Maurice Williamson on tackling Auckland traffic

09 December 2016

In October, the Centre for Supply Chain Management hosted an interesting “After 5’s” event with keynote speaker the Hon Maurice Williamson, National Party MP for Pakuranga.

Maurice addressed us on the current needs of how NZTA and Auckland Transport should consider future developments of the Auckland motorway and road network so that it can handle Auckland’s fast growing traffic.

Maurice’s presentation was both amusing and entertaining. He highlighted areas of the current road planning that were being considered. He also shared his opinion on which areas road development was being extended for the wrong reasons and where it is not being addressed as fast as it should be.

Maurice provided insight on how many more bus lanes are being introduced versus extra car lanes. He noted how there are always a growing number of cars on the road each day compared to the number of people using buses both short and long-term.

Maurice has held 22 portfolios over the past 30 years and has also been in parliament as Minister of Transport. He suggested that if the public has to wait for ten years for road pricing, as currently being suggested by Auckland Transport in the recent Auckland Transport Alignment Project, the report leaves the agreed investment programme of $4 billion short, so if this is not addressed urgently Auckland traffic congestion will become chronic.

An immediate solution to funding and congestion is required. Possibly a dynamic toll on all motorway systems at a price which maximises traffic flows would allow more traffic to use the motorways at faster speeds, providing a direct benefit to users and it would help the $4 billion ten-year funding gap.

A recent survey of 5,000 Aucklanders found 57% preferred the use of motorway tolls to fund transport investment compared to rates and fuel taxes. A dynamic tolling system on the motorways, like many other countries around the world, will raise the funds needed for investment, without discouraging travel and provide users a direct benefit in time savings.

This being a win-win solution. The roading supply chain and services has to be focused far more than it currently is or Auckland will continue to face more traffic difficulties going forward.

These comments made by Maurice are also backed by Infrastructure NZ.

A very informative evening enjoyed by all who attended and we wish him well for his new position as New Zealand’s Consulate General in LA starting from next year.