For a while I have been trying to get a copy of the Auckland Rail Development Programme (ARDP). While KiwiRail was unwilling to release it (familiar story) I was able to get a breakdown of its costs from NZTA, which I covered here. More recently I tried again to get a copy, this time from AT and I finally succeeded. You can have a read of the Programme here.

The ARDP is a joint indicative passenger/freight infrastructure plan for the Auckland Rail Network between Auckland Transport and KiwiRail for the next 30 years – 2016 – 2045. It builds on the 2006 Rail Development Plan which set out an aim of 16m passenger trips by 2016. Most of the upgrades in the original Rail Plan are now in place, including:

  1. 10m Peak Frequencies;
  2. Manukau Rail Link;
  3. Better Weekend/Off Peak Services;
  4. Electrification;
  5. Proposal of a City Rail Link;

The new Rail Programme is built off a forecast of 60 million rail trips by 2045 and essentially outlines the infrastructure needed to provide for this level of demand, alongside projected rail freight growth. Like ATAP (which it fed into), the key initiatives and service assumptions are split across three decades.

ARDP 2016 Service Assumptions

Decade 1 (2016-2025) – Programme of works includes:

  • Short Term Resilience works incl. currently deferred renewals – Includes more crossovers, 3rd electricity feed (west) infill signals, more sidings & electrification of sidings. 
  • Deliver an integrated network control centre (NRCC) – This is the Northern Rail Control Centre being delivered as part of the CRL;
  • Complete 3rd Main Wiri-Westfield – The Third Main Business case estimated this at $65m;
  • Implement 10min clock face and 15min off-peak timetable – The former needs the Third Main which was confirmed in the Third Main Business Case
  • Improve freight access at POAL, Wiri and Westfield – This also includes making all freight trains on the Auckland network ETCS L1 (European Train Control System) compliant increasing safety and maximising the potential of the signalling;
  • More efficient handling of longer freight shuttles;
  • Remove some level crossings (closure/grade separation) – Assumes 5 closures and 5 separations (In addition to Porters, Normanby & Newmarket Level Crossings), Decade one of ATAP identifies this costing around $203m; 
  • CRL works completed and services commence (March 2023);
  • Procure c.21 3-Car EMUs for growth & expand Strand stabling – 17 of these trains have been recently approved, and are IPEMU’s (Battery EMU’s) at a cost of $198m;
  • Rail patronage forecast around 30 million annual boardings by 2025;

Decade 2 (2026-2035) – Programme of works includes:

  • Electrify Pukekohe to Papakura by 2030 including a 4th electric feed – We know from the IPEMU Business Case now AT assumes by 2025 when batteries would need replacing;
  • Construct a 4th Main between Wiri and Westfield to de-conflict Westfield Junction (alternative to grade separation) including Otahuhu 4th and 5th Platforms – The Unredacted Third Main Business Case had this at $85 – 120m and indicated it may be best to build or at least parts of 4th Main at the same time;
  • Procure new EMUs for electrification and growth (c.21 x 3-car) – This is Tranche 2 of EMU’s in ATAP estimated at $210.2m
  • Additional stabling at Henderson and Pukekohe;
  • Northern concourse at Newmarket Station in addition to Park & Ride and Station enhancements – The Northern Concourse was confirmed in ATAP at $5m;
  • Complete level crossing programme – Assumes 10 closures and 13 separations (Includes between Papakura to Pukekohe), Decade 2 of ATAP identifies this costing around $382.3m; 
  • Rail patronage forecast to reach around 50 million annual boardings by 2035;
ARDP 2016 Overview 2016-2045

Decade 3 (2036-2045) – Programme of works includes:

  • ETCS L2 allowing an additional service from West to East required making use of full 24tph capacity of CRL – The 24tph feasible capacity was written about by Matt here;
  • Procure c.24 x3-car EMUs – This is Tranche 3 of EMU’s in ATAP estimated at $240.2m;
  • New maintenance facility and stabling at Henderson;
  • 4th Platform at Henderson – ATAP had this costing $12.2m;
  • Complete 3rd Main to Pukekohe – ATAP estimated this at $330.7m;
  • Complete 4th Main to Papakura – ATAP identified this as total of $338.9 with $144.8m for the Third Main and $194.1m for a Fourth Main;
  • Rail patronage forecast to reach around 60 million annual boardings by 2045;

The total cost the ARDP is around $3.5 billion, obviously excluding City Rail Link. These costs are broken down in the below table:

ARDP 2016 CAPEX

I am currently seeking more detailed information regarding ETCS L2 from KiwiRail such as cost and how they intend to apply it to the Auckland Rail Network. I am also seeking more clarification on exact plans for level crossings. We know level crossings will become increasingly a bigger problem as the frequency of both freight/passenger services grows:

ARDP 2016 Level Crossings

What information we do have regarding level crossings are:

  1. Newmarket Level Crossing Removal (Sarawia) was given consent and starts construction this year;
  2. Porters and Normanby level crossings will be addressed as part of the CRL;
  3. Paerata level crossing will be removed as part of the recent Crown Infrastructure Partners $600m announcement;
  4. Transport for Future Urban Growth South proposes the closure of Spartan and Manuroa level crossings with grade separation of Taka and Walters level crossings;
  5. A report by Aurecon regarding level crossing removal feasibility covered by Matt here;

My best guesses of the highest priority crossings to close or separate are:

  • Taka St (Separated);
  • Walters Rd (Separated);
  • Woodward Rd (Separated);
  • Morningside Drive (Separated);
  • George St (Closed as part of New North Rd Interchange);
  • Manuroa Rd (Closed);
  • Spartan Rd (Closed);

My major concern with the Programme is that it is based on the same modelling we know drastically underestimates PT patronage, particularly what I believe to really be low forecasts of the likely patronage post CRL. This will mean it is likely we will have to bring large parts of the Programme forward. Being able to adjust to the rate of growth will be important, particularly to avoid being caught out not having the infrastructure ready in anticipation of growth.

Actual vs Forecast

My other concern with the Programme is that it’s not clear when we will move to true all day rapid transit frequencies of 10 minutes, with most of the focus being on delivering 15 minute off-peak frequencies. Furthermore, it’s also largely silent on the impact and justification of expresses and intercity services, which themselves are almost certain to have major infrastructure requirements.

Overall though, it’s great to actually have a 30 year rail investment programme for Auckland. Now the Government just needs to get on and fund it.

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60 comments

  1. “Northern concourse at Newmarket Station in addition to Park & Ride and Station enhancements”

    They are planning Park and Ride at Newmarket? Only Britomart would be a more inappropriate station for Park and Ride I would have thought.

    1. its missing the words “elsewhere on the network” to make it obvious the second part is not also referring to the first part [Newmarket Station].

        1. They sure are separate.
          Check bottom of page 41/2 of the ARDP document linked to earlier.
          It lists the “station” improvement projects there under the “Stations and Interchanges” block. There are projects 3 listed.

          The PnR one is

          “Enhancements, capacity expansion and additional PnR as per ITP”

          On the next line it has:
          “Newmarket Northern Concourse”
          and under that “Papakure capacity expansion”.

          So all up 3 separate projects, and not one a PnR for Newmarket.

          So I just assume Harriet’s paraphrasing of the Decade 2 projects has created a link where there was none.

    1. Well yes that’s the huge and rather obvious missing part of this, isn’t it?

      It looks like a decent maintenance/upgrade plan based on zero expansion of the network, which would be ridiculous. It certainly falls a long way short of a credible 30 year rail investment programme for Auckland.

      1. Except that almost no one supports laying new lines anywhere in metro Auckland because there are so few places where it would make any sense at all.

    2. I think this is Kiwirail’s plan for the existing rail network (plus already under construction CRL). I imagine any funding and plans for North Shore rail would sit outside this and if it ends up being light rail then would be outside Kiwirail’s jurisdiction anyway.

  2. The thing I have noticed there is nothing about extending the line from Swanson through to Helensville . after they finish the CRT arn’t they able to fit a new cutter head on to the body of the TBM and then start boring a new tunnel next to the existing Waitakere tunnel and then double track all the way to Helensville and then turn the TBM around widen the existing tunnel so that the EMU’s can go through .
    The widening process would be similar to drilling through steel using the existing tunnel as a pilot hole and the TBM as the right size drill . Also they could start getting the right head as they should know by now what the ground conditions are all about which should save time and money

    1. All these small upgrade hurdles are minor compared to the $10.5B plan spend on RoNS, if we decided they are necessary. We have become accustomed to rail upgrades as like been a young child on no income scrimping and saving for his next toy.

    2. I was under the impression that TBMs were built effectively for single projects, with much of the equipment being designed to last for th lifetime of that particular bore. As such, I’m not sure how useful the CRL TBM would be once it has done its job.

      I also wonder what the cost:benefit equation would be of a twin track rebore of the Waitakere Tunnel, verses a new, more direct route (parallel to the SH16 perhaps?)

      1. The circular cutter head is the only part that neads to be replaced as each is designed for a single job , also they will have all the moulds for the concrete panels that line the tunnel which also can be used again without spending a fortune constructing new ones [its called recycling] otherwise they will end up at pacific steel and turn into rebar

        1. The circular cutter head that is about 95 % of the cost of a TBM.

          The contract for the Waterview TBM had it being returned to the manufacturer so I imagine all the useful bits are being recycled. If the CRL TBM were to be used for another project it would likely have to return to the manufacturer to fit a new cutting head anyway.

    3. David, trains to Huapai is already in the 2006-2016 Rail Development Plan, but they want everyone to forget that.

      Regarding the Waitakere tunnel, there’s not much hill above it, so it’s not worth constructing a new bore. Just daylight it and put both road and rail through the cutting. Cost can be shared with the roading budget.

    4. That TBM could be very useful to retain and be used with other rail tunneling projects. Apart from a possible Waitakere tunnel there is the proposed RRR Bombay Hills tunnels which could be just ready to start as the CRL tunneling operation is completed.

    5. A TBM is not a general purpose swiss army knife that can tunnel through anything you point it at.

      There are many types – see here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunnel_boring_machine

      Each is designed for the combinations of conditions the tunnel it is boring will face.

      Typically they are designed to last for the length of tunnel they have to build, no more.
      And are usually scrapped once that is tunnelled.

      In many cases the TBMs are considered so worthless they are entombed in a side chamber of the main tunnel they have just bored as their scrap value is usually less than the cost of getting it back out of the tunnel. Certainly some of the London Crossrail TBMs (of which there were 8 used at once), were disposed of like this.

      So for the Bombay hills or other tunnels, simply reusing the CRL [or any old second hand] TBM [without a lot of work to repurpose it] is likely not going to happen.

      In Alices case [the TBM that built Waterview tunnels] she was used for both tunnels as the ground conditions were the same, and she was designed to handle that length of tunneling when built.

      But once tunnelling completed she was then retrieved, dismantled for scrap and the pieces sent back to the manufacturer. For which the Government got $50m or so back for it [as per the contract] – that price no doubt was loaded onto the front end price anyway for Alice, so the Gov’t didn’t save much money by sending it back. They simply avoided the need to dump it somewhere.

      And yes I know Elon Musks The Boring Company is using a second hand TBM for their tunnels near SpaceX HQ, but he is experimenting with it, and working out how to make it work faster, not building miles of tunnels with it. So a used TBM for this makes perfect sense. And no doubt when he has fnished it will look like a Franken-TBM with all the do dads and stuff they’ve bolted on to it.

      1. Strange and rather contrary to ehat you say was a discussion on radio a few days ago that Alice had worked on three previous tunnels before coming to NZ and since completing tunneling work here was sold back to the manufacturer and is now in use on a project in China.
        It appears that repurposing TBMs is common.

        1. As what I said earlier there are/have been items on youtube and sky about what happens to old TBM”s in there afterlife . When they did the Chunnel they left 2 [I think] buryed under the English Channel , but when Downer completed the Vector tunnel they pulled the TBM out in pieces through the shaft at Newmarket just up the track from the station [going Sth] , the only thing they had to was reduce the size of the circular cutter head

          1. Either way we get to the same point, the cost of getting a new cutting head for a TBM and just getting a new TBM are very similar, they are not just a free resource to be used on other projects that might not otherwise stack up.

            If this were possible then surely we would be using the TBM from the Kaimai tunnel in the 1970s for all sorts of rail tunnel projects around the country.

  3. Once again they’re ignoring the two elephants in the room – POAL and Northport [POT too as well]

    Because what happens to these first two ports [especially if POAL operations move out of the CBD to a new facility as is proposed, and/or some or all of the cargos POAL handles now, like 2nd hand cars are moved to Northport or POT] in the next 30 years will dictate a large part of what can and needs to be achieved.

    And once again they’re massively undercooking the patronage numbers by I’d estimate, 50%, over the next 30 years.

    We should be planning to deliver 100+ million passengers trips by 2045 using the current rights of way. In addition to the freight movements.

    Anything less will be simply poor PT planning.

    We’ve had more than enough of that in the past decades, and we don’t need any repeat doses of that “medicine” thank you very much.

    Yes, we did get to 16 million passengers by 2016, but that wasn’t due to any real help from central Gov’t as they dragged the chains on the electrification and new trains out to such an extent it looked like no new trains would be in place by 2016. Let alone having time to grow to patronage once they entered service.

    As it was it was only 2 and half years [at best] before the end of that 2016 decade that the EMUs actually went into revenue service. A real scramble to get there.

    But look at the results in patronage growth over that short time.

    To assume we’d only manage to grow patronage by a further 15 million a decade for the coming 3 decades is pretty laughable. Given what we know is coming down the pipeline.

    And of course, the Auckland population growth projections used so far are a total joke, so the only way to get ahead is to build more than you think you need and that might barely keep up.

    After all that what RoNS 2.0 proposes – building 4 lane roads, years, in some cases, decades, ahead of demand, so why aren’t KR, AT and NZTA planning doing that for the rails too?

    1. If these are now first decade projects then with the 4th main is it likely to be started at same time as third main? When you look at the Middlemore to Puhinui existing rail path then its easy to see the third main in situ as the trackbed exists most of the way and the OLE support poles are set back sufficiently to ease installation of the electric wires. All overbridges look good too for the additional main on up side.
      Not so with 4th main on down side, there is almost zero track infra so its building from nothing and many bridges may need reworking.
      To have the two mains finished in first decade I think the 3rd needs started now 2017 with 4th shortly after Middlemore station is rebuilt 2018

  4. 60m by 2045 is laughable. I truly expect that we could achieve that by 2030 just by electrifying to Pukekohe, building an airport line (from Puhinui for transfers), building AMETI, finishing CRL and going to all day ten minute frequencies.

    We would achieve 60 million in 2030 even if only one in every 20 people took a return journey on the rail network each weekday and half of that many on the weekends.

  5. The third main should be built concurrently with the forth main and the electrification to Pukekohe.

    Given the rates of increase extending all platforms to a nine car length and a new depot for 6 car trains as the anticipated 2nd tranche and beyond purchases seems sensible.

    Effectively moving all of the spend into the first decade and then deciding what else needs to be done.

    Who will wear the blame for crush injuries in the current operating arrangements?

  6. Wonder what the Neilson St Platform really means? Given they have just lowered the road bridge there. Also remembering LRT station likely to be over top or as near to the station as possible? I thought the HR station would be moved east alongside the straight Princess St.

  7. I’ve been to the Transport Summit held today at Te Papa, and all the major parties were well represented there: Labour, National, NZ First, Greens and ACT. No TOP, Maori Party or United Future. I thought it was actually a well-attended and useful opportunity to hear the party spokes-people on their party’s policies.

    Most of them spoke quite well, possibly with the exception of ACT’s Seymour, who spoiled his presentation by being a bit of a dick at times, always trying to get a knife into the Greens, but otherwise he spoke reasonably coherently.

    National’s pitch really did seem a bit stale to me, despite the majority of the audience being National oriented (judged by the votes from delegates before hand).

    Denis O’Rorke from NZ First spoke comprehensively, evidently understands the issues well, and actually has a lot in common with the policies of Labour and Greens.

    Really useful discussions from both Labour and Greens, with them both agreeing quite a lot, both of them promoting Rapid Regional Rail from Auckland to Hamilton and Tauranga, and Julie-Anne Genter definitely taking the cake as best speaker, most impassioned speaker, and speaker who really did know what she is talking about. No bitchy comments from anyone really except Seymour, who is possibly feeling threatened as they will prob always only have 1 seat max.

    Despite a pro-Nat audience at the start, I got a strong impression that a lot of the delegates there were getting more inclined to lean towards the fresher policies of Labour, and greater respect for Genter. Strong support for Rail from Red/Green and NZF – none really from Nats, and negative support from ACT.

    There is going to be a similar discussion on Housing, at the School of Arch in Wellington, 7 Sept. Should be interesting!

      1. Guy, it is interesting to note that both Julie Anne Genter and Denis O’Rorke spoke at The Campaign for Better Transport’s meeting here in Mount Eden this very same evening, so they have indeed, had a very busy day.
        A representative from from each of 6 political parties had the opportunity outline their transport policies. Phil Twyford spoke well for Labour but the National candidate’s comments rather lacked relevance and she performed poorly.

    1. “TOP, Maori Party or United Future.” There’s a good chance none of them will exist after the election. Certainly TOP is only sitting on 2% before Morgan’s lipstick comment which will lose them votes. UF are history now Dunne has retired. Maori party only if they win a seat. Even ACT would be gone if National stood a candidate in Epsom but they feel there’s a better chance of a bonus seat being won by ACT and preferable for ACT to spend on a candidate instead.

  8. Why are the costs for level crossings in the Auckland Rail Development Programme? Surely they are used by more automobiles than trains. Put them in the road budget where there is plenty of cash. And why wait a decade or two – if it was in the road budget it could be started tomorrow.

    And if the road lobby makes an argument about who pays for level crossings just park an engine in the middle..

    1. I’ve always wondered that too, the railway has absolute right of way at any roading intersection. The improvements from separation mainly flow to the roadway and it should be that budget they are funded from.

      1. Except in some cases they impact upon rail operations more than traffic. Sarawia St for example, it’s almost no impact on the tiny amounts of traffic, but it does create problems for high frequency trains.

    2. Exactly, level crossings are a non-issue to rail. Trains have right of way, and contrary to some claims, they do not slow down for level crossings, and elimination of them will not make the trains go faster. It’s a roading issue, and if the roading authorities want grade separation, let them fund and plan it.

  9. Reading this comes as cold comfort and confirms to me that our transport fraternity are too busy looking ahead rather than dealing with the current situation.

    It is beyond unacceptable that we still have 3-car sets rolling up and down the western line. This morning a 3-car set turned up in the spot of a 6-car set. The result is exactly what you’d expect – absolute chaos. A Japanese style rail cram, people left on the platform and a train that was 10 minutes late by the time it reached Grafton.

    Trains have been late the last two nights and this morning some idiot got into the Britomart tunnel delaying outgoing trains.

    Yet the transport lobby has it’s eyes on fantasy future projects whilst Rome burns. The signaling system is aging, there aren’t enough carriages and nobody has fixed the dwell time issue. I come on here time after time stating AT has no leadership and this is the latest example in an ever growing list.

    Lower your sights and fix the current system before indulging on crap like this.

    1. Great plan, we sit around and do nothing until your list of grievances are appeased? You realise that they voted this month to order the new trains already? Shall we just stop and wait until they are delivered then?

      1. A typical response from one of this blog’s most limited contributors.

        You need to walk before you can run. If the current mob can’t run the current system competently they are no hope of running a larger system. The extra trains should have been ordered months ago and if it’s a funding issue that tells you how well this department is financially managed.

        Expanding the system beyond the capability of the people who run it will only end in disaster.

    2. Most people are able to both plan for the future and sort out today’s issues. I manage to both feed my daughter and go and buy groceries for the next week all in the same morning.

      Not sure about the aging signalling, it was installed between 2010 and 2012. Agree though regarding random 3-car sets turning up when 6-car sets are usually scheduled.

    3. It takes a level of creative industry to be able to find a negative angle on every topic every day, think what could be achieved if that energy was aimed in a positive direction

    4. You know, Its not like no saw this coming and one pointed the lack of trains issue out, oh, let me see, recently, say 3, 2, and even1 years ago now.

      No never. Not. A. Peep.

      Instead everyone sat around agreeing wholeheartedly that 57 expensive trains ought to be enough for ever.

      Trains – they’re not like motorway lanes though, lanes on roads cost more, but don’t fill up as fast as them trains do. Obviously we need to buy more of them.

      I do though recall a few people here sometimes quietly arguing for AT to order more EMUs given the already huge demand patterns that were forming – well before CAF delivered the last sets.

      Especially more so when CAF offered a bargain price to extend the contract with more EMUs as they could have just kept the “EMU cookie-cutter” running for another few trains saving bucket loads of time and money while we wait for the next order to wend its ways through the system.

      But no, no one who matters thought we’d ever need more than 57 trains like ever. You included.
      So why order any more of those expensive, but don’t go anywhere trains eh?

      Especially when we’ve got those very important RoNS and motorways and stuff to build and pay for. No money or room for train sets.

      Welcome to the reality of the next few years TRM.
      And if you vote National or Act you’ll have your “sentence” of 3 car EMUs doubled.

      And to remove any doubt – I’m being sarcastic [mostly].

      1. im often bemused at multi million dollar motorways and flyovers being considered ok yet the same money spent on PT could deliver massive gains. Think the basin flyover, 90million would have probably gotten a light rail line to Newtown.

      2. +1 yup absolutely Greg. Being saying for years that we needed to order more.
        Just as I have been saying now that we should be accommodating permanent 6-car EMUs (or even 7) and designing the entire network for 9-car EMUs which will certainly be needed if we hope to get more than 60m using our network (triple what currently do – CRL gets us to about 50m with some more trains but to reach beyond that we are going to need longer trains and a lot more off-peak usage.

        1. Nice call Greg.

          People like TRM whine about every dollar spent on public transport, and then turn around and complain when the underfunded PT system lets them down. Sorry, life doesn’t work that way. Decide what your position is and go with it.

          BTW re the problem yesterday morning – I presume you have called or emailed and logged it with the AT call centre? Regardless of whether the call centre functions effectively or not, you should at least try to speak to officialdom and not just on a blog site. Squeaky wheels, grease, etc.

  10. If National wins the election they will continue to build highways and the congestion will be a problem in Auckland for many more years.
    The cost of congestion is over $1 billion per year.
    National and some in AT, will continue to do their best to restrict PT in Auckland eg. by putting stations like Parnell in the wrong place, by building K’Rd station with just one difficult entrance, by building a road only tunnel to the North Shore, by making access to stations long and unfriendly as at Penrose, by building a highway to the Airport for buses which are then caught up in the traffic jams, by making Manukau Station a dead end so that it is difficult to extend the lines, by widening roads that cut off communities down the middle eg Lincoln Rd etc.
    I find it difficult to understand that some people in government are very stubborn and wont accept that many NZers want to have good PT. NZ is a free democratic country and the planers and politicians have had a good education and must have learned to analyse data and then spend the money wisely so that it will give the greatest good. I want NZ to continue to rank highly as a destination as a place to do business, with low corruption and a beautiful Auckland city.
    Most people understand that the main cause of congestion in Auckland is that it covers a huge area and that it is nearly impossible for all of us to travel by car to any place all at the same time. When the decision makers travel overseas do they not see the trends in other cities? Some say that travel makes people more understanding but maybe that is not true.
    Those people are being devious by not releasing information and restricting reports. Surely they want a people friendly city and not encourage huge motorways of 6 or 8 lanes a 100 meters wide and streams of never ending cars.
    So if National win then the Auckland council will have to decide alone if it wants to continue to improve PT and somehow get the money and make changes as best it can. There are many reasons why the city should want to start the projects sooner as Aucklanders can’t afford to wait 20 years. The good times might be gone by then. I think the council should sell off Watercare, the Airport or the port and /or introduce a fuel tax soon if they really want to keep Auckland number one.

    1. “I find it difficult to understand that some people in government are very stubborn and wont accept that many NZers want to have good PT” – I too have difficulty with this. It’d be easy to say that it’s a generational issue, however I feel that would be unfair (as I’m no spring chicken any more, yet want more PT).

      I think that the issue is that politicians in general don’t live the same lives as the average kiwi. They get driven around, spend a lot of time in a compact CBD (Wlg), don’t have the time pressures that the average person does and get paid much more than the average wage. The result is that because people generally only know what they experience, their worldview is skewed. Of course, their experts are a combination of vested interests and sycophants who value their job over their morals (which, to be fair is a tough call).

      The culture of governing the nation needs to change, if the politicians are to be more connected with the lives and impact of policy on ordinary New Zealanders.

      1. Generally I agree except I believe our politicians are under a lot of time pressure, and media pressure. They can say 100 things well but the media will pick up on the one thing they muddle. Cabinet Ministers get a couple of wine boxes of documents to read, every day. Of course stuff gets missed and they start relying on their staff for some of the details. This is why calls to reduce the number of MPs are ill-founded – we’d just start relying on more work being done by unelected staff.

        1. A political party has a manifesto or plan which the members agree on before the election. So then it is easy for the elected members to support the bills introduced. In a 3 year term there wouldn’t be too many new items/laws introduced. Either support freer education or not. Introduce a train service to Tauranga or not. QED.
          The problem in many countries is that people want a strong leader rather than good grass-root policy. At the moment strong leaders are causing huge problems in the world.
          The Democratic party in America have been very divided and didn’t have a united plan and that didn’t help Obama.

  11. Did anyone attend the CBT’s transport debate meeting in MT Eden with all the transport spokespeople from the various political parties? How did it go? Who spoke best? Anything new or interesting from any of them?

    1. Yes, the National candidate performed very poorly. She just rattled off mantras and could hardly answer any questions. NZ First, Greens and Labour spokespeople knew their stuff. Their transport policies are similar, but do have their differences. The ACT candidate at the meeting appeared to have a wee bit more sense than David Seymour generally displays.
      Denis O’Rourke categorically said that the East-West Link would not be built under NZ First.

  12. If there was enough room for a single freight line along the shoreline from Westfield station to just before Onehunga port it could be connected to a heavy rail line to the airport. This would be adjacent to the east west link. The line to the airport would be a branch with a triangle allowing freight trains to bypass the airport and reconnect with the main line at Wuri. It would give an alternative passage for freight and passengers to move south and north.

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