Auckland mayoral race: Efeso Collins makes free public transport his big policy

Left-wing Auckland mayoral candidate Efeso Collins has said a push for free public transport will be the first thing he wants to achieve if elected in October.

Collins, a two-term Manukau ward labor councillor, said Aucklanders spend up to 30% of their household income on transport, and it’s one of the biggest problems facing the city ​​must face.

“If we want to tackle our climate emissions, this is the first and best way to do it,” he said. Thing.

Collins was convinced that the city and the government, which helps subsidize public transportation, could afford to have both a free system and a better network than exists today.

READ MORE:
* Mayor of Auckland: Labor calls on candidates to secure his endorsement
* Mayor of Auckland: Efeso Collins confirms offer for post
* Why not scrap Auckland public transport fares?

“There’s money we have, that’s how we can balance it, we can take from some (other) parts,” Collins said, pointing to tens of millions of dollars he says have been spent on consultants.

Currently, free travel is limited to weekends for under-16s and, through the government’s SuperGold scheme, for over-65s outside the morning rush.

The idea is not new for a campaign for mayor of Auckland. Jim Anderton in 1977 had him as a policy when he came second to incumbent Mayor of Auckland City Council Sir Dove-Myer Robinson.

In the last full financial year before Covid-19 hit customers hard, fares revenue was worth over $150 million a year, and an earlier assessment by Auckland Transport was that additional demand would cost $60 million to satisfied.

Efeso Collins insists Auckland can afford to scrap public transport fares.

Simon Maude / Stuff

Efeso Collins insists Auckland can afford to scrap public transport fares.

“It can be phased in – people say why not try – trials would be really nice, but I think it’s important that we set our ambitions very high,” he said.

The youngest of six children of Samoan parents, Collins said he always spoke last and was therefore a good listener, a quality he said would work across Auckland, not just in the south where he has lived most of his life.

“I believe I am advocating for the vulnerable and for those who often feel like their voice is being ignored,” he said.

“People will know that I am the Manukau Ward Councilor, and I will do everything I can for the people of Manukau, but I also understand that I have to think of the people of Albany, Rodney and Howick, I am ready to do this.”

Efeso Collins being sworn in as Manukau Ward Councilor by newly elected Mayor Phil Goff, in 2016.

AUCKLAND COUNCIL / Provided

Efeso Collins being sworn in as Manukau Ward Councilor by newly elected Mayor Phil Goff, in 2016.

He has been criticized for socially conservative comments made in the past on abortion and gay rights, but said they reflected a strict church upbringing and no longer aligned with his views.

“I’m the one dealing with years of pulpit training and pulpit sermons where I was led to believe, and I did believe, that there was an interpretation of Scripture.”

Collins is seeking Labor’s approval, a process that could take until early March but is happening regardless and says the outcome will determine how he puts together a campaign team.

Free travel is the policy of Auckland mayoral candidate Efeso Collins for a city that made up to 100 million trips a year.

DAVID WHITE/STUFF

Free travel is the policy of Auckland mayoral candidate Efeso Collins for a city that made up to 100 million trips a year.

Other confirmed starters are restaurateur Leo Molloy, Jake Law and returning candidates Craig Lord and Ted Johnston, with the heart of city chief executive Viv Beck pondering a tilt for the Oct. 8 vote.

Two-term mayor Phil Goff confirmed in February that he would retire from politics, after nearly 40 years.

Comments are closed.