2018 Tauranga By-Election

The following information was provided by John Robson for the 2018 Tauranga By-Election.


... and Answers

In this section I will post my answers to any questions you might have - to ask me a question, e-mail john@clearthink.net or call me on 021 443703 or (07) 579 1427.  To see the questions and answers, just scroll down this page.

How can I help you get elected?

Firstly, thank you. If you would really like to see me on Council, then use your networks - talk, text, tweet, e-mail your endorsement to everyone you know who is eligible to vote.  A personal recommendation is invaluable.

Why the signs?

I have previously rejected signs on the principle that I don't want people voting for a 'sign' - I wanted voters to cast an informed vote.  But the fact is that signs create name awareness and this influences voters.  The two Councillors who nominated me said if I was serious about getting elected then I must use signs - as they have done successfully.  I am serious, and you can see the signs. 

Response to Greater Tauranga

Heidi Hughes of Greater Tauranga asked candidates to answer six questions via a two-minute video.

I don't believe that the the questions can be anwered 'properly' in a two minute video, so have replied as below:

List 5 solutions to Tauranga’s traffic congestion, ranked most important to least important. Keep answers brief.

Solving Tauranga’s congestion issue will require the implementation of a number of complementary initiatives – starting with having a sustainable city plan – which doesn’t exist at the moment.

That being said, I have, as requested, listed five (in my opinion, politically, economically, and environmentally viable) initiatives that I believe would have a positive impact – in no particular order:

a) Free school buses – and an upgraded bus service.
A relatively low-risk, low investment, quick win

b) Complete multi-modal transport network ‘corridor plan’ – and implement land retention/acquisition to support.
Protecting the corridors is critical for the future – and never cheaper than today

c) Complete and maintain a functioning arterial road network (much of the planning work has been done).

Our current size, density, topography and forecast growth make road infrastructure the backbone of our transport network (because the best public transport option is the bus) for the next two decades at least.

As such, talk of passenger trams, light rail, heavy rail, ferries, metro’s, etc. should only be in the context of completing the long-term ‘corridor plan’ – they are not currently viable solutions to current issues.

Thinking ‘green’, a flowing network is greener than a congested one – and the movement to electric propulsion addresses much of the fossil fuel issue.

d) Instigate an inland port
This would combine with rail to minimise port road freight within the city ‘ring-road’.
Obviously, there is a need to ensure road and rail mode separation (e.g. Totara St.) as part of this solution.

e) Design, complete and maintain a separated functioning arterial e-cycle/cycle network.
The design focus should be resident transport rather than tourist attraction.
Secondary and Intermediate schools should be key nodes

Free school buses or user pays?
See above, and my signs, my ad in Bay of Plenty Times, my website – free.

Does Tauranga City have the right amount of car parks. If not, briefly outline your solutions.
In the CBD, no – elsewhere, generally, yes, but we need to have a conversation with the DHB re the hospital.

We need to build parking buildings in the CBD – with funding in part from (targeted) rates, effectively mirroring the funding model in other centres in Tauranga, i.e. some level of collective provision.

We should also reinstate the requirement of a minimum parking provision for CBD buildings – either incorporated in the building, or added to the ‘public’ provision.

We also need to sort the integration of the bus service with the CBD.

What solution to Tauranga’s problems with traffic congestion is most often raised when you talk to voters?
It depends on the demographic of the voter… most common ‘solutions’ are:

“Sort the roads…”

“Better bus network – more, more often, for longer…”

“Get the cycle network built…”

What would you do to fix the problems on SH 2, Tauranga to Katikati?
As with Tauranga’s roads, there are a number of complementary actions required, including:

a) Improve design, using something like Highways England’s 10 Principles of Good Road Design as a guide – especially “make road safe” and “make road understandable”.

b) By-pass Katikati.

c) Urgently initiate safety measures, starting with side and median barriers.

d) Provide more safe overtaking provision.

e) Slow the development of housing, until the road requirements are addressed – Omokoroa is a repeat of the mistakes of Welcome Bay

f) Complete the four-laning of the primary, SH29 to SH1, road link to Auckland – to move inter-city traffic, especially road freight, off SH2.

g) After all the above… look at the Tauranga Northern Link (TNL)… or rail (see next question).

Disclosure: My home abuts the proposed TNL.

Do you support regional passenger rail, Tauranga to Auckland?
I have followed this idea with interest for some time – including the Regional Rapid Rail proposal produced by Greater Auckland.

One thing I have noticed is the confusion in the arguments used by those who are ardently either “pro-road” or “pro-rail”. I am neither – I am pro-evidence, and pro-sustainability.

The first ‘confusion’ is a lack of clarity as to what regional rail means – it is not ‘commuter’ nor is it ‘city to ‘city’, yet I hear arguments about Tauranga to Auckland travel times.

If that is understood, then I believe regional passenger rail is a long way off for the region.

If people are talking about a ‘city to city’ service, then, at the moment, the Benefit-Cost Ratio doesn’t stack – bus is cheaper, air is quicker – and rail is stuck in the middle, with a significant investment required to effectively test viability.

Personally, I feel that a three-year Auckland to Hamilton pilot for ‘city to city’, ‘regional’ and ‘commuter’ services should be tried.

The results of a properly funded pilot should provide a better starting point for turning ideological argument into evidenced debate.

At the moment, my view is that, for Tauranga, ‘city to city’ and ‘regional’ rail is at least a decade away – and for commuter rail, the timeframe is probably two decades.


This website is authorised by John Robson, 22 Sunny Downs Drive, Tauriko, Tauranga, 3110 - e-mail john@clearthink.net or call 021 443703.