Auditor-General calls for more City Rail Link funding info
Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer
Tuesday, 18 February 2014
Auditor-General calls for much more City Rail Link funding information
The Auditor-General today says her Office will need a lot more certainty and information around the costings and funding of the City Rail Link ahead of signing off her Audit Opinion mid-next year on Auckland Council’s 2015-2025 Long Term Plan.
At the Audit & Risk Committee meeting today, Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer asked Controller & Auditor-General Lyn Provost what will be required of Auckland Council to satisfy her Office and avoid the project being singled out again in her official Audit Opinion on Auckland Council’s revised 10-year budget as it was when she audited the 2012-2022 Long Term Plan.
Back in her 2012 opinion, Ms Provost focused on the significant forecasting assumptions associated with funding for the City Rail Link project, citing “the significant level of uncertainty” associated the Government’s half share of $1.2 billion and locking down “alternative funding sources to raise $344 million, from particular types of user charges or regional taxes, many of which would require legislative change”. She went on to note: “The main risks to the City Rail Link project are that central government will not agree to provide direct funding nor enable the Auckland Council to access alternative funding sources.”
Mr Brewer says “sure the Government has since signalled some support in principle to the City Rail Link, but the Mayor still has a lot of work to do in the next 12 months to avoid the Auditor-General raising another red flag when she reviews the revised 10-year LTP next year. Securing access to alternative transport funding sources is now paramount.
“Despite the cautionary view of the Auditor’s Office on the significant level of uncertainty associated with the project, and a council resolution to not progress any construction until a funding plan is in place, the Mayor is now out promising to fast-track the City Rail Link and offering up $250m from the City coffers, but the Government’s not budging. In the next 12 months the Mayor needs to focus solely on funding, not fast-tracking. Otherwise he’s only lining himself up for more telling commentary from the country’s chief auditor,” says Cameron Brewer