CBD Loop Not Yet On Agenda


Transport Minister Steven Joyce says the CBD rail loop is not “off the government’s agenda” because it has never been “on the agenda.”
He says no-one including Auckland local bodies has yet committed themselves to it.

Asked to clarify in parliament if the CBD loop was off the agenda, he said:
“The CBD rail loop has not been committed to by anybody in terms of funding - not the precious Labour government, by the current one or in fact any of the local bodies in Auckland who have talked about it on a regular basis.

“So it can’t be off the agenda if it has never been on the agenda.”

Labour’s Carol Beaumont was taking an opportunity during question time to ask him about his comments yesterday hinting at the need for more fare increases before future development could happen and had asked if this meant the CBD loop was not happening.

On the issue of fare rises, the minister said there were some “issues” around the financing for commuter rail and it could be solved in 3 ways:

  • By increased subsidies from the Auckland local bodies
  • From NZTA
  • From fare increases

“What we don’t want to see in Auckland is the situation that has occurred over many years in Wellington where insufficient investment in maintenance and renewals has resulted in a very, very poor network in Wellington which was not fixed by the previous government.”

Yesterday in Parliament, Mr Joyce had said in relation to future commuter rail investment in Auckland: “I must caution that there remains further work to ensure that this (Auckland) network is financially sustainable in terms of fare revenues and subsidies from ratepayers and NZTA. This is very important before any new projects to further extend the network can be sensibly considered.”

The latest comments came as he was asked another patsy question in parliament this afternoon to show what a great job he’s doing in promoting commuter rail in Auckland.

National List MP Dr Cam Calder asked Mr Joyce: What further progress is being made on developing the commuter rail network in Auckland?
It gave the minister a chance to mention the New Lynn transport hub which is officially opened by him in Auckland tomorrow.

Although the New Lynn hub, passionately pushed by Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey, began with funding under the Labour government, it is no secret then finance minister Michael Cullen took considerable persuasion to agree. The mayor has told a story that it was only when Mr Cullen was driven around the New Lynn business district and experienced himself the traffic congestion caused by train tracks over the road, that he agreed there was a problem and putting the tracks underground in a  trench was a good solution.

The business case for a loop is understood to have been virtually completed but is unlikely to be made public before the group moves to its next task; the preparation of the formal Notice of Requirement.
In December the whole proposal goes to the transport minister and Government.

Then maybe it will be considered if it should be on the agenda!




  1. John Dalley says:

    As long as Joyce’s AH points down and National is in government, the CBD route will never be funded. Joyce is minister of roads not transport.

  2. Bevan says:

    It’s a shame the business case might not be released given the current Auckland Council elections underway and how that may affect pressure on the candidates to further promote the tunnel.

  3. rtc says:

    It was supposed to be released before the elections, regardless there’s a lot of discussion of it and there should certainly be no questions about who doesn’t support the CBD tunnel **cough Banks C&R cough **. Banks is towing the Joyce line in regards to PT investment and C&Rs say they support the tunnel in principle but only in 10 years time which is as good as saying they don’t support it at all. They also don’t support airport rail in any shape or form, or any other major rapid transit proposall. If we end up with Banks look forward to a future of bus lanes being turned into T2 lanes and all major PT projects stagnating.

  4. Matt L says:

    How about another way to increase financing issue, encourage more people to use the trains. Surely that is the best thing both short and long term and would reduce the need for fare increases and/or increased subsidies.

    As for the CBD tunnel, Jon are you hearing that we won’t see the results of the study including the BCR until at least December? Surely seeing as ARTA are helping fund it they should be able to release it if required.

    Also I agree, patsy questions are just annoying no matter who is in government and in this case surely they could have at least got someone from Auckland to ask the question.

  5. Scott says:

    Why do the politicians call it a “the commuter rail network?” don’t they realize a good portion of public transport passengers aren’t commuters?

    “On the issue of fare rises, the minister said there were some “issues” around the financing for commuter rail and it could be solved in 3 ways:

    * By increased subsidies from the Auckland local bodies
    * From NZTA
    * From fare increases”

    Wow, This is major progress. If NZTA is allowed to fund road and rail projects will compete on there own merit. It is a crazy system we have atm where the national transport authority is restricted in its spending.

  6. Geoff says:

    Surely something doesn’t have to have confirmed funding in order to be regarded as being on the agenda. Funding is merely a later stage of the agenda.

    It’s been on the agenda for a long time, and is currently being worked on by various parties, with some of that work funded by government. How could anyone say it’s not on the agenda, let alone the transport minister?!

  7. Matt L says:

    On thing I was thinking is that while the companies doing the study are contracted to do the NOR docs, surely they would have had a clause that if the BCR came out bad the government could pull the pin on the rest of the study. If that is correct it would indicate that the BCR is good (which we all suspected it would be anyway)

  8. Cam says:

    Puhoi to Wellsford was never on the agenda either but it sure as hell got on there quickly when the Nats came to power. This guy is smug and arrogant and really has no idea about transport.

  9. James B says:

    But if more people catch the train then less people will take their cars meaning that the petrol tax take will be less and there will be less money to build the RONS. No far better to drive up the cost of train travel, get people onto the roads and increase the tax take so that we can finally build that motorway to Whangarei that we never knew we needed.

  10. Patrick R says:

    He’s a very naughty boy and pulls the old trick of conflating the financial with the economic.

    It is at the economic scale that defines the game, the financial level is merely keeping score.

    Of course the NZTA should fund rail in AK, by it’s own calculations it saves $4.40 in road user benefits for every $1 it invests in PT in Auckland, on a level playing field it’s a no brainer.

  11. karl says:

    Actually, I am almost encouraged by this all. Sure he doesn’t want to fund it, and won’t without relentless pressure n the coming years. But he’s being a lot less categorical in his opposition.

  12. Patrick R says:

    Karl I know what you mean, in his time as minister he has gone from ignorant hostile resistance to mere stubborn resistance. I guess that’s an improvement. But remember when he says there are no funds, he means he doesn’t want it, he doesn’t want there to be funds and will do everything to make sure a source of funding can’t found. Or if forced will be sure that the ‘only’ possible source is completely suicidal politically for it’s genuine supporters. We know this because when he likes something, ROADS, big murdering trucks for example, he bangs heads until money appears. And suddenly becomes that ‘minister that gets things done’. What was his first act as minister? To cut off a regional independent source of funding for capital PT works in Auckland. If there’s no funding it’s because he doesn’t want there to be.

    What has mainly changed is what he is being told by the pollsters. So his language has altered but not his actions.

  13. Joshua says:

    rtc - would be careful with that because a-lot of Auckander’s think turning bus-lanes into T2′s is a great idea. Not that I agree with it but have overheard people voting for banks for that very reason.


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