Work begins towards single comprehensive Auckland transport plan

Publish Date : 12 Dec 2022
Just one suggestion for the future of the Waterfront, published in 2018.
Just one suggestion for the future of the Waterfront, published in 2018. Credit: ARCHIMEDIA

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown says Auckland Council’s Governing Body will begin work this week towards a single comprehensive plan to futureproof Auckland with one high-quality, joined-up transport system.

Last week, Mayor Brown and Transport Minister Michael Wood committed to lead the development of the plan, which includes cars, buses, trains, ferries, cyclists, pedestrians, freight and passenger rail and light rail.

As well as enhancements to the existing transport system, the Mayor and Minister said the agreed plan would include a range of projects including maximising the return from the CRL through heavy rail improvements, the Northwestern busway, Auckland Light Rail, and the Alternative Waitemata Harbour crossing.

They also said the agreed joined-up plan would require clear decisions and timelines to be made about the future use of Auckland’s publicly owned waterfront land, currently being used by Ports of Auckland Ltd.

At this week’s Governing Body meeting, the Mayor will outline how he plans to give effect to his commitments to the Minister, including in Letters of Expectations to be sent to Auckland Transport (AT), Port of Auckland Ltd (POAL) and Eke Panuku.

“We’ve got an obligation to Aucklanders and the Minister and Government to get on with it, this side of Christmas,” Mayor Brown said today.

Mayor Brown will propose to the Governing Body that his Letter of Expectation to AT include the following requirements:

  • A fundamental change of approach: deeply understand and respond to what matters most to Aucklanders in transport
  • Get the most out the existing transport network
  • Reduce Auckland Transport’s cost to Council
  • Deliver a better approach to traffic management: reduce developers’ footprints on roads and enable fewer orange cones
  • Take direction and oversight from Council
  • Support development of a joined-up, comprehensive transport plan, written by Aucklanders
  • Improve performance on resource consent report delays and reduce the costs of development

For POAL, the Mayor will require it to support him, Auckland Council, Eke Panuku and other stakeholders in a Council-led process to be launched early in 2023 to plan for the return and development of the waterfront land it currently uses, from 2024 through to 2039.

The Mayor will propose a staged, long-term transition, including to provide medium-term job security, but clear dates and milestones are required to inform central Government’s draft New Zealand freight and supply chain strategy to be published by June next year, and allow for infrastructure investment decisions to be made by central and local government and the private sector.

That includes KiwiRail, which may want to work with AT to consider the implications for its business of Mayor Brown’s proposal that POAL move to a 100% rail solution as soon as possible, to reduce Auckland’s congestion and greenhouse-gas emissions.

The Mayor’s proposed Letter of Expectation to POAL will also rule out any further dredging of the Waitemata Harbour or Rangitoto Channel, except that required for maintenance, and any further extension of the port’s footprint northward towards Devonport.

Mayor Brown’s proposal includes a permanent international passenger terminal and coastal shipping services in the Auckland central city after 2039. He will also seek information from POAL what land it will need to retain to deliver these services after 2039, and for information on any contractual obligations that need to be considered and managed during the transition period to 2039.

With those provisos, the Mayor is suggesting a indicative programme for the progressive return of the land, which will evolve as the process unfolds next year, as follows:

Date Area
31 December 2024 Captain Cook wharf, (what remains of) Marsden wharf, and the western half of Bledisloe Wharf
31 December 2029 The eastern half of Bledisloe Wharf, Jellicoe wharf and the area around Tooley Street 
31 December 2034 Freyberg wharf and the area around Tooley Street
31 December 2039 Fergusson container terminal


Between now and 2039, and beyond, POAL will be expected to provide a safe workplace and operate a profitable business

“We will listen to POAL and all stakeholders over the details of the transition arrangements, but no one should doubt that change is coming to how Auckland uses its waterfront land,” Mayor Brown said.

Mayor Brown is proposing that his Letter of Expectation to Eke Panuku should include the requirement that it work with a Council-led team on conceptual plans for future use of POAL land as it is released from port purposes as part of a staged programme over 2024-2039.

“Eke Panuku has its critics, including me, but no one disputes it did a very good job with Wynyard Quarter. I am recommending to the Governing Body that it be given the job of doing even better with the port land, to deliver to Auckland by 2039 the most beautiful and loved publicly owned waterfront of any harbour city in the world,” Mayor Brown said.

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