National-led Government officially cancels Auckland Light Rail plans


The new National-led Government is following through on its plans to cancel the Auckland Light Rail project.

Transport Minister Simeon Brown issued a statement on Sunday, officially cutting the plan.

Work was already stopped on the multi-billion dollar project in November.

Brown said the cost of the previous Labour-led Government's project was unsustainable.

"Auckland Light Rail would have cost taxpayers $15 billion, with advice showing the cost could increase to $29.2 billion," said Brown.

"The previous Government committed to building light rail to Mt Roskill within four years of being elected. After six years and over $228 million spent on the project, not a single metre of track has been delivered and congestion has only worsened in the city.

"Scrapping the expensive project is part of the coalition agreements and we have taken swift action. Auckland Light Rail Limited has been instructed to immediately cease work on the project, and to take the necessary steps to wind up the company."

Labour's light rail plan had the potential to take up to 14,500 cars off the road but the price soared to $14.6 billion when it was decided to partly tunnel the rail line.

Brown said the Government would still be committed to delivering infrastructure projects in the Auckland region.

"Our focus is on building a rapid transit network in Auckland, including completion of the City Rail Link, which was started by the last National Government, and starting work on a Northwest Rapid Transit corridor, alongside other projects to deliver reduced congestion for Aucklanders.

"The Government's decision to scrap Auckland Light Rail means that we can stop work on a project which has not delivered and get on with delivering the critical transport infrastructure that Auckland needs."