Mr Nobody to blame for rail

15:36, Sep 24 2011

The  country reviewed two matters this week that do not look or smell right.

The first was the World Cup opening and related events being over-sold, over-publicised and under-delivered on.

The biggest gripe was the failure of our train service bringing thousands of fans in from the West, East and Southern parts of the Super City.

We bought our railway back from the privatised pillaging of it, care of Fay, Richwhite. We spent just on $680 million buying it back and will spend the same again on bringing it up to scratch in terms of buying engines, carriages and rail upgrading. KiwiRail, as a consequence, owns all of the rail hardware.

In Auckland the rail system is overseen by a council subsidiary called the Auckland Transport Agency. It, in turn, has contracted a multi-national rail manager. The kicker is they are paid $180 million a year in taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies on top of what they charge for tickets and the management fee. This company is called Veolia. My son, like many westies, catches the train to school from Henderson to Grafton every day.

This train service is erratic. When it breaks down, parents from all over Auckland have to rush to uplift their children. Veolia never puts on back-up bus services. They are in breach of their contract on a monthly basis and some mug thought they could run a decent service on behalf of the fans.


As usual in big companies and in big local authorities, Mr Nobody is to blame. If it was a worker on one of these trains, they would have been dismissed at the drop of a hat.

I am on the Independent Maori Statutory Board for the City and in the process of requesting a range of information. The best thing for any dodgy dealing is to expose it to the disinfectant of daylight.

Second, we are told the police, by way of speed cameras, issued 200,000 more traffic tickets this year than in 2010.

Judith Collins and Steven Joyce, ministers in this Government, say it is not about revenue. With deep respect for these ministers, hiding behind bushes, sitting at the end of double-lane passing motorways and ambushing drivers is all about revenue gathering.

The best international evidence informs us that notices to drivers that speed cameras are in operation are a better deterrent than this type of ambush and entrapment. The reputation of the New Zealand Police force has been besmirched by politicians ensuring that police act like sneaky snakes.

Sunday News