With Mark Mitchell, Rodney MP
Last year at a meeting in my office with Auckland Transport chief executive David Warburton, and NZTA representatives, an agreement was reached to update the Penlink business model. The reason for this request was that I felt the old business model was outdated and did not make a compelling case for private investment.
The new report was completed late last year, and I waited for it to be reported on, back through our local government representatives. When the report had still not been made available by June, I requested a briefing from Auckland Transport on the new findings. I was confident that, with the growth we had experienced in Rodney and the Hibiscus Coast over the last 24 months, combined with future growth projections, the case would clearly be made to bring the projected start date for Penlink forward.
It quickly became apparent at the briefing that this was not the case, and in fact indications were that Penlink’s start date was in risk of being pushed back.
The Mayor and I met in my office last month to discuss this.
In this meeting I requested that if there were to be deferral of any capital intensive projects, then it should be the Central Rail Link that is deferred, and not projects like Penlink.
I have spoken with our Local Government representatives and Councillors Penny Webster and John Watson, Local Board Chair Julia Parfitt, Deputy Chair Greg Sayers and Board member Janet Fitzgerald, who are supportive of this position.
I continue to work at both central and local government level to seek a positive result for us.
One thing I can assure you of, is that my position will not change over the fact that Penlink must be prioritised over the City Rail Link.
I acknowledge that the City Rail Link is seen as an integral part of an efficient public transport system for Auckland, but not at the expense of other critical regional investments such as Penlink.