Priority funding for guns but scale back for Auckland light rail

Image credit: Orlando Weekly

It?s a long time between elections for voters, but not nearly long enough for the government to keep all the promises it made before the last election. Auckland light rail is going down the same path as KiwiBuild, with the budgeted programme and timeline floating in the breeze.

Neither the government nor the opposition showed any concern about passing a law with no knowledge of the extent of funding required for the necessary gun buy back. Now the government has indicated the promised Auckland light rail programme will have to be scaled back to stay within its $6 billion allocated funding. Quote.

The Government may have to scale back its $6 billion light rail programme for Auckland by scrapping a line from the city centre to west Auckland, says Transport Minister Phil Twyford.

The MP for Te Atatu said it was his strong preference to see light rail built from the city centre to the west and to the airport, but if it is not possible to fund and finance both lines, then light rail to the airport will get priority. End of quote.

Labour campaigned on Auckland light rail so why don?t they simply allocate more funding? Quote.

Along with KiwiBuild, light rail is one of Labour’s flagship policies. It was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at her first public appearance as Leader of the Opposition in August 2017 where she called it a “game-changer” and a solution to the city’s congestion.

A newspaper end quote.

It?s not just the funding that is a problem; it is also the timeline, because when a timeline blows out, so does the budget.Quote.

Ardern promised to build light rail to Mt Roskill within four years, followed by light rail from Mt Roskill to the airport and to Westgate in west Auckland within 10 years. Labour later said it would extend the western line a further 9km to Kumeu.

“It’s only a contingency. If we weren’t able to fund and finance it, there are many, many calls on the transport purse, then with that corridor (to west Auckland) we would need to look at some other options. It could be bus rapid transit or other things,” he [Twyford] said.

“Obviously money does not grow on trees,” Twyford told the Herald.? End of quote.

A newspaper

Money certainly doesn?t grow on trees but it seems this government’s election promises do. Fortunately, voters have long memories.