Solving Auckland’s problems
There are only days to go until submissions close on Auckland’s proposed 10-year budget – the blueprint that will attempt to solve the city’s transport problems. More than 6000 people have already had their say, with a slight majority favouring a motorway
It’s been almost a decade since Eileen Joy and her family moved into their West Auckland home.
The daily commute juggling school, jobs, volunteer work and study has all been part of life for the family-offour.
They’ve watched Auckland’s population grow and the traffic problems get worse.
Auckland Council is asking residents how best to solve the issues.
The Basic Transport Network would raise household rates 3.5 per cent annually but put less into transport projects.
Or the Auckland Plan, which is a lot more expensive, would really put the squeeze on household budgets and gives two suboptions: Either a motorway toll of $2 during peak times, or an increase in rates and petrol tax.
Joy doesn’t like what she sees.
‘‘Tolls will unfairly disadvantage people in that wider belt,’’ the Glen Eden woman says. ‘‘Lower to middleincome families are being squeezed in terms of time and cash.’’
Joy is a motorway user.
She contracts for the New Zealand College of Midwives and teaches parenting education.
Joy is masters also studying a degree in social work and volunteers Youthline in Ponsonby.
And because no bus services are available to take her children to Kaurilands Primary School, she drops
at them off herself.
‘‘Public transport would cost me more than driving because I’d have to put them into before-school care.
‘‘It’s impossible to live in Auckland without a car if you have children ... unless you live in the wealthier areas in the inner city loop which is well-serviced by public transport.’’
Joy’s husband Rory Chacko works at the airport and a $2 motorway toll during peak times would cost the family at least $32 a week, or more than $1600 a year.
‘‘Family trips would suffer,’’ she says.
‘‘For example, we took the kids to the Lantern Festival and paid for parking.
‘‘It sounds frivolous but these are the things that create memories – some families now can’t even afford that.’’
Joy doesn’t like either of the options currently proposed.
She admits the council is in a ‘‘tough place’’ but says it needs to change to more of a macro-level view of the situation.
‘‘I’d like to see more public transport, not just routes that focus on the city as the destination – that is so narrow-minded.
‘‘It helps a lot of whitecollar workers but not the blue-collar and service industry workers who work out of the city.’’
The Government needs to take more responsibility for our largest city, Joy says.
‘‘I’m tired of: ‘ You live in Auckland so you pay for it’.
‘‘As much as people like to think it’s just an Auckland problem, it’s not.
‘‘A lot of our businesses and NGOs operate out of Auckland.’’
Getting more people out of cars will mean that a better public transport system is needed, otherwise people won’t change their ways, Joy says.
‘‘If I’m going to sit in traffic for an hour, at least in the car I can eat my breakfast, listen to the radio and be comfortable.’’
Throughfare: Eileen Joy of Glen Eden thinks the motorway toll proposal is a bad idea.