Order Paper and questions

Questions for oral answer

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House of Representatives
29 November 2012
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6. Public Transport, Auckland—City Rail Link

[Sitting date: 29 November 2012. Volume:686;Page:6944. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]

6. PHIL TWYFORD (Labour—Te Atatū) to the Minister of Transport: Does he still “take big issue with the suggestion that the City Rail Link is useful or popular”?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Minister of Transport) : Yes.

Phil Twyford: What will be the impact on productivity and economic growth in Auckland, with rush hour traffic slowing to walking pace within 10 years under his transport policies?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: I think the first point is that if this project were to go ahead it would make around about a 20 percent difference to some traffic coming in, as low as a 10 percent difference to traffic that would be coming by way of cars, and around about a 20 percent difference to people travelling by buses. When you have a growing problem, with a projected big number at the end of it, yet relatively manageable percentages around the size of the problem, I think you have got to be very careful before you commit $3 billion minimum or around about $1 million per metre for a tunnel project that will do so little.

Phil Twyford: What is his plan to ease central city congestion and remove the network constraints on Auckland’s public transport system?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: The Government will work with Auckland Transport, which has a very important role to play, and when we have all of the information in front of us the Government will be able to work out exactly what we might do. What I can say to the member is that I would be prepared to consider any information that does come to us.

Phil Twyford: Why does his Government refuse to listen to the Auckland Employers and Manufacturers Association, which says that building a city rail link is a no-brainer, and the 64 percent of Aucklanders who say they support building the rail link?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: Sixty-four percent of Aucklanders do not make that comment, but 100 percent of Aucklanders will notice how much the Government is spending to try to improve both the roading network and public transport in Auckland. The 64 percent figure the member refers to was from a HorizonPoll, which previously predicted a very bad result for this current Government in the last election. It was wildly inaccurate, as I believe it is on this.

Phil Twyford: I seek leave of the House to table Horizon Research results that say that 64 percent of Aucklanders support the city rail link project.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that document. Is there any objection? There is no objection.

  • Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

Phil Twyford: Why does he rule out funding options for Auckland’s transport agenda, including a regional fuel tax, congestion charging, and funding by central government, when he is doing everything he can to add funding options for his roads of national significance, like borrowing, public-private partnerships, raising the petrol tax, and raising road-user charges?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: To make that assertion without all of the information yet compiled on what would be the most effective way to ease Auckland’s projected congestion in the future is rather silly. What I will say to the member is that I would consider hiring Lyle Lanley and associates to do a scoping study for us on the city rail link. I know that they have done very good work on similar projects in Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and if they think this stacks up we will give it some further consideration.