Len Brown recruits… everyone who doesn’t like John Key

Lobbyists and opposition political parties are welcoming the idea of light rail through some of Auckland’s main arterial routes.

Auckland Transport says it’s investigating whether light rail on Queen St, Symonds St, Sandringham Rd, Dominion Rd, Mt Eden Rd and Manukau Rd is a good alternative to buses.

Most of those routes had trams running on them before they were removed in the 1950s.

Auckland Transport chairman Lester Levy says light rail could move more than three times the number of people per hour than buses, and at higher speeds, and would complement other projects like the City Rail Link rather than replace it.

He says a public private partnership could be a good way to fund it.

Labour’s Auckland issues spokesman Phil Goff says light rail would be a great help to the central isthmus, which is not served by heavy rail.

“The real question is not the need for light rail but rather it’s as yet unidentified cost and how this cost would be met.”

NZ First transport spokesman Denis O’Rourke says it’s a great idea and the Government should fund 75 percent of it.

It’s basic strategy – Len Brown wants his train set but can’t pay for it.  He’s now got all the opposition parties on board to tell John Key he is a miserable sod.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has told Aucklanders not to get too excited, saying it’s only at the investigation phase, and it would need to be considered alongside other major projects.

Oh, but Len is excited!  He’s been shunned by Labour before the election.  He was a pariah that nobody could be seen with.   But now that there is no election on, that has changed.  Len now has friends again.  Friends that want to use him to put pressure on John Key.


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  • Tom

    Yup great idea. Just put it on the rates bill.

  • oldmanNZ

    Ligh rail was removed in the 50,s for a reason…. Just as compulsory unionism.

    Why would light rail move more people than buses? People still have to hop off and take a bus home.

    The year is 2015, why the old people think the living in the 60’s.


    • philbest

      The site “Debunking Portland” is a great resource for dynamite on all these Light Rail claims. The people producing the “studies” should be told they will be jailed if they get it wrong by too wide a margin, that would change things pretty smartly.

  • Hard1

    “Lester Levy says light rail could move more than three times the number of people per hour than buses, and at higher speeds”

    Meanwhile, ten times the number of people are sitting around waiting for the trams to pass.

    • David Moore

      Not to mention that light rail costs many times a decent bus service and once built can only ever go where the rails dictate.

      • Hard1

        Unfortunately urban planners are still in Disneyland.

  • Aucky

    Of course Phil Goff is backing the idea. The proposed Dominion Rd route goes straight to the heart of Mt Roskill. He’d hardly oppose it.

  • Wallace Westland

    Another idiot idea from Auckland Transports overpaid sycophant numpties pandering to Browns public transport mantra.
    These halfwits just cannot get it through their heads that any number of people actually require their vehicles for usage during the day as part of their work.
    They fail to understand that people that want to go shopping often wish to buy more than two carry bags worth.
    They fail to realise that many do not wish to share a seat with a fat smelly troglodyte with it’s legs spread and sweating like a pig.
    They do not understand that people will NOT accept the need for 3 bus transfers most not even two.
    The refusal to make park and rides big enough to accommodate the number of cars that actually do want to park in them is mind numbing.
    They need to get off their high horses and realise that the public is fed up with them and that Auckland Council is so despised even Len Brown must realise it by now.

    • mommadog

      The whole country is fed up with Len Brown and Auckland Council and their lunatic ideas. I don’t live in Auckland, don’t want to but if the government agreed to pay the 75% suggested that’s coming out of my pocket. If the entire country is expected to front up to help pay for Auckland Transport then the least they can do in return is to make an exception and let the entire country vote for Auckland’s Mayor and council next local body election. If my moneys going there I want a say.

      • philbest

        The big problem is that the voters have been systematically conditioned by propaganda lies, to believe that more roads would just induce more congestion, and that “investments” in rail public transport will solve congestion. Everyone actually thinks everyone else is going to use the PT and leave the roads clearer. Someone needs to do a properly worded survey to expose this lunacy and the whole fraud would be over.

        The John Key government has so much facts on their side that their choice not to use them makes them look like a national cricket team deliberately throwing the match for bribes.

  • JC

    Two thoughts..

    If its a good idea the private sector will do the job at no cost to the city or Govt and make a profit.

    The reason that won’t happen is it would cut out too many opportunities for graft.


    • philbest

      The gainers from these kinds of “investments”, the CBD property owners, do not care if the cost-benefit is $4 of cost for every $1 of benefit, as long as they get the $1 and other people pay the $4 (motorists from petrol taxes, national taxpayers, regional ratepayers). There is no way the private sector would ever get involved in any such project and make a profit.

      If there was no public transport provided by the government at all, what you would get is owner-driver vans. They would cost the taxpayer nothing and would be more efficient than the status quo mass subsidised PT model.

      • Wallace Westland

        Exactly right. All of Browns transport policies are geared to enriching the CBD property owners. Auckland CBD is a relatively small percentage of the region but the rest of the region is being ignored at best or robbed and impoverished at worst.
        I work in the CBD I get off at Cook St. every day and watch as most Southbound traffic by passes both Cook and Fanshaw Sts and heads south.
        In the CBD the only congestion is where the idiots have removed all the parking and created shared spaces, all to the benefit of Wilson Parking whose returns all go to Honk Kong.

  • Reid

    To put light rail down those roads you’ll need to remove two of the lanes making them all only single lane each way roads. Which will increase the congestion. Not to mention most people in those suburbs live a lot more than a short walk away from those arterial roads so, is everyone going to park in the side streets then take the tram? Not enough room for that in the side streets. Not to mention most people in those suburbs don’t go into the CBD they go to another suburb for work so they need to take the car. Which of course means they will now take twice as long if not more than that to get to work, since the arterial routes they used to use now only have a single lane. Not to mention the disruption as they are being built.

    There’s something seriously wrong with politicians who don’t even understand those elementary facts. And with journalists who won’t even ask of the politicians those questions, what’s the bet.

    • taurangaruru

      All of the above are side issues as far as Brown is concerned. He wants his trains, he has already hiked the price of parking to force Aucklanders onto the trains, now he will start removing roads so they have no option.

      • philbest

        Meanwhile, only 15% of employment is in the CBD, and 60% plus of travel is not commuting anyway. This is nothing but a gouge by the CBD property owners. The fact that Len Brown and the Council have refused to consider targeted rates on the owners of the CBD property being served, in the case of the Rail Link, should be an exposure of where the vested interests lie, and just how lacking in integrity the Mayor and most of the Councillors are.

    • David Moore

      For Len an increase in congestion is a good thing, it forces more people onto public transport and gives him more support for massive spending on grand public transport schemes. If he had the power, I’m sure he would dig up half Aucklands roads for ongoing repairs until everyone bought into his coolaid.

  • colin herbertson

    cities that kept their trams are glad they did, those that have decided to bring them back find it’s a bad idea,it’s not cheap and creates more congestion than it cures,Light rail only works if you go for the gold plated option of running them on thier own tracks away from roads, that costs billions.While, as any visitor will tell you, public transport in Auckland is severly lacking the better option is to expand the existing hevy rail system,I know thats not a popular opinion here but in the long run it’s way better than this idea.

  • All_on_Red

    How is a tram more efficient than a Bus?

    • Has its own road, has right of way, more passengers per driver.

      • philbest

        And can’t “go anywhere” like a bus, clever. The whole direction of evolution of urban transport has been in the direction of flexibility, not fixed, hence trams went out sometime after the Ark.

        Busways can take a bus that came from basically anywhere, it doesn’t have to stop and let the riders off to transfer to a tram.

        All the “studies” that purport to show trams are a superior mode to anything, are rigged and the people who produce them should be in jail.

      • All_on_Red

        And where do you find the extra space for its own road? In Dominion road that ain’t gonna happen. Unless you elevate and that’s going to cost a fortune. When it comes to bang for your buck, it’s hard to go past a Bus.
        Mind you with the Green blob infesting Auckland Transport, no doubt their whole strategy is, take a lane off the cars, cause we hate cars and want them off the road.

  • InnerCityDweller

    Light rail, ie trams, have worked well in places cited by the One News website. Oh wait,… http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edinburgh_Trams

  • sheppy

    Just as the questionnaire about how much you want your rates to increase by to pay for Len’s dreams, complete with questions specially worded to get the outcomes they want, arrives a proposal to waste more money and annoy more car drivers.
    Let’s hope apathy doesn’t rein and those that don’t want huge tax increases to pay for something they won’t benifit from actually fill the in.

  • fergus

    The cost of recent surface light rail lines has ranged from a low of $43
    million per mile in Norfolk, VA to a high of $204 million per mile for
    the new Milwaukie line in Portland. Los Angeles’s Crenshaw Line ,
    which includes short subway sections, clocks in at $165 million per
    mile. In Toronto, the Eglinton LRT line, which consists of almost a
    50/50 split between surface and subway operation, is estimated to cost
    C$403 million per mile, which as of May 2012 was about equal to US$400
    million per mile. In contrast, the Canada Line in Vancouver, which is
    about 70% underground with most of the rest being elevated, only cost
    C$177 million per mile – a low amount attributed to its cut-and-cover
    construction and very short station platforms (at 50m they can only
    accommodate two car train sets).
    Edit: Link…http://publictransport.about.com/od/Transit_Projects/a/How-Much-Do-Rail-Transit-Projects-Cost-To-Build-And-Operate.htm
    oops, Edit; USD unless stated.

  • caochladh

    We need a solution that is pollution free, cheap and with a built in weight loss/exercise program to assist with the Health budget……

  • OneTrack

    Why were the trams thrown out in 1956? And why is a 1940s solution now the “answer”? Can AT actually state what the problem is they are trying to solve?

    • johcar

      In simple terms, AT are anti-car and pro anything else

  • OneTrack

    Dominion Road – just try and imagine it as it is now.

    Ok, now you are going to add two railway lines side-by-side down the middle of the road (so the trams can run in each direction). You will need platforms beside the trams so people can get on/off.

    My question is, where are the buses and cars going to be. Or is that the master plan – that there won’t be any? Too bad if you live on Dominion Rd or its side streets.

    • caochladh

      I see a permanent ban on “on street” parking coming our way.

  • LesleyNZ

    Lester Levy should go back to being a doctor and sorting out the medical world – that is his field of expertise. He has now shown that he hasn’t got a clue about how to sort out AKLD’s traffic woes. He looked so silly on telly the other day – telling us that trams/light rail was the answer to the traffic problems. AKLD stretches a bit further afield than the AKLD Transport map of “.Dominion Road, Symonds St, Queen St, Sandringham Road, Manukau Road and Mount Eden Road.”.

  • Effluent

    I’ve got a better idea – petrol powered pogo sticks for everyone. Solve Auckland’s parking woes at a stroke for a fraction of the cost!

  • Raibert

    This only proposed because the Council and supporters believe they can milk the ratepayers for funds. Why don’t they put the idea out for proposals from private business to fund, build and run in competition with existing modes of transport? This would then give a real world picture of viability and desirability of the Light Rail idea.
    I would guess this won’t happen because the supporters of the light rail idea would have to confront the real world issues of affordability and practicality.

  • Chrismcm77

    I guess all these stupid ideas are coming out because there is no leadership in th council, it really is time for Len to go.

  • Win

    Note the magic words “He says a public private partnership could be a good way to fund it.” There is a love affair going on with all of Auckland Council and the mystical PPP. Council organisations have no idea of anything financial except how to spend. With a PPP the ‘private investor’ is supposed to take the risk, and the entire PPP process is supposed to be open and contestable. However, Auckland Council prefers to keep any PPP arrangements in the dark, and they think that the investor taking all of the risk is unfair on the investor, and instead negotiates deals such as that they have for skypath so that Auckland Council assumes all risk by fully guaranteeing to underwrite every single dollar of loss for the next 20 years – and there will probably be several million loss each year. For the sake of our rates, keep Levy and the rest of Auckland council away from PPP’s.