Building park-and-ride facilities is the first transport priority for Auckland mayoral candidate John Palino, whose long-term solution is to build satellite centres where people can live, work and play.
Speaking ahead of his campaign launch tomorrow, Mr Palino told the Herald that Auckland must make the most out of rail electrification, saying park-and-ride facilities are the quickest, cheapest and most practical way to relieve pressure on the city's transport network.
"Let's stop trying to get people out of their cars completely when it doesn't suit them, and just make it easier for them to take public transport.
"I will subsidise parking where cost-benefit analysis shows park-and-rides provide a positive impact on the transport network."
He said park-and-ride facilities might have to be multi-storey and cost between $20,000 and $40,000 per space.
Mr Palino is not keen on the $2.86 billion City Rail Link, the $2 billion to $3 billion Ameti project and east-west links and a $5 billion additional harbour crossing, saying they do not deliver good transport outcomes for Auckland.
"If we are ever to have the city rail project, we're going to have to get the patronage required to justify spending ratepayer money," he said.
He wants to address the need for and timing of travel instead of the "big promises about how one project or another is magically going to fix an entire transport project".
While Mayor Len Brown was praising a $1 million consensus-building group that this week came up with a formula to squeeze another $12 billion worth of transport funding out of Aucklanders, Mr Palino said the group should have investigated why the mayor's programme costs so much and yet delivers more congestion.
"If we can change when and where people need to travel, we can save our region a lot of money and our people a lot of frustration."
Mr Palino, an American restaurateur who moved to New Zealand in 1996 and starred in the TV3 show The Kitchen Job, is the main conservative opponent to Mr Brown.
His campaign manager is former National Party president John Slater, who also headed the old centre-right Citizens & Ratepayers ticket for several years.
Mr Palino - who will launch his campaign at the Metro Theatre in Mangere - said he would not increase rates beyond the rate of inflation and would reallocate funds from poor investments, signalling the cancellation of a white-water rafting facility in Manukau and the Wynyard Quarter tram.
Meanwhile, Browns Bay resident Jesse Butler - who was raised in Papakura - has become the latest candidate to announce he is seeking the mayoralty.
Mr Butler, 45 and unemployed, said he wanted to create full employment by getting rates money working better for families and attracting billions of dollars in investments from South Korea and Taiwan.
He also plans to better resource civil defence for natural disasters.
John Palino on transport
• Build park-and-ride facilities.
• Long term, build new satellite centres.
• Address need for and timing of travel.
• Not keen on City Rail Link and other big projects.