The coalition Government has stuck to its 100-day plan with the decision to cancel the Auckland Light Rail project.
“Auckland Light Rail would have cost taxpayers $15 billion, with advice showing the cost could increase to $29.2 billion,” Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.
“The previous government committed to building light rail to Mt Roskill within four years of being elected. After six years and over $228 million spent on the project, not a single metre of track has been delivered and congestion has only worsened in the city.
“Scrapping the expensive project is part of the coalition agreements and we have taken swift action. Auckland Light Rail Limited has been instructed to immediately cease work on the project, and to take the necessary steps to wind up the company.
“The Government is committed to delivering infrastructure that will reduce congestion, boost productivity, and create a more reliable and resilient transport network that drives economic growth.
“Our focus is on building a rapid transit network in Auckland, including completion of the City Rail Link, which was started by the last National Government, and starting work on a Northwest Rapid Transit corridor, alongside other projects to deliver reduced congestion for Aucklanders.
“Work is underway on rewriting the Government Policy Statement on land transport which will reflect these priorities.
“The Government’s decision to scrap Auckland Light Rail means that we can stop work on a project which has not delivered and get on with delivering the critical transport infrastructure that Auckland needs.”
Former transport minister Michael Wood has said National’s decision to scrap the light rail project is incredibly disappointing for Auckland, but not surprising.
Wood accused National of double standards and abandoning investment in Auckland public transport in every way possible.
He recognised the issues that came with light rail but said after he became Transport Minister in 2020 that the project was poised for construction to begin next year with lots of work done already.
“There is a double standard here,” the former transport minister said. “When there is a large roading project, like the Ōtaki to the north of Levin project, there has been pretty similar progress over the last three years, but the National Party doesn’t criticise that because they like big roading projects.”