Are you ready for your massive rates increase to pay for the blowouts in Len’s rail boondoggle

You all want the rail loop…now you get to pay for it.

The costs are ballooning. I reckon it will balloon past $8billion by the time it is operational.

The price tag on Auckland’s inner city rail link has ballooned to as much as $3.4 billion, up from earlier estimates of about $2.5b.

The Government and Auckland Council on Wednesday signed a Heads of Agreement, under which the Crown will fund 50 per cent of the City Rail Link (CRL).

The total cost of the project is estimated to be between $2.8b and $3.4b, Associate Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Transport Minister Simon Bridges said.

Earlier estimates had put the cost at about $2.5b, although backers had said they expected that figure to rise.

Joyce said Wednesday’s agreement set out in-principle commitments from the Government and Auckland Council, and contained broader funding, governance and risk management arrangements.


Auckland Transport’s 2015 business case for the CRL estimated the cost of the project to be between $2b and $3b. On Wednesday the ministers said that after completion of more detailed design work, officials put the current estimated cost at between $2.8b and $3.4b.

This was an estimate and would be subject to further changes.

The ministers said that as was common with large infrastructure projects, early estimates of the costs were a “best-informed estimate”.

In other words, they’ve pulled the numbers out of their arse. They have no idea what the ratepayers of Auckland are being committed to.

Len Bown’s legacy is a massive increased tax against the ratepayer for the very few people who will use the stupid train.

Now they’ve raped your pockets for that what chance of them trying to rape them for rail to the airport.


– Fairfax

  • Ruahine

    I am starting to feel for the people in the East Coast city of Gisborne. Could not even get 4 million to replace a washed out bridge on the rail line to Napier.

    • A Goldie

      Well thank you Ruahine but to be fair most sensible people in Gisborne know that the railway is a dead duck, it was for years before the washout and even if reinstated would do little to reduce truck traffic Gisborne north or even on the less used route south to Napier.
      It would have been nice though if all the effort of the pro rail protesters had been put into gaining a similar amount of money to convert the rail line Gisborne to Wairoa into a tourist cycle track, we would by now have a vibrant and unique tourist offering providing interest and jobs which are sorely needed in this region.

      • pidge

        And it’s not the first time the rail line to Gisborne was closed due to a washout. Though not having the trains running makes scheduling the (few…) flights to and from Gisborne easier – the train line crosses the runway!

  • sheppy

    Building this ridiculous train set is a reckless waste of money. It’ll need continuous subsidies to operate and will do nothing to improve Auckland congestion. It’s the completion of Lennys wasteful inept legacy of laying the groundwork for the worlds most lovable slum.
    I truly hope the few elites who get to use it, enjoy their gold plated journeys whilst the rest of us who don’t live next to a train station, and travel into the congested CBD everyday pay through the nose

    • Mick Ie

      An enormous amount of expenditure for so few to benefit. I only hope that the developers, engineers and contractors that will be involved in the project were not contributors to Len Browns mayoral campaign. It would be a bad look for any of them to be accused of conflict of interest.

    • OT Richter

      The park n rides are already overloaded, and it’s not clear whether the stated budget includes for all the other improvements required throughout the network for the loop to realise its ‘potential’.

      • biscuit barrel

        yes there are a lot of non CBD costs being loaded onto the city tunneling project
        Henderson station new platform
        Otahuhu station new platform
        Thats where the cost blowout occurs, all sorts of nice to haves are added in. Hard to see the connection with city tunnels and stations

        • OT Richter

          Which effectively means

          • biscuit barrel

            The governments money will be coming out of transport funding- specifically Aucklands share- so not really getting ‘rest of NZ’ to fund it. Makes sense when Auckland has 38% of the countrys population.

    • taurangaruru

      Not unusual for rail travel to be subsidised to the level of around 80% of the actual costs, I bet the ratepayers have not been enlightened to the actual year on year running costs of Lennie’s wet dream over & above the construction costs.

  • Seriously?

    Another tick in the 2017 election boxes “We have already committed to spend a billion dollars on rail”… What was it the Greens have achieved in their 26 years in Parliament?

  • Korau

    I feel some suing coming on. Come in Mr McCready, your services are required.

    Surely the people who did the original “estimates” can be held to account? It’s as near as can be to out and out fraud.

  • Grumpy of Onehunga

    The math is getting easier now. 3.2 billion for 3.2km works out at a million dollars a metre……….

    • johnandali

      Some people are going to become very wealthy (if they aren’t already).

  • yoyoyo

    lets do a P3. In Vancouver they built the sky train to airport using this model with the magical words:

    ” The private partner was expected to contribute $200 million, and be responsible for any construction cost overruns”

  • murrayirwin

    At least rail to the airport would be useful to more people than the loop… Be great for tourists.

    • taurangaruru

      Really? We keep saying the airport link would be great for tourists but have we got any data or studies to support that contention? My assumption is the very first thing tourists do when departing the airport is to get into rental vehicles or guided tour buses & head away from Auckland.

      • biscuit barrel

        You are right. Train services to Sydney and Brisbane airports stations are barely used. And the Sydney is mostly used by people going between domestic and international terminals.

    • MrHippo

      It will be great for the Airport company especially if others foot the bill

      • biscuit barrel

        No they hate it as they make a mint out of airport parking

  • contractor

    Len’s biggest screw of all; rate and tax payers length of the country for years to come…

  • Anthony

    Given the larger waterview tunnels have cost $1.4B, I struggle to see how the CRL can cost twice as much or more. I’d like to see the scope being included. How many pet projects are being sneaked in? First guess says the figure also includes more trains and probably a whole lot of grade separating level crossings but what else?

    • MarcWills

      You are right, I always said the true cost will be in the region of $7billion. Many of the overruns will be hidden in disguised rail network costs for new and upgraded infrastructure, and the end result is that Auckland ratepayers, their children and grandchildren will have this financial millstone that no one will be able to afford to use. How about $25 to get from Henderson to the CBD, one way? Prove me wrong.

      PS. How’s that $1billion IT system working then? Started off at $100,000 I believe – and supposed to save money. Lol.

    • biscuit barrel

      The Waterview project didnt include land costs- mostly owned for decades. City has expensive land around stations that were bought by council in last 5 years.
      Tunnelling costs are likely to be similar as they use same method but rail tunnels are very small compared to 3 land road

      • Platinum Fox

        Tunnelling costs are obviously a lot higher as the ground under the streets in the central city already has infrastructure for utilities and services buried in it including electricity, gas, water, stormwater and sewerage systems. The method in the lower part of Albert Street is to be cut and cover and as far as I am aware there will not be an “Alice” employed to dig the remainder of the route.
        The higher cost per metre is no doubt caused by the fact that the excavation is occurring in a relatively narrow gap between building foundations through ground which contains other services which means that an automated approach using an “Alice” would not be practical.

        • Anthony

          The ~1km cut & cover section of the route that clashes with buried services has aready been awarded, costing $280M. The bored portion of the route is well below city infrastructure, so no clash.
          Waterview demolished 205 houses and several commercial properties. Most properties for CRL have been purchased, previous budget was $280M property aquisitions with $116M to be sold post construction.
          A large chunk of the bored tunnel cost is proportional to diameter: size of TBM, operating power, removing spoil, tunnel lining & fitout. Waterview TBM was 14.4m diameter, CRL 7.5m, about twice the diameter and approaching four times the volume. Waterview tunnelling should be far more expensive.

          The stations are an additional cost but shouldn’t cost billions.

  • Gladwin

    Massive rates increase? Suck it up Aucklanders.You voted in a Labour mayor and this is the result.

    Hey you’re about to vote in another Labour mayor who is already touting the dumb expenditure of $1.6B (? 3.0B in reality) for trams and rates/tax increases to boot.

    Dumb Aucklanders.

    • Ghost

      It gets worse, central government will foot some of the costs, ie your donation is appreciated.

    • oldmanNZ

      I did not voted for len,
      But true, as a collective, its our fault.

      Most i assume did not vote as there were no alternative choices they like, like the current election.

      We must act collectively to stop Len Brown 2.0, snd 1.0.

      If it be palino or crone, we just have to pick one

      • Gladwin

        I didn’t either but I’m one of them

    • MudBayMan

      Mate some of us rural dwellers got dragged kicking and screaming into the supposed super city courtesy of Rodney Hide who has now left the mess and is living elsewhere and will not be paying his share that’s for sure

      • taurangaruru

        Makes you wonder whether the actual driver for the amalgamation of the separate councils was to create a critical mass of ratepayers to enable massive debt servicing capabilities rather than any supposed cost savings & efficiency gains that we were told would be the benefit.

    • biscuit barrel

      John Banks when he was running against LB was a supporter of the CRL as well
      As the NZH put it at the time (2011)
      “Mayoral hopeful John Banks’ master plan focused on an improved rail service, including an inner-city loop and airport link. He wanted to see central city stations and an integrated ticketing system.Increased ferry connections and improved cycleways were also part of the plan”

      I think people are dreaming if they think it was only LB idea.

      • Gladwin

        I don’t believe that LB pinched JB’s plan or vice versa. Rather that they are being advised by the permanent council staff that these are the projects that need to be pursued.

        I’m not denying that these problems need to be pursued rather that they need to be justified by a business case listing the various alternatives including timings and recommending the most advantageous for the region. No such exercise has ever been made public.

        At least JB is a successful businessman and I am of the opinion he would have made a better decision than the one we are stuck with.

        The upcoming proposal to reinstate trams for an ostensible cost of $1.6B is equally scary if a thorough business case is not carried out.and made public. Whatever you may say about Crone at least she has business disciplines rather than Goff’s long political career and little if any business experience.

        • Raibert

          Why not ask the ratepayers what they want to spend their money on? Oh, sorry that would be allowing those paying a real say in local government.

          • biscuit barrel

            We have a representative democracy- the councillors have supported it , same as the cabinet has done for government side.
            This is the same sort of bleating that went on when the harbour bridge was built ( too small)- why are we paying for something that only benefits the ‘few people on the shore’

          • Raibert

            Representative democracy, you have to be kidding when only 30% of those eligible vote. Why don’t we have on-line voting?

      • Grumpy of Onehunga

        LB thinks it was his idea though.

    • Raibert

      Yep, and nobody seems worried that he wants to spend a billion dollars on light rail to his old home area!

  • Ghost

    Do any of the rate payers in Auckland realize that at 3.4b and a Auckland population of 1.4m, with no central government assistance, these clowns are essentially loading $2400 of debt on every single person in Auckland. And this is over an above the current debt that we are expected to service.

  • iera

    Anyone who wants to play with the maths, can perhaps divide the original Auckland Council computers and IT estimate $157m into the $1.2b cost now to get what ratio the blowout is and then multiply that by the original Rail Link cost $2.5b to scare themselves stupid.

    Per ratepayer, the amount spent on IT is almost $2500, so the old CRL cost would be at least another $5000 per ratepayer … so $7500 plus IT

    No wonder at least one Mayoral candidate doesn’t pay rates – hahahahaha .. ha

  • cows4me

    For those prices I hope it includes a large monument featuring statues of PDB and Goofy. In years to come it will give the revolutionaries something to destroy as the riots spread though the socialist paradise of Goofystan.

  • GoingRight

    I have one bit of advice to Goofy. Sell some assets!

  • Forrest Ranger

    I find it difficult to comprehend how 3.4 Km of tunnel and two stations can cost so much. I find it incredulous that the estimated cost ranges between $2 B and $3 B. That is a BILLION dollars difference. Surely the business case must have been fully costed – in real detail. So how can the difference in estimates be so large? I wonder how much of the budget has already been spent on the project managers and accountants who put the business case together and can’t even accurately work out how much it is going to cost.

    • ex-JAFA

      Who needs a business case when you’ve got Other People’s Money?

    • yoyoyo

      I am guessing it is a Class III or Class IV Engineering Estimate. +-50 %

      Its a standard range at this stage in the project – just more noticeable as its a big number.

      as they get further into design phase it will be more accurate.

      The name isnt exactly what it sounds like, but likely they have just finished conceptual design.

      • rangitoto

        They have already started on the construction and they are just getting into the detailed design phase? Thank goodness they have other people’s money to spend

    • MrHippo

      You don’t need a business case when there is an endless pit of money to draw upon…

      • Annie218

        and its not your money!

        • OneTrack

          And you are trying to sucker the ratepayers and government to let you go ahead, so you fiddle the numbers to make it look better.

  • The only possible outcome for Auckland is for the Government to eventually to bail it out. This has to be the only way to end the madness of having unqualified people hold the purse strings of the ratepayers money.

    • MarcWills

      No like the Kaipara $60 million sewerage scheme (which is at capacity with just 1700 connections rather than the 4500 planned) – the Government will just pass retrospective legislation to make it all your fault (the present ratepayers).

  • CheesyEarWax

    Believe it or not I want this blowout to be more so more publicity about it. Hopefully it will kill all other stupid Auckland rail projects. The business case for rail never stacks up, so its no surprise the cost is always underestimated and usage over estimated to satisfied a socialist council and mayor.

  • Boondecker

    Hosking was calling it a million dollars a meter tunnel this morning. And, it’s only going from Mount Eden Station along Albert Street to downtown! Len’s incredibly inadequate train set nightmare is set to dwarf Dame Kath’s 1980’s Aotea Centre white elephant that we used to complain about back in the day by many billions.

    • Raibert

      Probably the only good thing about Len’s train set is that the taxpayer is going to pay a large share, this gives a tiny relief to the long suffering Auckland ratepayers.

      • woollyone

        Yes we are paying for it for them, but the rail is less than useless to us who will probably never get to use it.

  • BigNose

    My pick from day 1 was that this white elephant would cost $10b+ – yet to see anything to change my mind. Why isn’t the SFO investigating? We know Auckland Transport is corrupt, we know Brown is – why aren’t changes being laid?

    • Dumrse

      What is going to be investigated at such an early stage ? Last night we saw a massive hole in the ground just to shift water and sewerage and not a train in site. How much is the enabling work costing ?

      • biscuit barrel

        Plus the buying up of land for stations and access tunnels. Thats a good $150m plus so far. Plus I gather you have to buy the right to go deep under someones property.

  • waldopepper

    i heard steven joyce on the news saying how its swings and roundabouts, because a number of these large infrastructure projects come in under budget. can anyone remember one that did ?

  • JLS

    At least the homeless will have somewhere dry to sleep when its done. Surely that would be worth it at any cost.

  • johnandali

    I apologise for not being very knowledgeable about the payment of rates, but can somebody tell me whether rates are paid on state houses, council housing, churches and charities, and properties owned by churches and charities, and whether water rates are also paid?

    • Raibert

      Think you need to add Iwi to your list.

      • johnandali

        Yes. Whether Iwi pay rates should be added to the question, together with details on exactly what exemptions might or might not apply. For instance, if iwi don’t pay rates, who pays for their roading etc? Do houses erected on Maori land get assessed for rates and water rates? And if there are massive exemptions, who pays for the stormwater and sewage work? But what worries me is that in the 9 hours since I asked the question, not one person has responded. Now why would that be? Are exemptions from property and water rates a very well-kept secret? Have I offended some PC rule that says such questions should never be asked?

  • zanyzane

    If we are going to pay $4 billion for intercity rail into Mt Eden, you would have expected the Unitary plan to have rezoned Mt Eden and Mt Roskill 18 to 50 level building zone. Instead we have put all our highrise into New Lynn, Manukau and Albany. We are spending mega sums and the end result is no solution to our traffic jam woes because no one will use that intercity rail. There is nothing in Mt Eden. Not even a decent shopping mall. I wonder how much we paid to the Independent Hearings committee because they did a really lousy job.

    • biscuit barrel

      Mt Roskill doesnt have a train station. New Lynn would have better access to downtown via the CRL- ie Mt Eden station is directly connected to both city underground stations rather than via Newmarket and Britomart as now.

      • zanyzane

        Exactly where the problem is. Under the Unitary Plan Auckland Council has zoned New Lynn 18 level buildings but the $200 million they have spent so far in New Lynn station was just a waste of money because it has not helped the traffic congestion problem. Our highrise cities are spread too far away. They should be a lot closer like Mt Eden, Mt Roskill. Stupid Council Planners and Stupid Independent Hearings Committee.

  • Dumrse

    Well if I am paying Via my tax I will continue to pay as much as I can with cashies. Stuff the tax man.

    • biscuit barrel

      Its transport funding so comes from the petrol tax and RUC. remember when they bumped up petrol taxes in 2012 ? ( 3c per litre per year for 3 years)
      I guess not but its an extra $100m per year for each 2c /litre

  • Sadly, the construction costs will be the smallest part of the final bill. Every trip made on it will be subsidized – by the ratepayer, of course. Expect to be paying for Len’s monument pretty much for ever…