At a glance

  • Over the next 30 years it’s expected around a million more people will live in Auckland. Transport problems need to be resolved to unlock productivity and promote wellbeing in New Zealand’s largest city.
  • The Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) 2018 sets out a comprehensive and integrated view of what is needed to address Auckland's long standing transport issues. ATAP notes that light rail between the city centre and Māngere (known as CC2M) is expected to: alleviate current and forecast bus capacity constraints in the city centre; improve access to growing employment areas, particularly at and around Auckland Airport; unlock significant growth potential along the corridor, especially around Māngere, Onehunga and Mt Roskill; and provide an attractive and reliable 'one seat journey' between the city centre and the airport for travellers.
  • In June 2019, the government directed the Ministry of Transport to lead a ‘parallel process’ to select a preferred delivery partner for the prioritised CC2M line by considering proposals from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and NZ Infra (a joint venture of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Canadian institutional investors CDPQ Infra).
  • Proposals were received from Waka Kotahi and NZ Infra by the end of 2019 and following a period of evaluation by technical experts and consideration of the policy implications, both were assessed as credible.
  • Cabinet was the final step in the decision making process and was unable to reach a decision on the preferred proposal. In June 2020 the government announced that it would end the parallel process.
  • The Ministry of Transport and the Treasury have been tasked with providing advice to the next government on an alternative approach to delivering the project. 

Current status

In June 2020 the government ended the parallel process to appoint a preferred delivery partner. The Ministry of Transport and the Treasury have been tasked with providing advice on an alternative approach for delivering the project which would be led by the public sector. They will report back to Ministers after the general election in September 2020.  

Work relating to the development and evaluation of proposals by NZ Infra and Waka Kotahi resulted in clearer objectives for Auckland Light Rail. It has also pointed to changes needed within the current regulatory and legislative regime to enable, operate and monitor light rapid transit systems.

The Ministry of Transport and The Treasury have been directed to work on a public service delivery process with support from agency partners to address the issues raised during the parallel process. This will ensure progress is still made on the project and the new government is presented with a proposal to consider as a new way forward.

The parallel process

The Ministry of Transport was asked by Cabinet in mid 2019 to lead a parallel process to consider proposals from NZ Infra and Waka Kotahi.

Key outcomes for CC2M were agreed in consultation with central and local government and in July 2019, NZ Infra and Waka Kotahi were provided with a Response Requirements Document and invited to put forward proposals with evidence of how they would deliver the outcomes. The two organisations then engaged with a range of key stakeholders to assist in the development of their proposals. At the same time an Advisory Group of chief executives was put in place to assist the Secretary for Transport. A Ministerial Oversight Group was also established.

Proposals from NZ Infra and Waka Kotahi were received in November 2019. These proposals were subjected to a confidential evaluation process that involved over 100 people from more than 15 local and central government agencies and expert advisory firms. The outcome of this work was considered by an overall evaluation team (OET).

In addition, an Auckland Light Rail Policy Group comprising subject matter experts met during development of the proposals and during the evaluation phase to ensure perspectives, system and public policy considerations were all duly considered.

The OET report was presented to the Secretary for Transport in January 2020.  The Secretary for Transport presented his advice to the Minister of Transport in anticipation of a paper going to Cabinet in February 2020. The intervention of the COVID 19 pandemic lockdown slowed preparation and consideration of a Cabinet paper. Cross party consultation commenced in late May. Near the end of that process it became clear that Government would be unable to make a decision on a preferred delivery partner.   Cabinet then decided to terminate the proposal process and to move to a public service delivery approach.

Outcomes for Auckland Light Rail

The government in collaboration with central and local government partners agreed the four outcomes for the Auckland Light Rail project:

Access and integration

Improved access to employment, education and other opportunities through enhancing Auckland’s Rapid Transit network and integration with Auckland’s current and future transport network.

Environment

Optimised environmental quality and embedded sustainable practices.

Urban and Community

Enabling of quality integrated urban communities, especially around Māngere, Onehunga and Mt Roskill.

Customer Experience

A high quality service that is attractive to users, with high levels of patronage.

Timeline

  • In 2018, Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency commenced preparation of an indicative business case for the project.
  • In April 2018, NZ Infra (a joint venture of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Canadian institutional investors CDPQ Infra) submitted an unsolicited option for an alternative delivery and financing approach to the Auckland city centre to Māngere project (CC2M).
  • In June 2019, the Government asked the Ministry of Transport to run a parallel process with both Waka Kotahi and NZ Infra for further development of their separate options for CC2M, with the intention of assessment of the separate options and selection of a preferred delivery partner.
  • Late in 2019 proposals were received from NZ Infra and Waka Kotahi and assessed as credible.
  • In June 2020, Cabinet was unable to make a decision on the preferred delivery partner and the government ended the proposal process.
  • The Ministry of Transport and the Treasury are due to report to Ministers on a public sector delivery approach for CC2M after the 2020 general election.

Key Documents

Media releases

Project documents

Date

Document name

12 January 2018- 12 April 2019

Weekly reports to the Minister January 2018-12 April 2019 (Excerpts) [PDF, 387 KB]

25 January 2018

Auckland  Rapid Transit Network RTN Delivery: Briefing paper [PDF, 4.8 MB]

29 March 2018

Auckland Transport Alignment Project package update: speaking points [PDF, 125 KB]

26 September 2018

Prime Minister Meeting with Mayor Goff 3 October 2018: Briefing paper [PDF, 454 KB]

10 December 2018

Auckland Light Rail, Alternative Delivery Models: Briefing paper [PDF, 506 KB]

10 December 2018

Auckland Light Rail Business Case: Joint MOT and Treasury Briefing paper [PDF, 340 KB]

14 December 2018

Funding Auckland Light Rail: Briefing paper [PDF, 917 KB]

17 December 2018

Light Rail Procurement Cabinet oral item: Talking points [PDF, 299 KB]

17 December 2018

City Centre to Mangere Light Rail Business Case Update: Joint MOT Treasury briefing paper [PDF, 1.1 MB]

18 December 2018

Letter from Minister Twyford to the Board Chair NZTA [PDF, 116 KB]

26 April 2019

Auckland Light Rail – outcomes work: Briefing paper and attachment [PDF, 2.3 MB]

June 2019

Progressing our Plans to Deliver Light Rail in Auckland: Cabinet paper [PDF, 1.7 MB]

June 2019

Speaking notes – Progressing our Plans for the delivery of light rail  in Auckland: Aide Memoire [PDF, 340 KB]

7 June 2019

Auckland Light Rail Initial work programme and short term actions: Aide Memoire [PDF, 411 KB]