No Chance Now of CBD Rail Loop, Says Labour


Labour claims an inner city rail loop is now on hold because of today’s decision to spend $1.4 billion on fast tracking the Puhoi to Wellsfield stretch of SH1.

Mt Albert MP David Shearer says the decision to do this means, in Labour’s opinion, the government is not tuned in to the needs of Auckland commuters.

“The Puhoi/ Wellsford road is a holiday highway which is only congested during the summer breaks. I share the frustrations that motorists have when heading north, but $1.4 billion could be better spent addressing Auckland’s major transport problems. And, building a by-pass at Warkworth, could ease much of the problem on that route for a tenth of the cost.

“Today’s announcement means important items that all the mayoral candidates have agreed on, such as the inner city rail loop in Auckland, will be put on hold. Auckland sees that as its number 1 priority for Auckland and economic development. Steven Joyce’s fixation on building motorways means the real issues around Auckland’s transport network are being ignored.

“NZ is building more motorways while most major cities in the world are moving towards other forms of transport. National is taking us in the opposite direction.Yes thousands of Aucklanders use the Puhoi/Wellsford road for a handful of weeks to holiday. But they’re also the same Aucklanders who are screaming out for a decent public transport system.”

David Shearer said National needs to take the blinkers off and listen to what people are saying are the real priorities for transport are. “

Aucklanders want their everyday transport woes to be eased. Pouring billions into a holiday highway is not a priority for them.”


Government to rush SHI highway




  1. Matt says:

    While I agree it doesn’t look good for the CBD tunnel which needed to be finished yesterday Labour can hardly complain, they had 9 years to fund it and never lifted a finger to do it.

    Of note NZTA says the BCR for this project is only 0.8 which while more than transmission gully, is still not near the standard requires by projects normally. Also even if the BCR for the CBD Tunnel is twice this it is not likely it will be built.

    Lastly if the NZTA can get a BCR done this fast then why can’t the team currently studying the tunnel?

  2. Joshua says:

    Sounds like Labour is just being labour. Trying to bring down National, they would do the same, incept it would probably take years before they turn the first sod. Only disappointing thing is somehow this got priority over the CBD Tunnel and rail to the airport.

    Otherwise a very important project.

  3. joust says:

    It is the job of the opposition to bring up these points. Not that I have any quarrel with the fact Labour should have done better while they had the chance but I suppose thats a reason why we didn’t vote them back in.

    What do our National Auckland MPs think about this - I’m looking at you Auckland Central.

  4. ACT Supporter says:

    @Matt. Exactly. Labour and the Greens do a lot of preening but never delivered for you guys on public transport. It could have been finished by now.

  5. Richard says:

    It must be remembered if Muldoon (National) hadn’t put the clampers on it we would have had a world class suburban rail system in Auckland North, south , east and west.,by the late 1980′s


    The last National minister to have an interest in railways was Peter Gordon who bought the SIlver Star and Silver Ferns nearly forty years ago!

  6. Matt L says:

    Act Supporter - Do you really feel it is a good idea to build a road based on the need to improve our economic performance when the government agency responsible says the BCR is less than 1. That means for every dollar we spend we will only get 80c back. If the CBD tunnel comes back and says it will have a BCR of 3 would you complain if the government didn’t build it?

  7. rtc says:

    I think Labour is scaremongering as National haven’t committed anything to this project yet except funding to designate it. Whilst I agree that Labour could have done better in terms of the CBD rail tunnel, what I do like is that we now have all opposition parties and all mayoral contenders calling out for this tunnel. I don’t think we’ve had any such situation for a long time. Previous Mayoral campaigns had Banks railing against it, yet even he is supporting the idea, so it can happen. A dyed in the wool National member can be made to think the tunnel is a good idea.

  8. Matt L says:

    RTC, the problem with all the opposition calling for it is that now it definitely won’t happen as National won’t want to look like they are supporting something Labour are, they will want to be able to take all of the credit for it.

  9. ejtma says:

    Being a regular driver between Auckland and Whangarei I support this road being built, today it took me a little under 3 hours to get up there leaving the city at 6.30 and getting stick behind many logging trucks and delivery trucks. A decent motorway to Wellsford would be a significant gain. I also support the Auckland Rail Tunnel being built and rail to the North Shore, but it is about what the economic gain will be long term, and right now I reckon a decent link to Northland will assist that region significantly.

  10. George Darroch says:

    “@Matt. Exactly. Labour and the Greens do a lot of preening but never delivered for you guys on public transport. It could have been finished by now.”

    You can blame Labour, who went into coalition with the Alliance, the Progressive Coalition, United Future, and New Zealand First. They did have a confidence and supply agreement with the Greens, but the Greens were never in a position to demand anything on transport - Labour set that agenda. You could argue that they failed to influence Labour thinking very successfully in 9 years…

    Labour are hypocrites. Full of fine words about public transport and sustainability, among many other things. I’d caution anyone to disbelieve their statements until there are specifically budgeted commitments. Even then, I’d wait until the contracts were signed!

  11. jarbury says:

    I don’t know whether Labour’s saying that spending $1.4 billion on Puhoi-Wellsford means that the CBD Rail Tunnel won’t happen - just that it would be smarter to spend that money on the CBD Rail Tunnel (if that makes sense).

    The real problem is that rail infrastructure projects are now funded out of the general govt slush fund, rather than from the National Transport Fund. This means that the CBD Rail Tunnel has to compete against tax cuts and the health system for funding, instead of against other transport projects. Until that policy is changed, we absolutely will never up with the CBD Rail Tunnel.

  12. joust says:

    haha “slush fund” i like it.

  13. Brent C says:

    To credit David Shearer, he is new to government and should not take any of the blame for past decisions regarding public transport. Since in power (and during his campaigning) he has supported better public transport and the CBD rail tunnel.

    Why is Sheerer standing up and speaking about these issues? Probably to represent his people. If it was Labour, Darren Hughes would speak up (has he is the transport spokes person), which has not happened yet.

    Sad thing is, everyone else seems to be speaking up (on transport issues) but Darren!

  14. rtc says:

    @jarbury and seeing as they just added that clause it won’t be happening until National is out of power which probably won’t be for a while yet.

  15. curtissd says:

    Build the CBD rail tunnel, it’ll be so beneficial! And move frieght to trains that go north, and build a Warkworth deviation for now… there’s my bit.

  16. Joshua says:

    The problem is labour don’t follow through on promises so I wouldn’t read into it much, plus it was a pretty rash statement backed up by no facts. Just fellings, it’s still possible the funding will be provided, so we just need to keep the pressure on. I still think National is the best bet, it might take longer to convince them, but once convinced the project will be built much quicker than under labour.

  17. Simon says:

    Yeah that`s Labour - full of words and lacking in action. Where is Darren Hughes? We haven`t heard squeak out of him and/or Phil Goff.
    If they want to turn the tables, particularly in Auckland, at the next election they better start getting their act together. They`ve done nothing to indicate to me that they deserve to get my vote back.

    Gee, I might hate what National has done, but at least they get stuff done and you have to respect them for that. The only things Labour went hel for leather on were social stuff like civil unions and legalisation of prostitution which served only to get the hackles of most of the population up. Goff and Labour needs to learn to lay off that stuff and concentrate on more “concrete” matters like infrastructure etc if they are going to have even the slightest of chances at the next election. He needs to convince people that Labour will do more than just talk.

  18. Rationale says:

    Quite an obvious political tactic by labour which may well strike a chord in the electorate - it’s obvious from the comments here that Labour last tired looking days will haunt them for a while.

    I think it should be remembered that Cullen’s attitiude to rail was fairly negative when he came to hold the reins, in fact a lot worse than the incumbent as I recall.

  19. Max Robitzsch says:


    Uhm, he’s DEAD ;-)

    What an image…

  20. Simon says:

    @Rationale Yeah Cullen was a big reason why things didn`t move faster with Auckland rail during labour`s years. Although you`d have to be pretty damn bad to be worse than Stephen Joyce!

    Actually Labour did more on Auckland rail (Project Dart and especially the Western double tracking was their baby)than had been done by any central government for many a year. But as always in politics, perception is the big thing and the fact that the most important, most visual improvement that your average Akld Jo Bloggs would notice, electrification and new electric trains was not achieved, means that most Aucklanders would be unaware of what Labour did do. Especially as Labour also failed miserably at marketing the good things (like Project Dart improvements to Akld PT) that they had achieved. How many times did we hear from Labour about Project Dart.

    Instead it is National that will get the kudos from your average Aklder for the new Newmarket and New Lynn stations and electrification simply because the perception of those same Aklders will be of a National transport minister opening those stations and the construction of electric infrastructure and buying of electric trains occuring during a national party government(= must have been done by national in minds of your average Aklder).

    Of course those of us interested in PT are well aware of the fact that it was the previous government who actually funded or made funding available for most of the above and that probably none of what has been completed under national`s reign would have been done had work not already started.

  21. Simon says:

    I just hope enormous pressure goes on John Key and Stephen Joyce by all the super-city mayoral candidates and everyone else associated with Akld local politics.
    The best chance is that there will be so much criticism and such a groundswell of support for the CBD tunnel from general public to top local politicians in Akld that worried about the damage to electoral chances in their Akld electorates like Akld Central etc,
    and therefore also chances for re-election nationally, John Key and National change tack and go for it. I think for John Key, unlike Stephen Joyce, he is not so much of an idealogue rather than someone who just wants to stay in power. If a CBD tunnel became a big issue around that, I think he could become in favour. Anything to stay in government.

  22. yossarian says:

    Thanks for that George. The Greens were never in government with Labour and so weren’t able to make decisions about transport funding.

    They did manage to get Labour to agree to pay for electrification (among other things) in exchange for supporting the ETS.

    I agree that National wouldn’t have kept on with electrificaton if Labour hadn’t already put the money up for the first half.


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