NZ First blocks Auckland light rail; Ministry of Transport backs the NZ Infra bid; Unclear whether NZ Infra is interested in being involved with the project after the election

NZ First blocks Auckland light rail; Ministry of Transport backs the NZ Infra bid; Unclear whether NZ Infra is interested in being involved with the project after the election

Transport Minister Phil Twyford has revealed the Ministry of Transport recommended NZ Infra build the Auckland light rail, not the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).

Twyford confirmed this on Wednesday, after he announced the project was officially on the rocks, as New Zealand First wouldn’t support it.

New Zealand First has been voicing its disapproval of light rail increasing loudly in recent weeks, citing cost as a factor as well as its preference for heavy rail. 

After taking the matter to Cabinet on Monday, Twyford on Wednesday confirmed it was a project that would have to be re-looked at after the election.

NZ Infra is a joint venture of the NZ Super Fund and CDPQ Infra - an infrastructure subsidiary of the Canadian pension fund, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. It made an unsolicited bid in 2018 to lead the light rail project.

Twyford said: “The Ministry of Transport and the Treasury will report back after the general election on the best option for this project to be delivered by the public sector.

“The Ministry of Transport and the Treasury will also engage with NZ Infra and Waka Kotahi about how work done on this project can support the next phase.”

Unknown whether NZ Infra is still interested

NZ Infra said it was “disappointed”, but didn’t indicate whether it remained interested in being involved in the project, if in fact this could be done while it was "delivered by the public sector". 

NZ Super Fund CEO Matt Winerary said: “We remain committed to seeking opportunities for the NZ Super Fund to invest in New Zealand, including in large-scale infrastructure, and look forward to utilising the knowledge and expertise we have developed on other projects.”

While Twyford originally touted the project as one aimed at enabling urban development, he on Wednesday said his thinking was to prioritise rapid transit. 

He couldn't say what the price tag on the NZ Infra proposal was. There have been numerous media reports in recent years suggesting it was a much grander proposal than NZTA's. 

Twyford said light rail would remain a project in the Auckland Transport Alignment Project.

Greens want the public service to run the project

While work on Auckland light rail was part of the confidence and supply agreement between Labour and the Greens, the Greens said it "welcomed" the decision not proceed with the ‘public public investment’ model, as the party favoured the process being run through the public service.

In making this comment, the Greens inadvertently expressed its disproval of the NZ Infra bid. 

Its transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said: “With the twin track process over, detailed planning work on light rail can continue and key design and financing decisions can be taken quickly after the election.

“This decision means Aucklanders will have a greater say in what the project ultimately looks like. It’s really important that those living there contribute to the final design – and now they will have that chance.

“Auckland Transport and the Auckland Council need to be at the table to contribute to final decisions about alignment, stations and how the Mangere line will integrate with the rest of Auckland’s future rapid transit network – including a light rail connection to West Auckland and the Shore."

Concern this makes NZ look like an unattractive place to invest

Infrastructure NZ CEO Paul Blair said: “A risk emerges that international infrastructure expertise views New Zealand as unattractive and expensive, an issue which could undermine the country’s COVID recovery.

“It will now be very important for government to learn from the process, including how best to managed unsolicited bids, engage the sector on complex projects and manage intellectual property concerns."

National leader Todd Muller said: “This Government talks big, but delivers little. Light rail will now join KiwiBuild as the prime examples of its epic failure to deliver on its promises to voters.

“Auckland light rail was Jacinda Ardern’s first campaign promise as Labour leader in 2017 and was meant to be up and running between the CBD to Mt Roskill by 2021. But nearly three years on, the project has gone backwards."

Here’s a statement from Twyford:

Cabinet has agreed to end the twin track Auckland Light Rail process and refer the project to the Ministry of Transport for further work, Transport Minister Phil Twyford says.

Despite extensive cross-party consultation, Government parties were unable to reach agreement on a preferred proposal. The future of the project will now be decided by the government following September’s general election.

Phil Twyford says two credible and deliverable proposals were received.

“I’d like to thank NZ Infra and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency for their work and innovative proposals.

“Either would have created hundreds of jobs and resulted in an Auckland metro that offered Aucklanders a 30 minute trip from the CBD to the Airport.”

Auckland Light Rail remains a project in the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP), he said.

“The Ministry of Transport and the Treasury will report back after the general election on the best option for this project to be delivered by the public sector. The Ministry of Transport and the Treasury will also engage with NZ Infra and Waka Kotahi about how work done on this project can support the next phase.

“The Government remains committed to fixing congestion in Auckland and boosting jobs through building infrastructure. We’ve made good progress on ATAP with construction starting this term on the Eastern Busway, Matakana Link Road, SH20B upgrades, the Puhinui Interchange, Karangahape Road Cycleway, and the Constellation Bus Station upgrade, to name a few.

“Auckland Light Rail will be New Zealand’s most complex infrastructure project in decades and it’s vital we get it right for future generations,” Phil Twyford said.                                         

Notes to editors:  

  • Work on the Auckland Light Rail was part of the confidence and supply agreement between Labour and the Greens. This work continues with the Ministry of Transport.
  • The Ministry of Transport and the Treasury will work with both Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, as well as other agencies including the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to prepare options for the new government to consider.
  • They will also address the policy and system changes needed to help build rapid transit projects of this scale in our largest cities. 

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117 Comments

26
up

good it was a bad plan
go back to the drawing board and rethink the whole thing , airport to the city in a big loop on a tram was nuts

It started off with a solid foundation. Once the Wellingtonians got hold of it, it blew out to something that didn't actually solve the problems in the South and West, nor would it have enabled intensification along the key corridors that are reaching capacity with bus services.

the left and right hands don't talk to each other, the rail runs to onehunga, there is already footings in the harbor( they were put there when the second bridge was built) for the rail bridge, but along comes the council and lowers the new bridge in onehunga so a train can not fit under.
then you have the puhinui rail station interchange upgrade going on with a long term plan of trams from the airport to the rail station but for now bus.

The trains wouldn't have worked at the airport end (had to be underground) and wouldn't have connected to the business parks. They also did nothing for the bus congestion Auckland is experiencing on central corridors. If you're solely concerned about a fast trip to the airport and ignore CRL running patterns, then it works, but this would have been a single-digit percentage of the total trips across the planned Light Rail route.

Yup , the problem is current traffic levels to the airport do not support light rail or heavy rail. Light rail brings in the other areas to make it viable.

Even in London, Heathrow station only has 1/10 of the boardings of Victoria station. Heathrow has similar levels of boardings as many basic suburban stations.

Yep. Had labour stuck to the original plan they could have started on the dominion road section not long after the election. That part was about $1bil I’m sure they could have bribed Winnie to support it.
Instead the whole project became all about moving people from airport to city rapidly. Auckland doesn’t have the population to support spending billions on a single destination, there is just no business case for it. Even much bigger cities struggle to get a decent business case for airport rail.

Here here! We already have the infrastructure. It's called "roads". And we have easy access to much cheaper and more flexible rolling stock. It's called "buses" (battery-powered if necessary, just to keep the Greens happy). They can be whatever size you want, to fit different routes & times. From the present sized buses, to shuttle-type buses, to minivans, etc.
All that really needs to happen is to have dedicated bus lanes on all arterial routes so they move smoothly and on time. Set the price so nobody needs to mortgage their house to catch a bus.... and YES, they will need to be subsidised. Then Auckland is back on the road again! You're welcome!

apizap for transport minister! Great post, quite a simple solution, infinitely cheaper also easier and quicker to implement

13
up

NZ First didn't kill light rail.

Twyford allowing the process to be railroaded by an unsolicited bid killed it. It blew out from a credible upgrade to the bus network that plugged transport gaps in the South and North West to a massive metro system that was hugely overspecc'd.

Twyford has been promoted.

Add it to the list, I guess.

14
up

How does everything with Twyford's name on it fail so bad?

You sound like Statler & Waldorf commenting on Fozzie.

Under MMP NZrs are far too willing, or perhaps more so the media, to accuse government minority partners of being either the government’s poodle or the flea wagging the tail of the dog. Personally I think both NZF and The Maori party have fallen victim to that unfairness. I am not an Aucklander but from comment here, there seems to be a consensus that the light rail proposal was not viable. In which case both MMP and NZF should be applauded.

To be fair most of the consensus is from armchair critics who haven’t seen modern light rail working perfectly well on similar roads in other countries.

Did anyone have a viable alternative propulsion system for long-haul flight?

Did anyone ask?

Nup and Nup.

Small onboard nuclear reactors, or massive advancements in battery technology making them a lot smaller and lighter. So nup.

12
up

But of course - flying pigs , powered by KiwiBuild.

Engine failure = Bacon on the inflight menu?

we are already developing electric planes in NZ, and they re developing longer range planes overseas
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=12288098
https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/largest-electric-plane-yet-...

Short-haul, yes. Long-haul is a long way off yet.

Hydrogen is a good aviation fuel in large sizes. An A380 with about 1/3rd of it's internal volume in liquid hydrogen tanks could fly non-stop to england for similar cost to using kerosene (once dedicated hydrogen production facilities are built to utilise incredibly cheap middle eastern PV electricity).

We've got/ can make hydrogen. I'd rather that than nuclear.

Doesn't seem like theres going to be much long-haul flying in the near future anyway.

"We decided to go for the fuelled one because the electric plane is still very limited. You can't take it on cross country flights,"

sounds like its good for those non cross-country flights

Flux capacitor

Rail gun - lol

Good

WP has got my vote.

WP has got my vote.

29
up

I'm sorry but you cannot vote twice. That is not allowed in NZ.

Pretty sure everyone gets "two ticks" in NZ's voting system.

Yeah, I'm undecided on the merits of light rail here so am not too unhappy with it. Although I would reserve judgment till researching more of the pros and cons. However, I do think that Twyford and Nick Smith should form a consultancy together as a next life stage.

Given the increasingly incompetency across multiple level of NZ's private and public sectors, and the very rapid economic development in the East and South East Asian regions pivoting around the HongKong-Zhuhai-Macau Great Bay area, Yun Nan Province to Singapore high speed railway, and Hai Nan province free economic zone, NZ can only be seen from many current developing countries rear mirror in the next decade.

I am afraid that I do not see any decision makers in NZ with a horizon longer than 3 years.

Sigh~~~

To compare NZ with China/Asian on every issue must be very tiresome and stressful. Not good for your health.

That is a radical concept - Jacinda Ardern Prime Minister for Life. Then she won't have to waste her time with public relations or answering tricky questions. Fast implementation of light rail, it will be up and running to her doorstep. It is radical and has its advantages. There must be some objection that I can't quite put my finger on.

Then we'd have Emperor Xi, Sultan Erdogan, President Putin and - what title? - Empress Jacinda. What a world to look forward to.....

Not to mention more coal-powered power stations..

Can we get this commenter out of here? or at least allow down voting so we can all see how universally everything they say is disliked.

10
up

Once upon a time Auckland had a comprehensive Tram Network
Examine the following link and spend awhile contemplating what could have been

http://www.tundria.com/trams/NZL/Auckland-1950.shtml

They pulled it all up in the late 1950's for electric trolley buses which worked well
Then the lobbyists and the pushers of the diesel bus lobby seduced the local burghers
So they got rid of all the trolley buses and replaced them with diesel buses

Check the distance between Mt Roskill terminus and the Onehunga Terminus. The only infrastructure required was to link Mt Roskill to Onehunga and to extend the Onehunga line out to Mangere, about 5 clicks

A link along Tamaki Drive, to the East and across the water and we'd be set.

Same thing in Wellington

Excellent observation Puketepapa. Only this time it is most likely a vested interest in the electric Chinese buses they are currently importing. Its important to consider who this effects and I imagine those importers would want this project dead in the water. Is Winston doing favors?

A comparison between Labour's election promises and their delivery would paint a very sorry picture.
The gulf between promises and delivery will no doubt be rammed home by the Nats in the lead up to the election.

Yes. It's going to be a very interesting election and result. Just imagine how badly National will have had to have handled the whole process if it loses again? (And MMP is what they all have to work with!)

Helps to have fawning media sycophants in your pocket. 2014 Massey study showed journalists self identified as left wing at 5x rate of left:right wing vote in the election that year. If anything it has gotten worse since then

There are journalists in NZ???

Remember talking to an editor of an NZ business publication who said the hardest thing was finding graduates who didnt come out of University with the view that 'business is bad'.

NZ non governance continues to amaze:

1. No direct rail line to airport from biggest city
2. No decent railway system or light rail to service computer belt
3. pathetic 7 year delay in getting "permission" off RMA process to take water out of Waikato for biggest city.
4. Cannot provide guaranteed clean water as no nationalised provider.
5. Local government incentivised to raise consent fees because central government does not fund it directly from tax
6. No decent public health system capable of being directed by government (elected to govern, I thought?) so we have feeble operational control exhibited re CV19 quarantine and DHBs doing what they want and not what they are told.
7. Non public funded ambulance, fire service????
8. Quango city obstructing any attempt to do things DIRECTLY
9. Years of Maori consultation and PC language delaying modernisation.
10. utterly inadequate public sector building due to 1980's contracting out of direct labour force.
11. Super fund stated a year ago that they were looking for public sector infrastructure to invest in with their $50billion fund.
12. only country in OECD where you cannot sue for personal injury and ACC actively does its best not to pay people, using their own biased medical staff and building up a $40b fund that is doing sweet FA.
13. Government reviews everything except ACC.
14. Police Chief decides when to trial armed units and then stop it and Minister does nothing about this, nor comments on its lack of accountability to elected government who should make such decisions.
15. Slavish conformity to 20% GDP borrowing and refusal to let biggest city borrow more, so it has to cut services due to CV19 eating into revenue stream needed to provide services and hence directly contradicting gov attempts to prevent demand collapse in economy.

Rant over.

12. only country in OECD where you cannot sue for personal injury and ACC actively does its best not to pay people, using their own biased medical staff and building up a $40b fund that is doing sweet FA.

Yes, because private insurance companies are so much more willing to pay out for injuries. Oh wait, no they're not, and they're more wasteful too since they have to generate a profit for their owners, unlike ACC.

It's also well known that using lawyers to sue people for injuries makes the whole process cheaper and more equitable. Oh wait, that's not true either.

Tell that to people with severe head injuries who in UK will on average get $1m - 1.75m as a result of litigation where here they get earnings replacement and no compensation and lousy NHS provision.

What do you mean by lousy NHS provision? They stay in the ACC system, and ACC provides far better levels of equipment and support than the public health (MOH) system does. You're far better off ending up with a permanent disability as the result of some sort of accident than you are ending up in the same functional state as result of an illness or health condition from what I saw working in the disability equipment field in the past, and confirmed by my partner who works in the field currently.

Direct reference to acquired brain injury rehab, which I worked in for UK rehab Firm for 6 years.
Then in NZ I went to see the leading Firm in NZ, based in Henderson, Auckand, who told me from his 25 year experience, of all the cases he knows of where rehab support and ongoing support in community is parlous, esp in rural areas. WITH personal injury compensation the person injured has ability to buy best care, without it, not so.

Lanthanide, you may be correct on both accounts, but ACC still does not provide superior outcome for the people who had suffered an injury, other than forcing everyone to accept a predetermined small amount. This idea is very old and many Muslim countries still use it today: they price every part of your body (Including your whole life) then in case of injury you have to agree to get the money (to prevent the feuds and other troubles). It is good for the government as it is very easy and objective (as it focus on the injury and injured area as opposed to the more troubling question of who is at fault) and very cheap for government.

Closest flat, undeveloped land to the CBD is in West Auckland.
North Western motorway has the worst congestion in Auckland (IMHO).
NW motorway has no bus lane
Bus routing in West is useless.

Therefore:
A light rail line to the west makes much more sense to me than to Dominion Rd.

Hi Roger - NW resident here. Yes, total mess, hours of lost congestion a week with no progress on an alternative for the last three years.
Eventually central corridors will need to be upgraded as bus congestion and frequency renders them unusable.
But for now the North West is the place to start rolling out LRT and extending it to the Shore via SH18 and to the South West over time.
We're certainly not getting any exemption from the regional fuel tax for our troubles, are we?

And everybody knows traffic from northwest to city is and always has been rubbish. So don't buy in the northwest if you commute to the city, then bitch about it.

It hasn't 'always been rubbish'. I've lived there three years and it's an extra 5 - 10 minutes every six months. But I'll do you a deal: maybe start building some of these new housing developments in the nicer bits of the inner city and stop charging us the regional fuel tax, we'll stop complaining about bait-and-switch election policies and you can keep irony-posting under the name 'Pragmatist'.

Its always been rubbish, it got fractionally better for a while when the SH20 link opened up, but thats about it.

Not my problem to build housing for you, but since you seem to be a bit blind, there is plenty of housing being built nearer the city, the Roskill and Roskill south development, Onehunga & Tepapapa, Point England etc. And then there is a ton of smaller private infill developments going on everywhere. You chose to live at the ass-end of nowhere because it was cheap, now you bitch about the commuting costs. In fact, bitching seems to be all you ever do.

My most gracious apologies for pointing out the yawning gap between what this government has promised and what it has done. I'm sorry this is so troubling for you. But thanks for making this unnecessarily personal because you didn't have a point to offer beyond dismissing anything you apparently don't agree with.

scroll up sunshine, it was you that made it personal.

"because you didn't have a point to offer beyond dismissing anything you apparently don't agree with" oh, the irony.

Perhaps we need to heavily loosen up zoning too though to put more jobs closer to where people live. The concept of zoning and having everyone drive to a central city seems a bit arcane and (to channel PDK) wasting of energy.

Jobs are distributed around Ak already! That is why public transport in AK is useless.

Look at the picture at the top, to accommodate the extra 2 lanes of tram;
1) all car parking on the street is gone, though luck for the restaurants and businesses and their employees as no one can park to go to these premises
2) imagine this shot 1 minute earlier, when the tram was alongside the scooter (could be a bicycle) and add a few cars as well, looks very tight. Now add a minimum 1.5m wide island beside the tram for the passengers to embark/wait for/embark the tram at various tram stops.
I grew up in a city with trams, they're lovely, I used them a lot when I was younger, they eat up 10 to 12 m road width (including islands for passengers to embark/wait/disembark).

1.5m seems narrow. No shopping bags, etc?

The alternative is no parking because you need 24/7 bus lanes, and then insets from said bus lanes so they can stop without holding up all the other buses using the bus lanes. Not sure this is really preferable.

.

Precisely .
I like trams / trains and would have loved to see one running down Dominion Road where I happen to live - but it was crystal clear from the outset it was never going to work with the width of it and the needs of local traffic.
This was always a spurious election promise and was always going to have planning / design money and time wasted on it with nothing to show .

Before GV 27 gives me a piece of his mind - what I say above only relates to the particular Dom Road situation.
LR to the West may or may not make sense - I do not know enough about that . I do know that the COL is not capable of delivering it even if it did make sense though ..

Ahaha @paashass I'm not going to give you a 'piece of my mind' - the benefits of Light Rail over the existing road allocation and bus services projected against future traffic flows has been incredibly poorly communicated by NZTA. Hell, I can't even prove I'm right about it because of the total vacuum of information about the project to test my assumptions against - all I can go off is the initial proposal from AT from their three-branch central network, which seemed reasonably sound before NZTA got hold of it.

Thank goodness. An example of feather brained politicians making grandiose election promises without adequate or any hard headed research and analysis. God know we have had enough of those. What fools, you would think that they had more sense and realise that they will end up looking fools for either failing to deliver, or worse still, push through a project that is doomed to failure.
By now they could be well on the way to delivering a Puhinui Airport busway that could be upgraded later to a full rail link if needed.

'Hard headed research and analysis' suggested that you can't keep firing infinite buses down transport corridors, hence LRT on Dominion Road.

The initial LRT and North West proposals were sound. Then this weird obsession with serving the airport overtook what was meant to be a functional transport network that served areas that either currently have no PT or are close to hitting capacity.

"Then this weird obsession with serving the airport"

Nailed it. It was only done so the campaign slogan worked. Light Rail to Dominion Rd just didn't sound cool enough to sell.

Hard to see the logic in LR to serve the airport. This of course is just after the Waterview tunnel was built - which serves the airport.

The tunnel simply moves congestion to the airport gates, though. There is still a need for reducing this somehow. (Perhaps Adrian Littlewood's idea of rail or dedicated bus lane to the Onehunga station is a better idea?)

Suggesting that the subsequent proposal was not sound. Feather brained as I said.
LRT on Dominion Rd only - a totally different scale of proposal. But again has the case been adequately analysed?

Good call but probably not for the right reason - that being the death of consumer driven airline travel. Consumer led road travel will be the next to go, so highways should be next on the list.

Aviation is going to be revolutionised starting in 5-10 years. Regional jets up to 1-2000km will be replaced by autonomous vtol air taxis (electric up to a few 100km, hydrogen beyond that) that are cheaper per km, more flexible and faster point to point. Airports are going to shrink.
UK rail transport system costs $0.8/km/passenger. Autonomous air taxis can easily undercut that, and require minimal infrastructure to be built.

I hope not - drones are bad enough. The trouble with increased sky traffic is a complete loss of privacy, more noise pollution (noisy things them propellers), and total disruption of navigation for native birds. All of which could just as easily be avoided by LRT, once we get over the twin obsessions of a single primary city supported by individual car mania.

LRT is faster and greater capacity per hour (approx 25000 / hr) than cars (approx 10,000 / hr) see: https://www.torontoenvironment.org/campaigns/transit/LRTfaq

The whole airport - city link thing only makes sense as part of a loop and/or when there are lots of arrivals and departures. It's a shame to see the whole idea hijacked by short-sighted politicking.

Hmmm,
no Kiwibuild,
no reduction in immigration
no light rail
At least the government eradicated CV

. . . and even the eradication of CV is yet to be a certainty.

Eradication of ministerial responsibility is an achievement that belongs on the list.

Not really a startling of definitive statement as Winston - a Trump wannabe - is hopefully not going to be in government in three months time.

A lot of what the COL suggest isn't viable,but we need it.The Govt got to be prepared to take a hit every year on it.How can we move forward when we continually go backwards.
Build it and its there.
Won't be any worse that the Govt continually bailing out Air NZ.

Resurect TEAL and the Catalina Flying Boats for short-haul from Manukau Harbour to Mechanics Bay - joking of course - apparently there was also a proposal to cut a canal between the Manukau and Waitemata, through Otahuhu, and run ferries

I wonder if anybody has analysed the case for shifting the Airport?
They were about to spend a fortune adding an extra runway.
They were about to spend a fortune upgrading the terminal.
They were about to spend a fortune on a rail link
The runway is stuffed.
They are sitting on billions and billions of dollars worth of land in a central location.
Are there other places close to a railway or to where a railway can be easily built with sufficient vacant land adequate for an airport? The west? Cleevedon area? Some lateral thinking?
But of course the options would need to be carefully analysed.

Dargaville. It is flat. Move Auckland council and all the universities out there too and Auckland might be a pleasant place to live in once again.

Close to wherever you live Chris-M? You see that's the problem with airports, they're noisy, polluting and traffic inducing, nobody wants them near where they live, yet it's best within a 30 min commute to the CBD

I wonder if anybody has analysed the case for shifting Auckland?

Auckland cannot be shifted, it's the centre of the world, shift other cities, countries and planets around Auckland, it's much easier

If the congestion, lack of water and other costly deficiencies continue business will relocate to other districts, thus solving the problem. Auckland is on a path to becoming another Detroit.

I have heard Auckland is actually spelled Elysium.

If it was moved it would save the cost of skypath, a new tunnel replacing the bridge, an East-West motorway, light rail, moving the port, more water supplies, rebuild the waste water system, etc - add up those multiple $ billion and a decent new city is viable, maybe cheap. No need to move all of Auckland - just 25% of it and stop more growth - same billions are saved. Just a fight over where to build a modern 1million pop city. (Huntly??)

they have already done the base work for the second runway, all the earthworks were done years ago, it is just waiting for the next stage, you can see the outline on google maps

Electric VTOL makes it viable to shift the airport 100km from the city center (20min flight for maybe $20), eg to Firth of Thames. Equidistant to Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland. City Airports would no longer own the natural monopoly they do and their ability to charge big money to carriers would evaporate - and city residents might push them out of city due to their noise too.

This government is getting pretty good at failing to follow through on campaign promises.

same as the last government , hope we don't get another nine years of that happening then it will be two decades of nothing major being done

Instead of projects to solve the unsolvable. Why not government fund mega factories in the regions close to ports to convert our primary production into finished products on an internationally competitive scale. That we can sell to the world at a competitive price. Promote growth and employment in the regions and encourage population shift. Our obsession with promoting population growth in Auckland to enrich landowners and then the government borrowing the money to fix the problems it causes is madness.

"Our obsession with promoting population growth in Auckland" is also causing - who could Possibly have predicted this? - Water shortages......

No new water storage dams constructed since the 1970's. Half a million people added up until the early 90's. Then low and behold a water crisis. A pipeline is built with limited capacity/authority to take/treat water from the Waikato River. Another half a million people added from then up until now. A couple of years of less than average rainfall and low and behold another water crisis. Meanwhile, the land bankers of greater Auckland have made out like banditos. Everyone else gets a fat bill from Watercare each month to remind them of what a cluster fail this is.

The most frustrating thing is that we know how poorly planned and executed Auckland is in terms of its infrastructure, yet we continue to grow other cities in exactly the same fashion e.g. 2 lane roads, woeful public transport, inadequate utilities etc. What value do our councils actually provide?

Rail is no longer sensible - tech is overtaking it. EV's that can turn on computer control in tunnels are way more promising. $20million/km tunnels can exceed carrying capacity of an 8 lane motorway, that's tech that will be available within 5-10years. Then for a few billion dollars ($50-100/year per head of population in financing costs) we can solve congestion issues forever.

I don't see this happening rapidly in NZ with governments of any stripe. Recall National tried to cancel the Waterview tunnel...And now that NZ First have killed this off (which I'm not convinced is a bad thing), who is going to champion such innovative transport? NZ First will be too busy trying to rule over people's private sexual proclivities.

Innovative transport ??? Trams have been around for well over 100 years, don't let the "light rail" nomenclature fool you

So have cars. Does that make a Tesla old tech?

Would you define innovative transport as something having a larger space footprint per person per trip and more congestion?

Electric LRT or monorail - does mean a capex on rail gauge tho.. that's what is not talked about in this country, we used narrow rail gauge as a cost cutter and have been hamstrung on rolling stock for decades as a result..

Anybody who has lived in Auckland and used Dominion Rd would know immediately that light rail down the middle was absolutely laughable! Anything Twitford puts his name to is a joke! Voters should have the right to sue politicians for wasting OUR money on stupid ideas and/or not delivering on election promises. This is one of the many problems of our ridiculous MMP system - we have list MP's running the country and nobody gets to vote on their competency! Just an outrage!

Yet dominion road used to have trams on it in the 50s. I guess everyone had a good old laugh back then.

with one (or none) car per household, and most households on a quarter acre section it wasn't a problem. Things may have changed a bit since then.

It currently has bus lanes that are significantly wider than light rail lines. It also has an unnecessary median strip.

Com'on JJ, don't you think there were much, much, much, much much fewer cars in 1950 in Auckland?

Still about the same width weren’t they? I’m sure someone has worked out whether the current one lane of cars in each direction will still fit with light rail. Even if they didn’t there are plenty of other roads around!

Sorry JJ, I didn't realise you have never driven a car in Auckland

Yep I have driven a car (there isn’t really any other option). Have you ever taken a ride on light rail in Auckland?

No because there isn't any but I grew up in a city with trams, being Geneva (or light rail if you prefer the fancy word)

Calling modern LRT the same as trams is like comparing a EV to a model T. Yes, technically they belong in the same class, but trams and electric LRT are not in any way similar beyond this over simplistic classification.

Are we getting now our petrol tax refund please?

@ jimbojones: As others have commented you cannot compare the 1950's road usage to 2020! It maybe possible to fit Twitfords light rail into Dominion Rd but it would be at the expense of all the business owners, not just during the never ending construction phase but when finished all the street parking would be gone. In my book that would be totally unacceptable.

Wake up man, Auckland isn’t a small town anymore. We can’t keep protecting on street parking at all costs because people can’t be bothered walking a few metres to some side streets. In other countries business owners want to be near public transport, the land near public transport is the most valuable in the city. Do you honestly think we are that different? Britomart used to be the part of the city no one wanted to be in before the train station opened.
Without light rail Dominion road will need 24 hour bus lanes in the not too distant future anyway, 10,000 new houses in Mt Roskill and all that.