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CRL back in the spotlight

After a few months of relative silence, discussion about the City Rail Link has been sparked again by a handful of articles.

The most interesting item is that the Mayor has had PWC look into the criteria set by the government to enable a start earlier than the government’s suggestion of 2020 after what would effectively be another review in 2017. I am yet to see the actual report and that will hopefully be made public later this week however Radio NZ have reported on it.

A report for the Auckland Council by the consultant firm PWC says the Government should drop inappropriate targets for rail patronage and downtown employment, and back an early start to the $2.8 billion project if growth trends are on track.

The Government has said a start earlier than 2020 could happen only if rail patronage and city centre employment hit pre-determined targets. Mr Brown wants a start to the City Rail Link (CRL) late next year or in 2016.
The report says the Government based its targets on the City Centre Future Access Study, which had a much narrower scope than a full assessment of the viability of the CRL.

Mr Brown argues that new central city property developments unveiled along the rail tunnel route underline the need for a start earlier than agreed by the Government in July last year.

He told a transport conference on Monday the rail link will be needed before the patronage and employment targets can be met, and the Government should be more flexible.

“If we are on trend and on track, then why wait ’til 2021 to confirm that in fact there is a significant lift in public transport and train usage in our city. Why not just clear the decks and jump in behind the private sector with the type of investment they are making around the precinct properties.”

There seems to be a couple of issues at play. The government are saying that they don’t think the numbers stack up till closer to 2030 yet PWC seem to be saying that the numbers the government are using can only be reached if the CRL is already in place. I think it’s certainly possible – albeit it challenging – for us to reach the 20 million target but I think it’s extremely unlikely we will meet the employment one. The key reason for this is that there simply isn’t enough office space set to come on stream in the next few years to enable that employment growth. There are also other factors at play changing the market, for example there’s an increasing trend to converting some older offices to apartments.

Of course Gerry Brownlee has already dismissed the report.

Perhaps the project that will deliver the biggest single increase in office space also happens to be a project tied intimately to the CRL. Precinct Properties plan for the Downtown Shopping Mall involves building a large tower on the site with the CRL passing underneath it. Precinct are looking to start next year and that is one thing that will only add to the pressure to get on with at least the first section of the tunnel and at least getting it from Britomart, under the Customs St/Albert St intersection and to some point up Albert St. One of the benefits of Precinct’s plan is it no longer requires Auckland Transport to purchase the entire property for what would have likely been $70 million+. One reason that’s important is that while the purchase of the land is included in the project costs, the sale after the project has been completed isn’t subtracted in the economic criteria.

CRL Alignment

Other properties are being purchased though and the Herald reports that so far AT have spent $35 million on buying up properties along the route.

Properties worth $35 million have been bought to secure the route for Auckland’s proposed $2.86 billion City Rail Link.

Although it would not list them, Auckland Transport told the Herald it had bought 27 of 73 above-ground properties it needs to create entranceways to proposed underground stations and train lines along the 3.4km route from Britomart to Mt Eden. It also needs land for its major construction yard at Eden Terrace.

The Auckland Council-owned authority said the most expensive property it had bought was an empty site near Mt Eden Prison for just over $6 million.

It was bought “as an advance agreement with the final amount to be determined by the Land Valuation Tribunal”. The tribunal, under the Ministry of Justice, hears cases where buyers and sellers can’t agree on prices and terms.

I’m not sure how these things normally go but 27 properties seems like a decent number so far. Of course whenever we have the CRL come up we also get at least one councillor make a stupid comment and today was no exception with the prize going to Dick Quax.

Auckland councillor Dick Quax said it was wrong that properties were being bought before funding from the Government had been secured.

“We’re boxing ahead and we don’t have any money for it. It’s a silly thing to do,” he said.

In my view it would be sillier not purchase the properties as land values have continued to rise and by the time the government finally accepts the project and will likely to keep doing so. In fact even the government back when they were still opposing the project said it was worthwhile securing the route which means designating it and buying properties. It’s quite head in the sand stuff from Quax. It’s about as almost as silly as this tweet from Tau Henare yesterday suggesting that the CRL doesn’t do anything for West Auckland.

The last piece yesterday was this one on the council’s next long term plan (LTP).

Planning is under way to slash $2.8 billion of new spending at Auckland Council to control soaring debt and rates while pushing ahead with the $2.86 billion City Rail Link.

The fiscal shake-up will come at a cost to core council services, such as new libraries, swimming pools and playing fields, which face being pushed back or canned altogether.

An early start to electrification of rail to Pukekohe now appears highly unlikely and bus and ferry improvements could take a back seat to the rail link.

The Herald has obtained a copy of a confidential briefing by council officers to councillors, which outlines four scenarios for next year’s 10-year budget review.

The first two are based on updating the first 10-year budget and the second two are based on locking in rates at 3.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent over the next decade by cutting capital spending by $2 billion and $2.8 billion respectively.

Orsman seems to be trying to suggest that the CRL is solely responsible for the cuts to other areas of council spending however it has to be remembered that the council is only going to be covering about half of the costs of the project with the other half coming from the government. What the rest of the article does highlight is that the council are getting to a point where they are going to need to make some tough decisions on what projects they actually build. Carrying on trying to do everything simply isn’t possible so the council will need to prioritise what they do. This is something we’ve been saying for some time and is a basis to many of the things we advocate for including the CFN and walking and cycling.

One last comment from someone who spoke to Bill English on the subject recently

I was just at a function with Bill English. I had a bit of a chat to him in private about the CRL. His views on it:
“It will happen. Its just a matter of when”
“There is a bit of back and forth between the government and the Auckland council on who is going to pay what portion. Our argument is that the public as users should pay a little more, and the public through government taxes should pay a little less.”
“There are a number of milestones for starting the project that the council realise are just never going to be able to be met. So we are sitting down with them to work out a more reasonable structure for the whole project”
“Whether its 2016, 2017, or 2022, it’ll happen.”
He then asked me if i wanted it to go ahead. My reply:
“Absolutely. My vote this election will be decided based on it”
He didn’t seem to impressed and thats where we left our conversation

66 comments to CRL back in the spotlight

  • Jonty

    Regarding the transport targets, imagine if it had always been like that…
    Keith Holyoake: “No, we shall not build the Auckland Harbour Bridge until ferry patronage increases to 60 persons a day, and automobile journeys via Riverhead to North Shore township are more than 50 per week!”
    We all know that once it’s built the numbers will come. Why wait for the cost to increase in the meantime?

  • Ross Clark

    In terms of Britomart’s current capacity, I understand that:

    * The peak hour capacity is 10,500 incoming passengers (based on 20 trains per hour times 525 people per train, which would be quite a crowd).
    * This translates into 16,000 incoming pax per two-hour peak (in Wellington, with two incoming roads, we managed 11,000 per two-hour peak).
    * At the moment, Britomart is handling 6,500 incoming pax per each two-hour peak (am + pm), or 3.2m of the 11m passengers per year (another 3m per year during the rest of the day).

    However, any correction to the above would be welcome; I am trying to get back up to speed on this! :-)

    • Patrick R

      We were told by a Britomart manager a couple of weeks ago on visit there as part of the Intelligent Transport Systems conference that at the peaks that Britomart is at capacity for passengers, using a 11,500 figure.

    • Fred

      Don’t know how correct those numbers are but they miss the point CRL is needed more because the city centre can only handle a finite number of buses, rather than because nobody can get onto the train. CRL makes rail a far more attractive option and takes pressure off the rest of the network.

      • Waspman

        Personally I think we are near capacity now.

        Its not the volume of passengers so much as getting trains into and out of the platforms quickly and this is where we have problems. The current track set up of one in one out or two in, then delays leaving, then one or two out along 5 platforms is the choke point. Add to these problems is the none too insignificant blocking and delaying effect of the junction just outside the Britomart tunnel to Newmarket/East Auckland.

        Owing to the current order of slotting in services, some platforms cannot be accessed from one or the other tracks until another train leaves, even though there is an available platform. Its a real juggling act as is at the moment, just watch near or at peak any time. And any trains not exactly on time throws the whole equation out in a domino effect as there is virtually no fat in the timetabling to cope with delays.

        I’ve said this before but the government only agreed to the CRL on unachievable mega conditional criteria to buy votes.. They are the wrong government for this project.

        But I still worry that at this huge cost it will not be the panacea for most Auckland commuters especially in the vast majority of suburbs not serviced by trains. Having said that doing nothing with Britomart is definitely NOT an option either.

        • Ross Clark

          Which makes me wonder if there is scope to start running New Lynn-Otahuhu trains and vv, via Newmarket, in order to avoid putting more strain on Britomart, and to acknowledge that enough peak traffic is getting off at Newmarket anyway.

  • Patrick R

    I drove the Waikato expressway last week. It has clearly been built decades ahead of any need. There are so few vehicles and all the bridges have been built to enable it to be widened for the day that Hamilton has a population in the millions (assuming we are still driving to the same degree if this were to happen). It was like pictures of the 1920s Autobahn; a pair of widely separated two-lane roadways through empty countryside with very few distant vehicles.

    We are in the middle of a dairy boom, the Waikato is doing well yet truck volumes are flat, or at best mixed, some up some down, rail freight volumes are strongly up. Yet we are building m’ways there for the 2040s.

    Contrast to Auckland’s situation, the city is experiencing strong urbanisation, has been since the central city reached a low point in the early 90s. So 20 years of clearly accelerating economic activity based on urban economic activity, all modes have capacity issues. The m’ways are full to a point of inefficiency, at peaks buses and trains pass stops and stations too full to pick people up.

    Are we investing based on need or some other criteria?

  • Graeme

    Cutting funding to bus and ferry improvements does not make sense as buses and ferries will need to feed the new public transport network to connect to the CRL and rail stations.

    • bbc

      Where is anyone saying to cut funding to buses and ferries?

      • Graeme

        I quote from the NZ Herald article

        “An early start to electrification of rail to Pukekohe now appears highly unlikely and bus and ferry improvements could take a back seat to the rail link.”

        “At risk
        *New libraries and sports fields
        *Electrification of rail to Pukekohe
        *Spending on roads, buses, ferries”

        • mfwic

          At least they are finally trying to get their house in order before they take on a huge debt. They spent good money on flood lights for the soccer field by me that are only allowed to be used nine times a year. What a a waste!

        • That’s not a funding cut however, it’s just not increasing funding as much. If the government comes to the party we can increase funding for buses, ferry and rail at the same time, but otherwise we need to prioritise spending to the most efficient projects.

          • One thing that’s very concerning is that the bus improvements the article mentions could well be the network reorganisation that’s underway. There’s a cost to consultation and planning, and those things have not yet begun outside South Auckland AFAIK.

          • Patrick R

            That process is funded and all underway. It’s stupid road projects like Penlink, Mill Hill etc that I see slipping down the list. The pressure is really a result of gov only funding NZTA to do unnecessary motorway overbuilds that is creating this pressure.

  • George D

    Our argument is that the public as users should pay a little more, and the public through government taxes should pay a little less.”

    If this was a consistent argument, I could at least see the logic. But the Waikato Autobahn, BOP Hopper, Holiday Highway, and Intermission Gully will never pay for themselves, and their users are paying a small fraction. In the case of the last, it will cost $3b, with most of this coming from financing charges.

  • “Labour transport spokesman Phil Twyford said the Government’s targets were always going to be unachievable. If Labour won the election it “would start tunnelling immediately” and pay for it out of the national land transport fund.”

    Good to see the largest opposition party taking a stance on this. Maybe I’ve missed it before but this is the first time I’ve heard Labour make such clear statement of how it will do things differently with respect to this. I’m hoping this becomes an election talking point and a marker of the difference between a National-led versus Labour-led government.

    • Chris O

      I’ve always been under the impression that Labour and the Greens were in favour of starting the CRL sooner rather than later. I suspect its one of those items that the Greens would insist on in coalition talks, and its a fairly easy thing for Labour to agree to. Glad to see Phil Twyford back with the Transport portfolion – hopefully we’ll see fewer “making it easier to go on holiday” policy announcements from Labour going forward.

      The parties’ respective stances on transport spending will be a key factor in my vote, but I suspect I may be in the minority in terms of the national population.

    • David

      If people intend to vote in the upcoming election based on a sole issue like the support or not for the CRL as the person discussing the matter with Bill English suggested, then that’s a pretty stupid and ill informed way to make a decision on the future shape of our country. Whether you support CRL now or later or not at all, its only a regional issue for Auckland and while its construction may have an impact on overall economic factors for the country that impact will be minor. Imagine if everyone in the country based there vote solely on how the government of the day would deliver on local projects. Personally I would then base my vote on improved access to the Wairarapa with a road tunnel thru the rimutakas so the road is never closed and a road tunnel thru the manawatu gorge so that we always have one point of access. Stuff the rest of the country, and stuff Christchurch and its rebuild. Personally i’m not that stupid. But if Aucklanders want to be and vote on one issue, then all they will do is confirm the rest of the countries opinion of JAFAS.

      • Patrick R

        No, people voting for a party that understands the need and value of the CRL is not just voting for a project but for a world view that is forward focused, not based on last century’s thinking. It’s a bell-weather issue.

      • I’d agree that if the CRL is the sole determinate of an individual’s vote then that person is narrow-minded. I hope you didn’t read my post as advocating the same absolutist position reflected in the conversation with English mentioned above. I do feel though that it’s a clear difference between the two largest parties policy wise on transportation issues.

        Regarding your Auckland versus rest-of-the-country statements you’ve segued into, I don’t think anyone here is advocating funding the CRL by divesting in the regions and other city centres? The point is the CRL stacks up favourably on so many levels, in comparison to the business-as-usual emphasis on roads and motorways catering predominantly for private passenger vehicles.

        • Patrick R

          The CRL can easily be funded out of the NLTF if we were only to stop scouring the Auckland region for unnecessary, and unnecessarily over-built, motorway projects. We’re done here. All the next round of interchange and widening does is both incentivise more driving and starve our ability to fund the desperately needed alternatives. And simply shunt the bottleneck a few k’s down the road.

          The RoNS programme in fact starves both the cities of city-shaped projects and the regions of needed funding for local roads. Remember these are duplicate roads. And not only that they also duplicate the rail network in most instances. The better place for long distance freight.

      • Chris O

        Everyone has their own method of determining how the’re going to cast their vote. To me, the National governments continued funding of motorway projects we don’t need with money we don’t have suggests they are irresponsible economic stewards who make decisions based on poor or non-existent evidence.

    • obi

      “Labour transport spokesman Phil Twyford said the Government’s targets were always going to be unachievable. If Labour won the election it “would start tunnelling immediately” and pay for it out of the national land transport fund.”

      One minute they’re opposed to some minor RMA reforms. The next minute they’ve decided to discard the act altogether in favour of construction-by-dictate. It’d be nice if they tried to be just a little bit consistent.

      • Chris O

        Obi, it takes a very narrow and literal interpretation of Twyford’s statement to suggest that Labour would bypass the RMA processes to fast-track the process.Len Brown seems think the council would be ready to start construction in 2015 or 2016 if the funding were available. I imagine thats the timeline Twyford in anticipating. If the RMA consenting process does need to be accelerated, there’s always the Board of Inquiry approach which National has used at every opportunity to speed up its motorway projects.

        • obi

          Based on the consultation and consenting processes for P2W, Kapiti, and the Basin Reserve flyover, I think you’d really be pushing things to begin construction in 2016, even with a fast-track process. 2015?… no way. Twyford and Brown should be honest and admit that there will be three or four years worth of consultation and consenting on a project like the tunnel. Brown also needs to pull his finger out and tell us how he’ll fund Auckland’s contribution.

          I’m in favour of RMA reform and fast-tracking of pretty much all categories of national infrastructure projects. But some parties depict any sort of RMA reform as pillaging the environment.

          • They already have consent (subject to a few appeals). They decided to go for the traditional consent process rather than the fast tracked one.

          • mfwic

            Fast track is hardly any faster. It means everything is treated as an appeal to Court standards and the application takes twice as long to prepare. The traditional route filters out 95% of the issues with only a few things going the distance. The Unitary Plan is a case in point it will take double or triple the effort the traditioanl method took.

  • mfwic

    I think the Government is looking at this wrong. CRL is needed if the CBD is to have a future as anything other than a high density residential area. Rather than requiring a 25% employment growth they need to build CRL in the hope that it creates a 25% employment growth.

    • Chris O

      But only motorways generate growth! #logicaccordingtoNational

    • David

      So here’s a great idea, lets encourage 25% growth in the country outside Auckland, not just the CBD and encourage some of those big employers moving to the CBD to areas outside the CBD like Hamilton, Palmerston and other areas that can take the growth without requiring a 2.8billion investment. We could even throw a few hundred million at them to move, and still save billions!. Or maybe we increase central city rates to pay for the CRL as should happen, not overall rates, but central city only. If you want to base yourself there requiring the investment, you pay for it!. The locating of most of those big employers there is nothing more than a show off factor. TVNZ simply does not need to be in central city.

      • mfwic

        David clearly you didn’t drink the special cool-ade in the foyer of this blog.

        • pete g

          Yes the kool-aid of evidence.

          • David

            Very little evidence supports CRL other than as a local/regional transport item which the Mayor and city can not afford at the moment, so maybe Mayor Len should spend less money on reports trying to get government support and more time on working out how Auckland will fund it and getting Aucklanders to support it. I’m not sure given the option of less libraries and parks vs a pretty flash tunnel that a lot of Aucklanders will support CRL at the next election, however I am always keen to see the argument as to why someone in Christchurch, the West Coast, Whangarei, Gisborne or Wanganui should pay for it and see if you can convince them to vote for it as a major issue to New Zealand.

          • Patrick R

            David all transport projects are somewhere. They are all ‘local/regional’, you seem to believe that only a rail project in Auckland has spatial limits; that a road anyway is somehow everywhere? Bonkers.

            Aucklanders fund transport projects all over the country, that’s how we do it. And of course because of population more Auckland taxes and fuel taxes go out to the country than come the other way. As it should be. You have no argument.

          • As the economic hub of the country and the city with the greatest population by far, Auckland contributes bucket-loads to Government coffers. What affects Auckland affects the rest of New Zealand. I don’t think anyone on this blog is advocating divestment from other regions in order to pay for the CRL. The position taken is really that of diverting funding away from poor transportation decisions (generally motorways and car-centric infrastructure, which governments happily throw billions at) in favour of smart, efficient and effective public transport, cycling and walking. The CRL is a prime example of the preferred approach.

          • David

            Rubbish Patrick. Yes all roading projects just like rail projects exist somewhere, and all are regional/local to an extent, but regional projects that primarily are in one region, but benefit another with regional developemnt need to be treated at a Government level. CRL only benefits those users of it and has no benefits outside Auckland and it could be debated until the cows come home as to if it benefits the greater Auckland community. The simple reality is that I have never used rail in Auckland despite being a long term user of rail in Wellington. Personally I love it, but the reality is CRL will be of no benefit to me or encourage me to use it. Reality!. I live on the shore and there is no rail here, so to me its an extravagant waste of money. As for it being a bell weather indicator of a Government’s direction, again, rubbish, but you are entitled to your opinion and I respect you for that. I don’t have to agree with you. My opinion is that any Government that looks at the over good of the country is a a good Governement and CRL has nothing to do with that, in fact I would argue any Government that engages in buying votes by pushing a project forward like this at the expense of a lot of other initiatives like health, education and quality of life is not a good Government.

            As I see it, and I’m happy to look at other information, the main benefits are to increase the capacity of Britomart, and to make the trip quicker from out west. There is already a train from out west, but it will be quicker. That to me is a benefit to some, but not a national benefit, it means MR and MRS Westy get to work quicker by 20min? if they take the train. What benefit is that to the country, to someone in Gisborne? Answer me that one?. As for increasing the capacity of Britomart, yep, agree a thru station will do that, but a thru station to the shore would do that as well, so CRL is not the only answer to that one. Yep, rail to the shore might be a hell of a lot more expensive, but it would open up rail to new patronage. CRL will not do that, unless you are sayignt eh apartments on Hobson Street are new patronage. I don’t. Its only a 15min walk now to Britomart for them.

            A lot of the problems this country seem to be treating as major are not. Transport issues in Auckland, housing affordability in Auckland, the urban sprawl of Auckland are all being driven by the growth of Auckland at the expense of other regions. This is not healthy for the country so in many respects maybe the real solution is to not address them and eventually the market will figure what many already have an businesses will stop migrating to Auckland and migrate to the outlying areas.

          • Patrick R

            Sorry David, but tosh sir. A road in Southland I never use is of value to me if it meaningfully aids the economy and well being of my fellow countrymen there. Exactly the same as a train in Auckland for a home-bound Southlander. You need to take your mode-biased googles off. And all roads in Southland are half funded by us all, and the Statehighways 100% funded nationally.

            So although the CRL is a region wide project, as it is the key to a system that stretches from Swanson to Pukekohe, and one that no doubt will extend further in coming years, AC is only after the level of funding from central gov that a local road gets; 50%, rather than the equivalent level of a Statehighway that it more closely resembles.

            The CRL is a bargain to the tax payer, especially for those outside of Auckland, as Aucklanders being a third of the nation also pay a third of the national 50%, so really Auckland is paying some 67% of the CRL, but only 34% of Auckland motorway spending like Waterview.

            Much better value for money for rest of the nation to see Auckland unclogged with this project than to have to contribute more to a motorway programme that merely doubles down on autodependency and congestion in our biggest city and biggest economic engine.

          • A through station to the north shore would not increase capacity. Well it would add capacity to the north shore, but would do nothing for the existing network. The four existing lines would be exactly as constrained as they are today.

            The CRL is different as it links back to the existing network at both ends, meaning the existing lines link in and out of two ends instead of one. This allows it to more than double capacity over the whole network.

            Going from one track in and one out to two tracks in and two out doubles capacity, while running through increases it a little more. The current network is limited to 20 trains an hour, with the CRL that goes to 48.

            So the CRL allows us to go to trains every five minutes on four lines, right to the ends of the lines at Swanson, Papakura, Manukau and Onehunga (although the single track section would need duplication). It also allows the lines to run through from one side to the other, rather than stop in the middle, plus it speeds up the two main lines with a shorter route and of course adds three stations in the city and fringe putting the whole area within walking distance of a station.

            In short the CRL converts our legacy rail network into a four line metro system stretching to the edge of the region west, east and south. Combine that with the Northern busway and we have a very good regional rapid transit system.

          • Dave B (Wellington)

            If nationally-sourced funds are not supposed to pay for regionally-based transport projects (according to posts by David), then why at this moment is $88m of NZTA funds being spent on undergrounding 300m of State Highway 1 in front of the Wellington war memorial? And why, David, are you not strident in your opposition to NZTA funds being used for a very local flyover at the Basin Reserve, and in fact the whole Levin-Airport RoNS which is of little use to most Aucklanders? Some consistency please.

          • “So the CRL allows us to go to trains every five minutes on four lines, right to the ends of the lines at Swanson, Papakura, Manukau and Onehunga”

            Which would be silly, as outer areas don’t need the same capacity as inner areas. Like most networks internationally (and in Wellington), frequency should reduce the further out you go. Wellington has three tiers, but I would suggest two would be appropriate for Auckland.

          • It’s not about capacity so much service levels and wait time. Residents of outer suburbs ‘need’ just as much service as inner ones.

          • More people currently catch the train from the outer suburbs than they do from the inner ones. That will likely change with the CRL but there will still be a huge uplift in patronage demanding more service.

          • Nick R

            Also you do get some tiering with the overlap of lines, north of Puhinui would be twice the frequency of that to the south. Furthermore you’d probably see Pukekohe at half the frequency as Papakura, so there is three tiers.

            The main centres through to Manukau, Papakura and Henderson definitely deserve full frequency. I suppose you could cut some at Henderson, but the marginal saving of that would be pretty tiny. You might as well just run them all three stations more to the end of the line.

          • Henderson would be where I cut the frequency in half. 5 minutes to Henderson and 10 minutes to Swanson is ample.

          • Nick R

            Tell that to Matt who lives one station past Henderson!

          • Geoff I guess you have to balance that with the cost to to build extra platforms at Henderson to deal with the terminating trains and associated layover as they would need to be of the mainline compared to the fairly minor cost of extending those services another few KM any extra patronage that delivers.

      • conan

        Do share a plan that shows how this encouragement would work. You’d need to detail how you’d attract qualified people to live in Palmerston (North I presume?).

        Hamilton is already growing fast, it doesn’t really need any help in the area.

        In talking about raising central centre rates to pay for the CRL you are showing you don’t understand the benefits of the project which fall throughout the city and in the west in the main.

  • Kent Lundberg

    And people in Auckland don’t pay for motorways in towns we can’t even locate on a map?

  • mfwic

    You are joking right? They will make us pay double! First create a regional roads board and levy everyone to buy properties for regional roads in Auckland claiming you will buy them elsewhere later. Second build only roads in Auckland (Greenlane-Balmoral), third get rid of the regional roads board and transfer left over property into the Council whose area it is (Auckland) while flipping the bird to other ratepayers. Fourth get North Shore to pay for their busway. Finally amalgamate and reduce the Uniform General Charge so more rates are collected from higher priced properties so you can waste the $ regional wide. Make sure the people of Albany are only represented by dudes who live in Orewa so they cant influence anything.

    • David

      Don’t blame the “dudes from orewa” for Albanys problems. The “dudes from orewa” are doing sweet f/a to help this the Hibiscous coast as well and it seems they have an differnet agenda to the one the claimed during the last election as even though they claimed they supported penlink, when the local board asked for their support in person and writing, it was not forth coming. I would suggest the “dudes from orewa” probably need to milk there current term as they probably won’t get support for another one locally.

      • mfwic

        Even if they lose their seats the relative populations mean I will be represented by two others 25 km away in Orewa. FFS I live closer to Cameron Brewer! Clearly the only reason we were included in the super city was to pay for other people’s stuff.

        • David

          Dead right mfwic, that was why we were included and because the previous cities and regional council were dysfunctional just like this council is looking at times and all were trying to create there own little empires. In reality if they had functioned properly and the regional council had taken an overview and leadership role there would have been no need to create the supercity. All the talk of it being cheaper for ratepayers was just that, talk. I suspect the only reason there is no infighting at the moment is because they are all getting there pet projects funded and the debt is going up. wait until the budget starts getting cut and they start having to fight for funding in their areas.

        • Peter Nunns

          And where exactly do you think you were going to get the money to pay for Penlink? The project is expected to cost $250 million or so, which means that on a per-capita basis it would have been more expensive for the old Rodney District Council (~100,000 people) than the CRL will be for Auckland. If you were trying to scrape up the funds only from the folks out on the Whangaparoa Peninsula who would be the primary beneficiaries, forget about it.

          Face it: the only hope that Rodney had of building Penlink was for NZTA to pick up the tab – i.e. for a few lifestylers to get a massive gift from everyone south of Oteha Valley Rd – or to agglomerate with the rest of the Auckland region in the hopes of spreading the costs. And in the latter case, there’s the risk that your project gets outvoted on Council.

          Auckland’s had two elections on transport issues. The CRL won both times. It’s entirely sensible that the Council prioritises the project that Aucklanders want the most.

          • Nick R

            C’mon, penlink only costs about $40,000 per ratepayer on the peninsula. Just pop the bill in with the next rates invoice!

      • Fred

        Penlink is a stupid project though.

  • jonno1

    The key issue here is prioritisation of capital development. We Auckland ratepayers are already meeting $1m/day of interest costs which is not sustainable long-term. Just as households need to budget, so should council. Put simply, if the CRL is #1 priority then cut out something else. It’s not rocket science. So far Mayor Brown has failed to deliver on his share of funding sources so one can hardly blame the government for being cautious. And despite electioneering promises, we can be sure that this principle will apply to a future government of any hue. I can still recall Dr Cullen’s reluctance to fund double tracking, let alone electrification. It’s not a simple left vs right issue as some would have us believe.

    • TimR

      Two sides to project finance jonno, as I am sure you understand. Brown’s real problem is not the expenditure on the CRL – wise by any standard of common sense when compared with investing more in Auckland motorways – but rather the real issue of realist rate levies set as an election bribe, ahem, promise. Borrowing to offset unrealistic rates promises is stupidity, but probably advocated by PWC and other financial advisors. Future generations shouldn’t be excessively funding something that will benefit all ratepayers immediately upon completion, and which costs more on credit rather than cash.

      That’s not to say English and the national coffers should not chip in their fair share on time, just that tax payers of all kinds should not kid themselves that it costs money to run things that are for their benefit.

  • mfwic

    Does anyone know the source of this ? “One reason that’s important is that while the purchase of the land is included in the project costs, the sale after the project has been completed isn’t subtracted in the economic criteria.” For roads you most definitely dont do it that way, you cost the land required for the project. Even existing roads you dont need and can sell are a cost saving.

  • I have noted the comment from a conversation with Bill English. Expected from the Minister of Finance. I might get my own commentary up on it this afternoon

  • Sailor Boy

    I find it so laughable when other shorites whinge about having to be in the supercity, especially when half of the shore works outside of the shore.

  • […] picked up this remark from Transport Blog’s “CRL back in the spotlight” post this […]

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