The main impact of the Government’s agreement with Auckland Council today will be simply to delay still further decisions needed to relieve the city’s traffic congestion, says Labour’s Auckland Issues Spokesperson, Phil Goff.
“Government has been aware for more than six years that Auckland’s population is outstripping the ability of its transport infrastructure to cope.
“National’s decision now means another year will pass before remedial action will be taken.
“It should have been working with Auckland from day one of the Super City, to align central and local government planning.
“Instead it instructed the Ministry of Transport to stand back from the process that Auckland Transport and the New Zealand Transport Agency were engaged in and then vetoed its plans. Worse still, it took away the ability of Auckland to access funds from a regional fuel tax to pay for infrastructure forcing it to rely on rates.
“Delay in addressing Auckland’s transport problems is costing not just Auckland but the whole of New Zealand.
“In Auckland, congestion is causing frustration, loss of leisure time, unnecessary fuel consumption and pollution. According to the Productivity Commission, it is also costing the regional and national economy more than $1.5 billion a year in lost productivity.
“By 2018 Britomart station will be so congested during afternoon peak hours it will have to turn away commuters. The City Rail Link would solve this problem but funding for it has been delayed even in the face of the 22 per cent annual increase in rail usage.
“The decision to align central and local government policy should have been taken years ago, avoiding what will now be a further 12 months delay in making the necessary investments in Auckland transport infrastructure,” Phil Goff says.