Rudman whining about trains to the airport now, not his theatre

Old boy Rudman – who loves a good troughing spendthrift Council – is bemoaning the right decision to axe rail to the airport.

Auckland Transport chairman Lester Levy is dangling the vision of driverless buses tootling back and forth to the airport to distract attention from his board’s decision to kill dreams of a train link from Onehunga.

It’s not the only thing driverless which comes to mind when it comes to Auckland transport. This week’s burial of airport heavy rail brought to the surface once more the behind-the-scenes tussle among a gaggle of politicians and bureaucrats from AT, Auckland Council, New Zealand Transport Agency, and the airport company, over whose turn it is to pull the levers.

The AT board officially pulled the plug at Monday’s meeting. But NZTA, the Government’s road builders, had all but sabotaged the proposed route already, with its plans to trench the motorway at Kirkbride Rd in Mangere so deep that trains would not have been able to manage the gradient. The airport company was adding to the problems by insisting a train station would have to be underground, and be built to its deadlines.

I expect wowsers to do that. There are plenty of people who crack a woody over rail. And that’s ok – we’re all entitled to our opinions.  

But let’s run with the choo-choo train enthusiasts for a moment and talk about priorities. Do I have to be the one to point out that rail to the airport is not a priority?

In Auckland, where the rail and public transport diehards want big spend ups, just why do Aucklanders (who go to work and school and other places more than they go to the airport) want to blow a stack of cash on a link to the airport before they spend money on other public transport projects?

It makes no sense. And this is the problem with PT/rail advocates. So far none of their projects have been priority projects. They are vanity projects with low cost-benefits. Rail to the airport only benefits tourists.

Screw the tourists. Why spend money on them before the people of the city, who need better ways to get about their own city?

Just like the CRL, the projects that get pimped are not prioritised against the projects the city could benefit the most from. I’d have thought that getting poor people to work and kids to school is a damn sight more of a priority than building a rail link so that tourists (most of whom arrive by cruise liner or jump in tour buses to head south) can perhaps get to the CBD.

Seriously some people just need to stop and think for a moment. As for the rail versus trams, the trams might just help places like Dominion Rd become vibrant. Not that I am supporting the idea. But logic says.

Quibbling over rail versus trams on a future project with little benefit for Auckland residents is clearly the sign of how mad our society has become. Mad, and obsessed with troughing and milking the public purse in foolhardy ways.


-NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.