Phil Twyford had not even been formally sworn in as Minister but that did not stop him from getting on with it and what were two seriously big announcements on Housing and Transport.

Transport – Light Rail to both the Northwest and Airport Confirmed 

Phil Twyford confirmed to the Herald that the new Government intends to build Light Rail from both the Wynyard Quarter to the Airport as well as the Northwest.

We are proceeding with the policy we campaigned on, that is to building light rail from the CBD to the airport, and to West Auckland, starting immediately


One of my first actions as minister will be to have officials advise on how quickly we can start, and how soon we can get it [light rail to the airport] built. I would expect Queen St to Mt Roskill within four years as a minimum. If we can do it faster we will.

While Southwestern Light Rail to the Airport was confirmed as part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Green Party it is great to hear that the Government is also still behind funding Northwest Light Rail which will have a transformational effect to the Northwest. With travel times from Westgate to the City Centre potentially around 28 minutes compared to the 1hr30min+ it can be at current it will be a massive step change in capacity carrying the equivalent of 3 motorway lanes worth of capacity each way, as well as placemaking benefits freeing Albert Street up from dozens of buses.

The article mentions that the alignment would use Great North Road. However, I think it will be more likely that it will follow SH16 the whole way to the City for reasons we will discuss in a more detailed post on Northwest Light Rail in the coming days.

The Government also intends to introduce a Regional Fuel Tax allowing Auckland Council to raise revenue to help fund their share of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project.

Twyford and Prime Minister-designate Jacinda Ardern have also confirmed the Government will change the law to allow Auckland Council to introduce a regional petrol tax, likely to be set at 10c a litre. Ardern told Morning Report yesterday that the regional petrol tax was not in her 100-day plan, but later in the day Twyford said “it won’t be too long after that.

A Regional Fuel Tax as proposed, while having Pros/Cons, will be great for the following reasons

  1. One of the major issues currently is most of the benefits of growth tax revenue wise accrue to the Government but upfront infrastructure costs to Councils this creates a mismatch of incentives slowing down infrastructure and not allowing New Zealand to fully take advantage of growth. This is explained well in this excellent article by Economist Shamubeel Eaqub.
  2. Aucklanders recognise they need to chip in to help fund the funding gap but don’t want to do this via further rates rises.
  3. It is straightforward and quick to implement, while Smarter Pricing will likely be necessary doing this right will take some time, the regional fuel tax allows the funding gap to addressed in the interim.
  4. Auckland Council will be able to set the rate meaning this is real decentralisation of funding.
  5. It shows the regions that Auckland is willing to help pay which is vital from an optics point of view. It also pushes any political cost from implementing it to the council, not the government.

The NZH assumed, however, the regional fuel tax would be used to pay for Light Rail which technically isn’t entirely accurate as a good portion of the funding will come from the cancelling of the East West Link project.

I also hope this will be extended to other Councils as well as Auckland allowing other regions to help fund CFN’s, cycleways or even roads of their own.

The last interesting item mentioned in the article is a renegotiation of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project

He said one of the Government’s first steps would be to sit down with the council and renegotiate a joint government-council 10-year transport plan, known as the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP).

I think this is an excellent idea. ATAP made some significant process and for the most part is a really good report, however, there, of course, was elements which clearly had previous Governments ideology added in. Such as the preference for greenfields over brownfields in the objectives, the focus on vehicle congestion instead of whole of network movement and efficiency, its stance on rail especially Light Rail, or desire for road building such as the third harbour crossing or East West Link. It would also be prudent to update the land use modelling to reflect KiwiBuild allowing the transport plan to link in well with the proposed development.

Long story short ATAP needs some tweaks but doesn’t need to be thrown out completely.

In another article today with Newshub Phil Twyford also reiterated the Governments commitment to Regional Rapid Rail.

He’s also keen on regular passenger rail between Auckland and Hamilton.

“We made a commitment during the campaign for regional rail in the golden triangle. It’s crazy we’re not opening up development opportunities in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty.”

Mr Twyford says a plan for that should be underway in the next few weeks.

Housing – KiwiBuild – $2b for 100,000 Houses over Ten Years

The other big announcement was made yesterday with Phil Twyford showing more details for a big part of their solution to what was one of the defining issues of this election – The housing crisis.

The Government intends to build 100,000 houses over ten years at an average of 10,000 a year with around 50% being in Auckland. It will start smaller than 10,000 at first but scale up over the period to reach the 100,000.

The Government has a three-stage approach

First, by stepping into already-under way schemes like Hobsonville Point and securing a large number of planned new residences there;
Second by buying off-the-plan units in planned developments like new high-rise Auckland CBD apartment blocks;
Third by creating its own development sites and bringing in group house builders, particularly on Crown-owned land.

There are some seriously good proposals in this announcement

  1. De-risking Development: The Government will purchase around 30-40% of apartments and terraced houses that meet the KiwiBuild criteria. One of the big issues at current is developments falling through due to financing this will help address this issue and give access to first home buyers affordable apartments and terraced housing.
  2. Correct Housing Type: Another big issue is that due to high land prices it has led to big houses being built by developers which are unaffordable driving up average prices. The Government can build/invest in smaller housing types such as apartments and terraced housing aimed at a different market as Government is less concerned with margins/risk. This allows new affordable housing to be built even though average prices may still be high. A good article by Stephen Davis goes into a little more detail if interested.
  3. Building at Scale: By building at scale huge efficiencies can be gained compared to our current small bespoke housing model through increased productivity and better supply chains.
  4. A Consistent Pipeline: By having a long-term continuous pipeline of work creating more certainty and confidence one of the major issues in the construction sector can be addressed. By smoothing out the boom-bust nature of the sector instead of at current where the sector is apprehensive about increasing too much in capacity due to the risk and laying off lots skilled workers during every bust we will have a situation in which the sector is confident about continuously expanding capacity. Young people, as well as those retaining, will also be moving willing to enter the sector as more job security and the supply of workers will stay more even continuously gaining experience. No need to scale up again after every bust.
  5. Prefabrication: By increased use of prefabrication productivity can be massively increased, cost of builds reduced all without reducing quality.
  6. A New Urban Development Company: This entity would link land use, KiwiBuild, infrastructure such as transport and leverage Government land/assets.

We’re looking at creating an urban development company for the whole zone, an investment of billions of dollars. It will have a massive effect on the development potential alongside the lines and stations. This is how Cross Rail has been done in London. They used an urban development company to optimise opportunities around the stations to get apartments and retail,” he said, also citing the Gold Coast’s G:Link.

All in all some really good smart policy.

Phil Twyford has set some ambitious goals and he is come out fast swinging. But after years of status quo, inaction, denial of problems and unambitious targets maybe that is excatly what this country needs.

*Updated to include Regional Rapid Rail mention in Newshub

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  1. one positive of not building the NW busway when the motorway was widened is they can go straight to light rail now, bet joyce and the anything but rail idealogues will be kicking themselves now.

    1. No really, if the BRT had been built at the same time tracks could have easily been laid. Now we are at stage one, requiring BOI approval and the purchasing of neighbouring land after the massive expansion of the motorway. Of course, we could simply remove a land each way from cars and save ourselves a lot of bother.

  2. Keen to see how affordable housing ties in with the existing programmes at Hobsonville Point. I welcome direct intervention but only if it’s going to lead to an increase of affordable homes available, not just renaming the scheme that delivers them.

  3. Twyford has a LONG way to go before he lives down “Chinese names”. But I suppose his buddies Winston and Shane will encourage him to double-down on that kind of race baiting. The new government is tremendously exciting on some issues and deeply scary for anyone who’s not a “Dinkum Kiwi” on others.

    1. Daphne, well, I had completely forgotten that until you raised the matter. Phil’s not a racist. Let’s focus on the tremendously exciting stuff.

    2. Maybe for you, but I’m personally more interested in the fact that he appears to be very capable in his role and willing to tackle a number of transport and housing issues that have plagued Auckland for a long time.

      I do agree though, that was a low point for him and the Labour party.

      Edit: Sorry Harriet, just saw your comment above.

  4. The only sensible complaints in the Herald article are about the disproportionate impact of fuel tax on workers who have to commute longer distances, for shifts which are not convenient for transit. My preferred solution would be a regional Capital Gains Tax on all properties worth over $1 million.

    1. Well, less cars on the road will mean fuel efficiencies and less traffic, so all is not lost on that front. Airport and NW line increases coverage hugely for those people.

      1. It’s a fair point – people living on the outskirts (potentially) drive further and therefore will pay more tax – but it just reinforces how important public transport is in offering an alternative (likely) cheaper transportation option. Give people effective PT options and they won’t have to drive, and therefore pay fuel tax.

        1. exactly, with LR out west, most of those on the outskirts just need a short drive to their nearest rapid transit station, be that Northern busway, Southern rail, or Western Light Rail.

    2. I suspect the price at the pump will be less than 10c more as the station companies will absorb some of it, especially around the Auckland border to keep competitive with those not paying (assuming those regions don’t introduce a tax also). I think further out places already pay more per ltr anyway generally from my quick observation?

  5. Unfortunately, whilst the fuel tax might help with the funding of PT (and is a form of congestion tax), it won’t actually stop a lot of people driving. The mentality, however illogical, is quite different when you know that if you drive your car into work during rush hour you pay x, versus simply paying 10c a litre more when you fill up the petrol tank. Just look at all the fuel guzzling 4WDs on the road, they have scant regard for fuel costs.

    1. I think it has been shown in previous periods of rising petrol prices that vehicle usage reduces. However, it is not really the point as the idea behind the regional fuel tax is a funding stream to pay for extra projects, not a tool to reduce driving.

      1. Yes, but I just think they could kill two birds with one stone with proper congestion charging/tolling rather than using the quick fix i.e. if it is always easier just to hike petrol prices to get money then tolls are only justified on reducing congestion…until such time as the pure combustion engine becomes a rare thing.

        1. Doing congestion pricing right will take time and is going through the relevant business case process.

          In the interim this is a funding tool.

        2. Congestion pricing is a no brainer and already implemented in a number of cities worldwide. Its economically efficient and would not have trouble presenting a business case Singapore is probably the best practice example with toll levels reviewed about every 6 months.
          That said it needs to be pared with improved PT provision at high frequencies across the congestion cordon to ensure those that don’t want to pay / cant afford to pay the charge have viable alternatives.

          The only thing holding it back in Auckland is politics.

        3. I’m not so sure it’s a no brainer. Can you name another city that has a PT system as poor as Auckland’s and congestion charging? Fair enough in cities like London where most people have no need to drive, but in Auckland it just seems like a real burden on the poor just to allow the rich to get around quicker.

        4. Congestion charging in order to RAISE MONEY is a bad idea. It’s really inefficient. As a tool to manage how/when people drive in order to get the most out of your road space, it is a powerful tool. If people have no option, but car, then both fuel tax and congestion charging hurts the poor the most.

          Bear in mind that in Singapore has only 15% car ownership AND you need to bid for the RIGHT to own a car for 10 years only. Currently that right costs around $50k. It’s $7k for the right to own a motorcycle!

    2. GPS road pricing will come in time. Until then, we need some money to fund transport infrastructure and the regional fuel tax is simple and effective. I also think there is a lot of latent demand for a good PT service in the north-west, if it can beat private car travel time to the CBD, patronage will just take off. I don’t think people are particularly wedded to using cars, its just when you have little money and time, it often comes out to be the better choice. Provide a faster alternative for a reasonable price and mode shift will happen.

      1. I agree with this sentiment. Fuel taxes are the most efficient revenue raising mechanism here and now. And in a growing and congested city I can’t see much problem with using them to fund RTN PT where there is 1) an obvious geographical gap in the network and (2) lots of growth expected. The NW ticks both these boxes.

        Of course time–based (GPS) road pricing will be implemented at some point, and the sooner we acknowledge that fact and work towards it the better. But acknowledging that need shouldn’t stop investment in (effective) non-car transport options now, because we know that after the implementation of road pricing they will be even more attractive.

  6. Thanks for the post, Harriet. I really look forward to learning about the issues of SH16-all-the-way vs GNR for the NW LR. I imagine it’ll be fantastic either way. I hope AT will reallocate local road space to connecting bus services and active modes too or the freed up capacity on the motorway might have interesting traffic effects.

    1. I can see the NE route using Queen St and Ian McKinnon Drive, then onto the NW motorway. Technical issues at Queen St-K Rd intersection might be very difficult otherwise given the plan is to take airport LR under that intersection.

      1. Looking forward to reasons for and against different options. Yes would agree re Ian McKinnon Dr way, though I’m no engineer. Other option is the Newton Rd way & run another line down Albert St rather than try to join Queen St at all (see previous post & my comment for detail). That way you can connect with the K’Rd CRL station via the Beresford Sq entrance for a perfect transfer!

  7. Great post and it’s certainly good to see some fast-paced action at last.

    It’s great to see light rail coming into Auckland, but perhaps not so great to see this being restricted to Labour party voters. Yes, Mt Roskill and Mangere need light rail within five years, but so does East Auckland and so does most of North Shore outside of the busway catchment. We are in serious catch-up mode all over the city, and should be investing in way more than just one or two light rail routes.

    There’s no point in stopping half way on this. If we are going to make any impact at all on Auckland’s record high carbon emissions, which arise from the missing public transport options, then we should take the opportunity now to make light rail universally available rather than playing favourites and rewarding election results.

    1. I imagine some of the logic is that the NW and SW are currently missing rapid transit corridors and it makes sense to build them as LR straight away, rather than requiring upgrades later.

    2. One side of Dominion Road is the Epsom electorate, much of the light rail will be in Auckland Central (National held), and the North Western will be terminating in Upper Harbour (National held). It should also be pointed out that the majority of the party vote went to National in Mt Roskill. It’s disingenuous to state that only Labour voters benefit from this.

      We can’t build it all at once and the North Shore (separated by a harbour from the rest of the city) and East Auckland (currently getting a busway) will no doubt get upgrades at a later stage.

      1. ‘At a later stage’ is the part that bothers me, because in practical terms it means ‘never’.

        I’m conscious that we are now the 5th worst carbon polluters in the world per capita, despite living in a country blessed with abundant renewable energy. We can and should be doing better.

        1. Once the double tracking and electrification of the Auckland Metro occurred, it was only a matter of time before CRL and additional trains became a reality. As the CFN starts to flesh out and those that have only thought about SOV futures start to see the ease and usefulness of Transit, I’d expect that the pace of PT investment increases.

          All praise the Northern Busway and Britomart as truly visionary projects.

  8. A great day for Auckland. Now’s the time for all the naysayers to get in behind these projects as the core of a real transport network for Auckland.

    1. I just did my head in – I foolishly read the comments section on a Stuff article about LR to the airport (via fuel tax). There’s so many naysayers out there, who simply fail to think beyond their knee-jerk reaction.

      I think that it’s safe for us to be a little smug in our belief that the fuel tax will not mean financial doom for thousands and that the LR will be an exceptional success. There was much angst and negativity about the Northern Busway and about rail electrification…

      As you say, this is great news for Auckland!

  9. According to the Herald the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have ridden into town, hard on the heels of Jacinda cursing the All Blacks and now there is a “motorist revolt” because of a petrol tax.

    Some summarised comments….

    I’m moving out of Auckland to avoid the fuel tax, then travel back into Auckland costing me phenomenally more than if I just stumped up the extra $2 per week.

    I live in Howick and we don’t get trains so this is outrageous. We do get buses and ferry services near by but its about me!

    I am moving across the border to the Waikato District Council where rates are 3 times higher but the gas at Pokeno may be a few cents cheaper.

    I never questioned Nationals 5 fuel tax increases over their 9 year tenure and a GST rise when there was no stated case for them but fuck it, I’m revolting, whatever that means.

    My Porsche Cayenne quadruple turbo weighing in at 3500 kgs is subsidising losers in buses and its not happy and neither am I (Mike Hosking).

      1. That would work really well. Big loops avoid the down time of vehicles and drivers stopping and waiting for the return trip in. (and i live in Greenhithe so that would also work really well)

        1. Considering the LRT for hte Shore will almost certainly involve the busway, this is an interchange that needs to be considered now – especially given what’s about to happen at Constellation station.

        2. Sorry you only have BRT from Henderson to Constellation according to the CFN2, LRT to Waimauku. Do you mean after that stage perhaps, but interesting they have it that way around from Westgate with LRT to Waimauku and BRT to Constellation. Wonder what the reasoning is for not the other way Harriet? Edit: Actually page 27 of the CFN2 report has the answers.

    1. “I live in Howick and we don’t get trains so this is outrageous. We do get buses and ferry services near by but its about me!”

      Neither of which qualifies as rapid transit. The ferry service fails on frequency grounds and the buses are subject to appalling congestion

      1. My summary is tainted with satire obviously but yes, Pakuranga and Howick are screaming out for dedicated transit lanes.

      2. I believe a little green paint could solve the bus congestion as the start to building an LRT line from Ellerslie to Howick, from memory the road is wide enough.

  10. These projects are good, but they shouldn’t be at the expense of the existing backlog of work.

    If there’s cash to build light rail now to west and airport, then there’s no reason we should be waiting till 2021 to start construction on AMETI phase 2. It’s a much more pressing need.

    1. If there is concern about pre-CRL capacity on the rail network then I can understand that. However, it would be good if AT could just come out and say this and make it clear that the Eastern Busway will be constructed and ready to go in 2023-24 when the CRL opens.

      1. “These projects are not intended to push AMETI back and AMETI should still happen.”

        Doesn’t it ? Your (very good) article in March spoke about a $172m funding shortfall on the eastern busway. To my knowledge this gap hasn’t been filled, but suddenly we have a transport minister finding a couple of billion to start building light rail seemingly tomorrow.

        AMETI could be started now if there was political will and funding from our new government. I’m seeing urgency in other areas today, but nothing here.

        1. It was not filled under National.

          Labour plugged the gap and included the budgeting of AMETI as well as BRT on Pakuranga Rd

        2. Yeah, still not seeing it. In fact that page has a map without the AMETI project on it.

          It says “Bus Rapid Transit – Howick to the airport” as accelerated and “Bus priority route – Howick to Glenfield” under it’s new projects for next 10 years.

          Neither of these are planned AMETI phase 2, with the dedicated urban busway to botany and new bridge at Panmure.

        3. AMETI was already ATAP Decade 1 so is funded under the Labour plan.

          Trust me I helped write it.

        4. Not sure what the point of this is “Bus priority route – Howick to Glenfield” as the through services from Howick are being canned in December.

        5. I think it may be a typo/mistake, CFN2 shows BOTANY to Glenfield…and on to Constellation. In any case fast transfers at Panmure or where ever to the other bus line.

  11. Wonderful news. The petrol tax is the hands down best method to create a targeted regional tax. It is so simple to implement and difficult to avoid except by switching to an electric car which is a great incentive for NZders. Alternatively, Labour could give some fuel tax money directly to Auckland without increasing the tax at all. It is important to give Auckland Council some control on how the money is spent.

    I have a lot of doubts about Kiwibuild. You can’t magically create new tradespeople out of thin air or magically increase supply of machinery and building materials. I have been trying to build a house and the prices just keep increasing by leaps and bounds far above the rates of inflation. The government won’t have much leverage because there is too much demand for builders already. The result will just be lots of tax payers money (or debt) paying a premium for new houses and profits flowing to private companies.

    I’m wondering if they can run trams on AMETI instead of buses.

    1. Issues with Light Rail for AMETI is you will have this situation in which you have to catch a bus to Light Rail, then Light Rail to Heavy Rail then Heavy Rail onwards.

      It makes more sense to build BRT which any bus route can use all feeding into Panmure.

      1. Agree, journey’s to the CBD should really only involve one transfer, multiple transfers should only really apply to the less common journeys on the network.

      2. I came across the idea yesterday of making certain road (where was unclear) bus only at peak times. Does anyone have any ideas about how to think of this (esp. in an Auckland context)?

        1. Albert Street post NW Light Rail. The residual bus services still have peak priority by we can reduce Albert Street to one lane each way.

    2. We can’t even find people to stack supermarket shelves so I can’t see how we are going to build all these houses unless Labour intends bringing in a whole lot of foreign workers.

      1. But we can find people to stack supermarket shelves, in fact there is plenty of competition from what I have experienced.

        Talk back claims of doom and gloom are always light on facts, heavy on hyperbole

    3. I want to be excited about Kiwibuild, but like yourself I find it hard to see how they’re going to get the sheer number of tradies required. It’s ok to be aspirational rather than practical, but in politics that will see you hoisted by your own petard.

      As for the fuel tax – I love it! I think that it’s an excellent tool that will have very little impact on your weekly spend. If it pushes more to EVs, well that’s a nice bonus and at the volume likely to make the switch, it won’t hurt the tax take very much.

      I’d love to trade in on an EV, except for my use case the technology is still a little light on range (need a _real_ 600km range). Not that I need that range often, but when I do need it, a rental isn’t appropriate.

  12. I would like to know more about the plan to buy 30-40% of dwellings in private development ‘meeting Kiwibuild criteria’.
    The government’s policy is that Kiwibuild townhouses and apartments will cost no more than 500k. Given that apartments in mid value locations are selling for more than 11/12k per square metre, all this will potentially enable are small one bedroom apartments. Unless the govt takes ‘a hit’ eg buys a 2 bed apartment for 700k, sells it for 500k.Is that what they are proposing? (Doesn’t sound financially sustainable)
    Anyone have any further knowledge on this?

  13. Poor old Phil Twyford. He spends years in opposition as Labour’s attack dog yet before the Coalition ink has dried, he’s broken his new Mr Nice Guy image. The fuel tax is a blunt instrument that will hit the most vulnerable the hardest while the affluent won’t even notice. All the gains of the minimum wage will be gone before lowest paid workers park their car to clock in at work.

    We all have to pay for public transport but fuel tax is the worst possible method and is ideologically at odds with the Greens. Phil wants us to quickly burn as many hydrocarbons as possible (ie before the next election) while James wants us to stop burning fossil fuels altogether and get into electric vehicles and bicycles.

    While there are upfront costs and privacy issues, variable road pricing has the capacity to be a fairer option, but probably only if NZ were to follow well established taxation structures of other counties and introduce an annual tax-free allowance. Now that really would be a good move by Labour.

    1. A fuel tax is quick and easy to implement, and perfect for the meantime whilst road pricing is investigated further. I would hardly say it’s the worst possible method.

    2. Blame ATAP for the fuel tax. We could have a cordon based road pricing system but the twits who did ATAP instead recommended a road pricing system that doesn’t exist yet.

      1. I don’t believe that’s accurate.

        I think ATAP demonstrated that a per-km road pricing scheme was effective at reducing demand and recommended further investigation along with alternative schemes, such as cordon based schemes.

        Note that the latter has already been investigated in ARPES/ARPS, so we know a fair bit about them already, whereas per-km rates have only become feasible due to improvements in GPS technology.

        And if we are going to implement road pricnig pricing in say 10 years then I’d bet on GPS rather than cordon based scheme — the latter costs a lot more in terms of capital and operating costs, such that 20% of the revenue is effectively wasted.

    3. Labour campaigned on it as well, very openly, all to fund alternatives to gridlock and to help cut carbon emissions.

    4. You say that low income earners will be hit the hardest. Logically that is true, as a percentile of income. In practice though, I’m having a hard time seeing it.

      Let’s throw some numbers around. Say you drive 400km/week and your actual fuel efficiency is 10l/100km – That means that you use 40l per week. Let’s add on the new tax of 15c/l and we get an additional $6 per week. Minimum wage will rise by 75c/hr, let’s assume a 40hr week and we get an additional income of $30.

      So summarising, we spend another $6 per week on fuel but earn an extra $30 (pre-tax). Let’s stack the cards against us and make the tax rate 0.33, giving us only $20 extra each week. Take away extra fuel costs and you’ve still got an extra $14…

      1. Cool. Now factor in the costs of that tax across the entire supply chain – goods don’t just magic themselves into stores on their own.

        1. Sure, no problem – Simply quadruple the extra fuel cost. $24 a week on 1600km/week travel is less than the variance due to traffic conditions or throttle level. I know that the fuel economy in my private car can range from 4.7-14l/100km. I also know that in city driving, one week it could be 12l/100km another it could be 9l/100km…

          In short – Zero measurable impact on cost-to-the-door.

          Extra tax is an emotive topic, however once you do the numbers it’s hard to agree with the idea that it’ll bring doom and suffering.

        2. How silly of me, I must have been thinking of when petrol went to $2.22 and bus fares and other costs of things like food went up citing rising fuel prices. but then never went back down when fuel prices cratered a year or two later. But stuff demonstrably happening isn’t good evidence compared to back of the envelope calculations, clearly.

        3. @ Buttwizard69420 – There will always be people who take any opportunity to profit at others expense. The fuel surcharge will have zero net effect on the real cost of providing goods or services, this is an answer based upon empirical evidence (not “back of an envelope” musings). That’s not to say that some won’t be dishonest, however it’s a lot harder to profiteer in one region only.

          Also, even with the surcharge, Akl fuel is still cheaper than many other parts of the country, including most of the South Island. Source:

          Also, I contest that prices in your example did return to normal. However, since you didn’t cite sources I can’t fact check…

  14. A few observations regarding Hobsonville Point:
    1. The development is 70% complete. Difficult to shoehorn additional homes into a development when it’s fully planned and mostly developed.
    2. There’s an existing “Axis” affordable home buyer home programme. I hope the affordable “KiwiBuild” homes are in addition to those homes. Else it’s disingenuous to reclassify future affordable homes from one scheme to another.
    3. There’s an apartment development at Hobsonville Pt that has been on the market since April with very few sales. Government could take that on, making a quick win for KiwiBuild

  15. I’m not feeling overly enthusiastic about putting a tram up the NW motorway.

    Compared to Dominion Rd and the Northern motorway, it seems to have a fairly limited catchment area (is that the right word?), especially between Pt Chev and Te Atatu, which looks like about quarter of the route. I’d suggest putting it down the full length of Great North Road and Lincoln Rd, but maybe there’s too much intersection with the Western heavy rail line for that route to be worthwhile.

    And you’d probably have to have a busway down the NW as well…

      1. That was if you don’t put the tram up the NW, you’d want to have a rapid transport option for the Te Atatu catchment.

    1. I would have thought those long empty stretches would be the opportunity to get the vehicles up to their operating speed and stay there, out of congestions way, quickly covering the ground and appealing to lots of people who lived further out than they wished.

      I see a great business in electric bikes to get people to the LRT/Busway stations, particularly from the Te Atatu peninsular.

      1. Yeah this in my opinion is one of the big things we should do alongside the Northwest Light Rail get cycling right in the Northwest.

        1. Make sure Lincoln Rd upgrade is much better.
        2. Fix Te Atatu Rd with protected cycle lanes.
        3. Te Atatu North Mini Holland Project.
        4. Make sure get cycling infrastructure right in all Northwest greenfields from start.

    2. Nick D, good question. I agree with Nik that the long stretches will be good for travel times.

      Given that the motorway severs the communities either side, can LR on the motorway help to reconnect them with overpasses which enable active modes to cross the motorway? Especially with Chamberlain Park being opened up to walkers and stretches of up-coming apartments along GNR having limited access to green space otherwise.

      But – the GNR route would have better catchment and complement the existing northwest railway far better. Absolutely key for either is connecting cycleways and bus lanes. If all the people in cars on the NWM can then go to where they want in cars, but the people in the LR have to cope on buses that get caught in general traffic, or be limited about times of day to take their bikes and then have to face danger on the roads, the LR will provide accessibility for some and not others.

      1. Yes good feeder buses with bus lanes are going to be key for some areas especially. I’m leaning toward the “feed and speed” idea more than a trundling service along Gt North Rd. Couple of other random thoughts:
        Avondale Rd industrial area could have a rapid bus between a LRT station & the existing HR one in Avondale.
        Maybe the NW LRT route could have a compromise of doing some Gt Nth Rd between Pt Chev & St Lukes Rd on ramp?

  16. Any chance of light rail from Onehunga to New Lynn being thrown into the investigative mix? This will ultimately give better connectivity to the airport for the Westerly located peoples. The bike path along SH20 is quite excellent and if light rail could join the multimodal mix the city will start looking truly modern. Phil Twyford is a fantastic breath of fresh air after the nine years the central government begrudgingly joining Auckland projects at the last second, delaying so many wonderful projects, while vomiting money at RONS (Roads of Nonsensical Silliness). The new government is truly exciting for a greater auckland!

    1. We proposed a BRT line between Onehunga and New Lynn. In the future sure but bit down on the priority list have a lot of projects we still need to bring forward the next candidates in my opinion are Regional Rapid Rail Stage 2 and North Shore Light Rail.

  17. I am interested in Harriet saying BRT for AMETI rather than Light rail. How does BRT compare to light rail for the NW? BRT with frequencies of 3 minutes or more often has the advantage that buses can ‘fork’ at the end to cover a wider region rather than rail ending at one set point only. So buses could start in a variety of suburbs, go down the NW then supply several different CBD streets

    1. The main difference is the NW runs right into the CBD not just to Panmure. This suits LR more for a couple of reasons:

      1. Anyone catching a bus that connected with NW light rail would have just one transfer to the CBD.

      2. The CBD already has bus congestion issues so LR would be more suitable in this instance.

      1. Then supply several different CBD streets

        That is one of the benefits of Light Rail, takes 40+ buses an hour off Albert Street freeing up Albert Street for more active modes and placemaking. This would be mean much of the City Centre core inside the laneway circuit would be pedestrian friendly

        The other advantage as Jezza says the real benefit is the City Centre end where you can give much more priority to LRT due to less vehicles needed than buses.

  18. 1 – Maybe I missed it but capex costing for light rail to the airport??? Cost per km overseas ranges $USD40-100 million.

    2 – Regional fuel tax on petrol alone? Ctrl-F on this thread did not find any mention of diesel.

    1. Cost per KM in Australia is more like $200m AUD for Gold Coast and Newcastle. Sydney is coming out at $165m per KM.

      Maybe my maths sucks, but on 23km from CBD to the Airport thats a cool $5b. I guess AT knows best though.

      1. You’re not wrong about the costs. 8 miles or so of light rail in Edinburgh came to about $1.3bn NZ, and a three mile extension to complete the original scope of the work will track to a further $NZ300m or so. Labour may yet still have to look at the Puhinui spur concept for airport rail connectivity.

        1. Edinburgh and Sydney are prime examples of how not to do infrastructure though.

          There are reasons it was expensive and it is more around due diligence, procurement processes and contractor management.

          US infrastructure is also expensive but that relates to the high level of protectionism and weird things in their employment law for infrastructure.

        2. An article comparing costs of some of those projects to international projects overall per KM put the average for LRT at around NZ $45 million per km which matched the initially quoted $1 Billion quite well from Queen St to Airport. Some of the current cost mentioned are around double that. Not sure where the sudden price inflation has come from.

  19. No really, if the BRT had been built at the same time tracks could have easily been laid. Now we are at stage one, requiring BOI approval and the purchasing of neighbouring land after the massive expansion of the motorway. Of course, we could simply remove a land each way from cars and save ourselves a lot of bother.

    1. Yes no reason we can’t take 2 motorway lanes for Light Rail, we do it for Bus Lanes and are going to do it for Light Rail on Dominion Road.

  20. Re: point 5 on Kiwibuild, prefabrication, can anyone explain why this has not been more successful to date? Mass-production by robots in factories seems to be the only way to bring down costs significantly.

    Also on Kiwibuild (100,000 dwellings in 10 years), a reminder that Sweden planned to build 1,000,000 dwellings in 10 years (1965-1974) and actually did so, in a country of 8 million people.

    1. Its the type of housing we have been building. Because of the high price of land you have to build high margin big housing which tends to be much more bespoke.

      1. I thought the key problem is the combination of expensive land and very restrictive zoning.

        We get those huge houses because the amount of units allowed by the zoning plan is limited, so the developers will make every unit as large as possible.

        Contrast that to the CBD, where you also have expensive land, but where you see a lot of construction, and a lot of smaller apartments being built.

    2. Well you could build 15 100-story apartment blocks every year for 10 years to achieve that. It would probably cost you $100B. Not sure it will be a nice outcome though…

  21. Unsurprisingly, the ‘roadies’ have also come out swinging ( and Phil really needs to immediately counter this type of attack – preferably without slagging off the previous administration, altho’ it’s hard to see how the contractors’ view is anything other that the consequence of political decisions already made.

    Of course it’s just the same old story – the market is happy to take the profits arguing that it takes the risk – except it doesn’t when it comes to publicly funded projects, the poor bloody taxpayer does!

    I’m very concerned that this government will fail to realise that it will be vigorously opposed it’s entire term
    not just by the Opposition, but as already demonstrated, also by their beneficiaries. Like it or not they will need to counter-attack at every opportunity – something they didn’t seem to manage very well in opposition.

    1. They’ve had 99 days!

      I’d suggest checking back when the Government Policy Statement on Transport, National Land Transport Plan, Auckland Transport Alignment project (2), and Budget are released.

      Currently LRT is probably going through more detailed design to prepare to lodge resource consents and Notices of Requirement.

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