25 May 2017

Increase in buses but north-west no closer to rail service

By Danielle Clent – Nor-west News – 25 May 2017:

The job of Auckland Transport is “by no means done,” says Cameron Brewer.

The chairman of the Rodney Local Board’s Transport, Infrastructure and Environment Committee said although planned new bus services looked “reasonably positive,” it was still only a small contribution to the transport solution for the north-west.

Auckland Transport (AT) announced its streamlined bus service would be implemented out west from June 11.

Cameron Brewer says there is still a long way to go to improve public transport in the north-west.

It would include six services from Helensville to the city during the morning peak and a service every two hours after that from Helensville to Westgate.

But Brewer said a diesel shuttle service to Swanson from Huapai and back would help service people moving into the area.

“The north-west has got more than 30,000 houses coming in the next 30 years. AT says it’s all about supporting future growth and in my mind that should mean committing to all feasible modes available, which includes trains to Huapai,” he said.

“There seems a concerted attempt by the likes of AT and KiwiRail to come up with every excuse as to why a diesel shuttle service can not operate from Swanson to Huapai as is already successfully happening from Papakura to Pukekohoe.”

But AT media relations manager Mark Hannan said there are safety issues which prevented the diesel trains in storage from being used.

They do not meet current fire safety standards to use the Waitakere tunnel, he said.

“The regulations were changed following the Pike River investigation and the diesels no longer have certificates to operate in the Waitakere tunnel. It is extremely narrow and it would be difficult to evacuate passengers if there was a fire.”

It would cost millions to upgrade the tunnel and diesel trains to the new required standards, Hannan said.

Brewer said bringing railway to life needs to be part of the transport agency’s “pledge” to support the growth happening in the north-west.

“So a tick for committing to improve the north-west’s bus service and frequency, but the job is by no means done. The decision-makers can no longer ignore that perfectly usable railway line that runs right past a lot of the growth,” he said.

Hannan said AT, the New Zealand Transport Agency and the council were currently working through the best transport options for the areas of Riverhead, Kumeu, Huapai, Whenuapai and Red Hills.

– Stuff


20 April 2017

Waterfront land for public park purchased for confidential price

NorWest News – By DANIELLE CLENT – 5 April 2017:

Auckland Council is buying a waterfront site in Riverhead to turn into a public park, for an undisclosed sum.

Two sections of about 5000 square metres on Deacon Point in Riverhead will be sold by developer Cabra to the council, in a sale described as a “once of a lifetime” opportunity.

Councillors voted on February 14 on the deal which will see a public park created on a piece of land at the tip of the Deacon Point development. The triangular site is bordered on two sides by the Rangitopuni River.

Auckland Council’s general manager, community and social policy Kataraina Maki said the purchase price of the land was confidential and currently under negotiation, but Rodney Local Board deputy chairman Phelan Pirrie said the cost would be millions.

Riverhead Community Association’s Claire Walker was “ecstatic” to secure a “critical” piece of land for the public, which has a river frontage.

“Riverhead is the river and we have very little access to the river,” she said.

The headland park will sit at the peak of Cabra’s Deacon Point development in Riverhead.

“It’s a stunning spot. It’s got beautiful views. Over the other side of the river is not zoned for development,” Pirrie said.

Walker said the land had strategic importance as it was “our last opportunity” to secure a river side park. Riverhead had a number of developments recently completed and work on Deacon Point – with 65 northeast facing sites with rural and river views – underway.

About 6700 to 7800 new dwellings are expected in Riverhead in the next stage of development beginning from 2028, the Future Urban Land Supply Strategy document said.

Walker said she would like to see a park that had “fairly limited development”.

Pirrie said the park would be developed as open space first. The community would then give input on where it went from there.

He said it could be three or four years before anything was done to it.

Claire Walker said she would like to see “fairly limited development” of the headland park.

Walker took her year-long lobby to the Environment and Community Committee meeting in February.

She said the community had been promised a 10,000 square metre park, including an esplanade reserve, by the old Rodney District Council.

The committee agreed to purchase two sections of land and the park would be just under 5000sqm, excluding an esplanade reserve, Walker said.

The association was supported in its bid by the Rodney Local Board’s Phelan Pirrie and Cameron Brewer. Brewer said it was great to have convinced councillors that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“Having a good sized headland park not only provides much needed recreational and waterfront space, but it will help put the river back at the front and centre of Riverhead.”

Maki said the purchase of a neighbourhood park would meet the open space needs of the local

community now and in the future.

– Stuff

20 April 2017

‘Get cracking’ on creating Kumeu bypass

Norwest News – By DANIELLE CLENT – 31 March 2017:

Housing development delays north of Auckland is no excuse to hold-up a bypass around Kumeu and Huapai, says Cameron Brewer.

The chairman of the Rodney Local Board’s Transport, Infrastructure and Environment Committee said the Transport for Future Urban Growth (TFUG) group needed to “get cracking” with its proposed alternative corridor from Brigham Creek to Waimauku.

TFUG is a collaborative project by Auckland Transport and the NZ Transport Agency to work on developing transport networks to support Auckland’s new housing and business areas.

Rodney Local Board member and chairman of the board’s Transport, Infrastructure and Environment Committee, Cameron Brewer.

Brewer said TFUG needed to get on with the designation for a bypass around Kumeu and Huapai, confirm the actual route and give the community – and potentially affected property owners – certainty.

“State Highway 16, Kumeu, Riverhead, it’s struggling now. Let’s get on and come up with the solutions now and have the certainty of where the route is going to be,” the Rodney Local Board member said.

Brewer said TFUG had proposed a five-year designation for the bypass and another five years for the build.

He was concerned this would mean it would not be developed for at least 15 years.

The transport agency’s Auckland highway manager Brett Gliddon said the bypass was addressed as part of TFUG’s 30-year programme to solve issues associated with growth in Auckland’s future urban areas.

The programme was at an early stage of the planning process, he said.

The proposed road corridor was currently a dotted line on a map. It looked like the road would begin near Brigham Creek and bypass behind Kumeu/Huapai and come out at Waimauku.

Gliddon said detailed investigations would begin this year but timeframes for consent and construction were not yet known.

“These next steps will include further consultation events including with any potentially affected property owners identified though the detailed investigations.”

“Kumeu will be the size of a small New Zealand city in the next generation. It’s never going to be cheaper than to build it sooner rather than later,” Brewer said.

He said TFUG were hiding behind the fact Auckland Council had delayed more housing developments around the north-west until at least 2028 under the Future Urban Land Supply Strategy.

“That’s no excuse to delay that provision of the bypass. It’s actually an opportunity to get cracking on it,” Brewer said.

Brewer said TFUG needed to stick to the original timeframe of getting it done by 2022.

He said ideally he would want to see designation confirmed in the next two or three years, and have construction started within the next three to seven.

For the latest information on this programme, click here.

– Stuff

20 April 2017

Cleanfill consent harder under unitary plan


4 April, 2017:

An application to extend a cleanfill site, which residents claim should never got consent, will be considered against new policies in Auckland’s Unitary Plan.

Auckland Council’s director of regulatory services Penny Pirrit said Dirtworks’ November 2016 application to extend its cleanfill in Taupaki was on hold as council awaited additional information from the company.

Project and consents manager for Dirtworks, Tom Sinclair, said calculations around ecological mitigation for the works were still outstanding.

Since the first consent was granted, the unitary plan had become partially operative and Taupaki was now zoned Countryside Living.

“The Countryside Living Zone has stronger objectives and policies relating to amenity and impacts on infrastructure, and the consent application will be considered against these,” Pirrit said.

A meeting was held about the 32-38 Nixon Rd cleanfill site on March 25. Council staff, local politicians and members of the Taupaki Residents and Ratepayers Association attended.

Auckland Transport has spent over $160,000 repairing the damage trucks have made on Nixon Rd.

Rodney Local Board member Louise Johnston said the meeting was in response to residents’ growing concerns for the state of the road and the new consent Dirtworks had applied for.

Chairman of the local board’s Transport, Infrastructure and Environment Committee, Cameron Brewer, said he was “encouraged” by how serious Auckland Council and Auckland Transport (AT) were taking the issues around cleanfills.

He said under the new zoning, gaining consent for these types of projects would be a lot harder than before.

“Operators will be less likely to bother because it is going to be harder for them to obtain a consent,” Brewer said.

He said council needed to think about where cleanfill sites would be better suited.

“Down country roads and lifestyle areas are completely incompatible as has been proven with Nixon Rd,” he said.

Sinclair said economic growth required fill sites to be as close to development sites as possible.

“This means that at least some need to be located in the peri-uran area. In the Dirtworks model, these are often small sites that last for under two years,” he said.

Taupaki resident Steve Antunovich said consent for the cleanfill should have never been granted by council in January 2016 because the public was never notified.

He said he was “absolutely disgusted” that as a ratepayer, he had to pay for the damage caused by heavy truck movements.

An official information act request showed that as of January 19, AT had spent over $160,000 repairing Nixon Rd since the cleanfill site started in June 2016.

Antunovich said there is constant noise daily as the sound “just rolls down the valley”.

– Stuff

15 March 2017

Local submissions will help the North-west, say board members  

Media release – Rodney First – Tuesday, 14 March 2017:

Submissions to Auckland Council’s draft 2017/18 Annual Budget close on Monday 27 March and numbers do count, say Rodney Local Board members Phelan Pirrie, Brent Bailey and Cameron Brewer. The three are part of the Rodney First ticket representing the Kumeu subdivision.

“People often ask, what difference will it make? Well frankly, as a local board we rely heavily on local people making submissions as it shows the financial decision-makers at council that our proposed priorities and projects have strong support locally. And believe me in this fiscally-tight environment, we need all the help we can get to secure investment here in the North-west, says deputy chair of the Rodney Local Board, Phelan Pirrie.

Brent Bailey, chair of the Parks & Recreation Committee, says while the board’s focus will soon turn to consulting on its all-important three-year local board plan, getting this annual budget over the line first is critical.

“People’s eye’s start to glaze over when you start talking about council’s annual budget, but it’s the only way we can deliver things on the ground. Before 27 March, we want people to tell us whether they support the likes of concept planning for the Huapai Multi-sports Facility, upgrading of the Muriwai playground, and town centre upgrades for Helensville and Kumeu/Huapai. Also, do locals support us implementing our Greenways plans and do they want a new and larger grants regime to help improve the health of our harbours and waterways,” says Mr Bailey.

Cameron Brewer, chair of the Transport, Infrastructure & Environment Committee, says if the likes of Kumeu and Huapai residents want structure planning brought forward, then they need to support the board’s advocacy on this by making specific comments to that effect in their submissions.

“As well as there being specific questions on regional decisions about rates increases, a proposed bed-tax on accommodation providers, and a living wage for council workers, we want locals to also have their say on the Rodney Local Board’s priorities for 2017/18. There’s a general comments section where you can give your feedback on anything local, like more footpaths for Riverhead, and rest assured it will all be noted and counted. However, the key is to formally give your feedback to council. Having a moan on your Facebook page won’t help us,” says Mr Brewer.

Mr Pirrie says Rodney First was elected with a strong mandate and gained a majority on the local board to focus on addressing the big local issues and to strongly advocate for much-needed infrastructure and better community amenities. He says the local board’s draft budget reflects the public’s calls as much as possible.

To find out more about the draft 2017/18 Annual Budget or to make an online submission, visit www.shapeauckland.co.nz. While all email enquiries should be sent to annualbudget@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz



28 February 2017

Riverhead’s quiet streets getting ‘torn apart’

Norwest News – 28 February 2017:

Riverhead’s formerly quiet streets are getting torn apart by increased – and heavy – traffic, a local politician says.

Rodney Local Board’s Cameron Brewer said Riverhead’s roads are “frankly, not good enough”.

Recurring potholes, uneven surfaces and the use of roads as footpaths are the main issues in the area, Brewer said.

Sussex Tce ‘is as bad as it gets’, said Brewer.

He has identified Sussex Tce, Albert St, Edward Jonkers Drive, Alice St, Princes St and Arthur St as such roads.

The Riverhead resident said many of the roads in the area don’t have the substructure to withstand heavy traffic.

“Because of the increase in use and increasing amounts of development and heavy construction related traffic, we’re seeing these once very quiet side streets getting torn apart.”

He said the temporary fix of pouring asphalt into potholes is something residents will have to live but the quick fix solutions are not ideal.

“In the medium to long term, Auckland Transport needs to look at a complete resurfacing of a lot of these streets.”

The corner of Arthur St and Sussex Tce, Riverhead, as of February 23.

Gary Pearce, an Albert St resident for the just under 12 months, said the state of the Riverhead roads are “pretty poor”.

“The roads double as a footpath. That’s what the kids walk on, and ride their bikes up and down. For an urban road, it could be a little bit better than this. Even if it’s not curbed and channelled, it’d be nice to have a better road to walk and run on,” he said.

In a statement on February 23, an Auckland Transport spokesman said there has been some damage in the form of potholes and cracks to Arthur St, Sussex Tce, Alice Street, Lloyd Rd and Edward Jonkers Drive.

“Pothole repairs on Alice St and Sussex Tce are scheduled to be start within the next week, depending on the weather.”

The reconstruction work for Albert St, Edward Jonkers Drive and Lloyd Rd will be done in the 2016/17 financial year.

The statement said further reconstruction and resurfacing work for Arthur St, George St, Sussex St, Alexander St has been recommended for the 2017/2018 financial year.

“Until the reconstruction and resurfacing is done Auckland Transport will continue to monitor them and repair as necessary.”

“The conditions of the roads needs to be a priority,” Brewer said.

“Riverhead is more than twice the size it was a few years ago and it’s under increasing growth pressure.”

Other north-west roads on Brewer’s radar include Nixon Rd in Taupaki.

Brewer said it has been “chewed up by the likes of clean fill trucks”.

 – Stuff


30 January 2017

Committee chairs for Rodney Local Board announced

Media release – Rodney First – Tuesday, 17 January 2017:

“We’ve now put in place a strong leadership team for the Rodney Local Board and a committee structure that’s accountable and focused on the massive challenges our communities face. We will be making great use of all the political, commercial and community experience around the table over the coming three years,” says chairperson of the Rodney Local Board, Beth Houlbrooke.

In October new political ticket Rodney First secured a majority of five members on the nine member Rodney Local Board, with Allison Roe joining Beth Houlbrooke in the Warkworth subdivision, and Cameron Brewer and Brent Bailey joining Phelan Pirrie in the Kumeu subdivision.

Brent Bailey has been appointed chairperson of the Parks and Recreation Committee, with Allison Roe deputy. While Cameron Brewer is chairperson of the Transport, Infrastructure and Environment Committee, with independent Dairy Flat representative Louise Johnston deputy. All nine board members are on both committees.

“Our local board won’t be dominated by one chair. Rather by creating these two key committees we’re empowering all local board members. Having dedicated committees also helps us put some serious focus on the likes of transport,” says Beth Houlbrooke.

The Parks and Recreation Committee has delegated authority on parks, sports and recreation (excluding greenways); arts, community and events; and libraries and information.

The Transport, Infrastructure and Environment Committee will deal with infrastructure and environmental services; plans and places; transport (being Auckland Transport and greenways); Business Improvement District partnership; and community facilities.

Deputy chair of the Rodney Local Board, Phelan Pirrie, says Rodney First campaigned on some specific projects which were then strongly supported by the rural-based ward. To advance them, he says the board needs to be very disciplined on how it governs and what it spends its time on.

“In local government it’s very easy to focus on a raft of peripheral stuff that won’t actually improve the lives of locals. We need to be project and outcomes focused, and not get bogged down in the process. Hence, I’m pleased the board voted to support my initiative to create project leaders,” says Phelan Pirrie.

As well as confirming the two committees of the whole, the Rodney Local Board has agreed to establish a “project lead structure” to enable all board members to take personal leadership over any of the agreed local board initiatives.

Beth Houlbrooke says a priority for the board over the coming weeks is to release drafts of its 2017/18 Annual Plan and the all-important three-year Rodney Local Board Plan for public feedback on the board’s proposed budgets, projects and priorities.

More information on Rodney First, its policies, members, and contact details, please visit www.rodneyfirst.org



05 December 2016

Landfill trucks damaging Nixon Road

By Danielle Clent – Nor-West News – 1 December 2016:

Trucks going to and from a landfill are making Nixon Rd dangerous, concerned residents say.

Damage is being caused by up to 200 daily heavy truck movements going to and from the Dirtworks landfill site located at 38 Nixon Rd, Taupaki.

Taupaki residents have been expressing their worry about the state of the road on social media with some afraid the potholes will cause an accident.

Damage to the patched road on Nixon Rd.

Nixon Rd resident Stuart Cattanach says the road is dangerous but his biggest issue is “poor workmanship” of repair jobs.

He says repairs are completed and within a week, the road is crumbling again.

“Since the first hole appeared, they have just been ongoing all the way up the road,” Cattanach says.

Rodney Local Board member Cameron Brewer says the board met with Auckland Transport on November 23 to discuss the road but ultimately is it an Auckland Council issue as they gave consent for the landfill.

Dirtworks currently has a three-year consent to use the site but an application lodged with Auckland Council shows it wants to extend its deadline.

Brewer says Taupaki is a growing area and where landfills used to be “out of sight, out of mind”, the number of people affected is growing rapidly.

“Not only is it a lifestyle issue and an infrastructural issue, by I say first and foremost, it is a safety issue,” he says.

AT media relations manager Mark Hannan says the road is not designed to handle the amount of truck movement and AT are constantly having to patch the road.

He says repair work is “proving costly” as AT has spent approximately $100,000 on maintaining the road.

However, because trucks are still using it, the repair jobs are not going to work.

“As quickly as we repair it, another truck comes through and causes more damage,” he says.

Hannan says they have reduced the speed limit to 50kmh as a safety precaution.

Dirtworks’ application filed with Auckland Council to request resource consent also asks to extend the landfill to the neighbouring site on 47 Henwood Rd.

Consent has yet to be given or declined.

The first landfill was granted without public notice, but Brewer says the local board will fight to have tight consent conditions and have this application made public.

Taupaki residents are invited to attend a public meeting at Taupaki Hall on December 12 at 7.30pm to share their concerns.

Dirtworks did not respond to requests for comment.

 – Stuff



28 November 2016

Rodney First gets majority on Rodney Local Board

Brand new political ticket Rodney First has secured a majority on the Rodney Local Board. At the weekend, five members were elected to the nine-person local board for the next three years.

In the Warkworth subdivision, legendary marathon champion Allison Roe and existing board member Beth Houlbrooke took two of the three seats. While in the Kumeu subdivision, existing local board member Phelan Pirrie, former Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer, and Helensville advocate Brent Bailey won all three seats.

“Collectively the five of us got about 20,000 votes and so we’ve secured a great mandate. We’ve got a really dynamic team with a lot of political, business and community experience so I’m excited about what we can achieve for Rodney ratepayers. We’re set to hit the ground running when it comes to working on the issues and projects we promised to lead during the campaign,” says Beth Houlbrooke, Rodney First spokesperson.

Fellow spokesperson Phelan Pirrie says the election result provides the best opportunity to put Rodney’s case forward to the new mayor and councillors, as well as to the council-controlled organisations (CCOs) and government agencies such as NZTA.

“I’m really looking forward to the whole Rodney Local Board working positively and constructively together. It has been a long time coming! Sure Rodney First has secured five of the nine seats, but rest assured we’ll be working closely and collaboratively with the other four successful candidates in the best interests of Rodney,” says Mr Pirrie.

Ms Houlbrooke and Mr Pirrie say Rodney First members will retain a strong focus on improving local roads, footpaths and public transport; planning for growth; improving the environment; ensuring closer partnerships with the local community and organisations; and delivering better local facilities.

The Rodney Local Board will be officially sworn in on 26 October.

More information on Rodney First, its policies, members, and contact details, please visit www.rodneyfirst.org

28 November 2016

Huapai-Kumeu rail targeted by new board members

Nor-West News – By Rebecca Stevenson – 12 October 2016:

North west politicians call for rail from Kumeu to Swanson.

“It is just nuts.”

Kumeu Subdivision local board member Phelan Pirrie says reinstating rail to Kumeu-Huapai is a priority – and his Rodney First team are targeting the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan as the document which could get rail in the area moving.

He says it’s an issue that can no longer be ignored. State Highway 16 is often gridlocked at peak times and the solution is right there – the rail line that runs alongside the highway.

Rodney Local Board Kumeu Subdivision members Cameron Brewer, Phelan Pirrie and Brent Bailey have put rail to Kumeu-Huapai on the top of their wish list this term.

Local board member Cameron Brewer says a diesel shuttle service from Huapai to Swanson could be started “tomorrow”. It will need a subsidy, but he says all train services in Auckland are subsidised and residents are paying their share of the cost of other transport projects – but are not getting a service that is badly needed.

Pirrie points out some diggers moving earth on land just across the rail line. It’s a special housing area development that’s set to house thousands – but how are they going to get around?, he asks.

“We are solving the problem of where people are going to live, Government has sent us the refugees from the CBD, from Remuera,” local board member Brent Bailey says, “and they are used to public transport.”

Kumeu and Huapai have a train line but no passenger trains.

The region is earmarked for dramatic growth, with 30,000 new inhabitants expected to move in. The threesome say we must get ahead of the growth now and plan public transport before traffic grinds to a halt.

Down the road in Riverhead about 1000 new homes will be built. More than 1000 homes are going to be built right next to the abandoned Huapai platform.

A number of developments are planned for the “Huapai triangle” near the town centre. They can’t all commute in cars, Pirrie says.

Traffic on State Highway 16 is an issue at peak times while the train line is empty.

He says Auckland Transport are guilty of sending mixed messages. They say they want people out of cars, except when it comes to Kumeu?

A poll on the Nor-west News Neighbourly page shows locals who voted overwhelmingly support rail, with 95 per cent of people in favour of trains to Kumeu-Huapai.

In the longer term making the train tunnel taller at Waitakere would allow the line to be electrified. This will take lobbying central Government and Kiwirail, Brewer says.


So how would rail to Kumeu-Huapai work? Much like the diesel shuttle service which is running from Papakura to Pukekohe.

Pirrie envisions a peak-time service starting at about 6.30am with the last service at about 8.30am. It would leave from Huapai and stop at Swanson where passengers could then switch to the electric train service into the city. Then again at the other end of the day a similar service.

He says the service would take about half an hour to get from Huapai to Swanson.

The benefit of rail, other than getting cars off the road, is that it allows commuters to work – not an option when you are riding a bus, Pirrie says.

He says the north west has been targeted for growth but unlike the south which saw the Drury/Pukekohe area identified as a spatial priority the north west has been neglected in terms of infrastructure.

The key message the local politicians have for their fellow residents is simple. Show your support for rail to Huapai, give them the mandate to lobby Auckland Transport for a short-term solution to Huapai’s traffic woes.

“We need people to engage with us so we can lobby the governing body to deliver something. It’s up to us to convince council to deliver it,” Brewer says.


As part of the Transport for Future Urban Growth work, Auckland Transport, New Zealand Transport Agency and Auckland Council are identifying the required transport networks to accommodate an additional 30,000 households and 12,000 jobs in the Whenuapai, Red Hills, Riverhead, Kumeu and Huapai areas.

Approximately one-third of this development will occur in the Kumeu-Huapai area and two-thirds in Whenuapai-Red Hills area.

To assess what transport networks will be required to accommodate the additional residents and employment and provide good access across the region a number of options have been identified.

In looking at public transport options we have considered improvements to the rail network and tying into the proposed busway along State Highway 16 (SH16) from Westgate to the central business district (CBD) and State Highway 18 (SH18) from Westgate to Albany. The extension of the Rapid Transport Network (RTN) along SH16 and SH18 provides accessible public transport to the employment centres on the North Shore and to the central business district within approximately 45 to 55 minutes of travel once the RTN is in place.

A fully electrified, twin-tracked rail RTN will also provide a 55-60 minute trip to the CBD once the City Rail Loop (CRL) is in place. Without the twin-tracked electric network, rail services on a single track will take significantly longer to access the CBD and will probably only be able to provide an hourly service from Huapai to Swanson. The RTN system adjacent to the state highway network provides access to employment areas and provision of greater frequency of services.

Due to the similarity in journey times identified above between a post CRL electrified twin-track network to Huapai and a Northern Busway style RTN from Huapai to the CBD – Auckland Transport is exploring a number of options for the bus and rail systems, including bus lanes, and different rail options including provision of a diesel shuttle, electric trains with and without double-tracking. The investigations will look at potential passenger numbers, frequency of service, connectivity to the existing network and capital and operating costs.

 – Stuff

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