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Source: Auckland Council

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the city is ready and enthusiastic about promoting infrastructure projects to assist the country to recover quickly from the COVID-19 induced recession.

“The impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown of the country will, as elsewhere in the world, have a dramatically negative impact on jobs and business,” he says.

“As was the case in the 1930s in New Zealand, infrastructure projects with long-term benefits for the country can be used to stimulate the economy with a multiplier effect for job recovery. With a backlog of infrastructure projects which lagged behind and have constricted growth in Auckland, we can provide Ministers with projects that can get off the ground quickly.

“There will need to be a spread of projects across the country and Auckland will be just looking for a fair share of those projects, reflecting the 34 per cent of the country’s population and 38 per cent of GDP that the city represents.

“We will provide a smorgasbord of projects that can start quickly and which align with the government’s economic, social and environmental objectives.

“Council officers will begin immediately to draw up a range of proposals, with input from Ward Councillors and Local Boards,” says Phil Goff.

The proposals could include the following:

  • Developing a rapid transit system to the North West
  • Funding light rail from the City Centre to Mt Roskill and Māngere
  • A fourth main trunk rail line constructed at the same time as the third to save costs
  • Increasing NZTA funding proportions for projects such as the Matakana Link Road, which could start immediately, and the second and third stages of the Eastern Busway to Botany.
  • Sped up construction of cycleways which could start immediately
  • Bringing forward roading renewals currently at the back of the 10-year Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP)
  • Creating a charging network and bus depots to accelerate electrification of the city’s bus fleet
  • Funding local roads in new housing developments such as Drury
  • Building infrastructure to allow intensive residential and commercial precincts around the new City Rail Link stations at Mt Eden, Karangahape Rd and Aotea Centre
  • Funding underground fresh, waste and stormwater infrastructure in regeneration programmes such as Tāmaki, and new developments such as the Unitec site
  • Bringing forward separation of wastewater from stormwater to clean up Auckland’s harbours
  • Cultural and community amenities such as building a Pasifika and Māori cultural centre at Manukau, Te Papa North.

Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore says, “Planning for beyond COVID-19 and its impact on New Zealand is critical. It is a positive step that the government is looking at projects that will be or are shovel ready.

“Auckland is ready and able to present to the government, in short order, a list of key infrastructure projects that are ready to go and whose delivery will add positively to employment and dwelling builds, and act as a primary catalyst to the economic rebuild we are so obviously going to need.”

Councillor and Chair of the Planning Committee, Chris Darby, says, “The government’s infrastructure investment strategy presents a unique opportunity to not just reboot the economy but reset and reposition the economy to meet the massive global shift taking place on many fronts.

“The arrival of Covid-19 combined with climate change readiness are ingredients for powering big leaps in Auckland’s infrastructure, land use planning and economy, to drive the global flight to quality over quantity. Auckland can lead this for the benefit of the nation.”

MIL OSI