Will the rail loop business case sustain massive cost blowouts?


The rumour mill is rife that Auckland Transport has new up-to-date costings for design of the CRL…and it’s not good news.

Over time AT has progressed design of the City Rail Link up under Albert St. Some elements are fully designed, tendered and under construction whilst other elements are being worked through from preliminary to developed to detailed design.

And as is consistent with projects they are regularly checking design compared to budget with quantity surveyors.

Well talk is thick with news that the costs are coming in well over the original budget. Potentially now at $5billion.

You read that right. FIVE BILLION.  

The information is being kept confidential. Which of course raises suspicion. If the costs were on budget they would be quick to flout that to look good. That it’s all being buried makes it smell ratty. Whether the costs are $5 billion or not is beside the point. There is bound to be a lot of truth to the rumours.  But what is certain is that the costs are up. And a lot.

I think this is going to surface and when it does serious questions need to be raised. Mostly about who will pick up the tab for the additional costs. But also how does Auckland Council intend to finance even higher costs when it can’t even raise the $1.5b it said it needed to pay its half. There is a massive difference between $1.5 and $2.5 billion. What about the cost benefit analysis? Surely it no longer stacks up? Surely it requires higher patronage numbers to now make it viable?

Auckland Council would have bet on the Government paying the bill no matter what. This game of chicken being played with enabling works was a cunning strategy that looked like it paid off. Unless of course the whole tunnel budget blows it’s head off when you can be sure that all the money spent now will be for nought. A big white elephant. Hidden tunnels to nowhere.

Because not even a future Labour Government would be stupid enough to spend so much money – generated mostly by New Zealanders who don’t live in Auckland – on such a small project with little benefit.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.