Presenting to Council Planning Committee (September 2018): The Auckland to Hamilton Corridor

Council needs to advocate not fob off


On Tuesday the Auckland Council Planning Committee will be discussing the Hamilton to Auckland Corridor (or Auckland to Hamilton Corridor) and what consequences it will have on Auckland (and the Waikato).

The opening to the Agenda item on the matter:

Planning Committee – 04 September 2018

Hamilton to Auckland Corridor Plan

File No.: CP2018/15341

Te take mō te pūrongo / Purpose of the report

  1. To inform the Planning Committee of the Hamilton to Auckland Corridor Plan and its governance arrangements.  To seek endorsement for Auckland Council’s ongoing participation as a partner in the project.

Whakarāpopototanga matua / Executive summary

  1. There are significant interdependencies between Auckland and the Waikato that cross local government boundaries. However, previous spatial planning along the Auckland to Hamilton corridor has largely been confined within these administrative boundaries.
  2. The Hamilton to Auckland Corridor Plan was initiated by central government. It aims to investigate opportunities to unlock and shape growth along the rail corridor between Auckland and Hamilton through an integrated corridor plan. It is essentially an integrated land use and transport plan that aims to unlock the potential to connect communities and provide access to jobs in Auckland and Waikato towns along the corridor.
  3. The project builds on the preferred settlement patterns in the Auckland Plan 2050 Development Strategy and Waikato Future Proof Strategy.  It aims to develop an ongoing integrated planning and development process for the corridor between local government, central government and iwi. This would help give effect to central government’s urban growth agenda by building a stronger partnership with local government.
  4. The corridor project is closely associated with our current growth-related projects in south Auckland and the development of an interim passenger rail service business case for Hamilton to Auckland (a separate project being led by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA). The interim rail option is envisioned as the beginning of a staged approach to implementing a longer-term regional rail solution.

Ngā tūtohunga / Recommendation/s

That the Planning Committee:

a)       endorse Auckland Council’s ongoing participation as a partner in the Hamilton to Auckland Corridor Plan project.

b)       endorse the Auckland Plan 2050 Development Strategy as the basis for staff input to the corridor plan.


Horopaki / Context

  1. The Hamilton to Auckland Corridor Plan (the project) was initiated by central government. It originally stemmed from calls from Waikato councils for investment in a commuter rail service between Hamilton and Auckland.
  2. During the election campaign the longer-term concept of commuter rail services between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga was discussed by the parties now in government. This was in response to the proposal by advocacy group Greater Auckland (see

  1. Central government wants to understand the potential wider growth benefits for and from such a service. It therefore initiated the corridor project to understand and capitalise on any such benefits. It should be noted that this project is separate from the related interim rail service business case project currently underway.
  2. This project is the initial focus for the spatial planning pillar of central government’s Urban Growth Agenda (UGA). The four other pillars of the UGA are transport pricing; urban planning; infrastructure funding and financing; and legislative reform.
  3. The project commenced earlier in the year with Auckland Council staff participation.

Terms of Reference

  1. The dual purpose of the project is to:
  • develop an integrated spatial plan for the corridor between Hamilton and Auckland
  • establish an ongoing growth management partnership for the transport corridor between Hamilton and Auckland.
  1. The three deliverables of the project are set out below:
  2. The primary focus of the project is the rail corridor between Auckland and Hamilton (five kilometres either side of the rail line as shown in Figure 1). The project study area extends from Mt. Wellington in the north to Hamilton in the south.  It stretches to Mt. Wellington because of the nature of the physical rail corridor and the employment opportunities the greater Mt. Wellington area provides, rather than the need for any new spatial planning in this area. The wider context also takes into account the impacts on Puhinui and Auckland Airport. In the south the project considers the impacts on Hamilton Airport, the Southern Links transport network and Cambridge.
  3. Through developing the corridor plan, the project aims to facilitate private sector investment along the corridor and use new planning and funding tools. These include targeted enhanced funding assistance rates, the Housing Infrastructure Fund and streamlined planning processes. The aim of this would be to ensure any transformational opportunities identified could be implemented.


Source: Auckland Council


The rather bad picture of the Corridor can be seen here:

Auckland to Hamilton Corridor
Source: Auckland Council

Yes the digestive tract, and Auckland taking a dump on the Waikato jokes have already been made on Twitter. Rather poor graphic from Auckland Council :/


So for the sake of the argument I will use the much better Greater Auckland graphic:

Regional Rail and population
Source: Greater Auckland


In any case I will be presenting on the Auckland to Hamilton Corridor and the wider Geography behind it.


The Powerpoint can be seen below:

Planning Committee Presentation September 2018


The Agenda here:


The presentation is based on a 2017 lecture I gave to the University of Waikato on inter-regional spatial planning on the Auckland to Hamilton corridor and subsequently updated as of June 2018 (mainly owing to a change of Government).

You can read the presentation and the wider Geographies of the corridor here: Urban Geography: The Ultimate Expression in Inter Regional Spatial Planning, Developments and Behaviours

The PDF version can be read here: Urban Geography_ The Ultimate Expression in Inter Regional Spatial Planning, Developments and Behaviours – Talking Southern Auckland



I note the Recommendations on the Council agenda for the Auckland to Hamilton Corridor are rather insipid although not surprising given the Committees current and past have tended to fob the issue off and treat it as a Waikato problem. This is despite (and as I’ll be presenting on) more and more residents living in the Waikato and working in Auckland (so the establishment of the Satellite) and freight traffic going both ways in large proportions given we sit in the Golden Triangle.

Given the Mayor and Council are our biggest advocates and the fact they have already annoyed Minister Twyford on residential matters (see: Government set to override Unitary Plan in bid to build more Auckland homes) Council might want to be a tad more proactive and maybe lead the work on inter-regional spatial planning. They did not with both versions of the Auckland Plan and certainly did not with the Unitary Plan. The Minister is getting cranky and has made it very public that a top down approach via Urban Development Authorities are on the cards if Council continues to be lacklustre. We need not reminding the recent Dominion Road development refusal was another piece of ammo handed to the Minister especially as the development sat on the upcoming Light Rail corridor.


In any case I am giving the presentation on Tuesday, I will provide the live stream link on the day!