Clown protest at Auckland Harbour Bridge demands cyclist and pedestrian access

  • 05/01/2022

Demonstrators gathered at the base of the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Wednesday to protest the lack of cyclist and pedestrian access.

The small group of passionate demonstrators is accusing the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) of "clowning around with the climate", so were dressed in clown costumes for the protest.

They'd like NZTA to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross the bridge on a dedicated lane for a trial period.

"Walking and cycling are climate action, but NZTA treats them like a joke," says spokesperson Christine Rose.

"The Harbour Bridge northbound clip-ons have been closed since Boxing Day for maintenance throughout the summer break, but they are mostly sitting empty when they could have opened to walkers and cyclists for a few days at least. This could and should be a precursor to permanent access for people on foot and bike.

"Transport contributes 21 percent of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions but NZTA is clowning around on the climate by failing to provide walking and cycling across Auckland's iconic harbour bridge."

The demonstration happened in the same week after the ACT Party lashed out at what it called the Government's "irresponsible spending" on transport options for cyclists.

ACT claimed documents released by the Government on Christmas Eve show $150 million has been set aside to spend on replacements for the scrapped $785 million bike bridge - far more than previous estimates.

NZTA has refused to open up part of the existing bridge to cyclists. A protest in May of last year saw about 1000 cyclists take over two lanes of the 62-year-old bridge.

Transport Minister Michael Wood said in October he had asked NZTA to allow a cycling trial in summer when it was quiet, but that hasn't happened.