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Auckland Light Rail Official Postponement

Chair & Spokesperson of NZ Transport 2050 Inc Paul Miller says, “While we are glad to see an official delay in the ‘Light Rail Project’, we are very disappointed that no progress has been made for new major public transport initiatives in Auckland in the government term to solve Auckland’s growing congestion.

Miller went on to say, “we believe the major reason for this project failing has been not the Coalition government itself, but the approach to the project taken by Minister Twyford and his Green Party Associate Minister Genter to the project.” 

Issues which NZ Transport 2050 have highlighted include the following:

  • Twyford, Genter and their supporters, including Mayor Goff, pre-determined the transport mode even before the project was started ignoring the existing infrastructure Auckland’s has built with earlier electrification and the construction of Britomart. This without the support of the public.
  • Billions of dollars are already committed on CRL by pre-determining an alternative transport mode it undermines the benefit of this investment.
  • No clear business was ever presented to the public as to how this scheme would benefit Aucklanders. This should have been happening before engaging vendors to design a solution.
  • Despite decades of studies and project reviews the cheaper, based on earlier report findings, and simpler six-kilometre + heavy rail to the airport solution was explicitly excluded by the minister. This also despite prominent public, in the past two years, and industry support for an extension of the existing heavy rail network directly to the airport.
  • The complete lack of pre-project consultation taken by the minister with either the public, industry or workers at the airport or in the other areas impacted by this project to see how such a transport solution might be justified.
  • The minister enforced secretive design process run by the minister in which NZTA & NZ Super came up with proposals has further undermined public and industry support and seen industry experts excluded from the process and not able to collaborate on its outcome. Why did the government have the infrastructure commission help run the review process that would have included existing transport and infrastructure experts in determining what should be built, how to build it and how to fund it? Surely this would have been a better group to establish a better solution than the minister asking the Ministry of Transport to do this without them having any experience at doing any previous projects.

Miller went on to say, “The minister said now that the project would provide a 30-minute journey to the airport while still continuing to avoid sharing the high-level costs, contractual concession commitments and practical benefits to the taxpayers is of significant concern going forward and undermines efforts to get real change happening.”

About:

NZ Transport 2050 Inc is an incorporated society with the aim to encourage smart public transport infrastructure decision making for current and future transport users across New Zealand. NZ Transport 2050 also has a joint campaign START – Straight To Airport Rapid Train) with the Public Transport User Association NZ (PTUA).

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