Auckland Roading

Not a day goes past without the public in the city feeling over-run by AT bureaucrats and our country cousins feeling the same about NZTA. Neither of these really important organisations are subject to any direct political control or guidance and neither is chaired by someone with direct transport experience or even an engineering background.

AT is euphemistically called a Council Controlled Organisation but the Mayor and councillors’ role is to show up to meetings and apologise. Similarly with NZTA, which is a vast bureaucracy headed up by accountants and providing publicity shots for the various transport ministers who really have no say or even understanding of what NZTA is doing with all that taxpayer money.

Currently AT is annoying Auckland citizens in various suburbs with ill considered redesigning of footpath, parking and pedestrian areas while also killing off businesses unlucky enough to have chosen to operate on roads that suddenly become long term construction sites, like Albert Street which is supposed to benefit all of us if we live long enough.

Our country cousins suffer from periodic bursts of tiny random tar-seal patching associated with endless road cones, ludicrous 30kph signs, massive safety trucks but no signs of work and no sweeping of loose chips that ruin thousands of windscreens. The only people who take the slightest notice of these endless 30pkh signs are German tourists who suddenly slow down causing rear-ending accidents.

Nobody at NZTA head office even knows, let alone cares about this erosion of belief in road signs. The ultimate Crying Wolf.

The road transport management sector has been wasting money for years in the name of safety while the road toll rises and various hand-wringing politicians and their appointed party raffle ticket sellers ponder and prevaricate. The word safety is rolled out to defend everything done by these bureaucrats making it hard to even have a debate, especially if the debate is critical of these transport dictators.

The contracting regime for road construction and maintenance is held up by government as being excellent, simply because there haven’t been the company failures that poorly run companies in the construction sector, but in fact this regime is a shocker completely hijacked by the big road building players allowing them to keep out the newer smaller challengers and to simply all overcharge. Examples of grossly expensive bridges, like at Taipa, roundabouts like at Waipapa, fixing the wrong side of the Brynderwyns and the runaway expenses on the Auckland Central rail project plus the amount of rework on Auckland’s streets attest to this.

Private sector developers use different contractors chosen under a different regime, so why hasn’t government and council noticed this? Lack of industry experience on the boards of AT and NZTA is why. Time for a change. Question this year’s council hopefuls about whether they really want to control their CCOs, such as AT, Ports of Auckland, ATEED etc. Ask your MPs to justify their big infrastructure failures and why the already super-busy Minister of Housing got overloaded with Transport as well.

Editor

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