Thursday, 13 April 2006

Auckland arseholes try to kill the car

A meddlesome arsehole from the Auckland Regional Council was bleating today that Aucklanders own too many cars ("1.66 cars per household!" says the arsehole from the ARC, "that's one for every person over fifteen!!" compared to "only 1.4 per household for Los Angeles!" [breathless exclamation points mine!!!]), with the clear implication that they intend to do something about that state of affairs by force. True. They do.

Recognising (or perhaps failing to recognise) that nearly every person over fifteen in Greater Auckland has a car since it's the only practical way to get around, live and do business in Greater Auckland, they intend to impose a scheme which will make car use in Auckland unfeasably expensive, and by which they themselves hope to collect scads of cash. Now you know why I've called them arseholes.

(What's not true however is that figure they quote for LA -- the actual figure for Greater LA and not just the benighted downtown is 1.9 cars per household, as the ARC surely know and as Owen McShane pointed out soon after this morning's ARC grandstanding. Fancy a bureaucrat lying to make a point.)

As to the scheme, the ARC and their fellow-arseholes at the Auckland City Council have both been considering the imposition of road-pricing around Auckland in a bid to get people out of their cars and on to, well, not on to public transport since there's barely any in Auckland, but just to impose it because they can, and because they think it will be a particularly lucrative form of theft.

Agreeing to support the measure Auckland Mayor Dickwhack Hubbard said "road-pricing stood to provide $200 million to $400 million of essential public transport improvements." Jolly good, but not nearly jolly enough for Auckland's creaking public transport 'network' (what's the opposite of a network? -- that's the only word for Auckland's pulic transport), as even former Labour MP Richard Northey can see:
"If you talk to anybody in the street, they will say: How on Earth can you seriously consider road-charging when there is no serious alternative for me to get into the central city for my work or my study except in my car?" the former Labour MP said.

Mr Northey said administrative and technical costs would drain away a huge proportion of revenues raised, and although there might come a time when such schemes became feasible, pursuing any of them now would risk losing public credibility for the future.
All true. However, said Dickwhack raising his hand to vote for road-pricing, "The council would be seen as 'Luddites' if it supported Mr Northey's amendments." It would also kiss goodbye to nearly half-a-million in potential revenue, not something a tax-and-spend politician could easily kiss goodbye to you must admit, even if the imposition of the new regime were in fact to strangle Auckland and make that revenue stream an illusory one. Meddling arseholes.

PS: as an antidote to this creeping, all-enveloping, all-statist, anti-car wowserism, try this from Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson: "
If you love cars you are up against a global conspiracy to destroy your spirit. You must rebel." Great stuff -- until the last line. [Hat tip Marcus at SOLO]

LINKS: Auckland road tolls clear first hurdle - NZ Herald
Here's to health and safety - Jeremy Clarkson, Times Online

TAGS: Auckland, Urban_Design, Politics_NZ


  1. I've heard disgruntled office workers refer to their LAN as a Local Area Notwork when it began, errr, not-working.

  2. well, not on to public transport since there's barely any in Auckland

    That's not actually true. I have managed to get by nicely without a car, by using public transport. Most people who complain about public transport (and I know that might not include you - I said most people) rarely use it - so how would they know? It's not perfect, but is't not bad.

    ps, is it beer-o'clock time - I know it's a Thursday, but it's the start of the weekend.

  3. "Barely any," Andrew. It works adequately in some parts of the isthmus for going in some few particular directions, but outside those it's shite. As the low usage figues suggest, Auckland's public transport notwork (thanks Duncan) doesn't go often enough to and from the places that people in Greater Auckland want to go.

    Part of the reason of course is that being a New World city Auckland was developed as the car developed -- it's now organically suited to car-use, or it would be if road-building had kept up with car-buying.

    PS: Hope you like the beer. I recommend a cab home, the perfect public tranport. :-)

  4. Of course nothing wrong with road pricing INSTEAD of using rates and petrol tax - but that isn't what is proposed. Road pricing could mean people pay a lot less most of the time, but lots at peak times - but they don't want that - they want to change people

  5. I tried the Maxx Planner to see what alternative Public Transport offered me.

    3.5 hours per day + 1.5 km walking if 7 buses connected rather than 70 min in a nice quiet warm car with CD playing... (see post link on this comment for the gory details)

  6. The opposite of a network is nothing at all but I believe the mathematical concept you are looking for to describe Auckland's public transport is a disjoint graph ie. a group of unconnected sub-networks.

    - A bored Auckland mathematician with a car.


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