Len’s crazy rail loop set to cost billions more



Sometimes I can smell a dead rat from another universe.

Only last week I mentioned that the rumour mill was rich with talk that the CRL is now massively over budget and could be as high as $5 billion.

Then, following that, John Key also mentioned the same.

It has to be said that the rumours must be thick and strong when the PrimeMinister is saying the same.

Now a?group of Auckland Councillors have stuck the knife in to ferret out information.

And, at the same time, AT have come out in defensive mode with talk that admits it but doesn’t. They’re scared and yet they know the truth is going to get out there.

Auckland councillors want the Auditor-General to investigate the -City Rail Link’s billion-dollar costs with the Government and Auckland Transport admitting the original $2.5 billion estimate is almost certain to change. ?

A letter co-signed by councillors Cameron Brewer, Dick Quax and George Wood has been filed with Auditor-General Lyn Provost, requesting independent scrutiny of the country’s most expensive infrastructure project and what they say are “a number of red flags” for Auckland ratepayers.

Concerned that work on the huge underground project has begun before the final cost and agreement on how the bill will be split between ratepayers and Government have been finalised, the council trio have also cited Prime Minister John Key’s claim that the CRL will “almost certainly cost more than they thought”.

The Prime Minster’s office said Mr Key’s comment last week was based on advice he has received but refused to reveal any further detail.

The councillors say in their letter they are concerned about transparency and just how big a bill ratepayers are going to be hit with.

“We remain concerned that no formal funding agreement for this massive project between Auckland Council and the Government is in place, yet the physical construction has begun. We believe that a number of red flags remain for Auckland ratepayers.”

The Office of the Auditor-General confirmed receipt of the letter and said it will now “fully consider the concerns raised”.

Auckland Transport estimated CRL build costs of $2.5 billion and completion for 2023, with Mayor Len Brown saying he wants the council to negotiate a 50-50 payment split with the Government.

Watch this space. Auckland Transport and Auckland Council may be about to be sprung.

And, if it turns out to be all true, then heads must roll.

The fact that works have started to prepare for a tunnel that may now be too expensive to build is absolutely bonkers.


– NZ Herald