Why The Rescue?


Why are Auckland ratepayers having to find $100m to cover an “unexpected” shortfall in NZTA projects around Auckland said to include AT’s train station upgrades as well as roading projects.

Quite rightly Labour’s just appointed Auckland issues and transport spokesman Phil Twyford says what’s effectively a ratepayer bailout of NZTA raises serious questions about the Government’s budget and planning abilities.

He says the new Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee needs to explain why Auckland ratepayers are being asked to fork out money for work that should have been properly costed and funded.

“I will be asking for correspondence between the Minister and transport officials on the timing of projects and the impact on the Transport Agency’s budget,” Phil Twyford said.

“The Government pushed through major motorway projects with what can only be described as obscene haste to have them completed before the election. Now Auckland Council is being asked to plug a massive funding gap.”


Ellerslie: Work being done now to accommodate a 4th motorway lane

TVNZ quotes the Council saying  the alternative could be delays to projects like the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative, improvements to Glenfield Road, Tiverton Road and Wolverton Road and ferry and train station upgrades -all work AT has organised.

We can look forward to Joyce/Brownlee explaining what’s going on.

And what caused the Auckland authorities to push the panic button? Did they see it coming?





  1. Matt L says:

    Might also be related to news a few months ago that that there was over a $100m shortfall after MOT officials spent more than budgeted for out of the NZTA’s funding accounts and didn’t tell the NZTA until it investigated why its accounts were short

  2. Jon R says:

    Meanwhile Steven Joyce commissioned NZTA to spend 100 million dollars on a Puford – Holiday Highway study.

    Seriously, the Nats can´t be good business decision makers if they cannot do a proper budget.

  3. Ingolfson says:

    Like a teenager being asked to bail out his spendthrift parents!

    I certainly hope Councillors were sensible enough to ask for interest on the 100 million loan. Simply getting a 100 back in 2-3 years is NOT an equal trade. If that would be the case, we have just given NZTA a little Christmas present worth anything from 6-10 million dollars.

  4. Matt says:

    @Jon R – really the study cost $100 million? That’s got to be wrong.

  5. joust says:

    fortunately Auckland Council has the cash to pay up front. Which is probably why the deal was struck here. Imagine the outcry if the same thing had been suggested in a provincial centre waiting on roading repairs. Or what would happen under the old council structure, one of the mayors would have gone on a rates increase rant and the projects would have been delayed. It must be what the government was really looking forward to under amalgamation, a big pot of money. We pay tax in Auckland too, lately more than our fair share if economic growth surveys are to be believed.

  6. Ingolfson says:


    Not necessarily. “Study” in this sense is likely to include things like extensive geotechnical assessments (i.e. diggers on the ground etc…) as well as year-long consultation and design fests. Producing all those shiny graphics takes cash ;-)

    That said, I share your hope that the $100 million is a misunderstanding.

  7. Cam says:

    I think it may ahve been $100 million but included some property aquisition from memory. Can anyone confirm?

  8. Ben says:

    Good luck getting a straight answer (if you get one at all) from Joyce or Brownlee…
    I do expect some tougt questions from Councillors or will they just roll over…

  9. Ingolfson says:

    “I do expect some tougt questions from Councillors or will they just roll over…”

    Ben, this HAS already been decided. If Councillors asked any tough questions, they will have done so months ago – or not.

  10. Ingolfson says:


    Well, at least if a part of it is land aquisition costs, in some future we might sell if off again, after a future government rubbishes the plan, recoup some costs.

  11. richard says:

    The Glenfield Road widening has been a fiasco. The job was divided into three sections the first started about ten years ago between Glenfield shops and Camrose place. It took an age to do and then later, phase two, the Manuka Road intersection and widening the Sunset Road intersection, another lengthy period of construction, then nothing for the last three or four years and at last we hear work is going ahead next year……now the Government has stuffed the budget up????

    To those who say development in spreading green fields is cheaper this is a classic example of extra work not paid for by developers. Until Albany was developed Glenfield road was coping perfectly adequately, now at peak times it is chocker.

  12. Ingolfson says:

    Richard – this has nothing to do specifically with Glenfield. It is just that the Glenfield Road upgrade is one of the bigger-ticket items that might face deferral if the 100 million hadn’t been found.

  13. Luke says:

    also doesnt help that buses between the Glenfield area and Albany Mall and Centre, and North Harbour business park is hopeless.
    Only half hour frequency, even at peak times. Totally hopeless.


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