Follow us on Twitter

Who supports the CRL, and who doesn’t?

Last week Michael Barnett and Kim Campbell of the Chamber of Commerce and Employers and Manufacturers Association co-wrote a good opinion piece supporting the City Rail Link. We know that the CRL is popular with the general public, however we are now starting to see a number of businesses and business groups also come out in support of it. With that in mind, I thought it would be good to create a list of those businesses/organisations or prominent individuals that support the project, and those that don’t. I will also added this information as a page under CRL topic in the drop down menus above.

Organisations that Support the CRL

  • Campaign for Better Transport
  • Chamber of Commerce – Herald opinion piece – “Without extending the rail lines through Britomart into a complete rail loop the station is largely a white elephant. It can never run at more than 30 per cent of its potential capacity.”
  • Employers and Manufacturers Association – Same as Chamber of commerce, also appeared in this video about the project.
  • Kiwi Income Property Trust – RLTP and RPTP submissions – “Continued recognition of the need for the City Rail Link”
  • Heart Foundation – RLTP submission – “Supports CRL”
  • AUT – RLTP submission – “Supports investment in PT, particularly CRL.”
  • Unitec – RLTP submission – “Supports electrification of rail, upgrade of Mt Albert station, proposed CRL”
  • IPENZ Transportation Group,

    Auckland / Northland Branch – RLTP submission – “Support funding proposed for CRL”

  • Grey Power – RPTP submission – “the inner core requires a commitment to the rail loop”
  • NZ Bus – RPTP submission - “NZ Bus continues to support the City Rail Loop”

These are just ones I have found quickly found and they represent a fairly wide cross section of society. I know that there will be lots more out so if I have missed any, or you want your business/organisation listed then let me know and I will add it in. I would also like to know of which businesses/organisations or prominent individuals oppose the CRL as currently the list stands at:

  • Ministry of Transport
  • NZTA
  • Sealink Ferries
  • Cameron Brewer
  • Dick Quax
  • George Wood

While we are on the topic of the CRL, why does Auckland Transport not do anything to address the complete lack on understanding about the project that exists among many members of the general public. This lack of understanding shows up in many ways and often relates to some of the finer, but key details. The first example is from the op-ed piece mentioned above. In it they said:

The whole of the CBD would come within a 10-minute walk of a railway station. Britomart would then become much more than a dead-end as another train came by every 10 minutes.

We will get a train every 10 minutes on each of the main lines just from electrification. The original business case for the project suggested a that theoretically we could pump up to 30 trains per hour in each direction through the tunnel. Due to the various junctions that exist across the network a more realistic figure is 24 trains per hour per direction but what does that mean in real life? Well depending on the the service pattern we use, some lines could be as high as a train every 5 minutes per direction, combining to a train every 2.5 minutes in each direction through Britomart and the CRL. That is a far sight better than what is being suggested above but if I had to guess, I would say that AT are too scared to commit to details like frequencies.

The next example comes from a letter to the editor, obviously in response to the op-ed.

Herald Letter - 04-03-13

There are a number of issues with the writers assumptions but the key one is the suggestion that the CRL would only generate an additional 4 million trips per year. Firstly it ignores the impact that electrification has on rail patronage, something known as the “Sparks Effect”. This was clearly demonstrated in Perth when they electrified their network and it is also expected to occur in Auckland. By 2016 Auckland Transport are estimating that there will be over 17 million journeys on the rail network and the original CRL business case suggests this will rise to ~20 million by 2021. Without the CRL patronage on the rail network will peak a few years later in the vicinity of 22-25 million. By comparison with the CRL patronage is expected to rise rapidly reaching ~48 million trips per year by 2041.

mot-reply-nov30

Once again though we seem to have a case where Auckland Transport is too scared to say these numbers. The projections above weren’t even released in to the public as part of the original business case but had to be obtained via an OIA request. Yet this is exactly the kind of thing that AT should be shouting from the rooftops so people understand just how much different the network will be once the project is built. Its might even be worth them pointing out that previous projections have tended to underestimate patronage.

In my view, Auckland Transport need to become more proactive in addressing this issue. Holding open days is good but a lot more could easily be done that would help their cause.

39 comments to Who supports the CRL, and who doesn’t?

  • Mr Anderson

    One does wonder whether there are some important people in Auckland Transport who don’t actually support the CRL. They seem to have to be forced into doing pretty much any marketing/information release initiatives and they seem so unresponsive when it comes to clarifying misinformation.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if most people think the CRL is a line that goes around and around in circles under Queen Street without connecting to anywhere on the rail network and is projected to carry three and a half people a day.

  • I think that Auckland Transport are being very careful in its relationship with the Government and is keeping the presentation as calm as possible.

    The reality is I am afraid that funding will not be won through debate and persuasion. The funding will depend on a change of Government.

    Hopefully when that happens it will not be too late to get the tunnel underway.

    One further part of the analysis is that the growth figures all presume petroleum continuing to be at its current price. Any sort of price rise through the effects of peak oil will have people jumping to the train system and it may become the only viable way of moving throughout the city for most of us.

    The project should be a no brainer.

    If only we had a Government that could look more than 5 years into the future …

  • Christopher T

    The words ‘smug’, ‘patronising’, ‘mis-communication’, ‘low-grade information’ all spring to mind when considering AT’s past marketing efforts, so it’s hardly surprising that they’re stuffing up the CRL too. It doesn’t help when you have a media network who, on the whole, have taken a negative stance toward the scheme. Of course there’s much more entertainment value to be gained in using the ‘loop’ to critique that fantasy figure so beloved of the talkback jocks, ‘loopy Len’. And then there’s the AT board itself which includes a representative of the government’s RoNS agency, AT’s senior management most of whom have a background in traffic engineering and an historical legacy of institutional bias in favour of private motor vehicles (which may explain why PT/cycling and walking is such unpleasant experiences in Auckland). Given these circumstances, it’s hardly surprising that AT is sending out mixed messages about the CRL. You just need to contrast AT’s amateur marketing efforts on the CRL with the sophisticated spin coming out about ‘the Waterview Connection’ to see where the support lies. And so convincing; even contributors to this blog think it’s a ‘good’ project notwithstanding evidence by the truckloads to the contrary.

    • Greg N

      “You just need to contrast AT’s amateur marketing efforts on the CRL with the sophisticated spin coming out about ‘the Waterview Connection’ to see where the support lies. And so convincing; even contributors to this blog think it’s a ‘good’ project notwithstanding evidence by the truckloads to the contrary.”

      CT,

      Most people here would probably agree with your comment on the Waterview connection being an expensive way to solve a problem,

      But it is the current governments preference (it is one the RoNS after all), and it is the last piece of the Auckland Motorway not yet completed and once done,
      in effect Waterview “finishes” the motorway build started nearly 60 years ago.

      Once thats done, then the conversation can move on to other more constructive topics,
      It moves from “lets complete the motorway network first before we consider the other stuff (like CRL etc)”,
      to “Ok now the motorway network is built, what other issues do we need to deal with instead”.

      So while we may not agree with Waterview in every aspect, most would grudgingly accept it as current government policy and it is a means to a better end.
      Its not and never was “an end in itself”.

      Don’t disagree on AT’s marketing and communication department (yes it seems they have one of those, Sharon Hunter notwithstanding). Yes they’re woeful at best at communicating.

      In part this is what the current CEO of AT is trying to change so that AT not only does stuff, they tell people about the stuff they’ve done, the stuff they are doing, and the stuff they’re planning on doing.
      But this takes time, and requires a big cultural shift, so it won’t happen overnight, but it has to happen.

      • Sailor Boy

        You wanna make a bet about waterview shutting NZTA up?

        • Nick R

          Yeah, I’m not sure I’d wager much on NZTA saying “good, we’ve completed the motorway network, now we can move on”.

          In fact they’ve got a list of increasingly low value/high cost motorway projects lined up after water view.

  • JohnP

    I’d imagine most CBD landowners are down with the CRL, including Precinct Properties who own the ex-Westfield Downtown Shopping Centre.

    The CRL “supports our desire for the downtown precinct as it is expected to draw many more people into the location and will only enhance the precinct’s attractiveness to city centre occupiers”

    https://www.nzx.com/companies/PCT/announcements/229489

    • JohnP

      Sorry that wasn’t very clear, but that quote is from Precinct Properties and they are confirmed as being enthusiastic about the project

      • Max

        Well, property owners (except maybe residential owner-occupiers) rarely disagree with being offered a wad of cash to be allowed to bowl their building, especially if you get the land back afterwards, with a massive increase in its value.

  • dan again

    Those supporting groups are a bit of a joke, it’s really just saying that a couple of people at the top support it or want to be seen supporting it rather than a representation of the larger group. IPENZ for one never asked its members.

    • conan

      That’s the amazing thing about representative groups. The executive and elected board are put in place to represent what they believe to be in the best interests of their members. If the members don’t agree with that representation they can chose a new board and change the focus of that representation. It’s not realistic for such groups to poll their members on each and every issue.

    • But of course the supporting groups are not a joke because they have all carefully canvassed all the people they are accountable to (ie the people of Auckland/NZ or at least their bit of Auckland in the case of the councillors).

      The people of Auckland voted Len Brown in on a platform of (among other things) public transport improvements. That apparently translates to a mandate when it is central government (asset sales, RoNS) but not for local government. Strange.

      When has NZTA ever conducted any research on what Aucklanders want? The only surveys I have ever seen show Aucklanders in favour of PT but I have never seen one done by MoT or NZTA.

      Maybe you could do a post on that?

    • Max

      Apart from the fact that the listed entity doesn’t represent IPENZ, but the IPENZ Transportation Group (I should know, I wrote the submission): During numerous public group meetings, previous submissions, personal discussions (we represent about 300 professionals, many who know us personally) the committee has left no doubt for many years that we, as a committee, would like to see more PT funding, including projects like the CRL.

      And yet, we get reelected as the committee every year.

      So yep, I consider that representative, even if we didn’t specifically ask our members whether they thought our submission was okay.

    • dan again

      Well I guess I would admit that I support the CRL as well and I’m a member of ipenz. The point I was making however is that generally the larger the group the more likely it is to be the opinion of someone in the marketing department that thought it would make the company look good.

      A question however, has NZTA actually said the don’t support it or think it’s a bad project?

  • Steve

    You can add to your list of organisations who oppose the CRL the financial blogsite interest.co.nz, or at least writer David Chaston from that organisation. See (this week’s) Monday’s Top 10 post with number 7 drawing parallels between the Stuttgart 21 project and the CRL. Reader’s comments were mixed.

    http://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/63384/mondays-top-10-nz-mint-rouibinis-ten-worries-auckland-housing-stress-warren-buffet-has

  • Steve D

    If you’re going to include the three councillors who don’t support it, you might as well list the other seventeen who do, and the mayor.

  • Good point. Plus Chris Darby on the Shore who increasingly looks like a likely successor to George Wood.

  • Warren S

    Matt -The Herald didn’t publish my response to Mr Van As’ letter yesterday but surprisingly it was there this morning and an even better one from a David Mairs.
    Was intrigued to see that they had changed my wording from City Rail Link to “inner city rail loop” !

    • Rharris

      I saw a letter to the editor in the weekend about the crl, moaning that it shouldn’t go ahead cos we don’t have people nowadays to slave away and dig tunnels. Im thinking she thinks its getting dug with shovels and toothpicks not modern technology. Don’t know how these letters get published. Good for a laugh.

    • Nick R

      Yes they seem to do that, pushing their own agenda maybe, or just going for consistency.

      If it were consistency you’d expect them to use the official name of the project.

  • Max

    Cycle Action Auckland has always supported the CRL (http://caa.org.nz/government/auckland-council/what-caa-submitted/).

    The Waitemata Local Board and various other Local Boards also supported it.

  • Dan

    I’d like to know where Local MP Nikki Kaye sit on this issue. She has been embarrassingly silent on it so far except one or two statements to toe the party line.

  • Malcolm

    Does the NZTA actually oppose the project? Or have they just been told to by their masters?

  • Sam

    I also recall a representative of the AA supporting the rail link in an article on TV a year or two ago – I cant remember if it was a breakfast or evening current affairs article. Also, the NZ Business Roundtable announced its support some time ago, but I cant find the evidence for that either

  • Dave

    The biggest threat to the CRL getting built any time soon is the RoNS. If these go ahead as planned, they will suck up every dollar of transport funding for decades to come. The Key-Joyce-Brownlee government seems hell-bent on ramming them through as fast as possible, in a bid to make them unstoppable even if National loses the next election. The best guarantee for the building of the CRL is to stop the RoNS. In fact the best guarantee for a whole lot of worthwhile public spending items which are currently being cut, is to stop the RoNS. It is claimed that the RoNS will transform the economy positively and stimulate growth. This claim is based on ideology, not evidence. The most likely scenario is that they will become a millstone around our necks, and will radically and negatively affect the destiny of this country far more than Muldoon’s “Think Big” projects did.

    It is scary how unaware most people are of how dire and imminent this threat is, and how far-reaching it is likely to be. Unfortunately the die was pretty much cast last election when voters passed up the opporunity of stopping this madness. We can only hope that circumstances now somehow intervene to torpedo the Government’s ill-conceived plans before it is too late.

    • Anna

      Agree with Dave. The sheer scale of investment needed for RONs is the single biggest threat for intelligent transport planning. The assessment system is shaped around prioritising the government favourites and early signal for 2015-2018 is even less Money for PT. additionally the servicing of ppps and Dditional borrowing will be a further drain. Auckland council could also start putting its money where it’s mouth is and start by reducing investment into unsustainable and timaty I effective roAding capacity solutions

  • TheBigWheel

    +1. This is a real concern, the numbers are very material nationally, and there is zero prospect of the assets they deliver ever delivering a decent return or indeed ever being on-sold. We’re stuck with them.. and the massive on-time lost opportunity cost they represent.

  • The “Committee For Auckland” is a fan. From their latest email roundup…

    “The long hot summer is putting the heat on Auckland infrastructure. Yesterday’s traffic gridlock caused by an accident on the Southern Motorway has highlighted the need to accelerate transport solutions such as the City Rail Link and the East-West stitch.

    Are Public Private Partnerships the best solution to get some momentum in this area? Council has certainly opened the doors to private investment for the Innovation Precinct and high quality housing at Wynyard Quarter. But how much investment is necessary? Auckland Council posted a $478M profit last year which will need to be partially applied to mopping up the construction stall created by the collapse of Mainzeal.”

Leave a Reply