Auckland City Councillors have voted against selling the council's 12.75% shareholding in Auckland International Airport, and have also voted to reject the Canadian Pension Plan's restructuring proposal.
Nearby Manukau City Council has also rejected the deal, but infrastructure investment company Infratil has supported the partial takeover bid, after the pension fund announced it would restrict its voting rights to 24.9%.
There was a 45 minute disruption during last night's meeting, when veteran nutter protester Penny Bright and former Mayoral candidate Lisa Prager refused to leave the council chambers during the discussion of "confidential matters".
Meanwhile, John Banks has dismissed calls by over 10,000 Aucklanders for a rail link between the city and the airport. Bizarrely Mayor Banks has rejected the idea as "25 years too early"!?!? "I'm not in the business of bouncing dead cats," he said.
A petition signed by 10,431 people has won support from some on the Auckland Regional Council, with chairman Mike Lee correctly noting "Until there is a rail link from the airport to the central business district, Auckland will not be an international-class city."
NZ Herald graphic showing proposed Auckland rail links
Banks has got more than a few screws loose if he seriously thinks the idea of a rail link to Auckland airport is "too early"... If anything, it's already about 30 years overdue!
While many Aucklanders may try to convince themselves otherwise, the lack of decent rail services will confine Auckland to "also-ran" status in world terms. Regular commuter rail services are an integral part of most growing major cities in the world.
Auckland councils should be backing and supporting new and improved rail links, including investigating working with private enterprise on the urgent need for rail services between the airport and Auckland's CBD (see Heathrow Express, Stansted Express, Gatwick Express, etc)...
I know there are arguments that the economics of rail don't stack up in Auckland, but as the city's population continues to grow there must come a time when some forward-thinking people can come up with a way of making it work?
Part of the problem is that the driving habits of Aucklanders have become so ingrained over many many years. Try living in a proper major international city for a year and see how rail can work. Auckland is ghetto... all the problems of a major city, very few of the benefits.
* NZ Herald: Pressure grows for trains from airport to downtown
Posted at 10:41 am