Minister questioned on projects


The Minister of Transport Steven Joyce was quizzed in parliament this afternoon about Auckland’s rail projects and integrated ticketing.

NIKKI KAYE (National—Auckland Central) to the Minister of Transport: What progress has been made on advancing public transport projects in Auckland?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister of Transport) : I am pleased to report that the Auckland Regional Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency have reached agreement to advance a range of public transport projects in Auckland that were to have been funded by the Auckland regional fuel tax. New and improved rail stations, including those planned at New Lynn, Manukau, Onehunga, Grafton, and Avondale, will receive a subsidy of up to 60 percent from the New Zealand Transport Agency. In addition, the New Zealand Transport Agency will pay for 60 percent of the outstanding work on the Newmarket station and make a $5 million contribution to work already done. The agency has also agreed to lend the Auckland Regional Council $33 million for the purchase of new diesel trains to cater for growing patronage until the electric trains arrive. I note that this has all happened without saddling the people of Auckland with an extra 9.5c per litre regional fuel tax.

Nikki Kaye: How is the Government going to purchase electric commuter trains for Auckland now that the 9.5c per litre fuel tax has been cancelled?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: The Government is committed to the electrification project. The Ministry of Transport is currently investigating various options for the purchase of electric trains in Auckland. These include the Crown increasing investment in KiwiRail, KiwiRail borrowing the money and the Crown providing an additional direct passenger subsidy until patronage increases, or some form of public-private partnership, most likely on an availability basis. We must ensure it goes ahead in a way that meets the needs of Aucklanders and ensures the most efficient use of taxpayers’ funds.

Phil Twyford: When the Minister told the select committee this morning that funding for the purchase of Auckland’s trains was outstanding, how much is the Government contributing and when will that money be provided?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: As I said in answer to the previous supplementary question, we are currently working on a number of options and that decision is yet to be made.

Phil Twyford: When the Minister cautioned the select committee this morning that integrated ticketing systems can end up in budget blowouts, just how much of the estimated $100 million cost is he planning to contribute, and what guarantees can he give this House that the information technology component will be kept under control?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Personally, none.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. This is a relatively simple point of order. That member is a new Minister, but he cannot give personal answers in this House. He must answer as a Minister, and not give his personal views.

Mr SPEAKER: I hear what the honourable member is saying. I assume the Minister was speaking as Minister, but he should correct that answer and make it clear what his answer meant.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: As a Minister, I am also contributing nothing. If there are any funds to be contributed—and there will be—they will be contributed by the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Nikki Kaye: What work is being done to introduce integrated ticketing to Auckland?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Again, I am pleased to report that the New Zealand Transport Agency and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority are working together on developing a sensible integrated ticketing system that balances the needs and conveniences of commuters with what is affordable. I commend their cautious approach, and I note that the sums of money involved and the potential for cost escalation have been viewed nervously by all participants. The New Zealand Transport Agency will provide financial assistance at the same rate as for other public transport projects.

Related Posts

  1. Transport Minister: Committed to Public Transport Funding - But Is The Integrated Ticketing Plan Now Dead?
  2. Thanks Steven, at last some clarity
  3. Integrated Ticketing: What It Takes To Get Slowly Past The Post
  4. The Devil Is In the Detail
  5. Auckland Electric Train Purchase Held Up: Budget Gloom




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