Transport Accord Misses Fundamental Question #AKLPols

So how does it deal with growth moving south


The Minister of Transport, the Mayor, and Councillor Bill Cashmore released the final version of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project that lines up a common timetable to transport investment in Auckland for the next thirty years.


From the Office of the Mayor Len Brown

Auckland’s Transport Future Secured

Minister of Transport Simon Bridges and Mayor Len Brown have agreed how Auckland’s transport system should develop over the next 30 years by today signing the historic Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP).

ATAP was first suggested by the Mayor in early 2015 in response to government concerns over Auckland’s transport investment plans and since then they, along with government and council agencies, have been working through the detail.

“Getting all of the government and council parties onto the same page was crucial but we’ve done it and identified a strategic approach taking account of the expected increases in population and jobs between now and 2048,” says Mayor Brown.

“This level of planning and investment has never before been seen in Auckland but the speed with which growth is happening meant we needed to agree plans and investment now.”

ATAP  prioritises a programme of transport investments already familiar to most Aucklanders including the Northwestern Busway, mass transit on the isthmus, improved access to the airport, another Waitemata Harbour crossing and Penlink (see Note to Editors).

It also includes broad categories of investment such as transport for future residential development, improvements to, and better traffic management on, major arterials and better home-to-work transport options, particularly in the south and west.

“Importantly, ATAP has concluded that there needs to be a specific focus on road pricing,” says Len Brown. “To reduce congestion, Aucklanders need to make different choices about how to travel and at what time of day. Demand management is crucial to achieving this”.

“Road pricing offers Auckland a fairer means of funding transport than over-reliance on property rates.  Any revenue raised must go to improvements into the transport system.”

Cr Bill Cashmore who represented Auckland Council on ATAP alongside the Mayor says the package is expected to cost around $24 billion over the next decade, compared with around $20 billion expected to be available under current transport funding plans.

“The council and the government will now consider options to address the $4 billion gap ahead of the next round of statutory funding decisions in 2018, with agreement required by the middle of next year.”

Six agencies were involved in ATAP: Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, Ministry of Transport, NZ Transport Agency, State Services Commission and The Treasury.



ATAP has allocated the following indicative projects and timeframe:


  • Northwestern Busway (Westgate to Te Atatu)
  • Address bottlenecks on Western Ring Route (SH20 Dominion Rd to Queenstown Rd) and Southern Motorway (Papakura to Drury)
  • New or upgraded arterial roads to enable greenfield growth in priority areas
  • Protect routes and acquire land for greenfield networks
  • Complete SH16 to SH18 connection
  • Early Rail Development Plan priorities including electrification to Pukekohe
  • Upgraded eastern airport access (SH20B)
  • Investments to enable smarter pricing
  • Increased investment in Intelligent Network Management


  • Continued investment to enable greenfield growth
  • New strategic roads to Kumeu and Pukekohe
  • Implementation of mass transit on isthmus and then to the Airport
  • Bus improvements Airport – Manukau – Botany
  • Improved access to Port/Grafton Gully
  • Northwestern busway extensions
  • Improve connection between East-West link and East Tamaki
  • Penlink
  • Medium-term Rail Development Plan priorities


  • Continued investment to enable greenfield growth
  • Southern Motorway improvements south of Manukau
  • Southwest motorway (SH20) improvements and improved northern airport access
  • Northern motorway widening
  • Waitemata harbour crossing improvements, including mass transit upgrade of Northern Busway
  • Longer term Rail Development Plan priorities



The ATAP Report



One small but critical problem.


Auckland’s Centre of Gravity Moving South? Part 18 of the #TransformManukau Series

Challenging Geography Question posed


On Tuesday I caught up with Panuku Development Auckland team that is working on the Transform Manukau Project to receive an update after I had filed a Local Government Official Information Act request seen here: LGOIMA on Airport Rail, and #TransformManukau With Council.

I can not go into the answers that were given to the questions fully yet as Panuku have not cleared it for public distribution (happens early next year). That said I would like to send my thanks to Tim Watts and company for the meeting and the accompanying presentation. Very thorough and did answer the LGOIMA questions I had set out. My thanks to Panuku and look forward to the next update soon.


Manukau City Centre Source: Auckland Plan Implementation Update 2015
Manukau City Centre
Source: Auckland Plan Implementation Update 2015


Centre of Gravity moving south

One question that Panuku had raised and I picked on was the Centre of Gravity moving south. Currently the centre of gravity (the core of main economic activity) for Auckland is the main City Centre. However, four of the five large heavy industrial complexes are in Southern Auckland – which generate a fair amount of economic activity that is only going to expand in the future. A compounding factor or rather factors is that the Southern Auckland industrial centres are expanding and will continue to do so while at the same time the South is facing high population growth. Now combine this with increasing growth in the Waikato and Tauranga (part of the Golden Triangle) and the question does get asked: “Will Auckland’s Centre of Gravity move south?”


Right now I can not answer that question (not properly as a Geographer) and Panuku can not either without some major studies (by Panukau, and myself as a Geographer either individually or as part of a wider research team). However, through the continuing work of Transform Manukau so far the question did present itself and will needed to be look at very seriously.


Manukau economic output as of 2015 Source: HLPP - Panuku
Manukau economic output as of 2015
Source: HLPP – Panuku


Seriously as it has consequences to our planning and future investment dollars if the centre of gravity in Auckland does head to Southern Auckland and that shift is influenced by the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. If you were to ask me would the centre of gravity move south I would say yes. The reasons and geography behind however, is what I would need and would like to study.


Manukau Project area Source: Panuku Development Auckland
Manukau Project area
Source: Panuku Development Auckland



So we have a problem. The ATAP report predicts the centre of gravity for Auckland’s economic and population growth will be still the main City Centre and the Isthmus. However, as Panuku raised as a question, a question I have looked at (at a high level), and could be very well a PhD topic to flesh out the answer fully that gravity point looks to be shifting south.

In any case if and when the centre of gravity does move into Southern Auckland and spill over into the Waikato it will change the geography and planning dynamics of Auckland significantly. Hence the Auckland Transport Alignment Project might have very well jumped the gun five years too soon.