Auckland light rail may be scaled back

Minister of Transport Phil Twyford says that the Government may scale back plans for light rail in Auckland.

Auckland light rail projects were a big deal for Labour. They campaigned on it for the 2017 election, and it was included in their policy on Auckland transport.

Labour will:

  • Build light rail from the CBD to Auckland Airport. This will be part of a new light rail network that will be built over the next decade with routes to the central suburbs, the airport, and West Auckland, and will later be extended to the North Shore

It was included in their Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Green Party:

2. Reduce congestion and carbon emissions by substantially increasing investment in safe walking and cycling, frequent and affordable passenger transport, rail, and sea freight.

b. National Land Transport Fund spending will be reprioritised to increase the investment in rail infrastructure in cities and regions, and cycling and walking.

d. Work will begin on light rail from the city to the airport in Auckland

Now from NZ Herald:  Auckland’s $6 billion light rail programme could be scaled back, says Transport Minister Phil Twyford

The Government may have to scale back its $6 billion light rail programme for Auckland by scrapping a line from the city centre to west Auckland, says Transport Minister Phil Twyford.

The MP for Te Atatu said it was his strong preference to see light rail built from the city centre to the west and to the airport, but if it is not possible to fund and finance both lines, then light rail to the airport will get priority.

If that happened, a rapid bus network – along the lines of the Northern Busway – would be considered along State Highway 16 to the north-west, he said.

Along with KiwiBuild, light rail is one of Labour’s flagship policies. It was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at her first public appearance as Leader of the Opposition in August 2017 where she called it a “game-changer” and a solution to the city’s congestion.

Ardern promised to build light rail to Mt Roskill within four years, followed by light rail from Mt Roskill to the airport and to Westgate in west Auckland within 10 years. Labour later said it would extend the western line a further 9km to Kumeu.

Last month, the Herald reported work on light rail, or modern-day trams, is making slow progress as bureaucrats grapple with the complexities of one of the biggest projects in New Zealand’s history.

“It’s only a contingency. If we weren’t able to fund and finance it, there are many, many calls on the transport purse, then with that corridor (to west Auckland) we would need to look at some other options. It could be bus rapid transit or other things,” he said.

“Obviously money does not grow on trees,” Twyford told the Herald.

It looks like light rail from central Auckland to somewhere near the airport may still go ahead, but other projects may be ditched.

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19 Comments

  1. Ray

     /  9th April 2019

    Miss Ardern has been remarkably sure footed as PM (especially when you consider her 9years of nothing as an MP) but all that is being undone by her Cabinet and especially one Phil Twyford, Kiwibuild disaster and now this.
    Opposite of Miss Clark’s “under promise, over deliver”

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  9th April 2019

      I think that she comes across as a waffler much of the time. Look at the way she handled the Youth Camp fiasco.

      Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  9th April 2019

    Looks like Stan Semenoff is ready to string NZTA up by the balls:
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12220293

    Who is the hapless Minister? Twyford of course.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  9th April 2019

      Whats it got to to with Twyford…. does he sign off on roadside infringements?
      More interesting is that under the previous government NZTA was asleep at the wheel regarding many saftey related issues for road transport. SSL failed an audit in 2016 – nothing happened and only after the lax enforcement culture was turned around – 6 other trucking companies were recently suspended as well as SSL-

      Who was Transport minister during the period of overall lax enforcment on many issues at NZTA

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  9th April 2019

        Any evidence any of these claimed faults caused accidents? No, I thought not. Just the usual story of hapless Govt departments being taken apart and financially to the cleaners by the usual suspects – big international consulting firms – I expect.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  9th April 2019

          The owner has to have a license to operate a trucking business- because they will always blame the truck drivers for any faults- this license is meant to be suspended if too many faults etc accumulate which the owner is accountable for This is what has happened.
          One of the requirements for getting a goods service licence is that either the licence holder or a person in control of the service needs to hold a certificate of knowledge of law and practice.

          This shows that the holder of the certificate has the required knowledge of the laws and practices relating to the safe, efficient and proper operation of a transport service.
          https://www.nzta.govt.nz/commercial-driving/transport-service-licences/goods-service-licence/
          Airlines work the same way, you are supposed to operate the business so these things dont accumulate so far enforcement action is taken. As NZTA under the previous government had let enforcement atrophy ( Wof checks, Truck certifications, Por Truck safety records etc ), the Auckland Crown Solicitors office is taken on responsibility for enforcement

          As Semenoff had failed a previous audit in 2016, why did he think he would get away with it again in 2018 and no enforcement would apply?

          Signing up a ‘no holds barred’ PR consultants after getting his temp stay until a substantive hearing to tackle NZTA seems to be the only positive action he has taken- sounds like a well known Auckland PR group who charge enormous fees….hmmm

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  9th April 2019

            What percentage of stops found any problems and how significant were they?

            Simple unanswered question. Spluttering on about audits is no answer.

            Reply
  3. artcroft

     /  9th April 2019

    As long as they get those 1000 houses built by July and the remaining 9,000 by July 2021.

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  9th April 2019

      And of course the remaining 90,000 by 2028 all will be well.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  9th April 2019

        How did nationals ‘low cost houses’ under the fast tracked special housing areas go ?

        Reply
        • David

           /  9th April 2019

          When you are so embarrassed about your teams woeful performance, there is no real defense you can muster there is always whataboutism.
          Twyford promised the world, along with Ardern, and its well proven now they dont have the skill set to deliver anything even remotely meaningful. Its typical of the left though promise the earth and deliver little knowing that most of your supporters deliver little in life so see nothing out of the ordinary.

          Reply
          • artcroft

             /  9th April 2019

            Vicious but true.

            Reply
            • artcroft

               /  9th April 2019

              I advise you be careful lest you offend someone and are accused of spreading hate.

            • Duker

               /  9th April 2019

              Not hate . It has to advocate violence. Then not telling the whole story hasnt been your forte ever

        • artcroft

           /  9th April 2019

          Never found out cos you voted the wrong way.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  9th April 2019

            yes we did find out about the SHA. They were supposed to be a way of shaming the councils who can be notoriously tardy. But in reality around 55,000 house sites approved by Councils. Less than 2000 built.
            Then Nick Smith went around Auckland pointing out ‘vacant land’ that was going to become housing. Most of it wasnt suitable , ie commercial or not the governments to take. Total of houses built for that one . zero.

            Its a bit late to raise ‘whattaboutism’ when Key was still blaming Clark in 2016, and he made it whataboutism into a modern artform- ‘an installation’
            National has made ‘winston and whatabout’ into a museum grade piece, on permanent display at te papa.
            Of course Farrar and the national party run a well staffed ‘research unit’ with Statsi type archiving of past comments from any and all activists and Mps that they can use in future ‘whatabouts’
            Wasnt there a Tracey Martin bon mot from around 2012 dredged up a month ago?

            Reply
  4. David

     /  9th April 2019

    I landed at Auckland airport on Friday afternoon at 2.25 and I was in my room at the Sky Grand at 3.15.
    There is no need for light rail to the airport as we have Waterview and if its your thing a great bus service.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  9th April 2019

      Airport is right. You cant compete with those acres of carparks anyway.
      Its more of a Mt Roskill – Mangere central thing.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  9th April 2019

        I can’t remember how long the shuttle that I took back to the Waikato took, but it was about the same as driving any vehicle would be, from memory. There are many options now. Rail is a pointless suggestion.

        Reply

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