Auckland Central can have rapid public transport networks, safe streets for walking and cycling, ease of mobility for disabled folks and parents with prams, and good transport links to our stunning Hauraki Gulf Islands. The best way to reduce congestion and support those few necessary car trips around our electorate is to provide better walking, cycling, and public transport options. Recent projects like Te Wānanga on the waterfront and Quay St development are fantastic, but as your local MP I am pushing to go further and faster.
As the MP for Auckland Central, the local transport priorities I am pushing for are:
High-quality affordable public transport (preferably free, especially for kids), including Waiheke buses and ferries that meet the needs of local people.
Safe streets and public spaces that encourage people to explore, meaningfully meander, build community connections, and support local businesses.
A complete cycling and micro-mobility network so people can safely get around, including a trial of cycling lanes across the Harbour Bridge.
I support building a modern light rail line at street level from the city to Māngere and the Airport. Light rail can take a lot more people than a bus and means we can offer more reliable, higher-quality public transport. It will move thousands of people a day to work, study, and the airport.
Light rail will take pressure off the bus network, with bus congestion in parts of the central city already a big problem. It will also mean better quality of life in the inner-city and opportunity for much-needed housing close to rapid public transport.
The advantage of an above-ground light rail line is that it can deliver most of the benefits of a metro system at a substantially lower cost and disruption. That means we can afford to extend the light rail network further, faster, including to the north western suburbs and the North Shore. Street-level light rail is also more easily accessible for people with mobility issues.
Public transport should be run in a way that serves the public interest, and Waiheke is no different. Good public transport is crucial for reducing climate pollution and connecting our communities.
I was stoked to help launch the roll-out of electric buses on Waiheke in November 2020 – my first official act as local MP! Now we need to ensure we have frequent services that connect up well with ferries that are run for the public good, meeting local needs. There is currently a review of the Public Transport Operating Model (the rules that govern how public transport services are owned and operated), which I’ve already had many conversations with the Minister of Transport about. Currently, the Waiheke ferry is exempt from these rules, meaning it runs purely on a for-profit model, which can often allow rationalisation of decisions that deprioritise commuters and locals. I am working for a more reliable service that is run in the interests of the local people of Waiheke.
I’ve also spent time meeting and working with the Ministers of Transport and Climate Change, Fullers, and others, to see how we can get clean, electric ferries on the harbour as soon as possible.
A walking, cycling, and micro-mobility connection over the Waitematā Harbour is crucial to making these modes of transport a real option for people in our city. It is great to see the Government committed to this objective.
However, we can get this connection going much sooner than the Government’s proposal, with little cost, by replacing one or two of the eight vehicle lanes on the current Harbour Bridge with walking and cycling lanes. The Ministry of Transport’s own reports have shown this could be done with little to no disruption, and a whole lot of benefit. It should be trialled over summer 2021/22 and I’m sure the people of Auckland will use the connection between the North Shore and Auckland City in large numbers. Ultimately, the cost of the proposed bridge is not the cost of a walking and cycling connection - it's the cost of keeping all eight lanes on the existing bridge for cars and trucks.
I support the Centre City Master Plan vision for Waihorotiu/Queen Street Valley:
A vibrant pedestrian priority shopping street at the heart of Waihorotiu / Queen Street Valley - Queen Street will support centre-running transit (starting with buses) and become the centrepiece of a greatly expanded pedestrian priority and low emissions zone
We must move unnecessary traffic – that is, outside of access, delivery, and service vehicles –elsewhere. I want to see public spaces with flourishing trees, teeming with locals, families, office workers and students eating lunch. There should be safe, separated lanes for bikes and scooters and people arriving by bus and train from all over the city to work, eat, shop, and hang out together.