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First it was KiwiBuild, now it's Auckland's light rail that's looking increasingly shambolic; What's going on and how thin is that ice Transport Minister Phil Twyford is skating on?

First it was KiwiBuild, now it's Auckland's light rail that's looking increasingly shambolic; What's going on and how thin is that ice Transport Minister Phil Twyford is skating on?
Phil Twyford

By Jenée Tibshraeny

The Opposition’s latest attack phrase aimed at the Government is set to be one of its most potent yet.

It’s coined the proposed Auckland light rail project, spearheaded by Transport and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford, “KiwiBuild 2.0” - AKA a failure before lift-off.

Twyford’s blind ambition over the number of KiwiBuild houses he promised to deliver saw him lose his housing portfolio and contributed to Labour dipping in the polls.

Now, communications and papers from the former New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) board, leaked to Stuff reporter Thomas Coughlan, paint a picture of a shambolic process underpinning work on the city-to-airport light rail.

What’s more, concern over costs escalating by the day is seeing support for the project by NZ First waver.

Raising flags over taxpayers from regional New Zealand funding Auckland infrastructure plays well in to NZ First MP Shane Jones’ “Champion of the Regions” title. Meanwhile being a "moderating force" in government fits "brand NZ First". 

The thin ice Twyford was skating on, this week got thinner.

New Zealanders will be able to appreciate that solving the country’s housing and transport problems are complex and won’t happen overnight.

People voted for change from the previous government, which wasn’t taking enough action.

But over promising and under-delivering on not one, but possibly two, cornerstone policies could be too much to stomach for some come election 2020. 

So what’s going on?

Arrogance at worst, an unclear process at best

Conflict has stemmed from the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Canadian institutional investors, CDPQ Infra, in April 2018 giving the Government an unsolicited proposal detailing how they could deliver and operate “light rail” in Auckland.

Cabinet asked the NZTA, the entity tasked with leading the city-to-airport light rail project, to consider this proposal as well as other options.

This request didn’t bode well with the NZTA.  

According to Stuff, the interim chair of its board, Nick Rogers, wrote to other board members dismissing the Super Fund’s proposal as "vague" and "little more than an idea set out on six pages of power point presentation".

Twyford on Tuesday explained the NZTA failed to properly consider the Super Fund’s proposal, so the Ministry of Transport and Treasury have been tasked with considering proposals by both the NZTA and the Super Fund.

Twyford, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the NZTA’s new chair Brian Roache all came out saying NZTA had “dropped the ball”.

Twyford admitted this set the process back by six to eight months, but said there was no cost blowout, because a project hadn’t actually been decided on, let alone properly costed.

Urban development less of a priority  

The Government has always acknowledged the Super Fund’s bid looks different to the NZTA’s.

But a December 2018 version of the Super Fund’s proposal, obtained by Stuff, depicts the proposal as being more radical and thus more costly than the $6 billion earmarked for the project.

Including a tunnel under Queen St, elevated sections over Mt Eden, and automatic driverless trains, this version, which has reportedly been updated, looks more like heavy rail.

The Super Fund’s proposal is also said to be faster than the NZTA’s with fewer stops.

Details around what these proposals actually look like are under wraps for commercial reasons.

Asked whether he wanted to prioritise speed over urban renewal/intensification around train stops, Twyford said, “This has always been a transport project. It’s about delivering the mobility.”

The Ministry of Transport and Treasury are due to report back to the Government in February next year. Construction work is not expected to take place until 2021.

“I have confidence in the work NZTA is doing right now,” Twyford said.

Nats would cull Super Fund option

National Leader Simon Bridges didn’t miss the opportunity on Tuesday to have a go at the Government for what looks like a messy process.

“I think it’s going to be KiwiBuild 2.0… It’s a slow-moving economic train wreck,” Bridges (who's also a former transport minister) said.

He referenced sources in the transport industry who told him that part of the problem was that Twyford hadn’t been able to make up his mind about what he wanted.

“He’s gone between an urban regeneration project with lots of stops to mass rapid transport,” Bridges said.

“I think the NZ Infra proposal is a deeply cynical one… I think what they are effectively trying to do is get around good processes of a competitive tender and a business case that New Zealanders can see and assess for themselves.”

Bridges said that if National got into government at the next election, and a deal hadn’t been decided on, he would take the Super Fund option off the table.

He preferred heavy rail to the airport and making way for more buses.

More certainty the key  

While the Opposition can be criticised for barking at everything it sees, its “KiwiBuild 2.0” phrase has some bite.

Twyford didn’t follow officials’ advice on KiwiBuild. He had the right motives and dreamt big, but didn’t pay attention to detail.

We see the same thing with transport - a breakdown of communication between the NZTA and the Minister, and a lack of clear, transparent process.

Twyford can’t solve New Zealand’s long-standing housing and transport woes on his own. He needs to empower the experts who report to him, to do their best work.

He needs to be mindful of that “c-word” hampering business confidence. Without “certainty”, the top firms aren’t going to bid for government-led projects.

Twyford has been thrust back in the spotlight, along with light rail.

He needs to pull it off - if not for Auckland commuters, then for the rest of us who can expect to hear the “KiwiBuild 2.0” term pulled out again… and again… and again…

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It is the out of date political system that constantly puts incompetents into all levels of leadership roles.

Some weeks ago a few contributors here were likening a few MPs of this government to the muppets. To carry on in that vein, the counterpart to Fozzie, is quite clear cut isnt it!

Couldn't agree more xing.

How can a previous transport minister and current opposition leader come out with a moronic comment like this - He preferred heavy rail to the airport and making way for more buses.

Where are the buses going to fit in the city centre Soyman? Half the reason for light rail is the city is already jammed full of buses.

Lets hope he stays in opposition.

Do you have a better alternative political system XMW .... dont say communism .... or FPP (even though FPP allows the reigning party to make decisive policy)

Haha, I'll give you that one. Incompetence is universal to all political systems, you might come to understand that one day.

Twyford is so clueless its just not funny , the man is delusional


It is certainly true that our system of parliamentary democracy is messy and lots of not particularly competent people become ministers-like Tyford.
However,if the choice is between that and a repressive one party regime in which corruption is endemic, then I think most Kiwis will stick with the former.


KiwiBuild, Tax Reform and Auckland Rail where all election promises, not real promises. Stop bringing up the past and move on. It's very embarrassing to government when you keep reporting these things although they where specific and measurable goals at some point.


It's a bit sad really.
A man with some drive and energy, but also a man who is arrogant, buys into flawed ideology, and is not particularly intelligent.
Someone might also like to ask how his Auckland to Hamilton Spatial Plan is going. He had these ridiculous visions of new towns and cities supported by a high speed rail. Totally lala-land if you know anything about the geography and urban planning and development .


Indeed I kind of feel sorry for Twyford as he clearly lacks intelligence (both emotional and academic) and is a floundering embarrassment.

But unfortunately the Labour talent puddle is very shallow.

@Fritz you are right its very sad , that a high speed rail needs a Tokyo sized population to make it viable was seemingly lost on him , or never even entered his head .......

He preferred heavy rail to the airport and making way for more buses

SB first accuses the incumbents of being ill-advised and inept in their decision making. He then goes on to express his 'preference' which is a partial rail option first floated in the Key era.

Wow, we're screwed on both fronts!

Technically a partial rail option was first floated under Dove-Myer Robinson in the mid-1970s.

But otherwise totally agree.

Earlier than that even. There were rail suburb plans for Auckland immediately post WW2 and no doubt less formally in the Tram era of the early 1900s.


Nothing like Jacinda keeping on smiling when her COL have not delivered on anything .........


The only things they have done are :-
Confused , flummoxed and rattled the business and productive sector
Banned oil and gas
Banned foreign investment in housing (in the middle of a housing shortage)
Upset the farmers ........... endlessly
Scared the daylights out of anyone who has spent their working life accumulating a tiny bit of Capital
and slapped an unnecessary new tax on Auckland petrol

And the Greens promises were even worse , thankfully no one takes them seriously

Losers they are indeed


Yet miles better than the previous government.. go figure?


Would you like to back that statement up, or is your favourite colour red?

My life has improved since the last government were voted out...thats all the proof I need. Favourite colour blue and yours?

Damn, another beneficiary on government teat. When will it end?

Ha...yer nah self employed Stevo

No need to go after blue voting pensioners now.

@frazz just how has your life improved ?

Mine has been mostly unaffected , but my daughter who lives on the shore and works at Middlemore has seen a massive increase in the cost of getting to work and a 40% increase in rent .

Further to this , she and her housemates have had to move out of 2 rented houses in the past year ( they are in their 3rd house in 2 years ) because the Asian landlords have decided to renovate and sell up .

Worse still the 3 of them are paying just under $1,000 a week in rent , which is a massive increase of near 40% since Labour came to power.

My rent has barely gone up in the last three years. My commute cost has not increased at all.

The problems your daughter has experienced likely relate (apart from the fuel tax, a concession to protect whining ratepayers from rate rises) have been caused by National and Labour. Labour definitely needs to front up on immigration to slow down what National got in full flow. But National have only looked like they're promising to make those problems worse through increasing migration and getting rid of the Foreign Buyers Ban. Your daughter will be worse off.

She might consider moving nearer Middlemore? And take a longer fixed term.

Yes, I'm an investor and rents have gone up due to all the nutty rules this government has put in place and will put in place in the future.

It's funny how people expect a new government to fix the messes in 2 years that the last lot spent 9 years creating.


It's funny how people expect the government to stand by the concrete dates and figures that it gave in the election campaign. Very odd.

It's funny how people expect the government to have an actual plan for how they were going to deliver on the promises they made the election campaign.

Don't forget they also delivered a measles epidemic.

Yes they went out and gave people measles on purpose...also kidnapped babies.

On purpose or from pure incompetence? That has been the question for the last 2 years. For example, say you don't have a drivers licence, never drove before but decided to drive a 18 wheeler because you thought you could but crashed/killed people. You didn't do it on purpose, it was just from total incompetence, inexperience and being totally out of depth. Does this absolve you of murder?

Strange are you for complusary vacination then? Or driving 18 wheelers

Over what period were people under-vaccinated? What on earth would induce you to connect the longstanding vaccination problem with the government of the last two years?

Boatman, you missed the long winded Pike River entry, that 2 years down the track they have got the front door off and that’s all.
Total incompetents are this COL.

Well Pike River may happen yet , so its not as total fail as of now , but lets see what happens

They won’t get any anyone out, it is just a gravy train for the people working there.
It is an absolutely pointless exercise.
For what?.


Are you talking about the Pike River Entry that would NEVER have happened under the last lot,despite Keys's big promises?

You missed their biggie achievement - banning plastic bags.

Loving the new flag

The environment is loving know that thing outside your window you sometimes might look at.

To make one of the reusable shopping bags requires many times as much energy and material as the old style plastic bags. Until we reuse the new bags for about a year the environment is screwed and only when we all reuse them for about 2 years will the environment be significantly better off.

BTW this includes paper bags which are really quite bad for the environment and seldom ever get reused at all. If you have any respect for the environment do not use paper bags.

The plastic bag story also has a twist was so easy to get over the line because the 2 supermarket chains had already stopped using them, and they did not go along with the idea for altruistic reasons .

............ most importantly , those 2 supermarket chains were ever-so-keen to get rid on what was likely a billion dollar expense of buying plastic bags for customers .

That expense is now gone and its a massive boost to profits .............. have we seen food prices come down as a result of these savings ?

Secondly , the banning of single use plastic bags has had no effect on anything else packed in plastic.

40% of plastic made in Europe+USA, creating 2% of ocean plastic waste. 45% made in Asia creating 85% of ocean plastic waste. NZ plastic bags were irrelevant to environment, and switch away has lead to worse food hygiene and greater fossil fuel consumption.

Sure, all the cheap plastic was made in Asia.. but who was it made for??

And i'll need to see some data to back up that worse food hygiene statement and greater fossil fuel consumption statement, doesn't seem at all obvious it would have that effect.


Light rail was shaping up very nicely between AT and then NZTA. All this government had to do was make sure the money was there, then let the Transport Agency do it’s job and progress the thing. But somehow, astonishingly, they managed to stuff it up. Their incompetence knows no bounds. Not only can they not get their own initiatives to succeed, they can’t help but screw up projects that are already underway and tracking on well.

Labour needs to think harder about the candidates it selects - proven financial and managerial experience, ability to delivering results on time and budget is sorely missing from their lineup. They desperately need to eject dead wood and renew their caucus. Long periods in opposition is not helpful in improving or retaining the Ministerial competence knowledge-base for mentoring either.

The other thing Labour MP's could do is recognize their personal limitations and hire more top tier chiefs of staff from wherever they can find the talent (not just the ideologically pure/connected) to get stuff done - deferring to their judgement and relegating themselves as Ministers to operating as figureheads while the chiefs get on with the heavy lifting.

Suggestions now that airport rail will cost $6billion. But as anyone who follows western infrastructure projects knows the initial figure is always less than half the reality. So call it $12billion, that could be producing about $1.5million a day if invested. That is about equal to the current massive public transport subsidy (>50%) for Auckland. In UK rail costs $0.80/pax/km to run. So likely to need another $50-100k/day ongoing to cover costs too. In 3-5 years new vtol electric air taxis and autonomous taxis will be undercutting these costs and will get rapidly cheaper. We need to halt this project for the expensive white elephant it is right now, technology will soon provide cheaper faster and more flexible options.

The English are hopeless when it comes to housing and public transport. NZ should look towards Japan. Tokyo houses are cheaper than Aucklands and Wellingtons and their train companies make a profit!


It's a bit easier to fill trains in a country of 125 million people vs 5 million

The main reason their prices are cheaper is because they have had basically 25 years of very low house price inflation resulting from an economic crash and demographic headwinds. Meanwhile, little ole NZ has been the reverse. Economic robustness and demographic conditions favouring house price inflation.
My pick is we will hit Japanese conditions soon.

What you are saying is supply exceeds demand, which is one way of making prices cheaper, the other way of course is for supply to equal demand which the likes of Texas allow, and their housing is cheaper and of higher quality and prices are stable over time.

Japan are massive house builders. They build at a far higher rate than London etc. Tokyo itself is not in demographic decline. It is still growing in population. Building wise the growth is massive. A tripling of floor area in the last 50 years.

Yes true, but part of that is their dislike of 'second hand' housing hence their average house lifespan is only 35 years, less than half what it is in the USA.

But the point I was trying to make to Fritz, was that low steady as you go house prices are not solely because of low interest rates or decline in population or demographic changes, but are also happen in a growing economy when supply is allowed to meet demand without any regulatory hinderance.

NZ can look to japan for the World Cup ... we aren't likely to be able to emulate their transport

The west is no longer capable of building or maintaining infrastructure cost effectively. All the various regulations and interests (Cultural, Staff management, Health and Safety, Nimbys, Environmental etc etc) that must be appeased to do anything these days makes it forever unaffordable. We should accept that because we are not politically capable of reigning in the bureaucratic armies that have been created, and focus instead on finding technological work-arounds to circumvent the infrastructure choke-points - like tunneling or air taxis or autonomous cars that can work in with or complement existing infrastructure.

Electronic GPS congestion road pricing and car parking metering would be one technology which would go along way to solving our transport woes.

In 3-5 years new vtol electric air taxis and autonomous taxis will be undercutting these costs and will get rapidly cheaper.

That seems incredibly optimistic to me.

"In UK rail costs $0.80/pax/km to run" - this is light rail, not heavy rail. The running costs of light rail are significantly less than heavy rail - potentially less than the cost of running the buses it is replacing.
Also the 6 billion is for both the airport and the western line.


Its like this Jenee.

When you steering a big ship, to change direction it takes a long time to achieve this.

The challenges are many and include:

1. The shortage of quality tradespeople, which successive governments have ignored. Guess thats what you get when pen pushers make the decisions.

2. The large bubble in the real estate market, which no government can afford to pop. The reality is prices were inflated by speculative money coming in from China, and now very few first home buyers can afford to enter the market.

Inevitably prices have to come down, as second home buyers need to sell their properties to make that step and so on. While I dont agree on the government providing additional support to first home buyers, its a means to prop up the prices and keep the newer entrants from taking too much of a hair cut.

3. Land banksters have ring fenced growth cities, so this present government has brought in policies to encourage intensification. This includes legalisation to allow the state to take private land from these banksters(and subdivide it), who could otherwise shut shop and hold the economy to ransom.

4. The previous government sell off of social housing to their mates, in an attempt to declare a surplus. The present government is now building up the stock of rental accommodation for those that private landlords wont take.

Each new house (on average) takes about 1,500 man hours to complete, which is equivalent to 3/4 of a year for one person. It takes 3 to 4 years to have the training and skills to deliver a suitable tradesperson. While I havent checked the numbers, if you want additional 10,000 homes built, you need an additional 7,500 new tradespeople to come through the system. It takes an election cycle to do this. Pity the government doesnt explain it this way, so the masses understand the reality.

As for transportation, the previous government kept deferring Aucklands central city rail loop, because they were in the pocket of the oil companies. Urban sprawl is good for these oil companies, and under low density public transport doesnt work and they know it.

The current governments initiatives towards (electrified) public transport most be seen as a positive. Its just the National trolls, who seem to be in denial as to who caused much of the present transport congestion, that are making the noise. Maybe they work for the oil companies too!!

To follow your analogy of turning a big ship.... why people have had enough is Labour were elected on their promises of turning the big ship on a dime.... then they have subsequently tried to do so by grabbing hold of the rudder.

I agree the issues they need addressing are not easy. But Labour were elected cos they told us they had the solutions when they simply have a desire to fix the problems with no practical solutions on how to do so.

I'm 'making the noise' because I lose hundreds of hours a year to sitting in congestion going nowhere. It's an actual issue, and affects tens of thousands of people where I live. What sort of fantastical world do you live in when any scrutiny of a poorly-delivered, over-promised, completely-stagnant critical piece of infrastructure is just 'trolling'? There is a real economic and social cost to this incompetence, just because it doesn't affect you doesn't mean the people who are making noise don't have genuine cause for concern.

Both parties will stuff you up in that regard. National will only open the floodgates more to migration and foreign buyers. Your time in traffic will not reduce.

Probably, but this isn't about National at all. It's about what Labour promised and then fumbled repeatedly for two years. The fact that National exists doesn't give them an out for their shit performances. Defending them on the basis of "Well National is worse so whatever" sets such a pathetically low bar for this country. If that's all we expect, nothing will ever change, we'll just see more and more New Zealanders leaving a low-paying, expensive mess for good.

Agree. I'm not defending their under performance. Just pointing out that the alternative is not going to fix the problem but only make it worse. Problem is we're not scaring our politicians enough into actually pulling finger and getting things done (on both sides)...or they simply don't care and they are representing the needs of other folk and not the voters. On immigration, both parties seem to completely ignore the will of many Kiwis in favour of a short term sugar rush to make it look like we're getting GDP growth.

You're absolutely right on the consequences we get from this.

It's distressingly simple. Put the skids under Twyford, and who ya gonna sub in?

Who ya gonna call???

I think you are right. Serious talent deficit.

Most people’s knew that there was a total lack of talent in this coalition government.
Not their fault, just the way it is.
Absolutely no business success from any of them.
Winnie’s claim to fame, the Gold Card.
Eventually all of his voters will move on.

i agree with SB, the rail already runs to onehunga and puhinui
it makes more sense to join them up running through the airport
trams are ok running from the city up dominion road new north road great south road, they need to look back to see where the best way to run them were

Add a heavy rail link from New Lynn to Onehunga, then when they finally get the second harbour crossing sorted, heavy rail up to Albany and a north shore to west auckland link to Henderson or Ranui. Then poke a line from Manukau(ish) out to say Botany and loop it back into the existing rail at Panmure, and you've got a core heavy (& fast) rail network that covers quite a bit of Auckland.

that was the plan years ago, it was supposed to run alongside the motorway from onehunga to out west
and same with the second loop, but they have dithered and dallied and let houses built where they shouldn't so the cost now has blown out
so instead they are moving to light rail and bus as they are cheaper to set up

Cheap and slow.. yay. Such forward thinking leadership we have.. Oh well, at least the longer we wait the cheaper the tunneling machines will get right? Because we'll have no option but to go underground if we keep plonking houses and apartment blocks along the way. do it at street level, and actually connect the communities that a weird heavy rail route won't be able to do once you correct for curves, gradients and the fact tunneling will cost a huge amount more than any light rail system at street level would.

Which is fine if you just want to go a few kms down the road, but if you want to commute across Auckland like Boatmans' daughter, you won't want to spend 2 hrs each way on a tram or three that stops every 300m to pick up/put down passengers, and has to wait for traffic.
Core network of fast rail, fully grade seperated, then buses or if there is sufficient demand light rail for the local catchments. Integrated ticketing is an absolute must.

I think the fact you get 20 new stations with light rail for less than the price of 3 new stations for heavy rail is the difference. Light rail will give many more people decent public transport than heavy rail will.
The airport is not a particularly special station. Heathrow is not even in the top 50 most used stations on the London underground.

Lest we forget , there are almost 9,000,000 ( almost Nine Million) communters in Greater London ................... Auckland has just over 125, 000 users per 5 day working week making 2 trips a day .

London is 1,500 km2 in size

Auckland 1,100 km2

So while we are slightly smaller we have a mere 0.014 % of the numbers of Londoners using public transport

We simply cannot compare the 2 cities , let alone the Airport numbers

What's happened to Twyford's planned 'busting of the Auckland RUB'? This guy must get the gong for the most underperforming minister since another Minister of Housing called Phil was around...
Poisoned chalice?

I do not think that it is anything like the problem that KIwibuild is. With Kiwiibuild people have no homes and are forced to live in shocking conditions and many other young families have no hope of ever owning their own homes. We see the shocking effects of this deprivation and hope loss in every negative social statistic. Labours kiwibuild failure is absolutely. unforgivable. Traffic congestion and the associated frustration is nothing in comparison.
At the root of both is the cynical pumping of the economy with out of control immigration to keep our GDP growth in positive territory. GDP is at best a facile measure and manifestly does not reflect the worsening experience of our people. In all these matters Labour is as cynical, cruel and self serving as National.
Getting back to light rail, I would rather that they took some time and did the job properly and observed the old maxim of
PLAN ......................PLAN.............................................PLAN, do,act.
My own view is that the whole proposition of light rail to the airport may well not be the best answer as I have discussed previously, and I would also prefer that they made absolutely sure that they were adopting the best solution. I would fully forgive them if they said that on very close analysis another solution was better.

ChrisM, you can buy houses for $250k and less in NZ, how is that unaffordable??

Where, and are there any jobs there?

Christchurch? Certainly two bedroom units can be bought there for 250K.

Invercargill. Ashburton. Look for booming agricultural support towns.

Fritz, plenty of places.
Christchurch has property that is very affordable and plenty of money still to be made if you have the knowledge or someone that can guide you.
Opportunities are around in every single market and The reality is that the people who just sit around and moan and groan will not be taking advantage of the opportunities.
You will generally not become an instant millionaire with property, but providing you are prepared to do the work and buy property well,I can guarantee that you will get there eventually.

"Labours kiwibuild failure is absolutely unforgivable."
I could forgive them if the government did something big on housing. The Kiwibuild reset needed to acknowledge that mistakes were made with plan A and then introduce plan B. Instead Megan Woods just made plan A less accountable.
I think though like Key and English they have misjudged the economics and politics of the situation. Public sentiment is fast switching to them being 'too little too late' on housing, like their predecessors all the way back to Clark/Cullen.

@Brendon .........THERE WAS NO PLAN not plan A or plan B , or if there was a detailed documented plan or strategy document that clearly defined the problem, outlined the numbers , stated the desired or possible solutions , projected the costs and specified desired outcome ...............I never saw it .

And trust me I kept looking and waiting for that documented strat plan .

It was, to coin a phrase of the 1970's when contractors did estimates on the back of cigarette boxes , a thumb-suck, and 100,000 sounded like a good number , so it became policy .

Its called Delwishthink ............... a cross between delusional and wishful thinking

Is it only me who can see the venture capitalists are the prime cause of this? All that money looking for a return...lets convince a naive government that it really needs something, anything as long as it yields us 9% year on year....its not twyford its greed!

The correct term is vulture capitalists, and your on the money!!

A big part of the problem is the idea that the main purpose is rail to the airport. Its not , the airport will produce a small portion of the traffic. Mt Roskill etc providing the bulk.The airport is the cherry on the top, to sell the cake , and provide the gloss. That is why they chose light rail over heavy rail via South Auckland

that is so wrong, do you know how many people work on the airport oaks, thousands upon thousands, and many would love to get there by train and bus/bike /scooter, from all over auckland but it takes so long its not funny, and that is why this is massive congestion
its more than just the people that work at the terminal and passengers

Around 15,000 people, across more than 100 businesses, work in and around us. The wider airport precinct features a world-class business park, commercial office buildings, transport and logistics warehouses, hotels and leisure and recreation facilities.

"how to become a millionaire,start with a billion and buy a railroad"allowing for inflation that would now be" start with 10 billion and build a light railroad."

funny you say that
then why does warren buffet own a railroad, in fact one of the largest in the USA and makes money doing it

That is freight rail, across a large continent. Not much relevance to commuter rail within a city.

Freight rail works in the US simply because of the economics of it .

Buffet's rail investment is in the movement of massive quantities of produce (mostly food like wheat , corn and so on ) as well as ore , coal , bricks, cement, soda ash , oil and fuels , manufactures , motor vehicles , tyres , spare parts, timber ............. there is basically no alternative way to do this .

A road truck carries 30 tons and is expensive to run , a single train with say 3 locos can pull up to 250 wagons of 30 tones each ....... around 7,5000 tons ... its a no brainer

One problem i see with Rail is it's narrow gauge.

loaning money at 150% would be a quicker path to riches.annoying popup ad advertising loans from payday lender will loan you 3000 for 36 weeks,pay back 5000.

Its too late ........... building light rail has already been called for what it is....... KIWIBUILD 2

The light rail proposal is a political solution looking for a problem. Based on a social cost benefit analysis of the welfare benefits to NZ it is more than likely there are much better ways of spending $6 bn.

Implementing congestion tolling first would be far more beneficial and better support PT patronage whilst further delaying expensive roading infrastructure.

If the light rail proceeds no doubt the return the NZ Superfund will want will be substantially higher than the rate the NZ government could borrow at on the international market. Its simply a cross subsidization of the NZ Superfund by NZ transport users who already contribute to it as taxpayers.

Indeed. I was working just inside the congestion zone in London when it was first implemented in 2002, stunning success, in this country where drivers avoid a direct faster route because it costs $2 in tolls but offers a saving of $5 in petrol....