Nikki Kaye’s call for a monopoly takeover of a private business by local government shows she is out of touch with reality. Instead, she is demonstrating a growing trend among National Party MPs to take over the ground vacated by Labour as the Party lurches ever leftward towards state control of the country.
Kaye’s call for Auckland Transport to take over Fullers Ferries Waiheke Island to Auckland ferry service is already meeting resistance from the Waiheke Ferry Users Group. Here is FUG’s media release.
Keep Auckland Transport away from ferry services
National Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye said "I think we all had really high hopes when Explore was in the market that we'd get better services but when the company dropped out, it was very clear to me that things had to change."
Explore introduced competition that resulted in more frequent sailings and improved services. That company said that AT’s ongoing failure to provide a level playing field in the allocation of wharf slots and on-Island bus services was a contributing factor to its decision to terminate the service.
The MP’s supported proposal would seem to prevent any possibility of future open competition and to have the ferry services run as a regulated monopoly by the same organisation responsible for parking at Matiatia.
It is highly likely that any regulated operator would keep investment to the minimum required to hold on to the regulated monopoly, in the knowledge that its property ran the risk of being confiscated, without compensation, by proposals such as that supported by the MP.
- There is no known commitment from AT to reduce fares.
- There is no acceptance from Auckland Council that ratepayers should subsidise Waiheke ferry fares.
- There is no known assurance that frequency of sailings would be improved or even maintained.
Ms Kaye was quoted as saying that she “would be presenting the petition to parliament on behalf of Waiheke Island.” The Ferry Users Group of Waiheke makes it very clear that Ms Kaye does not represent its views. Chairman Daniel Silva said, “We are concerned that this ill-considered proposal has the potential to seriously impair the current and future Waiheke ferry services on which the Island depends.”
Already National has increased the Government’s share of the economy, a trend that is worrying their supporters. It is in danger of relabeling itself the National Socialist Party of New Zealand, a tag no political party would or should want.