail Link were patently wrong. The busway option was inflated in cost by considering only a very high capacity system, significantly greater than that of the proposed Rail Link. If this capacity was indeed necessary, the Rail Link itself would be inadequate. Whether inadequate or not, it would need to be supplemented by buses, the cost of which was omitted from the â€śRail Linkâ€ť option.
As if this was not sufficient cause for concern, international evidence as analysed by experts such as Prof. Bent Flyvbjerg of Oxford University suggests that such projects all without exception suffer from optimistic ridership projections and cost estimates. In fact he suggests â€śoptimism biasâ€ť and â€śstrategic misinformationâ€ť as endemic features needing to be identified and corrected for. Auckland already has fiscal pressures enough without adding the ongoing very substantial cost of operating subsidies for mass transit systems operating at well below capacity, on top of the capital costs needed to acquire very high value land, with major blowouts likely due to land owners â€śholding outâ€ť, and then of course the actual construction of the thing.Â Read more »