2 Mar 2024

Auckland mayor wanted consultants on Waitematā Harbour crossing to be blacklisted

7:47 am on 2 March 2024
Auckland mayor Wayne Brown speaks about his proposals for the city's budget.

Auckland mayor Wayne Brown speaks about his proposals for the city's budget. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Private messages sent from Auckland mayor Wayne Brown to Transport Minister Simeon Brown reveal a request for consultants working on the Waitematā Harbour crossing study to be blacklisted.

Correspondence between the two, obtained by RNZ under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, shows them discussing issues including the Regional Fuel Tax, axing Auckland Light Rail, and water reforms.

In one text sent on 14 January, Wayne Brown congratulated the minister for his work on Auckland Light Rail, before shifting focus to the harbour crossing study and calling for a list of consultants, and how much they were paid, so they could be blacklisted.

Wayne Brown criticised the study in the message as even more money wasted.

The documents do not show a response from Simeon Brown.

Last year, Auckland Council comprehensively rejected the previous Labour government's proposal for transport tunnels underneath Waitematā Harbour.

The council's transport committee voted against the proposal a day after a report showed it would cost $56 billion and did not have the support of the Ministry of Transport nor Auckland Transport.

Wayne Brown had been critical about a second crossing for the Waitematā harbour, saying council was looking forward to working on some better, faster and cheaper plans.

A spokesperson for the mayor said his comments were tongue-in-cheek.

They said the mayor was appalled by how much the government paid consultants to plan mega-projects that "will never get started".

The spokesperson said Wayne Brown was ramping up his focus on Auckland Council's approach to procurement, and that he expected the government to do the same.

Simeon Brown's office did not respond to RNZ's request for comment.

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