Control of local transport revisited by city council

The Dunedin City Council continued its push to take control of the city’s public bus system yesterday as Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins spelled out the need for transport planning and planning for greater urban density to be headed along the same route.

Mr Hawkins — then a city councillor — led the charge last year for the city to take on the regional council’s buses, saying it made sense for the different aspects of public transport to come under the remit of one council.

The city council as it stood could submit and have input on the public transport network, but "ultimately we will always be a minority voice in that decision-making".

Yesterday, he said "to put it crudely", Dunedin’s options to address a "shortfall in housing" was to allow for greater density of housing development, but also a "greater spread of housing development".

"And the regional council clearly has an interest in managing natural hazards and the implications that they have for where you would put housing development. But also the greatest contribution town planning can make to a zero carbon transition is a compact urban form, which is a key strategic direction under the council’s [second-generation district plan]," he said.

"Planning would suggest that you build towards a greater density on your key public transport routes, and given that we don’t have direct influence over what those routes are, those are the kinds of areas where we need to work together."

Mr Hawkins presented the city council’s submission to the Otago Regional Council’s annual plan hearings conducted via videoconference yesterday and his presentation covered a range of topics, including expanded monitoring of the coastal marine environment at swimming or food gathering areas, and expanded monitoring or air quality at Port Otago — by a third party — the city’s planning for growth, the role of planning concerning "key public transport" routes, and the importance of transport trials to be completed before the review of the regional public transport plan.

The city council’s submission reminds the regional council of the city’s policy — that it supports in principle, the transfer of public transport governance in the Dunedin district from the regional council to the city council and asks that the regional council "include this question in their forthcoming review" of the regional public transport plan.

City council documents state the regional public transport plan is being prepared late this year.


This is an example of why our local government system needs a complete overhaul. Elected councillors are using ratepayers money and council resources to to make submissions to other elected councillors. If Mr Hawkins wants to control the public transport, air pollution and coastal marine monitoring, he should have stood be an OCR councilor. The ratepayers are are effectively paying twice for the same job!