Auckland, Govt sign transport deal
After months of argument between the Government and the Auckland Council over the region's future transport projects, the two have signed a deal intended to settle their differences.
Mayor Len Brown, whose ambitious 10-year-plan irked the Government, and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have signed an agreement aimed at getting consensus on a list of projects spanning 30 years.
Over the next 12 months, Government and council officials will nut out the details of their joint objectives for Auckland's long-term transport.
Mr Brown said the deal would give Auckland more say on the national transport budget.
"Rather than having to simply respond to documents drafted in Wellington such as Government policy statements and national land transport programmes, Auckland now has the opportunity to be involved at the start of these processes," he said.
Mr Bridges said the council and the Government already agreed on the broad objectives of the transport system and the "terms of reference" set out in today's deal would give officials from both a structure under which to test various planning options.
Earlier in the year, he said the mayor's long-term plan, which included levies to fund hundreds of millions of dollars in public transport projects, was not "effective or value for money".
But Mr Brown said the levies were only a stop-gap measure until central Government allowed the council to introduce alternative funding such as toll roads.
The AA, which also opposed the levy, welcomed the deal because it looked set to introduce great central Government input into Auckland's planning.
But Labour's Auckland issues spokesman, Phil Goff, said the deal would only delay much-needed solutions for the city's congestion.
"National's decision now means another year will pass before remedial action will be taken," he said.
"It should have been working with Auckland from day one of the Super City, to align central and local Government planning."