Auckland’s Transport Mega Projects – Part Two

Auckland‘s Transport Mega Projects

Part Two – A Comparison


And so the Prime Minister has announced around $10 BILLION worth of transport mega projects in Auckland for the next well I believe 30-years (at this rate). As soon as the news came out there was scenes of euphoria as well as hand wringing and maybe some blood-letting somewhere too.


In a three-part series I will be looking at this mega announcement for these mega projects from my view-point and what it means from my angle for Auckland


In Part One (this post) I will look at the actual announcement which entails what is on the plate for Auckland’s Transport


In Part Two I will make comparisons to Key’s announcement to my Auckland Plan submission made nearly three years ago. One could take it as pure coincidence or one could send an invoice to someone for this kind of stunt. In any case I will take a look at the comparisons as it left me rather shaking.


And in Part Three I am going to go tickle Dr Levy and Auckland Transport. Key threw down the challenge to bring the CRL forward to 2017 and in my opinion it is the right challenge. AT have had their ball off the rail game for too long now and I believe the term “tickle” might be a bit “polite” after AT was given a chance for help to get rail’s flagging fortunes around earlier this year.


Part Two – The Comparison – Coincidence or Not?


One thing about the blog and submissions is that it forms a record or rather paper trail of what you have said. In this case for the most part that trail goes back to 2010, although for the Eastern Highway I can trace that back to 2006. The other thing is that you have a centralised digital repository of your thoughts, ideas and commentary built up that you can use later on when a situation arises. That situation has now arisen – from the Prime Minister’s multi-billion transport package.

So the Prime Minister has made the announcements of what is being built for Auckland. You can see my commentary and initial reactions on it in “Auckland’s Transport Mega Projects – Part One.” What got me interested was upon reading up on the transport package I thought I have heard this somewhere before. And in fact I did, in the form of blog posts and submissions written WELL before the Prime Minister decided to pull a populist stunt and make his big splash on Friday (in Sky City of all places too – next to the Aotea Station site).

I drew up a comparison on Excel on what the Prime Minister proposed and what I “proposed” up to seven years ago (in some cases). Out of 16 “proposals” that I placed in my Auckland Plan Submission (under a three-tier priority scheme through to 2040), five have the go ahead with one that could have gone ahead being missed out for now. In effect though owing that I had some Council/AT only projects in there, if I were to remove those at the moment than of all the projects that would need Central Government “assistance” (so the BIG projects) then an effective bullseye on the lot.

Okay we have questions on the Botany and Airport Lines at the moment but something that can be worked out later.

The City Rail Link was an interesting one and something I am quietly relishing in the background. It could be a case of vindication against some particular individuals in regards to the CRL but I think it is a case of “saw it coming” miles before others did. I will draw further comment on the CRL in a moment but first that comparison table:

You will most likely need to download the PDF and zoom in to see it in full.

The green shaded boxes were the similarities between my submission or CRL commentary and what the Prime Minister announced on Friday. The orange highlights a possible missed opportunity that despite being Priority Three in my books could have been brought forward as Priority Two (2025).

From Page 48 of my Auckland Plan Submission (2011)

The Priority System

As resources and capital is scarce, a priority system is needed best allocate those scarce resources and capital to extend Auckland’s Transport System. This priority system in this submission will be brief with extended details provided in a separate submission to the Auckland Long Term Draft Plan.

 Priority One (To be completed by 2018)

  • Building of the Eastern Highway (to the Sub-Regional Standard Option as mentioned in Section 3.5 of the EASTDOR Final Report
  • Realigning the Westfield Diamond
  • Relocating or adding rail stations
  • Re allocating bus routes, improving bus feeder systems to rail stations or bus RTN systems
  • Feasibility Study of the Airport Rail Line including freight option
  • Starting the bus RTN roll out especially along State Highway 20, 20A and 20B
  • South-to-Manukau Rail Link Completion

Priority Two (To be completed by 2025)

  • Completion of Inner City Rail Link
  • Third Rail Line from Port to Papakura
  • Airport Rail Line (if deemed feasible)
  • SecondHarbour Crossing
  • South West Rail Line (if freight is still moving to Northland)
  • Rail Electrification to Hamilton (not mentioned or included in this submission)

Priority Three (To be completed by 2040 or optional)

  • Botany Rail Line
  • North Shore Rail Line
  • Upgrade Eastern Highway from Sub Regional Function option to full Regional Function option

This priority system was created in attempt to create an idea on how transportation projects should be rationalised and built over the next thirty years with scarce resources and capital. Priorities can change as the transportation needs change for Auckland. Through creating the basic outline of the Auckland Transportation Network over the next 30 years, and through more technical analysis in the Long Term Plan Submission, it is hoped that Auckland’s transport needs will not virtually bankrupt the city and allow the city to be known again for its affordability and economic progress. Also the Auckland Transport Network ideas outline is designed to complement the LADU system also mentioned in this submission. The LADU system proposed in this submission is to allow the submission’s goal to be realised and affordability plus economic progress not be strangled by DURT!


As for the City Rail Link and 2025 I wrote this post November 2012 when the CRL debate was running hot and I was pointing out Rail Fallacies that have plagued other rail mega projects

Me and The City Rail Link

Where I Stand on the City Rail Link


A couple of days ago I posted my stance on the City Rail Link, a position I have constantly held from the beginning when the CRL concept began prior to the 2010 Local Government elections. However the stance was posted at the bottom of another post about leaks. So make it clear and simple I shall repost my CRL stance here:


Me and the CRL


As part of my fundamentals for a Better Auckland:

An Integrated Approach to Transport: None of this “all for one but not the other approach” we get from both roading and Green lobbyists. Road and Mass Transit both have their places here in Auckland – albeit more balanced like the Generation Zero 50:50 campaign. This integrated approach also applies to many other things out there – I call it The Best of Both Worlds. This is my stance with the City Rail Link:


I support the City Rail Link being built but under a different time frame and development process than what the Mayor proposes.

The mayor proposes that the City Rail Link starts construction around 2015 with completion some 5.5 years later and all three stations built using public money (tax and rates).

I advocate the starting of construction of the City Rail Link in 2018 with completion around 2025 mark (if all three stations were built at once). Depending on construction resources and finances available at the time is whether I support all three stations (Aotea, K’ Rd and Newton) being built and opened at the same time (2025) or we go with a staged development starting with Aotea, then K’Road, then Newton with final completion around 2028-2030 if we went staged.

Why later and maybe staged? Simple: allow proper dialogue with the people and businesses of Auckland, allow proper planning, allow proper savings and getting our sick City finances back in order, allow for some remedial investment to happen on existing infrastructure, and to allow some time to gather the resources for this mega-project. Otherwise; go too fast and The Rail Fallacy shall apply and truly bankrupt the city!

Funding wise I believe we as a city can achieve a three-way split between the Council, Central Government and the private sector. Those new stations will attract urban development and investment around them so I am pondering on leasing out air and sky rights, as well as resident and commercial development within and on-top of the stations to help generate returns for the CRL. I am aware in Tokyo such a thing happens with large malls, office and/or residential towers built above the stations by the Rail Company, thus “operated” by the rail company, leased out to the private sector by the rail company, thus generate returns on investment for the rail company! So what we need to do is be rather savvy with the planning, discussion and funding of this critical mega project – something which this current council is not (savvy that is (the word stale being operative here).

That is where I stand unequivocally on the City Rail Link! If for some utter miracle everything including finances lines up and the city won’t be bankrupted then I can live with a 2015-2016 start date, but I somehow doubt that will happen knowing New Zealand…


Further posts (including future posts) on the CRL can be kept track of through the City Rail Link Debate category – which includes operating and timetable


So a case of making sure the finances are in correct order (which the PM alluded to on Friday) and owing to present circumstances making sure the rail patronage is where it should have been now and by 2017-8 if the mega project is to be brought forward. As for staging, seems that won’t be happening now with Central Government behind the entire project stumping up 50% of the cost

Again my Rail Efficiency Program which I continue to push needs to happen if Dr Levy of Auckland Transport has any show in getting those rail patronage figures at the 20 million mark by 2017 in order to bring the CRL forward.

Essentially though what I have been banging on about for the last three years (mainly in regards to rail) has been seen and realised by the PM and the Mayor through the announcement on Friday


Now does that mean the Mayor and Prime Minister consulted with me in advance? Nope they certainly have not nor would I expect them too if I am being blunt and honest here. However, while having one of your submissions line up with the Prime Minister’s announcement is a coincident, having the Big Five suddenly all line up including most of the time frames; who do I send the invoice to?

I know the Mayor has had three of the projects (CRL, AWHC and AMETI) mentioned in the Auckland Plan. However, the timings have been out to what has been announced. In saying that announced they have been and we have a very ecstatic mayor at the moment.

As for me? Well now that these projects are on the “books” it is time to focus on the next project. That is getting funding secured and projects executing like the CRL and Southern Motorway widening and brought forward as much as possible.

Meaning in regards to the CRL – getting those patronage figures to 20 million by 2017. A MASSIVE ask but it can be done. And this I will cover the final of this series:

In Part Three I am going to go tickle Dr Levy and Auckland Transport. Key threw down the challenge to bring the CRL forward to 2017 and in my opinion it is the right challenge. AT have had their ball off the rail game for too long now and I believe the term “tickle” might be a bit “polite” after AT was given a chance for help to get rail’s flagging fortunes around earlier this year.


20 million by 2017? GAME ON!


Talking Auckland: Blog of TotaRim Consultancy Limited

TotaRim Consultancy
Time to BRING The City Rail Link Forward to 2017/8

Auckland: 2013 – YOUR CITY, YOUR CALL