Calling off the SkyPath rally

May 22, 2019: We’ve had a productive meeting with NZTA today (our first meeting in 6 months!) We have agreed to commence a facilitated process to rebuild our relationship, to resolve the issue of SkyPath’s IP and support the new design put forward by NZTA.

On this basis we think it is appropriate to call off the SkyPath rally planned for this Sunday.  We don’t like to mess people around but the developments today came as a surprise – and ironically as a result of our plan to rally.  We now welcome the opportunity to work with NZTA to help deliver a remarkable facility for Auckland.

We know many people will be disappointed by our decision but hope you can understand.

Aucklanders, SkyPath needs YOU! Public Demonstration of Support: Sunday 9am, May 26

Our protest in 2009. It brough NZTA back to the table and resulted in an approved design, a resource consent and the funding!

Will you join our SkyPath rally on Sunday, 9am, May 26?  Download the flyer.

We will gather at Point Erin (south side of the Bridge) at 9am and plan to walk and cycle across the Bridge (and back) as we did in 2009 (click for an awesome video!).  It will be a significant occasion given it is the 60th anniversary of the Bridge. Please invite your friends and family!

We’ve set up this Facebook event so you can advise if you intend coming along.

Why are we doing this? 
It has become apparent that NZTA has no intention of delivering SkyPath.  In spite of the SkyPath design having been approved by NZTA, the resource consent issued and project funding granted by the Government, NZTA is now playing dirtier than ever:

  • Since late last year, NZTA have imposed an information black out on SkyPath Trust.  All correspondence goes through NZTA’s Official Information Act unit which declines every request for information.
  • NZTA now claim they do not know the design (even they supported the design process and the resource consenting.
  • NZTA refuse to meet with us to arrange for the use of SkyPath Trust’s intellectual property.

What about safety? We will only cross the Auckland Harbour Bridge if Police can provide safe access.  They provided this in 2009 when approximately 5,000 Aucklanders walked and cycled across the Bridge. We plan to walk & cycle up to the top of the bridge from the Curran Street on-ramp and return the same way.

Won’t this cause disruption to motorists?
No. NZTA can allocate the western clip-on lanes for the demonstration, whilst motorists use the remaining 6 motorway lanes.

Why is NZTA blocking SkyPath?
NZTA’s management don’t see active transport (walking, cycling, escooters, etc) as having a role to play in resolving traffic congestion, climate change and all the related health issues of our overly car-dependent transport system. NZTA see SkyPath and SeaPath has having some tourism value but fail to see how it adds the capacity of an additional traffic lane to the Harbour Bridge… a healthy, fun and congestion free lane across the Waitemata!

What do we hope to achieve by this?
We want to give Aucklanders the opportunity to demonstrate their support for greater walking and cycling across Auckland. We hope that this will convice NZTA to get on with it!

We were in a similar situation in 10 year s ago when we felt compelled to demonstrate by marching over the bridge in 2009.  NZTA had shut down communication saying walking and cycling across the bridge was not possible due to engineering constraints and lack of funding.  That demonstration unlocked the subsequent progress on SkyPath which is now NZTA approved, resource consented and Government funded.

SkyPath is not only a flagship for the Government to transform the Auckland Harbour Bridge, it is the catalyst for the long overdue walking and cycling network across Auckland.  It is an important response to climate change, traffic congestion and the many health issues caused by our car dependent transport system.  

NZTA’s Project Lead for SkyPath steps down after making bizare statements…

We’re hoping the departure of Mr Stiassny will see NZTA finally get on with SkyPath; a flagship project for the Government.

The design has been approved by NZTA, it is consented and fully funded. But since late 2018 NZTA has played dirtier than ever:

  • they have imposed an information black out, all correspondance goes through NZTA’s Official Information Act unit
  • they claim they do not know the design they helped develop, have approved internally, and have supported through SkyPath’s four year publicly notified consultation and resource consenting process
  • they refuse to meet with us to arrange for the use of SkyPath Trust’s intellectual property.

Will NZTA decide to stop blocking SkyPath and just get on with it?
Our fingers are crossed!

Independent investigation into the handling of SkyPath

We’ve been in correspondence with NZTA’s Chair Michael Stiassny this week.  Unfortunately we had to tell him that he’d been badly misinformed by his staff. Yesterday he ordered an independent investigation into NZTA’s handling of SkyPath:

“I have received correspondence from the Skypath Trust today (March 7) which includes statements which contradict my understanding of the NZTA’s previous dealings with the Trust. I am deeply concerned with this situation and I have ordered an independent investigation to establish the facts once and for all.”

After 10 years of planning, we hope that this will be the breakthrough for SkyPath to finally be delivered.  Our goal is for Aucklanders to be walking and cycling across their Bridge by 2021. 

We are hopeful that the investigation will clear the air on SkyPath and resolve the current impasse on NZTA’s use of SkyPath Trust’s intellectual property. Hear the Radio NZ interview.

Government’s intervention welcomed…

Yesterday afternoon Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter advised:

A shared walking and cycling path across Auckland Harbour Bridge is a very important project for Auckland, it’s a priority for this Government and we are committed to delivering it. I urge both parties to get back round the table to work out a mutually beneficial solution.

We welcome the opportunity to find that “mutually beneficial solution” so that Aucklanders can be walking and cycling across their Harbour Bridge in 2021.

We’ve asked NZTA whether they are willing to meet and invited Auckland Council (as owners of SkyPath’s resource consent) to also attend. More details available in this Radio NZ story.