Newsletter #23 - 23 February 2017
The past week has been one of more questions than answers. Winston Peters has been busy asking the tough questions about Hill Street, the NZTA has revealed details about the Warkworth to Wellsford Road of National Significance, and it is revealed that corruption within Auckland Transport went further than just the two jailed this week.
The second of our monthly protests is next Wednesday on the 1st of March, between 7-9am. It kicks off the start of “Mad March”, which is consistently the busiest month on Auckland roads. People are back at work, kids are back at school, there is swimming and athletic sports, weekend sport, builders are back in full swing, and roading contractors are spending the last of our ratepayer money before the end of the financial year.
Auckland Transport, however, is spending money elsewhere (http://bit.ly/2mixNVF.) So, unfortunately, Warkworth loses out again.
Please join us to show your demand for action. Make sure that Auckland Council and NZTA don't forget about us. Enjoy a Hill Street Blueberry muffin while you’re at it. For more about the event, click here: http://bit.ly/2lfkiVH.
Parliament has an effective system of getting answers from ministers. Check out these Written Questions that were lodged about the Hill Street intersection: http://bit.ly/2lxrmQ2. We will alert you when the answers are posted online.
GET OUT OF HERE
The NZTA have unveiled the indicative route designs for the Warkworth to Wellsford section of their Road of National Significance. The route includes the designation corridor and indicative/initial designs for connections to the motorway. View the PDF here: http://bit.ly/2lLpZxF.
What interests our team is the absence of a connection to the southern end of Warkworth and the strange connections for Warkworth to the north. See what we mean below.
To travel north on the motorway, Warkworth motorists use an interchange on Kaipara Flats Road, first maneuvering a roundabout at the Goatley Road intersection.
OK, let’s do a tally. Before the NZTA started the “Warkworth Intersection Improvements” project, there were three traffic lights through Warkworth. Then they added the Hudson Road lights when they took out the right turn into Hill Street. The Western Collector and Matakana Link adds an intersection at McKinney Road and a new intersection to the north of Timberworld. The Motorway connections add further four roundabouts. The Hill Street intersection and Mahurangi River Bridge remain untouched. So, NZTA started with three intersections and propose a further seven. How is that an improvement?
Our team is wondering whether an interchange at Woodcocks Road combined with the completion of the Western Collector would be more suitable? Looking at the re-routing of Curran Road and the width of the designation, we think that it would be more efficient in terms of travel times and cost. If the NZTA is serious about relieving congestion at Hill Street, distributing Warkworth traffic away from the intersection would be the way to do it. Watch this space.
The worst part of corruption is that public money is misspent. It means that someone who was not the lowest bidder was awarded council contracts.
Corruption also means that decisions were unduly influenced. It makes the ratepayer look twice at why some projects are fast-tracked while more essential projects are stalled.
One local board member, Jo Holmes, sheds some light about the revolving door of consultants milking public money for their pet projects. Check it out here: http://bit.ly/2mqWyhv, which also includes the judge’s sentencing decision. It will make you look twice at why some minor road works costs so much.
Corruption is waste any way you look at it. Over $2.5 million of ratepayers’ money to fish out the corrupt within Auckland Transport.
Failing to properly deal with corruption changes the culture within an organisation and the industry. While the contractor paying the bribe and the official receiving the bribe were jailed for 5+ years, one other person who co-operated with the prosecution received home detention and six other Auckland Transport officials left “under a cloud.”
We say, that is not a good look. Corruption should be consistently and clearly punished. Two other contractors were mentioned in this story: http://bit.ly/2mm8vFn. What message does that send to the contractors who missed out on council contracts to those bribers? Bribing companies should be banned from any future council contracts. No exceptions.
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