Labour thinks a rail link in 15 years time will solve airport traffic issues now

You really have to wonder about the thinking department of Sue Moroney:

Battling traffic to and from Auckland Airport is like travelling in a third world country, Labour’s transport spokeswoman Sue Moroney says.

Moroney said the latest grind of traffic and roadworks around the airport was a national embarrassment and showed the city was crying out for a train line or light rail service.

Increased congestion heading into the peak Christmas and summer holiday period has caused major headaches for travellers, with reports of people missing flights after being stuck in traffic for multiple hours.

Read more »

Kaikoura Update

Our transport correspondent has another update.

Two weeks after, and all of the tourists have gone.

The echoes of laughing and spending tourists are all that remains as the residents sit and ponder what a calamitous change has struck their lives. The once busy harbour is now full of rock, thrust up from under the sea, leaving the whale boat fleet high and dry.

We deliver to the Mitre 10 store in Kaikoura. Or we did.

It is now a wreck. The wonderful people who we dealt with, doing deliveries at all sorts of inconvenient (for them) hours, are now faced with their lives crashed under orange painted collapsed walls. A rebuild is needed, and when it is done much of their tourist business will not be there. Their immediate future will at least be busy, as they will not be the only ones rebuilding, and hopefully they can rebuild themselves in time to benefit from supplying all of the others around them.

Communities like Mt Lyford may not be so lucky. They were always a remote and small settlement, and only time will tell whether their lack of size is sufficient to sustain the energy needed to rebuild their tiny town.

I am enjoying the wide variety of views from the new experts in freight and logistics. There are many suggestions as to how and where SH1 should be rebuilt, or whether it should be rebuilt at all. The important thing for me is to realise that politics should have no place here. This is not the emotional surge of repairing thousands of individuals houses, and dealing with the considerable loss of life that occurred in Christchurch. This event is way bigger, and as infrastructure damage is becoming more evident in Wellington, the task is growing, as inevitably it would.   Read more »

The size of the problem or Why you can’t trust the Herald to tell you

The size of the problem in and near Kaikoura is something people are struggling to get information on.

Unfortunately, you can’t rely on the NZ Herald for facts. Here is a prime example.

The scale and the complexity of the slips on SH1 was unprecedented in New Zealand, Knackstedt said, and the task ahead was huge.

“While detailed measurements aren’t yet available, it’s likely that four or five of the large slips which have come down on SH1 could be as large or larger than the October 2011 slip which closed SH3 through the Manawatu Gorge.”

That landslide – the largest in New Zealand history – involved 370,000sq m of material.  

Read more »

Kaikoura Earthquake – Transport Update

Our transport correspondent emails again:

And on Day 3 work continues.

Thanks to our, and other countries, military helicopters, private helicopters and the navies of NZ, USA, Australia, Singapore, and Canada many of the tourists trapped in Kaikoura will be evacuated by the end of the day. There are many smaller settlements who have suffered damage and are trying to put their own lives back together, but without the media attention given to Kaikoura. All of them will struggle to deal with this.

However there will not be the media attention focused on the logistics issues that we now face as it doesn’t create the sort of news that the media thinks they need to sell advertising space.

The logistics task is immense (that is IM bloody MENSE), and is destined to burden the pockets of South Island residents for at least a year. The burden will be felt through increased logistic costs in getting goods to and from the South Island without a reliable transport network.

The enormity of this task is yet to hit home, and I rate this as the biggest logistical challenge New Zealand has faced for as long as I can remember. Worse because the reality hasn’t hit yet.

Freight Challenges:

Freight can only move through 3 ways to the South Island. By air, by sea, or by a mix of sea and land.

Air is expensive relative to the other modes. It is very fast, but has no infrastructure (either flying or land based) to support high volumes, and there is no financial ability to fly most freight as weight or size make air freight unaffordable.

Sea is already a well-used mode. We no longer have any New Zealand owned shipping companies in New Zealand, and this has been a blessing in some ways. The opening of our coast to foreign vessels has greatly reduced the costs of domestic sea freight (despite the delusional dreams of some reactionary folk who have distant memories of when times were good, and want to return to the days of Muldoon and government control. As they’ve aged they have failed to remember that times really weren’t that good) Coastal sea freight is efficient and effective, but is not fast or frequent, although it is generally cost effective.

The Sea/Land mix has land operations where there is land, either by Road or Rail, and ferries for the blue bits between the Islands. This is the bit that is brokenRead more »

A transport perspective on the Kaikoura Earthquake


A reader, who is connected to the transport industry sent this to me which explains the enormity of the damage from the Kaikoura Earthquake

What a day for the good folk of Kaikoura. It took only seconds to reshape their world completely.

A popular tourist town, on a main highway was turned from a business success story to an isolated outpost, with dwindling food and resources within those few seconds.

Kaikoura is reachable only by air, and one of what I consider to be the best drives in the world is hidden underneath what is estimated to be a million cubic metres of earth. To put that into perspective, that equates to about 750,000 tonnes of soil and rock and trees. That truly is awesome power, in the proper, not popular, use of the word.

For Kaikoura and the small towns of northern Canterbury things are pretty grim. Towns which were benefitting from people moving north out of Christchurch, to avoid earthquakes, have been stuck down. This is a huge mental strike into the minds of these people, and into their deepest, innermost insecurities. A huge blow to their mindset.

There is now nothing to do but to start again and rebuild what has been destroyed and damaged. Some things will never be repaired. Farms and rivers will be scarred forever. Roads and rail will be rebuilt.

The task of rebuilding the transport infrastructure will be dealt with first, and is undoubtedly the most important in national terms. That is not to diminish the efforts to repair personal property, but it is indeed personal property, and not essential for the nation as a whole.

It is easy to forget that Wellington also took a hit, and while the damage appears superficial to those outside, there will still be considerable damage to be repaired in the capital.

Nice gestures from people add some pleasure to the pain.

The Thai lady in Kaikoura who was unable to run her restaurant took all her food and gas cookers to the local campsite, and used it all feeding the people trapped there.

Parliament Buildings were opened to people in Wellington evacuated from their hostels and back packer accommodation to provide food and shelter.

There will be hundreds if not thousands of kind acts done without publicity and for only the good of the people affected by loss.   Read more »

Guest Post – Auckland transport and reducing road congestion

Matthew Newman is the CEO of South Auckland Motors and Southern Autos and a real good bastard. He’s the bloke that arranged my Isuzu utes. He comments on Auckland’s transport issues.


  1. Auckland’s population is growing at historically fast rates; circa +40,000 in the 2015 year, with mid-range growth assumptions seeing a population of 2.2 M by 2035 (currently 1.7M)
  1. The region’s vehicle fleet is growing by around 200 (net) additional vehicles per day, or 70,000 annually
  1. Unlike Sydney, Melbourne and London (as examples), which have symmetrical, ‘circular’ urban topography, Auckland has a rectangular central isthmus, with long narrow ‘outliers’ to the north and south
  1. The topography in these other cities (identified above), lends itself to a ‘bike wheel’ rail network, with lines radiating out from the centre, coupled with ‘circular’ supplementary lines which ‘link’ the ‘spokes’ .
  1. As a result, the majority of residents are no more than a 10 minute walk from efficient public transport networks. They work, are well supported and for the majority of commuters, are their ‘default urban travel option’
  1. The OPPOSITE is the case in Auckland

Barriers to utilisation of public transport in Auckland 

  1. Geographical, distance and time barriers to the principal networks as identified above
  1. The rail network from the south is limited to 1 line. 1 line to the west (plus the Onehunga trunk) with none north of the bridge (alternative is the busway)
  1. To utilise these networks and materially reduce roading congestion requires vast numbers of commuters to:
    1. Drive to their train or bus station
    2. Find a park
    3. Pay for the park
    4. Assume the risk of damage or theft of their vehicle whilst parked
    5. Wait for the service
    6. Pay for the service
    7. Walk or taxi from where they exit the train or bus to their final destination
    8. Brave the ‘elements’

Read more »

Green Taliban want to ban all trucks because they are filthy and dangerous

Julie-Ann Genter, Green Party

Julie Anne Genter, Green Party

The Greens are about to launch a transport policy aimed at getting trucks off the roads.

Transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter says New Zealand needs cleaner, safer and cheaper freight options.

“A few expensive motorways and more trucks just aren’t going to cut it,” she said ahead of the policy launch.

Read more »

Key on road congestion in Auckland and Wellington


Auckland and Wellington’s traffic congestion woes have caught the attention of Prime Minister John Key, who says he’s personally experienced the “volatility” of drive times in two of the country’s major cities.

However, Key has urged Kiwis to remain patient while major traffic projects, such as Auckland’s $1.4 billion Waterview Connection, cause temporary snarl-ups in exchange for a future improvement in travel times.

Figures made public by navigation company TomTom this week showed traffic congestion was worsening in both Auckland and Wellington, beating some of the world’s biggest cities like London, Los Angeles and Istanbul. Read more »

Auckland’s deliberate and slow plan to rid itself of cars

Every big and booming city in the world is partly a construction site.

People working in the central business districts are accustomed to negotiating road cones and detour warnings. Auckland has been no exception, but now the central city is entering years of greater upheaval than it has probably previously endured.

Preliminary work has started on the underground rail link that will require Albert St to be dug up as far as Wyndham St, and a tunnel drilled beneath it to Aotea Square and beyond.

Already traffic is beginning to feel the squeeze. Besides the rail link, work is getting under way on SkyCity’s international convention centre and is due to start this year on a 52-storey tower of hotel rooms and apartments planned for the long-vacant site at the southeast corner of Albert and Victoria Streets.

The Downtown shopping centre is to be demolished and redeveloped and at the Herald’s former location at Albert and Wyndham Sts, a 30-storey hotel and office tower is planned.

The city is going to be a navigational challenge for the next several years.

The rail link alone will be disruptive enough. The practical difficulties of digging an underground railway in the confines of a commercial valley have not featured in public debate over the merits of the link.

It is to be hoped traffic planners have given the challenges enough thought. Confidence on that score is not encouraged by the plan to reduce Queen St to one lane of traffic each way to accommodate exclusive bus lanes.

City planners keep stealing the roads that we’ve already paid for. Where we had two or even three lanes, now we have given those to cycles, buses and, soon, even light rail.

Whereas councils can’t just turn parks into homes or factories, or start reclaiming the harbour for housing, there appears to be no limit to their ability to keep stealing roads from motorists.

There appears to be a steady and deliberate plan to turn the problem of getting around in a car into a self-fulfilling prophecy, to which the answer is: even less space for cars, and more space for people to walk, cycle, bus and train.

It’s not something ratepayers have been asked about, and I consider it a kind of theft.


– NZ Herald

‘Cultural barriers’ make life hard for the blind

Disability access advocate David Foran kneels with his guide dog, Oliver, at a tram stop in Southbank

Disability access advocate David Foran kneels with his guide dog, Oliver, at a tram stop in Southbank

How hard hearted does a person have to be to refuse transport to a blind person with a guide dog? Blind people have a hard enough life without having to deal with discrimination on top of their disability.

Victorian guide dogs and their handlers are facing the highest rates of discrimination in the nation, with taxis refusing or questioning right of access 46 per cent of the time.

A new Guide Dogs Victoria survey found two-thirds of guide dog handlers faced discrimination in the past year, including at shopping centres and cafes.

Legally, the only place guide dogs are not allowed is in operating theatres and at zoos.

Guide dog handler and disability access advocate David Foran said he had faced discrimination on several occasions when trying to catch taxis or a ride share with Uber.

You might book and a car comes to your home, then they see a dog and they just drive off.

David Foran, guide dog handler

Guide Dogs Victoria has been working with taxi drivers to provide dog mats and promote awareness of disability access rights.

“It’s not often about hostility, it’s just a lack of education,” Mr Foran said.

“I spoke to my Muslim taxi driver, and he said sometimes it’s a cultural barrier, and whenever there’s a cultural barrier there needs to be education.”

This is not a problem confined to Australia as it has been happening in Britain for years.

MUSLIM drivers are forcing blind people and their guide dogs off buses because they consider the animals to be ‘unclean’, it has been revealed.


Muslim bus drivers consider guide dogs to be ‘unclean’Muslim bus drivers consider guide dogs to be ‘unclean'[GETTY]

Transport minister Norman Baker has stepped in after complaints from blind people that their dogs were being ejected from public transport on religious grounds.

Mr Baker told bus companies that religious objections were not a sufficient reason to eject any passenger with a well-behaved dog.

He said: “If dogs are causing a nuisance then the driver has every right to ask the owner to leave. But it is much more questionable to be asked to remove a dog for religious reasons. One person’s freedom is another person’s restriction.”

It is illegal under disability discrimination laws to refuse a blind person and guide dog on board a bus or in a taxi. But Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said it regularly receives complaints from members about the practice. The National Federation of the Blind said the problem was “common and getting worse”.
Its spokesman Jill Allen-King said she had often been left on the kerb by Muslim taxi drivers who had refused to take her dog. She has had similar problems with Muslim bus drivers. She said: “Last year a Muslim taxi driver went mad when I tried to get in with my dog. He said, ‘I have to go home now and wash myself’.”

George Herridge, 73, said he was asked to get off two buses in Reading, Berkshire, last year when passengers objected to his labrador guide dog, Andy. “I was coming home on the bus and there were some Muslim children screaming,” he said.

“The driver pulled over and asked me to get off. It is a lengthy walk into town from where I live and there is no other means of transport.”  (2010)