Shortly Prime Minister John Key will be delivering his State of the Nation address at a luncheon being held by the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. It’s been widely expected that he’ll announce the government agreeing to start the main works on the City Rail Link in 2018 – in line with when the council/AT wanted to start them – instead of 2020 like they had announced when they supported the project in 2013. I’ll actually be at the event and trying my best to cover it live on social media so follow us twitter for the latest updates.
But it won’t be the only announcement with Key saying:
“As New Zealand’s largest city, our biggest commercial centre and the main gateway for international tourists, we all need Auckland to succeed.”
He said the Government was already putting billions of dollars into Auckland as it grew and he would highlight some of the priorities for the year ahead.
“It’s a speech that looks very heavily at infrastructure projects, not just in Auckland, but it does look at those issues and gives the Government perspective on next steps.”
“We are spending billions and billions of dollars as a Government on infrastructure. So the announcements we make tomorrow will ultimately mean the Government increases even further its expenditure on infrastructure. We are doing that because that infrastructure underpins the efficiency and competitiveness of our economy. We are not doing this because we need to stimulate the economy per se.”
Mr Key said housing in Auckland was a focus for the Government, but it was not the main issue of his speech. “We are saying we need to build more houses faster. It is our expectation the demand in Auckland is going to continue, that the growth in the Auckland population is going to continue and we just need to build a lot more houses between now and the next five to 10 years.”
It’s also been rumoured that he’ll make comments on the East-West Link, Additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing and Penlink. Further while he says housing won’t be a main issue of his speech I suspect that other aspects of infrastructure provision such as funding for water infrastructure that would enable more housing to be developed more quickly might be.
I imagine we’ll see media reports of the announcement coming in fairly quickly after the speech so the main purpose of this post is for somewhere to discuss what’s announced – I’ll have a more detailed analysis tomorrow.
Of course with the CRL getting so much attention it begs the question how many times will the media or some media commentator refer to it as a loop, suggest it’s just about trains going around in circles or that it’s just about Len Brown wanting a toy trainset.
Anyway it should be an interesting few hours. Keep an eye on our twitter account for the latest updates.