Wellington Scoop

Why they can’t see beyond roads

by Michael C Barnett
Let’s Get Wellington Moving is well into the second year of its initiative to improve Wellington’s transport infrastructure. Public consultation on its four possible scenarios is now closed. More road construction features strongly in three of the scenarios, while mass rapid transit in the form of light rail has low priority – kicked down the road as a future possibility.

Given this propensity for road-based solutions to Wellington’s transport problems, it is worth looking at the mind-set and culture of the decision makers, in particular the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA). Let’s face it, LGWM is ultimately beholden to NZTA, which is the major transport funder here and elsewhere.

The effect of professional and bureaucratic mind-set on public policy outcomes is well documented in academic public policy literature. This shows that in any organization there exists a culture, a patterned way of thinking about central tasks and relationships. The bureaucratic organization is not only a technical system for resolving complex issues. It is also an institution infused with a sense of mission, whereby it moves beyond identifying what it does to determining what it shall be. To achieve its goals and objectives, a bureaucracy comes to rely upon the advice of technical experts. However, these experts, usually specialists in their field, often find little occasion to reflect on the broader aspects relating to their advice and this can lead to a tacit pattern of error.

I see such a pattern of error in the efforts of the NZTA and in turn LGWM to move beyond more roads and highways to ease traffic congestion and find solutions to take Wellington into the 21st century.

NZTA is a large government bureaucracy with a particular mind-set and culture. It originally existed as the National Roads Board (NRB), part of the former Ministry of Works, headed and largely staffed by civil engineers. Its mission was to develop, construct and maintain the road infrastructure throughout New Zealand. This was a task at which it became quite proficient and over the years it developed a strong roading culture and mind-set.

During the government restructuring of the 1980s and 1990s, the NRB evolved into Transit New Zealand and more recently into NZTA – tasked with the broader mission of delivering transport solutions that will help communities across New Zealand thrive. But in spite of these expanded objectives and a broader range of management and technical expertise, the NZTA has retained a culture and a mind-set that focuses on road construction as the means of delivering those transport solutions.

If one looks at the estimate of $2.3 billion in LGWM’s Scenario D, the bulk of this expenditure will be for more roads and tunnels, with provision for light rail only a possible add on for consideration at some future date. This is hardly indicative of any real commitment to a high quality rapid transit system fit for the 21st century.

A further hindrance adding to this mission and mind-set, is the fact that NZTA has no statutory authority to fund the fixed rail infrastructure needed for light rail, unless the statutes are changed.

This leads me to raise the question; is NZTA the appropriate agency to be leading transport planning and development in Wellington and other metropolitan areas?

Many critics argue that the desired urban form should take precedence and the transport system should be developed around that urban form – too important a task to be left to road and traffic engineers.

Hindered by the NZTA mind-set, LGWM is presenting Wellington with a 20th century solution to a 21st century problem. We should be demanding better. A new funding model is needed for urban development and transport with the prime focus on the desired urban form. The NZTA is not the appropriate organization for this task.

Michael C Barnett is a founding member of Fair Intelligent Transport (FIT Wellington ), which is promoting Scenario A+ to really get Wellington moving.

Problems identified at NZTA


  1. Glen Smith, 1. January 2018, 9:31

    Michael. Excellent article exploring the intellectual blinkers/ fixed mindsets that leads to the patterns of error so evident in the GWRC’ s decision to destroy our trolley system. Can these organisations fix themselves? I suspect not. Time for some Government intervention.

  2. 21st Century City, 1. January 2018, 19:24

    “The real question is:
    how do we want our congestion?
    Do we want it in two lanes, four lanes,
    eight lanes or more?”

  3. CPH, 1. January 2018, 19:55

    The problem isn’t NZTA, it’s the politicians. The bureaucrats are given their riding instructions by the politicians of the day, and if LGWM is a failure then we can only look to the national and local politicians who have failed to provide the requisite oversight.

  4. TrevorH, 2. January 2018, 9:58

    I don’t understand this hatred of roads. How many columns like this have appeared in Scoop and the Dominion Post, usually by the same one or two authors? Roads are vital to our well-being and the region’s resilience. The Wellington region needs more and better roads, it has been neglected for too long.

  5. AlastairM, 2. January 2018, 11:41

    I agree with TrevorH re the need for roading resilience. In the next 10 years, the transport transformation will be to hybrid and full electric cars and not to mass public transport. People place enormous value on the freedom of movement provided by individual private transport. Demand for road improvements will continue along with population growth, growth in acquisition of private electric vehicles together and the development of the infrastructure to support electric vehicles.

  6. Traveller, 2. January 2018, 12:44

    AlastairM: How about all those who cannot afford to buy their own private vehicle, electric or otherwise?
    TrevorH: How about the fact, proven all over the world, that adding more motorways does not solve congestion…

  7. TrevorH, 2. January 2018, 13:01

    @ Traveller: Adding more people creates congestion, not motorways. Auckland’s rapid population expansion and its serious congestion are a case in point. If governments choose to run a mass immigration programme then they need to plan for the infrastructure to support it. That includes houses, hospitals and roads. On a smaller scale out here in Miramar there has been a considerable increase in population and economic activity since we came here in the early 80s but very little roading improvement to support it. Hence the congestion. The thought of the Shelly Bay development adding to this while the roads are further reduced by cycle-ways will probably be the cue for us to get out.

  8. luke, 2. January 2018, 13:54

    And if Miramar gets better cycleways, I’ll look at moving there.

  9. Michael, 2. January 2018, 14:56

    CPH. Whether or not politicians are responsible for driving transport solutions is a moot point. In the post World War II years, NZTA and its predecessor organisations have been the agency that successive governments have relied on for technical advice and to this day that advice has been to build more roads and highways, even when there is no economic justification for many. I stand by my contention that NZTA is an inappropriate agency be in charge of and funder for transportation in the urban area.

    TrevorH/AlistairM. It is not about hatred of roads. It is about more effective and efficient use of the existing road space here in Wellington as well as in other metropolitan and urban areas. A well designed public transport system with mass rapid transport along corridors of high population density and activities, frequent and reliable connections at key hubs and a supporting bus network will achieve this. Building more roads leads to more cars entering the city with nowhere to go and clogs the city environment. This has been well researched by me and my colleagues at FIT Wellington. Where is your evidence to demonstrate that we have got it wrong?

  10. TrevorH, 2. January 2018, 17:22

    @ Michael. I have always agreed that commuters to the CBD should be encouraged to use public transport. Unfortunately the Regional Council has made a hash of its responsibilities here and it seems set to get worse. I am especially concerned however about the ability to get across the city on SH1 to the north and to access important service hubs like the hospital. This has become an increasing nightmare in recent years and I don’t see light rail to the airport or bicycles offering much relief.

    @ luke. Cheers to that. You will enjoy your daily bike-ride through the Miramar Gap and the salt spray laden gale across Cobham Drive in a good northerly.

  11. CPH, 2. January 2018, 20:36

    Michael – My 40-odd years of experience in the Wellington public sector says that politicians are indeed the ones who give agencies their marching orders. The evidence is all around you; prior to National’s election in 2007, there were no such things as Roads of National Significance, yet thanks to the political agenda of Steven Joyce et al, billions of dollars have been poured into that particular white elephant, whether or not the agency concerned agreed with it.

    But perhaps you are right at the local level, and politicians are mere empty figureheads who achieve nothing. If that is the case and it really is up to the technocrats, then perhaps the light rail advocates should stop wasting their breath trying to get politicians on board with their vision, as it is essentially futile.

  12. David B, 3. January 2018, 23:56

    According to GWRC’s Regional Land Transport Plan, the existing rail system carries 45% of ALL commuters from the wider region into Wellington CBD. It is effective. Highly effective. But only in those areas which it serves.

    TrevorH/AlistairM: I don’t understand this hatred of any proposal to re-direct transport funding away from roads (which have had masses of funding over many decades) to the proven-effective rail system which until recently has been sorely neglected. And you take a big leap of faith in predicting that electric cars are going to replace the need for our regional rail system. This is not a theme that is emerging significantly amongst the world’s other cities. Indeed some indicators suggest that driverless cars will need fewer roads, not rails.

    The big need in Wellington is to extend the incomplete rail system beyond the arbitrary stop-block at Wellington Station. For rail to serve the important city-to-airport corridor, as it currently serves the Hutt Valley, Porirua basin and Kapiti Coast. And to do this properly requires the extension of the existing heavy-rail system, not a separate and disconnected light rail system.

  13. Kerry, 4. January 2018, 8:44

    David: I know you realise that heavy rail cannot possibly take over everything. That means that, for many trips, passengers must make connections. Wellington’s biggest public transport problem is bus overcrowding, say from the Railway Station to the Basin. Heavy rail could do the job, but it would defer the connection problem rather than solving it.
    The fundamental problem with rail is that improving the Railway Station connections to make them acceptable is much cheaper than a heavy rail solution.
    Connections in Europe rarely take longer than five minutes and often under two minutes. If Wellington can improve connection times to that level, buses and light rail will be fine.
    GW’s fundamental failing is either not realising that connections are improvable, or not realising their importance.

  14. Glen Smith, 4. January 2018, 10:25

    TrevorH. I disagree that opposing the current LGWM proposals is being anti an efficient roading system – the opposite is true. I have been deeply critical of LGWM but view efficient roads as being vital and that most of the roading improvements that are in the LGWM proposals are inevitable over time as the city grows (and I have have said so in the past). But roading improvements are absolutely NOT the most critical imperative for transport spending at present – high quality PT corridors are. I say that on the basis of logic and basic transport science.

    Cities have a finite ability to accommodate road transport (this is self evident since you can’t keep adding objects to a fixed space forever). You can try and maximise this capacity by spending ever-increasing amounts on roads for diminishing gains (look at the ‘Smart Motorway’) but the capacity still remains finite. Once you have ‘used up’ this capacity, if you try and add more cars you just get escalating congestion and transport LESS people not more (google images ‘critical density car’- the flow/ density graph is the first image). The only way to then add further transport trips is by switching people to more efficient modes (rail/ bus/ cycle). And eventually ALL additional capacity has to be as these modes with rising PT share (since road capacity has been exhausted). Singapore now has a 64% PT peak time share and is planning to increase to 75% (see https://www.mot.gov.sg/About-MOT/Land-Transport/Public-Transport/). London similar (cars 36% of trips). In New York only 24% now drive to work.

    You could say “oh well let’s use up all this capacity doing all trips by road and we’ll worry about it when we hit capacity” (which, judging by congestion, we are approaching). But you can’t do this. Efficient PT requires high quality corridors and adding these is extremely difficult and needs to be planned long in advance (overseas they go underground or overhead but these aren’t easy options here). Establishing them gets ever more difficult the longer you leave it as land gets more intensively utilised. It has to be done NOW. We are lucky we inherited extensive rail corridors dating back to the 1870s (more by luck than planning since rail was the main transport mode then) and the Hutt rail washout in 2013 gave an idea of what things would be like without these corridors. But across town PT is pitiful.

    In short the only way to guarantee efficient road transport is to put in place highly efficient PT (that allows commuters to take trips where cars aren’t essential by PT) so that we can ‘reserve’ the finite road capacity for trips that can only be done by car. But surely our planners are intelligent trained professionals…. arent they?. They will be aware of this basic science and wouldn’t take us down a track leading to ever escalating congestion and an increasingly unliveable city…surely?… would they? We need on one word to determine this: Auckland ( I rest my case against the defendant m’lord).

    Michael presents an interesting insight into why our planning continues to pursue what can only be seen as a stupid plan to spend huge amounts on road, and lip service to the most essential transport requirement – a high quality across town rail corridor.

  15. Wellington Commuter, 4. January 2018, 14:42

    @David B: While you are correct that GWRC states “the existing rail system carries 45% of ALL commuters from the wider region into Wellington CBD”, everyone must realize this is a highly qualified statement. From the 2013 Census Journey to Work:
    * Travel to Work in Wellington Region: 157,707 (Rail 9%)
    * Travel to Work in Wellington City: 95,733 (Rail 13%)
    * Travel to work in Wellington CBD: 64,941 (Rail 18%)
    * Travel to work in Wellington CBD from Wellington City: 44,319 (Rail 5%)
    * Travel to work in Wellington CBD from other places: 20,622 (Rail 45%)

    The trumpeted “45% of ALL commuters” is actually just 9,339 of the 95,733 who travel into work in Wellington City according to the census. Travel to work from other cities to the Wellington CBD IS important but you are being very selective. WRT to travel to work in the CBD it is the bus service that carries the majority of commuters, not rail (11,052 vs 9,339).

    Your claim that it is “effective. Highly effective” can also be challenged. Here are two examples of why it is might not be seen as so effective, from 2013 Census data:
    1) Travel to work FROM Wellington CBD: 1,881 (Rail 4%).
    So even though the Wellington CBD has arguably the best rail service (you can go direct to any other station), just 79 commuters who commute FROM the Wellington CBD choose to do so by rail … rail by itself is not so effective.
    2) The top 10 Wellington Region Area Units in “used Public Transport” (from the 2013 Census) are:
    1) Berhampore West (32.4% – Served by Bus)
    2) Newtown East (29.9% – Served by Bus)
    3) Kilbirnie West-Hataitai South (29.6% – Served by Bus)
    4) Newtown West (27.9% – Served by Bus)
    5) Tawa South (27.8% – Served by Rail)
    6) Tawa Central (27.7% – Served by Rail)
    7) Linden (26.3% – Served by Rail)
    8) Karori Park (26.3% – Served by Bus)
    9) Wilford, Lower Hutt (26.2% – Served by Rail)
    10)Miramar West (25.6% – Served by Bus)

    A good bus service is more effective at getting people out of cars than a good rail service … and we are comparing a rail service that has already received literally hundreds of millions in investment with a bus service that has received nothing.

  16. Dave B, 4. January 2018, 16:40

    Kerry, the simple answer is that you don’t impose a forced connection on a major arterial passenger flow if you can avoid it. Why do you think London built Thameslink, Crossrail, and is now considering Crossrail 2? Connections are acceptable for minor flows. But into Wellington every day come 15,000 people. The De Leuw Cather study of 1963 estimated that if the railway went further, 75% of users would wish to ride beyond the current cut-off.

    Of today’s 15,000 rail-arrivals, the big majority continue to their actual destinations on foot. However most walk for no more than 10 mins (1km) which gets them to about Frank Kitts Park or the far end of Lambton Quay. Those with destinations further from the station than this tend not to use rail. And very few transfer to the bus service.

    Now sure, a better interchange, a modern city-tram service and integrated ticketing would help. But realistically, how many current car-commuters from the Hutt Valley, Porirua or Kapiti would switch their whole journey to rail just because of this? I say far fewer than would switch if the Matangi they could board in any of these places took them directly and much-more-quickly on to Courtenay Place, Newtown, Kilbirnie or the Airport. That is, along the same corridor that NZTA claims is congested enough to justify a major highway development! If the number of daily rail-users rose to say 30,000 because of this, would a forced-interchange still be acceptable. Or would a forced-interchange simply limit the growth to something far smaller?

    Wellington’s “biggest public transport problem” may indeed be bus overcrowding. However Wellington’s biggest overall transport problem is too much car-traffic coming in from all around the region. Extending the regional “heavy” rail system that already makes such a major contribution would be the most effective way to deal with this, and would solve bus-congestion along the corridor also. It would cost far more than a separate, street-based light rail system but it would also deliver far more.

    Consider that imposing a forced interchange on thousands of rail users is not-much-different from insisting that all motorway-users arriving from the north ditch their vehicles in Thorndon and change to a tram. In my view, this level of disjointedness on major arterial traffic-flow is no-more appropriate for rail than it is for road.

  17. Doug Watson, 4. January 2018, 17:21

    Mike M is entirely correct. The main problem arose when Transit NZ (the state highway authority) was merged with Transfund NZ (the funder) to form NZTA. What a dumb move this was – meaning road building dominated funding decisions over the past decade (since 2008 – despite the 2003 legislation (LTMA) which was very progressive at the time).

    Moving forward, there is a need to separate the functions of the NZTA and make funding decisions mode neutral. The road building arm of NZTA needs to be refocused on operations and maintenance – with decisions on new transport infrastructure made by
    1) Regional transport bodies for urban areas
    2) Central government for inter urban connections

    There should be no state highways running through major urban areas. This simply distorts funding allocation

  18. John Rankin, 4. January 2018, 17:42

    To say that people who advocate spending our limited transport budget on rapid and mass transit are “anti-road” is like saying that those who advocate water restrictions during a drought are “anti-lawn”. Surely we ought to use scarce resources as efficiently as we can. In Wellington, space is scarce and this is not going to change. A person in a car requires up to 20 times as much space as a person using rapid mass transit, once you add up all the space requirements, like parking. Replacing an internal combustion engine with an electric motor is not going to change this geometric fact. Increasing the space allocated to roads means reducing the space allocated to other uses, like housing, recreation and green spaces such as the Town Belt. Are we going to destroy the city in order to save it for cars?

    Those who call for more roads to support more car trips in Wellington are saying let’s spend even more money on getting around in the least space-efficient way possible. Why would tax-payers subsidise such economically brain-dead behaviour? This is a genuine question; I can’t get my head around any kind of sensible answer.

    Roads are there to move people (all of us), goods (like delivering food to my local supermarket), and services (like my plumber and the spare parts he needs). When roads are busy, those wishing to use them for individualised private travel need to pay a congestion charge that reflects the opportunity cost of the space not being available for higher value uses. According to @AlastairM this freedom is enormously valuable, so presumably people will be prepared to pay for it.

  19. John Rankin, 4. January 2018, 21:39

    @DaveB: could you expand on the logic of continuing heavy rail to the airport? By my back-of-an-envelope arithmetic, if everyone currently served by heavy rail makes one trip to the airport per year (some will make more, many will make none), this represents less potential demand than 1000 people working at the airport who must get to and from their place of work 5 days per week.

    I’d have estimated that the core demand for rapid transit to the airport is people who work there plus people who regularly travel between the airport and the CBD. Occasional travellers to and from the northern part of the region are icing on the cake, not the cake itself.

    We often hear people say they want “4 lanes to the planes” so they can drive from Upper Hutt or Kapiti to catch a plane. But these are usually occasional travellers. Many people who know they have to fly regularly choose to live closer to the airport. Why would we want to subsidise the travel of the few frequent flyers who choose to live a long way from the airport?

    The same logic applies to the regional hospital in Newtown. The core travel demand comes from people who work there, not visitors or out-patients. The latter are more of a “top-up” to the base demand.

    Happy to be corrected if I’m wrong.

  20. Dave B, 5. January 2018, 15:21

    @ Wellington Commuter: The GWRC statistic that “Rail carries 45% of ALL commuters from the wider region into Wellington CBD” refers to the corridors over which rail operates – principally Hutt Valley to Wellington, and Porirua/Kapiti to Wellington. Obviously it cannot refer to areas not served by rail, so it is disingenuous to “dilute” the high market-share of rail *where it exists* by adding non-rail journeys over corridors where rail doesn’t exist. My argument is that the major benefits rail brings to areas served demonstrate its efficacy and show that it could and should be spread to areas not-served, in particular the important city to airport corridor.

    Your argument that “a good bus service is more effective at getting people out of cars than a good rail service” can also be challenged on the basis that the Hutt-Wellington and Porirua/Kapiti-Wellington bus market-share is very low, because the rail service does the job better. Same with the Wairarapa service.

    The Johnsonville Line is perhaps an example of lower rail market-share over a rail-served corridor, but rail here is up against competing buses that penetrate further into the CBD. This is the very aspect that needs fixing for rail (for all lines, not just Johnsonville) in order to achieve a significantly greater uptake of it.

  21. Dave B, 5. January 2018, 15:49

    @ John Rankin: The airport is merely one (albeit important) destination on what should be the extended regional rail network. It is not the only major node in the area currently-not-served-by-rail south of the station. The airport also happens to be the destination that many claim, rightly or wrongly, should be the end-point of the motorway. A rail extension does not have to end there if there was justification to take it further.

    The object of extending rail over this corridor is to provide a step-change in speed and capacity of the public transport link to the CBD and the rest of the region. Perhaps we should forget about airport-travellers for the sake of the argument. Yes they are important, but they are not the main justification for extending rail, just as travellers to the existing rail-terminus and its immediate vicinity form only a small proportion of the total travellers using existing rail.

    Forgive me if I have misunderstood you, but I’m not sure why you are raising this question since the answer I give applies equally to the light rail scheme that you and FIT propose. The airport is but one traveller-destination of many that the scheme plans to serve.

  22. Glen Smith, 5. January 2018, 19:21

    Kerry, John, Dave. I agree with Dave on this one. You don’t impose a forced transfer on a commuter line unless you can’t avoid it, especially a major arterial. If you look at any metropolitan rail network (London, New York, Washington, Sydney, Paris etc) they follow a similar pattern. Trains travel on ‘lines’ which start at a peripheral location, travel to and across one part of the CBD, then continue to another peripheral location. The reason for this is that it is logical. Commuters travelling to the CBD from the ‘origin’ are picked up, and get off at locations across the CBD, while commuters travelling to the ‘destination’ get on, then in turn are taken to their destination. This is particularly efficient if a high percentage of commuters from the ‘origin’ want to go to the ‘destination’ rather than the CBD. Transfers are necessary if you are going to a station not on your line ( this is unavoidable). But nowhere do you see commuters being forced to change from one vehicle to another midway along a line. It serves no purpose and empirical data shows is a potent inhibitor of utilisation.

    Following this logical design the first thing is to extend rail across the CBD (without transfer) to open up the southern CBD to potential users from the Hutt and Kapiti (who are currently in their cars adding to Terrace Tunnel congestion). But then it should continue to a peripheral destination. The logical one is the airport, partly because this a major destination for commuters from all areas including the Hutt and Kapiti (59,000 predicted total daily vehicle trips to/from the airport by 2030 with up to 3500 vehicles in each direction per hour – table 2-2 page 15 Airport Master Plan. John these are the projected 10 million air passengers per year by 2030 coming from all areas in the region and not just airport employees) but also because it is the only destination where, in my opinion, a corridor can be established of sufficient standard to accommodate rail units that are ‘heavy’ enough to be compatible with our existing network (Dave I dont think these can be Matangi units due to weight, deceleration, high voltage supply etc but the aim is to expand the mode share and Matangis are already gainfully employed servicing the northern CBD so the logical solution is to add specifically designed ‘medium weight’ units that ‘track share’ with the Matangis on our existing network). This is the only ‘line’ that, in my view, needs ‘heavier’ units (to be able to travel on our existing network). Other ‘lines’ can be ‘light rail’ or buses. It’s not a competition between modes but choosing the mode that is the best ‘fit’ and has the best cost benefit ratio.

  23. John Rankin, 6. January 2018, 12:32

    Thanks Dave and Glen. A bit of a recap. FIT’s proposed urban rapid transit line is a high frequency (at least every 15 minutes) 7 day a week, 7 am to 7 pm service (lower frequency outside those hours). The suggested route is based on Wellington needing 4 PT lanes through the CBD — 2 for rapid transit and 2 for buses. The service would operate on existing streets with a dedicated right-of-way and priority at intersections (possibly grade-separated at the busiest crossings), using low-floor vehicles at simple platforms, not much higher than regular kerbs.

    FIT’s suggested route is a single line (not a split route as LGWM’s mass transit proposal) from the railway station along the waterfront, Taranaki St, under Mt Cook to Adelaide Road, the hospital, Newtown, the Zoo, under Mt Albert to Kilbirnie, the airport and Miramar town centre. Connector buses with timetables aligned to the rapid transit schedule would aggregate demand along the line, delivering people to and from transit hubs at Miramar, Kilbirnie, the hospital and Te Aro Park.

    A key point, I think, is that FIT’s proposal is not primarily a peak period commuter service. Rather, the core product is all day, every day travel to destinations which are busy all the time. The peak is a supplement to the core product. In any city, most trips occur outside the peak commute hours and this is the demand urban rapid transit is targeting.

    While it’s true that many medium-sized cities use light rail for this kind of urban rapid transit, Wellington can remain technology-neutral until we reach the procurement stage. The tender for supply would specify the characteristics of the service, including total journey time goals (average wait time plus travel time plus any transfer time), and suppliers would propose how best to deliver the service. If, for example, new vehicles that “track share” is the best value-for-money option (as Glen proposes), this will emerge as a result of the tender process. My view is that a maximally contestable procurement process is the best way to choose the optimal solution.

    Glen’s quite right that generally-accepted best practice is for urban rapid transit to tie the city together from edge to edge through the centre. What is less obvious to me is the best way to get there from the current state. For example, if we adopt Glen’s proposal to extend rail to the southern CBD, how many buses will this remove from the Golden Mile during the morning and afternoon peak? FIT estimates that under its proposal buses would reduce from over 120 per hour per direction to about 35. The WSP report for LGWM came up with the same number.

    I think Wellington’s big missed opportunity is that LGWM seems to treat the issues Dave and Glen are raising as out of scope. This is not the project team’s fault, the governance group seems to have set it up that way deliberately.

  24. Ian Shearer, 6. January 2018, 18:21

    @John Rankin: I live in hope that the LGWM Governance Group (and project team) have not missed the ‘big opportunity’ but are carefully trying to tease out the issues closest to ‘our’ hearts with appropriate and acceptable solutions. They will not want to be remembered for missing or opposing the biggest opportunity of their time as our elected representatives.

    The LGWM Governance Group has put a strong stake in the ground with their approval and support for the project objectives, which are based on the huge amount of feedback from regional residents.

    They will be aware that success in meeting these objectives will be the factors on which the Governance Group and the project team are ‘marked’. The agreed objectives are:
    • Enhances the liveability of the central city
    • Provides more efficient and reliable access for all users
    • Reduces reliance on private vehicle travel
    • Improves safety for all users
    • Is adaptable to disruptions and future uncertainty

    To these agreed objectives the LGWM project team also added “implementability” and cost – which were not high on the public demands for the project.

    Wellington citizens have taught NZTA much on the first aspect. I am confident that careful consideration of the expert consultant evidence, including from the many ‘resident experts’ PLUS the arrival of new Transport Minister(s) with a desire for a ‘more ambitious focus’ on sustainability and mitigation of dangerous climate change impacts will ensure the agreed objectives are met through implementation an integrated, rapid, public transport solution plus better walking and cycling and logical roading improvement initiatives.

    I believe that the LGWM governance group knows that regional residents will judge them very harshly if they fail to meet this challenge on our behalf.