Huge setback for Len’s Loopy Train Set


Auckland’s $2.4 billion rail project may have hit another hurdle as city leaders consider pushing it back another three years.

Auckland Council will consider on December 9 whether to delay major construction on the City Rail Link to 2018.

Mayor Len Brown has long-touted the construction start date of 2015, based on the assumption central Government would come to the party on funding.

But after discussions with Audit New Zealand, the mayor is now considering changing the construction start date of the project under the super-city’s Long-Term Plan (LTP).

Despite the setback, Brown said he would retain his track record of success in convincing the Government to get on board.

Sorry Len.  We can rate this as #FAIL.  You pushed too hard.  You squeezed too hard.  You didn’t care what it took.  Thank goodness someone had the power to pull you into line.  

“Yes, we still have to work with Government on final timing, but I’m confident we can come to an agreement and get on and get this job done.

“I understand why Audit NZ feel that we need to take a more conservative approach to our financial projections and I am proposing that we develop the LTP based on a later timing of Government contribution.”

The potential delay is the second major overhaul to the City Rail Link this year after plans for an underground station in central city suburb Newton were dropped in August.

The Rail Loop is now well beyond Len’s current term.  We can only hope Auckland will have a better set of candidates to choose from for Mayor, and they aren’t going to be dopey enough to vote him back in after all.

In the mean time, perhaps we can save some people from 40% rates rises?

Audit NZ have basically told Len Brown he can’t be trusted to run the finances of Auckland City.  Same news, different day.

Council said initial city centre work, to the tune of $280 million, will still go ahead in the first three years of the rail project.

Yes.  Well.  Any councilors that don’t vote against that will probably be under heavy pressure during the next local body elections.  This Loonie Leftie Rail Loop vanity project is going to become the central theme whereby their careers continue or fail.


– Stuff


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  • Damon Mudgway

    I’m seeing this shelved permanently. No matter how well intentioned the rail loop may be, it’s simply unaffordable.

    • OneTrack

      And nobody has come up with a single additional person who will move to rail. Its always “other people”, thereby freeing up the motorway for “me”.

      Does Len even ride the railway himself? Oh wait, that’s for the proles.

  • It’s also unnecessary. As said before, you don’t need to make Britomart a through station to expand capacity. Just join the eastern and southern/western lines together near the Vector arena and operate shuttle trains in and out of Britomart. Just like Clapham Junction in the UK.

    • Platinum Fox

      The two lines are joined behind the old railway station and it’s all wired (have a look on Google maps). There were still three sets of electric carriages parked up there yesterday.

    • OneTrack

      That’s just too logical for the lefties. And Len wants a monument to his tenure – Len was here.

  • Raibert

    Nothing will stop Len and his syncopants, this is just a hiccup on his way to bankrupting Auckland for generations. He will start the cut and fill because commitments have been made around the downtown area, and these will then lead to a situation of having the sunk investment and needing to continue on or risk major losses – a very ” Yes Minister” scenario.
    Also as it now looks likely the Goverment may not fund Team NZ in the next Americas Cup, ATEED has begun looking at supporting a pre- regatta. Just another junket for the Troughers.

    • Cowgirl

      Once again Auckland Council and ATEED show just how out of touch they are with public opinion, and Dalton et al show just how desperate they are for the rest of us to pay for it.

      • HSV325

        Americas Cup is past its use by date and all things must come to an end. Absolutely no way any council should be involved in funding it.

  • armotur

    Well that’s it then! This project is stuuuuuuuuffed! Just like Len. Must head to iPredict to see if there is a prediction on this and Len’s future!

  • Dairy_Flat

    Won’t make any difference. Brown has obligations to powerful people and they need to see their investment in him make the returns they are expecting. And no, I don’t subscribe to conspiracy theories, just believe in following the money when things smell off.

    • Cowgirl

      One of the things that is giving me most pleasure as an Auckland ratepayer is seeing Brown get thwarted, and get increasingly desperate. This obvious desperation should now be registering with the majority of us, I hope. He is beholden to someone to get this train set off the ground, and seeing him become increasingly under the gun, is the only entertainment I get from it. I want to see him completely go to pieces over it because I think we’d all like to know who exactly he is beholden to, and for how much.

    • sheppy

      Begs the question, who has the most lower audit New Zealand or whoever likely donated to Brown either via his top secret trust or via other ways we have yet to hear about

    • Aucky

      You have it in one D_F. What powerful interests is Len fronting for and what has he committed to?

  • yoyoyo

    what about the idea of a PPP for this project?

    It is a strategic project that could really lift Auckland into another level of growth and development but obviously not at the expense of bankrupting us for generations nor at 40% rates rises. I am sure a company would help fund it with an operating agreement.

    does anyone know if this has been considered?

    • Cowgirl

      I think Brown mentioned PPPs, with it registering little interest from him because it didn’t mean fleecing the rest of us quite so hard. I know that this was one of the mooted suggestions from Palino during the election. It’s been bandied about and discounted in favour of tax, tax and more tax.

      • yoyoyo

        as you know Cowgirl it has been used very well up here in Canada. Here in Vancouver the new Canada line for the Olympics was a $2B PPP between the Provincial government and SNC Lavalin an engineering company. almost identical project in size and budget.

        • Cowgirl

          Yes Canada seems to have it together on these projects. My husband who is Canadian, was very keen on the PPP idea during the local body elections, and couldn’t fathom why it doesn’t get the consideration it deserves. The train system here in Calgary is also very efficiently run. They have announced over the coming months they will be extending train services here till 3am every day, at an additional cost of 100K. If they did that in Auckland I’d guarantee it would cost much more than 100K.

          • old dad

            They also have cities that have the right geographical layout to have a train system the works. Auckland is long and narrow except for east/south and the bottom of the west. That means rail will be all but non viable for the fastest growing areas of greater Auckland-which is also the parts that will actually benefit as they’re the ones who work in the central city. Does it not seem counter intuitive to improve services for suburbs whose residents largely bypass central and work in the south? This just happens to be where Len gets his support base and also the areas where CVs decreased(i.e. lower rates). The ideological roots are not lost on me. The wealthier northern suburbs will be paying for the benefit of the not so well off. We had the chance decades ago to put in an efficient light rail system, alas we have now moved past the cost effective tipping point. MTCW.

          • Lonnie12

            Haven’t heard anything about CV’s decreasing in South Auckland and thus lower rates? I’m in Papatoetoe and my 65 year old, (nothing flash) house valuation has gone up well over 35%. And my rates have gone up way more than the minimum each year the last few years. I’m dreading seeing what it will go up to next year. :(

        • Crookednose

          Didn’t they also go to the people with a couple of options? Spend the money, go hard, get it done vs slower and cheaper?
          Either way Auckland should be using Vancouver as a template for improvement. Superb public transport, great waterfront usage etc. The geography is similar too. North shore over water, main city on a compact hilly block of land, big suburbs south and east.
          I also like (pass this on to the ltsa) how a city of 2.5m has less roading than Wellington!

      • OneTrack

        Which is all the socialists do.

      • HSV325

        I don’t have any issues with PPP as long as they stop fleecing us when the project has been paid for, ie Tauranga Bridge

  • Pete

    As I used to live in Auckland I do care what happens there, and I do hope that during the next round of elections there is a far greater push for people to pay more attention to local body politics, this goes for every other town as well. For too long that brand of local stuff has been ignored, it is boring, but if you think about it, after your tax and gst its the biggest drain on a families bank account, and to have fiscal morons like that idiot Brown in charge is the last thing people need.

  • Cadwallader

    Despite not living in AKL this is great news. I was becoming concerned that all of NZ would have to front up to paying for Len’s trains. I am not confident that a future leftie mayor may not become entranced by this form of silliness though. When morons like Smalley suggest Phil Goff would be an ideal mayor Aucklanders can be assured that they are not yet immune to fiscal leftie rubbish.

  • Aucky

    Simon Bridges has already made a subsequent statement that 2023 is the earliest commencement date subject to patronage criteria being met. Brown is still determined to have his way and there’s an almost immediate start on $280 mill worth of preparatory work. Watch too for dirty tricks to force up rail patronage to meet government criteria. A labour government would rubber stamp Len’s rail so it will no doubt be an election issue but Banksy will be mayor by then so who knows how the cards will fall?

    • Michael_l_c

      We can but hope for Banksy. But does he want the strain & will he get the votes. A lot of, I’m not sure what they are, voted for lennie.
      How can anyone trust a mayor who cannot manage 2 credit cards?
      Don’t underestimate the stupidity of voters particularly ones that do not pay rates.

      • HSV325

        When Banksie was mayor he run his own car at no cost to the ratepayers. Brown is just a typical leftie Trougher in it for whatever he can get.

        • burns_well_eh

          Robbie used to walk to work in the middle of winter, and take his shirt off if people were complaining about the cold!

    • Sunshine

      The dirty tricks to force people on the trains began last year when Lenny changed the bus timetables and routes. Of course he presented the changes as being wonderful, helpful and improving transport. However in reality, using buses has become less convenient, more costly and out South we are about to have even less express services into the city in 2015. New bus routes are terminating in train depots, forcing patrons onto the trains. Lenny and his band of incompetent Councillors are determined to increase rail patronage by any means, hence them wanting to put motorway tolls on the agenda.
      All I can say is that now, more than ever, the car rules in Auckland City thanks to the crazy Mayor and his rotten agenda.

  • The other Neil

    It is not that this project is unaffordable, it is just unaffordable if nothing else is cut. The same issue with rates rises, it is not that a zero is not possible, but they lack the conviction to cut other spending to achieve it. If we ran our personal finances the same way we would all go broke.

    • OneTrack

      That’s only true if you aftually believe the 2.4 cost. Len wouldn’t have fudged the figures, would he?

      • The other Neil

        I was not commenting on the accuracy or economics of the project, just that if something is preferred over another choice, then if you are subject to a budget constraint then the alternative is always affordable if you (can) give up an alternative of equal or greater value. The primary issue at a general level with the Council and entities that the the right to tax is that they are always reluctant to take something away so that they can pay for something else that they want.

      • The Accountant

        Look at the raft of IT systems running at over 200% of original budget and you get an idea of what will happen with one.

  • Alexander K

    Another Brown, another time…
    Former UK Labour PM Gordon Brown was very enthusiastic about using PPP schemes to fund civic projects. PPP was invented to shift major projects from govt to private enterprise and they are truly bad for the citizen in that the schemes allow politicians to lie about what they have actually spent and, even worse, infrastructure projects such as big schools etc get built on the cheap and turn to crap in short order while the private providers take huge profits and leave the overburdened taxpayer to pick up the pieces. Another very dodgy scheme from the Socialist pool of rubbish ideas for spending other people’s money. Even the caretaking function at such enterprises turn into nasty rorts, with the firms that actually own the schools charging taxpayers outrageous sums for normal servicing, such as mowing sports fields and washing windows

  • HSV325

    The centre of the political spectrum need to get themselves organised for the next local body elections and seriously hammer the current crop that have been involved with the train set and squandering rate payers money on crap. Needs someone with some coin to sponsor bill boards in key locations to get the message across as the MSM won’t give the ticket bugger all coverage. I doubt the left would support Brown anyway as his reputation is shot and akin to having Ebola

  • kloyd0306

    Build a tunnel under the harbour.

    Make the bus lanes open to cars.

    Widen the roads and motorways.

    Vote in a right-leaning Auckland Council.

  • Nebman

    Not sure if I’ve understood his plan, but would a fair summary be that “if we start building it now, it’ll be too big to fail and the government will be compelled to fund the bits we can’t afford”?

  • Bryan

    well you have had a stark incident today with that accident on the bridge and look what happened the whole road system was out of action for hours. Now what would happen if some idiot decided to take out a section of the bridge, simple Auckland you really have no other means apart from a very long way via Henderson to get north and south and simply it would not cope.

    I was in Melbourne two months ago and used their great rail and tram system but while there they had just published the life story of the fellow who 50 years conceived the whole setup, and guess what ? he was considered a nut case back then when he came up with the idea, but now they praise him for his vision. Old mayor Robbie wanted to do this to Auckland 30 years ago and they voted him out, but where would you be if you have gone with his plan 30 years ago, you would have had a modern train system that was developed with the expansion north south east and west and it would have linked you to all the shopping malls,and major event centres simply you missed the boat.

    When that hole drilling machine finishes the road tunnel they should take it and start drilling four tunnels under the harbour, two for3 lane road and two for twin rail and link it up to the britomart extension and in 10 years you will not believe yourselves. There are investors that believe in our country more than we do who would come up with a 30 year design build and supply and set up maintenance works here and finance the whole lot at probally 3 % so the cost is spread over the life of those who would get the benefit.

    we all need to realise this country is about 150 years old since the treaty and much of what was built in the past is up for replacement,and that has been really driven home to us here in christchurch with the quake, where much of our buildings were well past their use by date and auckland is no different you have to bit the bullet and build and design for the next 50 years at least, and yes it will cost but it will be even worse if you don’t

    In summary: what does the good book say “Where there is no vision the people perish”