Auckland Mayor issues stop work order on major transport projects

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineFebruary 16, 2024

Mayor Wayne Brown has told Auckland Transport to immediately stop work on several major projects in response to the Government having scrapped the regional fuel tax.

Brown wrote to the Chair of Auckland Transport, confirming that the Government’s decision to cancel the RFT on 1 July 2024, will have an impact on funding for Auckland Transport.

“Auckland Transport must not assume that RFT funding will simply be replaced by higher council rates or debt,” he said.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Transport Minister Simeon Brown announced the axing of the fuel tax last week, saying it was not being used to fund projects that met the Government’s transport priorities.

Legislation would be introduced to Parliament to repeal the tax as part of the coalition Government’s 100-day plan.

“Since 1 July 2018, Aucklanders have faced an additional 11.5 cents per litre tax on fuel, over and above what the rest of the country pays, increasing the cost of living at a time when they can least afford it,” the transport minister said.

“Ending this tax is one way to reduce the price of fuel and ease some of the financial pressure facing households in our largest city.”

In response, the mayor said, “I agree that we need to stop wasting money on things that Aucklanders don’t want or need. But the Government is also turning the tap off to fund the many things we do need.

“Aucklanders need to have a greater say over the region’s transport programme. We are the only council in the country that cannot set its own transport plan, and that is just ridiculous. I am hopeful the Government will fix this.

“We want to decide what goes in Auckland. This is my city, not theirs.”

Now, Mayor Brown has instructed AT to take immediate steps “to avoid incurring unfunded costs”.

He requested all work to be paused on programmes and projects that are earmarked to be partially RFT funded.

“This includes, for instance, the Great North Road cycleway, other projects in the safety and cycleway programme, as well as Glenvar and Lake Rd improvements,” the mayor said.

“In some cases, programmes or projects may be able to be scaled back to avoid unfunded costs, and this may be the appropriate response.”

He also requested AT to review all RFT-funded projects where construction contracts have been executed to “assess options for, and costs of, deferring, cancelling or rescoping these projects”.

“Auckland Transport should use this opportunity to reconsider how it can do things better, faster, and cheaper.”