Mayor ignores ‘no CRL construction until funding’ directive
14 February 2014
Mayor ignores ‘no CRL construction until funding’ directive by Councillors
Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer has revealed that Mayor Len Brown’s plea to the Prime Minister to fast-track the City Rail Link before a project funding plan has even been tabled completely ignores an earlier agreement with Councillors.
Mr Brewer has dug out a 23 May 2012 Strategy & Finance Committee formal directive that was passed by Councillors during the signing off of Auckland Council’s all-important 2012-2022 Long Term Plan.
The successful motion read: “That Auckland Transport progress the work and related land acquisition and technical requirements of the CRL but do not progress construction beyond this until funding has been confirmed.”
“So councillors ruled that no construction on the City Rail Link take place until the funding is all sorted, but barely 18 months on and the Mayor’s now out there promoting the complete opposite. He’s not only going against a formal Strategy and Finance Committee resolution and directive but he’s arguably in breach again of the 19 December resolutions passed when he was censured and reined in by all councillors.”
Mr Brewer says yesterday the Mayor met with councillors where he was forced to defend his decision to send the contentious letter to the Prime Minister last month without advising councillors first.
“Some of councillors are not impressed he sent the letter first and told us second. This matter at the very least deserves to go first and foremost through the exhaustive Long Term Plan budgetary review process over the coming weeks and months. But the Mayor desperate to get some political runs on the board, again flew solo and jumped the gun!
“I believe the best way for him to fast-track the City Rail Link is to now deliver a funding plan to show how Auckland’s going to pay its $1.4b share. The Mayor should be solely focusing on finding the money. He talks a lot about alternative transport funding, and last year the council spent $1m on looking at the options, but it’s now delivery time!”
Mr Brewer says the Mayor tries to paint the picture that the Government is holding the council up but in reality a huge amount of ratepayers’ money is already going into the project, largely to secure the route. In this coming 2014/15 year the CRL will soak up nearly half of Auckland’s entire public transport capital budget.
“Let’s not forget that in the first three financial years since the council signed off its 10-year budget, nearly half billion dollars of ratepayer-funded debt has been allocated to the City Rail Link, with $192.9m budgeted for the coming 2014/15 financial year alone.”
Mr Brewer says while the Mayor was trying to convince councillors yesterday that the Government’s timetable to start construction on the City Rail Link in 2020 was holding CBD development back, the Minister for Economic Development Steven Joyce told Parliament that the same CBD developers have at no time have raised concerns about the timetabling of the City Rail Link, rather telling him any constraints they were facing were planning ones.
Yesterday Mr Joyce told the House: “I am absolutely confident, on the evidence that I have seen to date, that the City Rail Link timetable, which was brought forward by this Government, is not holding up economic development in our biggest city.”
“I think we all know when it comes down to Len Brown or the Minister for Economic Development, who most Aucklanders are most likely to trust and believe,” says Mr Brewer.