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PM John Key says Auckland will need another harbour crossing within 17 years and it should be a tunnel

PM John Key says Auckland will need another harbour crossing within 17 years and it should be a tunnel

Prime Minister John Key says Auckland will need a new Waitemata Harbour crossing sometime between 2025 and 2030 and that it should be a tunnel. Key also says Auckland's proposed city rail loop, which the government agreed to help fund this week, could be started before 2020 if demand for it is there.

In a speech to the Auckland Chamber of Commerce at the Sky City Convention Centre, Key said congestion on the Auckland Harbour Bridge was already a problem in the peak periods. Traffic forecasts indicated that, as the Auckland economy grew, this would increasingly spread throughout the working day.

"So a new harbour crossing is likely to be needed between 2025 and 2030. A new crossing will address the issues I have just mentioned and provide for the expected growth in Auckland’s population and economy," Key said.

"The Government agrees with the Auckland Council that the next crossing should be a tunnel."

"The first step in what will be a very long-term project is therefore to protect the route for the crossing, which we expect will occur before the end of the year once the details of the preferred alignment have been confirmed," said Key.

Meanwhile, Key said Auckland Transport’s City Centre Future Access Study last year had concluded that the forecast growth in demand for access to the city centre would best be met with a combination of the proposed $2.86 billion City Rail Link and substantial access upgrades for buses.

"I can tell you that the Government broadly agrees with that conclusion," said Key.

"We don’t, however, agree with the timeframes proposed in the report, which concluded that the City Rail Link needs to be in place by 2021. Given the scale of the project, this would effectively mean construction would need to start in two years’ time."

"So, as I indicated earlier this week, the Government is committing to a joint business plan for the City Rail Link with Auckland Council in 2017 and providing its share of funding for a construction start in 2020," added Key.

"And we will be prepared to consider an earlier start date if it becomes clear that Auckland’s CBD employment and rail patronage growth hit thresholds faster than current rates of growth suggest."

An earlier business plan could be triggered if two conditions were met.

"The first is if Auckland city centre employment increases by 25 per cent over current levels – that is half the increase predicted in the Future Access Study. And the second is that annual rail patronage is on track to hit 20 million trips well before 2020. But that is something we will discuss with Auckland Council," said Key.

"We will also need to address funding, including how project costs will be shared between the Government and the Council."

"In the meantime, the conclusions of the Future Access Study showed bus crowding and congestion coming into the CBD is a priority issue, and we will look to make funding available in the next government transport policy statement for projects to address this."

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said about 70% of the funding for the City Rail Link was now secured and work on options for the remaining funding, which he estimated at about $30 million a year, was underway. An additional harbour crossing would also be vital.

"I’m pleased that the government is backing the council’s preferred option of a tunnel, which will secure the option of a rail link to the North Shore," Brown said.

Read Key's full speech here.

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Stanley St to Stanley Point is the only viable option.
Property owners with waterfrontage on the east side of Shoal and Ngataringa Bays are going to get a shock!
Stanley Point itself should be safe with a tunnel coming up on the north side, as should Bayswater Peninsula.
It will make Devonport and Stanley Bay almost as close to town as Herne Bay and Parnell.  However, that proximity hasn't exactly helped Northcote Point as congestion on the bridge has kept prices there only a fraction of Herne Bay/Ponsonby.  Perhaps a walkway/cycleway on the bridge (like Sydney) could help too (at a fraction of the cost).  Maybe a railway to Albany attached under the bridge too, could also help!
There seem to be plenty of billions to throw around this week!

It's a long long time away, plenty of time for them to change their mind (after the election).  
I don't understand the idea of building a tunnel..  Sudney built their habour crossing tunnel, Brisbane built 3 tunnels to ease congestion.  All went into receivership.. don't they learn?  
Build a beautiful bridge..  FFS..

It is an interesting economic question:
All went into receivership.. don't they learn?
Similar to the Channel Tunnel between England and France.
But receivership or not, they still have their tunnels, are using them, and my guess is, wouldn't be without them. So the original business cases were off, clearly. But certainly in the UK's case, they are mostly now happy with a fixed and permanent link to Europe, even if the Ferry business did drop its prices drastically post tunnel.
So again, you raise a good point, and I'm not certain of the best answer; but at least money part wasted on real infrastructure can work, as long as it is not a real white elephant, or bridge to nowhere.

Time to start planning the Cook Strait tunnel too at around  $20-30 billion,  the Japs could have it done for us in a few years,easy peasy japaneasy. Other projects needed  to get NZ going gangbusters are  $30-40 billion for beefing up the RNZAF  with two F22 fighter/bomber  squadrons (cant rely on K Rudd s lot to help us anymore)  and $18 billiion for startup finance to allow massive expansion of dairy/milk powder in the South Island.

Stanley St to Stanley Point is the only viable option.
Exactly. Devonport is ripe for redevelopment and with the tunnel at Stanley point real progress can begin.
Four lane Lake Road and then all the way to the tunnel.
Sell off the Navys land holdings for the development of Highrise Apartments.( Navey can go to Whangarei as part of a regional development initiative)
Move all existing small primary schools to new the new Takapuna /Belmont Mega school and simply bus the children in on the new road network
aAll the former primary school land could then also go to high rise development.
The town could be concented for mixed use high rise development
Also parts of the golf course and other reclaimed land could go to high density development.
All in all we could get another 20-30,000 people, maybe more in Devonport which with the tunnel will all be inner city. It will be a bit like Potts Point in Sydney.
The people who like it the way it is, check with the people of Christchurch.

A motorway tunnel extending from Stanley St, rising on the north side of Stanley Point then built on the foreshore and trenched through the Bayswater Peninsula, then linking to Esmonde Rd would make the most sense.
1. It opens up Devonport, Belmont, Bayswater etc as central city suburbs.
2. It clears the bottleneck of Lake Road/Esmonde Road since there could be multiple exits from the new motorway to Devonport, Bayswater etc.
3. It reduces traffic in Spaghetti junction and in the CBD section of motorway as north bound Southern Motorway traffic bound for anywhere north of Takapuna would follow the current Stanley St exit.
4. It would split North Shore bound evening rush hour traffic onto new on-ramps east of the CBD.
5. It gives a better future route for North Shore rail as there would be no need to put a rail line from Brittomart across the Viaduct waterfront area to the Harbour Bridge.
6. It would allow 12 to 16 motorway lanes split across the two North Shore routes up to Esmonde Rd.  A tunnel on the bridge route could not produce that kind of access.
So at least 6 very good reasons for the Stanley Point Route ... which of course why the current proposed route is parallel to the bridge!!!

Chris J. 1-6. Excellent.

KH. 2.58. No, it's fatally flawed. Great logic, but only assuming BAU. Without BAU, it's obsolete thinking by default.
"It would split North Shore bound evening rush hour traffic"
By the time it gets built - if any of this stuff gets built - there will be no 'rush hour traffic'. What many folk seem to lack, is the ability to think in an integrated way. The failure is to shun the big picture, and to focus on comfort-zone minutiae - a pointless exercise. Same failure on Nat radio last night, re mining; committed by ALL of the panel.

True PDK. But it's like playing with toy trains isn't it.  Organising the toys are a great game.  Even if pointless.
As for assuming it will be built.  What about the rail loop.? Does anybody have good info when the map of the rail loop first appeared in the NZ Herald.  From my recollection as a very small boy it was about 1960.  Does anybody know exactly ???  Be fun to know. exactly.
That was another absorbing interest for a small boy.  Tracing out the route with my finger,  Working out if they got it right.  What a long time ago.
Anyway.  Chris J nailed the best option - in my opinion.

There seem to be plenty of billions to throw around this week!
Hmmm - plenty of talk about $billions to throw around in a very distant future - the opposition will concur with the threats, and once again we will be denied a pre-election debate on the potentially varied economic growth scenarios from electoral opponents - hence we can only look forward to discussions about tea cups and other such trivia. 

The wheels have come off the endless growth via expanding debt machine.
Progressives and conservatives have long shared a single agenda: growth.Growth increases prosperity and wealth, and this makes for contented voters who will keep voting for incumbents.
Rising interest rates are the final blow to this agenda, and the political and financial classes have no Plan B. They are floundering, clueless, bereft of historical context, creativity and courage. Their failure of imagination is total, complete and catastrophic:

Possibly Andrewj, but some seriously large impediments were placed on the QE paved road to ever greater debt fueled growth by BIS, the cental bankers' banker, Nonetheless, devotees of the status quo see business as usual until it's not.   Read more 
After all, cheap money makes it easier to borrow than to save, easier to spend than to tax, easier to remain the same than to change.

 It's all good, we'll just keep selling off our share of 10% pa earning assets, so Auckland can keep getting little pressies courtesy of John.

Lol sunset assets??? yeah because power companies really are a dying breed aren't they?, not much demand for power now days is there?
Yeah why earn 10% interest when you can keep spending money on Auckland, for roads, bridges, tunnels, railways.
There's nothing south of the Bombay hills is there? other than all the tax money supporting Auckland.

It's not free have to pay for the gear...and in due course, the ease with which solar users can be identified, will lead to them being subject to thieving taxes on solar consumption.
I think such a tax is policy for the pinky greens!

Bit early to start bribing the Auckland voters isn't John!

"Start"? he started the day he got in power, why the rest of NZ puts up with it, is what amazes me, is it the National Party or the Auckland party, it's hard to tell.

of course they could bring the dollar down by printing these billions.....print money and give it to the constructors rather than the banks...

then you get half a bridge (or tunnel) and half a train loop

I agree Vanderlei,  I think he will/would.  Mind you so far it is just words.  As my mother used to say "don't judge a person by what they say but by what they do.  Words are cheap"  But interestingly Key said on TV last night he would "just write a cheque". I think he has been told not use the "print" or "QE" word.

NZ isnt printing as the OCR isnt 0.25% ie we are not up against the zero trap bound.  If we did print right now it would,
a) likely cause a little bit say 3% (v the <1% we have now) created by actually putting money in ppls pockets, OK, maybe. The problem is controlling it.
b) Our dollar has dropped from 0.84 to 0.77 how far down you think it would go if we printed?
We dont actually have to print, we can borrow for 10 years at 3%....given we'd like inflation at 3%, that means we borrow for next to nothing with no long term inflation risks.

I'd prefer big-ass bridges.
It would look great next to casino-financed convention centre with firework being displayed.

Big Ass bridges... and fireworks. Both sound like Kim Dot Com sponsorship opportunities.

Q. Has anyone given an estimate of how much JK is offering for every Auckland vote in 2014?

And the great thing is that no government that he is a part of will ever have to find the cash!

Reminded me of interest free student loan scheme..

Hi CM,
May I remind you of the Student Loan Scheme and
Farmer subsidies, Accommodation benefit, WFF.
They are all the same except this one really is JK promising the moon with someone else having to stump up the cash.
Not on his watch,eh?
Boom! Boom! Basel

The speech kind of reminds me of those memorable broadcasts by Comical Ali (Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf) during the Iraq War,

Even more reasons to be in NZ. Talking to friends and colleauges there is a real feeling of prosperity here. John Key and National have certainly steered NZ through this global financial crisis successfully.
Now with these announcements and other opportunities like the huge potential of oil and gas there are certainly exciting times ahead.


Nice to see Key hasn't been totally wasting his time with all his propoganda, and that some people do actually believe it.

Ooops...let the cat out of the bag there Kimy...I can see English hitting the OE lot with a 15% surcharge tax on all the loot they blow while outside NZ...on the grounds that the loot would have attracted gst in NZ....haha.

Only if you think dumb luck is the same as skill. The Nats inherited a fisc that was as good as any in the world and had the good luck to suffer a massive natural disaster somewhere other than Auckland. We had to pay with 180-odd lives to get this economic windfall but we can project surpluses any day now if the rebuild ever starts. So now JK has the luxury of being able to swap assets returning over 10%p.a. for assets returning 3%.
Doesn't quite make it into my Top Ten list.

Pork Barrel Politics pure and simple. Dopey to sell assets that return 15%+ to fund projects that will be negative (subsidies and rates gouging forever). If Auckland must have Rail Loopies, let Them borrow the money.

Does anyone have an idea what proportion of total tax is paid by aucklanders? I'm guessing with a third of the population, a much bigger proportion of high income earners than most other parts of the country and a younger age demographic, Auckland cold be paying close to 50% of nzs tax. So why do non aucklanders get so upset when a bit of money is spent here?

Well they would be if we had Capital Gains Tax for all LOL! At least the rest of us then would not be lumped with higher interest rates to keep the mad masses under control.
Anyway to answer your question - we get upset because the taxs you pay are by profiting from our labour.  Think Fontera, TWH, M10 headoffices and extrapolate that over all industries. 
Keep your B taxs but dont expect our custom.

Why does Akl need to grow so dramatically? NZ strength is from our rural industries. It seems AKL is getting itself in a tizz just so we can support a housing and construction industry that after a busy 10 years will be saying - Ok now what can we convince the government that the city needs?
Democracy has many benefits but its ability to make the difficult decisions  is not one of them. Singapore had traffic issues - what did the "strong man" Lee Kwan Yue do? Made cars very expensive, put toll charges on the inner city and made public transport cheap and effective as well as making immigration very difficult. We had a show on TV last night where a proud Sth Korean lady was telling us of the sacrifices she has made so her children could live in NZ and get a good education. Very uplifting I am sure but did anyone ask how much tax her family were contributing to NZ with hubby working back in Korea. NZ so foolish luh!
The solution to AKL road issues is cheap and it doesn't require more roads.

Rural industries might be our strength but it is not enough on its own. No country that relies purely on aggriculture has ever done very well.  Aggriculture is already subsidised to the nth degree with low levels of tax being paid by farmers, drought payouts, irrigation, etc. If Auckland businesses were subsidised as much there would be public outcry!
I personally don't think Auckland needs this tunnel and people that choose to live on the shore do so knowing traffic is a problem. I would prefer the government spend this money on public transport. But it does get a bit tedious that whenever the government spends money in Auckland the rest of the country thinks they are subsidising us - maybe it is OUR tax money being spent in Auckland, not yours!

Days to the General Election: 21
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.