1 Dec 2022

Transport bosses provide Auckland projects update, Mayor calls report horror story

7:37 pm on 1 December 2022
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown at the council's governing body meeting.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown says the report doesn't highlight the big issues facing Auckland enough. Photo: Auckland Council

Staff from Auckland Council, City Rail Link, Auckland Transport and KiwiRail met today to provide updates on a number of transport projects across the super city, amid what the mayor is calling a public transport crisis.

Auckland mayor Wayne Brown said he wanted 'smarter, better, cheaper, faster' results from Auckland Transport after reviewing their performance report.

AT presented its quarterly performance review to Auckland Council today, addressing the city's public transport crisis.

Brown said the report did not do enough to highlight big issues, calling it a 'horror story'.

"It's just too much stuff there. I'm hoping that, even before you get your letter of intent, that we can reduce it and make it less things that don't matter and more things that really do," he said.

Brown also said the future focus should be on an Auckland Transport master plan produced by AT and the Ministry of Transport, something he said Transport Minister, Michael Wood, supported.

Auckland Transport said despite the city's public transport woes, public transport usage had increased.

Interim chief executive Mark Lambert said public transport use in Auckland had increased to 67 percent of pre-Covid-19 levels.

While Auckland Transport was still grappling with staff shortages and cancellations, it was focused on meeting long-term goals like reducing emissions, congestion, and an increasing transport options.

The meeting, which was chaired by Transport Committee councillor, John Watson, also provided updates on Auckland's city rail link project.

City Rail Link chief executive Sean Sweeney said they want to move from heavy freight to a metro-mindset as it continued working on Auckland's underground rail system.

Dr Sweeney said despite set-backs like Covid-19 lockdowns the project was still hitting key milestones. Covid-19 would continue to impact the project, he said.

KiwiRail's chief operating officer David Gordon also said it was in a good position relative to the opening of the City Rail Link.

Meanwhile, Brown confirmed the departure of two key staff members from his office.

Interim chief of staff Tim Hurdle and his wife, deputy chief of staff Jacinda Lean, have left the mayor's staff earlier than their expected Christmas departure.

Meredith Connell partner Max Hardy is now acting chief of staff.

The mayor's office said any further announcements would be released next week.

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