Electric Trains Question In The House


Auckland Central National MP Nikki Kaye asked a patsy question of the transport minister in Parliament this afternoon: What progress has been made on the procurement of new electric trains for Auckland’s commuter rail system?

He replied:
JOYCE (Minister of Transport) : Good news. I am pleased to confirm to the House that new electric trains for Auckland rail commuters are one step closer, following KiwiRail’s announcement of a shortlist of two bidders. The selection process will be completed later this year, and I expect to see the first trains delivered in 2013. Rail’s popularity in Auckland is rising, and these new trains will build on previous work building new stations and upgrading the network. Getting all of Auckland’s transport corridors working effectively is crucial to getting the city to grow faster and provide more jobs.

Nikki Kaye: Has the Minister seen reports speculating on the likely successful tenderer, and how accurate are these reports?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Yes, I have seen several reports calling for the procurement of new electric trains for Auckland to be delayed because they were to be built in China—a result of all sorts of wild conspiracies. As it turns out, the two shortlisted consortiums are from Korea and Japan, and Europe—I suppose at least Korea and Japan are in Asia. It is just as well KiwiRail continued on with the procurement job. It all goes to show that people should treat these types of reports—

Hon Trevor Mallard: As soon as Pansy was gone!

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: —and the relevant conspiracy theories, I say to Mr Mallard, which were from the Labour Party, with a very large grain of salt, especially in election year.

Phil Twyford: Does he agree that if he had not interfered in the process to buy the electric trains, Aucklanders would be riding them now instead of waiting through a 2-year process of missed deadlines and a shonky tendering process, which has seen four parties withdraw in protest?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I disagree with the member on two grounds. Firstly, the trains were always scheduled to arrive in 2013. Secondly, if I had not interfered, petrol prices in Auckland would be 10c a litre higher today than they are, because of Labour’s ridiculous regional fuel tax. If you want to campaign on bringing it back, then you should go right ahead—sorry, not you, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: I just remind the Minister that the Speaker is not campaigning on any such thing.




  1. Carl says:

    if he wants all of auckland’s transport corridors working correctly,

    why does the elecy trains setup stop at Papakura?

    Pukekohe, Tuakau and Drury and Waiuku are all party of the so called super city remember!

    But what is really going on is, we have been added to collect our money for your ‘inner city’ problems.

    again, another question that is not answered correctly.

    reminds me of winston peters, when you ask him a question, he replies with “let me ask you this”..

    I’m pretty sure when I was taught english at school, you didn’t answer a question by asking another…

  2. Matt L says:

    Carl you bang on about that every time electrification is brought up but what you forget every time is it has nothing to do with the supercity. The infrastructure is being paid for by the government and they are the ones who decide where the wires will go.

    What you need to remember is that Puke is 18km of double track away from Papakura which means extending electrification down there is going to be very expensive. If you compare it to the rest of the network it amounts to about 24% so based on the cost of the whole thing, electrifying to Puke would cost over $100m which can’t be justified at this point in time unless you want to pay even more in rates.

    Anyway don’t you live in Perth so won’t be paying rates here.

  3. Carl says:

    Matt L - he talks about Auckland, Pukekohe is now part of Auckland now because of the Supercity.

    funding, money, or whatever, Pukekohe is now deems as Auckland.

    Unless they bring it all the way, then the “whole” of Auckland, as he talks about, is not sorted and by the looks of things, never will be.

    And then you contradict yourself by talking about paying rates to pay for it?

    I’m pretty sure the People of Puke and surrounding would be quite happy to pay more if they knew they’d get something in return.

    all those people didn’t just go sit around at site of what should be a fully functional train station in Tuakau for nothing, they want action.

    I’d say by the sound of things you don’t live in the area, so you wouldn’t actually know what the people of that area want.

    do you know how many people are forced to drive to Uni in Auckland and Hamilton everyday because of the limited amount of services, services that don’t even run late night friday, sat or sunday?

    imagine how many cars would come off the road hmm?

    just because I talk about Perth, or Melbourne or London for that matter, doesn’t change the fact that I know where I come from, how much they people in that area are getting jipped.

    We are Major town between two fully functioning cites.

    A Town and area that has provided more than its fare share to both cities in may respects and industries.

    Yet when it comes to something that is very important, they can’t be arsed with us.

    its weak, boring and tired. People live in country surroundings for a reason.

    they shouldn’t be cut off from advanced and easy to use PT.

    someone needs to get there collective backside into gear, spend some money and take a gamble.

    because all i have seen in the last 5-7 years is talk, talk and more talk.

    my friends from overseas come and tell me it looks as if NZ is stuck in 1950.

    just build the dam thing all the way to Hamilton in back.

    it wasn’t called the “main” trunk line for nothing.

  4. Kurt says:

    What he forgets to mention is the record price for petrol in NZ is in no small way contributed by all the extra taxes National have added to it, none of which is going in to improving Auckland’s public transport.

    And the reality was that the petrol tax was going to be around 2-3 cents not the potential 10 it could have been.

    Is this what we pay Nikki Kaye for??

  5. Matt L says:

    Carl - You still don’t address the cost issue. Based on the rest of the network it would cost over $100m to electrify the line for a town of 25,000 and much less who would actually use the train on a regular basis. There is no way anyone would ever spend that kind of money for such few people. How much more would locals be willing to pay for electrification? While you might be happy to pay more, I think most would not agree to the kind of costs involved.

    I don’t disagree that it would be good to have the wires there but there also has to be some economic sense about the thing as that money has to come from somewhere. Also its not like they are cutting the rail service off completely, there will still be a shuttle service which should provide a similar level of service and if the timetables are designed right it wont take any more time for a trip to town than it does now.

  6. Jon Reeves says:

    Isn´t Nikki Kaye wonderful. She has done such a great job for Auckland Central.

    Grab me a can of Tui please.

  7. Carl says:

    shuttle service - with train switches, missed connections and mucking around.

    or drive your own car.

    I can see what is going to happen.

    why should people who live at the end of one line have to switch or be mucked around to get to the end of the line?

    why doesn’t it go all the way through to hamilton..

    how does anything ever get started?

    clearly you don’t live in that area and don’t have a clue about what people in that area need, let alone want.

  8. Carl says:

    I think you’ll also find, at last count, the population is nearing 60k for the franklin area.

    remember its not just the “township” that will use it.

    again, clearly you don’t live there.

  9. Matt L says:

    So what if I don’t live there. You still fail to explain why we should spend such a huge amount of money for such a small amount of people. We constantly go on at the government for spending money on roading projects with small BCR’s like P2W but you are suggesting we do the same thing for rail.

    With the transfer part, it can be really easy if done right so we could get the following:
    Citybound - Get on at Puke (or where ever if service is extended), travel to Papakura, hop off train and walk across the platform to a waiting electric unit which leaves a minute later.
    Pukebound - Get on EMU (the timetable should indicate which ones are the easiest to use to get to Puke), get off Papakura, walk across the platform onto the waiting shuttle, a minute later the shuttle leaves and heads off for Puke.

    In the future I do hope we eventually extend electrification all the way to Hamilton which would allow for EMU’s to be extended to Puke however it has already been investigated and the conclusion was that there would be little point unless it also went all the way to Tauranga as that is where most of the traffic is coming from/going to. The cost to extend it all the way there would be at least $1b so it isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

  10. Matt says:

    Carl, they’re not electrifying to Waitakere/Helensville, either, and that’s also on cost grounds. No electrification beyond Swanson, I believe.

    So stop complaining like it’s only Franklin that’s hard-done-by. Some parts of the region that aren’t - and probably never will be, unlike Franklin which at least has a hope - getting electric trains are part of the old Auckland urban area.

  11. Patrick R says:

    Nikki, who claims that she supports construction of the CBDRL should ask her bully boy minister this: ‘The recent GPS statement from your ministry shows an intention to spend 17.134 Billion dollars over the next 12 years on NEW State Highways, but only 417 Million on new Public Transport Infrastructure over that same period, this insane imbalance clearly shows that there is indeed plenty of money to invest in the booming Auckland Rail network over the stagnant and already widespread State Highway system. Can the Minister please give the house the growth figures on the state highway network for the last five years and contrast those with growth on Auckland’s rail network over the same period. And explain why he thinks it vital to fail to invest further in this growth where there is clear need and instead he instructs his ministry to search high and low across the country to find new parts of it to pave without first showing that there is any need at all. Is it not true, Minister, that under your guidance the desires of the highway building sector and big trucking are the real drivers of your decisions at the expense of the country as a whole? Are you not, in fact, merely a front for this industry?

    Go Nikki, get some guts girl, you might as well become famous for being the first junior MP to stand up to the bully….

  12. Matt says:

    Patrick, she never will. She’s never come out and said explicitly in public that she’s in favour of taxpayer funding of the CBD Rail Link. If I were a CBD dweller, I’d take great pleasure in not voting for her on that basis alone, never mind the rest of National’s policies with which I disagree.

    Those questions would be good coming from Jones and Hughes, though, and Jones appears to be actually asking some hard questions unlike his worthless predecessor in the portfolio.

  13. Patrick R says:

    Matt, I know she won’t, I’m just highlighting that her support for the CBDRL has absolutely no reality.

    You can watch the panic on her face as she tries to hold both ideas at once. The cute thing she says is that she ‘supports’ it but we have to have a debate about how to fund it. Yeah right. I just want to point out that there is plenty of money but zero political will from her and her party. She’s got to go.

  14. Matt says:

    The thing that really hacks me off is that these multi-billion-dollars that Joyce can find for roads are a) being borrowed against my and future generations’ incomes (and I’m finding the push to leave NZ and take my educated, valuable brain to somewhere that’ll appreciate it to be getting a lot stronger of late), and b) could upgrade the national rail network to extraordinary degrees and still have change left over. Lots of change. A bil to electrify to Tauranga, a couple of hundred mil to get the North Auckland Line up to scratch, let’s be horribly cautious and say two bil to get NIMT to a standard that’ll bring rail freight times AKL-WLG down to 10 hours, another bil on the SI equivalent (which I don’t think actually needs anything like that sum, but I’m trying to be a bit equitable), and another bil on remediating various branch lines. That’s less than $5b, leaving money over for completion of the WWR and still with money left to build out the South-Western Rail Line and to tackle construction of an RTN through the south-eastern suburbs.

  15. Patrick R says:

    True bro, but running away won’t help [doesn't Bordeaux look lovely though]….they play even nastier across the ditch, even if parts of the debate are more grown up. I can’t believe that that GPS will come to pass, things do change and sometimes quite fast. One new good thing is that the lazy pro-road concensus between Labour and National is now over and this will become apparent as we approach the election. It is darkest just before dawn and other clichés… Joyce is the last mad burst of this world view, I’m certain.

  16. Matt says:

    Patrick, who said anything about going to Aus? I work for a multi-national, and I hear that Canada is pleasant. I even have family there.

  17. Patrick R says:

    same there though…. seen the election results?

  18. One thing for sure MAXX or whoever is responsible for the final tender for Auckland’s Electric Trains. DONT… do what they did in Melburne. The Gov’t ere ordered 72 three car sets of trains rom Seimens. Whle good trains, initially, they were designed to work in tunnels, not… on crapy suburban track of varying quality that was (is) not up to metro standard. Put simply they braking system tends to unpredicably fail in the wet, causing platform over runs. As it always rains in Auckland, I would be careful with you tendering.

  19. Carl says:

    Matt L - considering your population numbers are out, I think id begin to question your costing budget is also out, BY A LONG WAY.

    Matt - Don’t live in the area and was only aware of that after looking into it further.

    perhaps then voicing it more and carrying on about it daily might push it further.

    your area, like my area has no reason to miss out either.

    if they could go ahead and build it in 18whatever it was when the started, then not finishing it off correctly now is a just a cop out.

    What is like only about 90Km from Puke to Hamilton, again so close but yet so far.

    They need to work together and get the masts up and get the whole thing sorted.

    Then the whole line from Auckland to Wellington is powered and then there is no excuse for an electric powered semi express service the length of the north island.

    If it doesn’t get started soon, with the way the dollar is going, its never going to get done.

    and Matt L - people like you who saying things shouldn’t be built, are living in a strange world. Because comments like that are actually halting progress and sending us even further behind in the real world.

    someone at some point in time will have to pay for it.

    Just like all those hard working people before us that had to pay for the harbour bridge, or the great south motorway.

    everything costs money and it will be cheaper to build it while you have people working on it “now” rather than stopping and setting it all up again in 5-10 years time.

    buying products in bulk is always cheaper than doing things one at time.

    It also keeps skilled people employed for longer in our country which is what it needs.

    it will also open up training as more people will need to be required to work on it and maintain it further once its complete.

    but we can go with your idea and not build anything and then pay a higher price in 10 years time “if” they decide to look at it again.

  20. Matt L says:

    Carl - You can use the figure of 60k for Franklin however most of those are very rural or are close to Papakura anyway.

    My costs wouldn’t be that far off, there is about 150km of track that is being electrified, extending it to Puke would add 36km of track. The signalling and traction contracts are each about $90m so the additional distance would probably cost 40-50mil. There would need to be additional power supply and probably the biggest cost of the lot would be the existing bridges over the tracks. There are at least 7 between Papakura and Pukekohe stations and most would require modification of some kind and based on the rest of the network most will need replacement. There are also level crossings that would need to be upgraded so $100m all up isn’t unreasonable.

    I have never said I don’t think we should eventually electrify to Puke or beyond however I do think that at this time, the money it would cost to do that would be better spent on other projects first e.g. a third main line on the NIMT through Auckland would likely provide much more economic benefit than electrifying to Puke. We need to be spending on the projects that will give us the best overall return.

    A couple of other points:
    The reason they aren’t electrifying to Waitakere is that it would cost to much to lower the Waitakere tunnel and there is only a very small catchment for that station so not much chance of patronage growth (Puke would be considered for electrification well before Waitakere).
    Even if they put up the wires to Hamilton, there is still a gap of about 100km between Palmerston North and now Waikanae. Also remember that Wellington uses 1500v DC compared to Auckland and the NIMT which have 25,000v AC (although there is a slight difference between the NIMT and Auckland that means the current electric locos won’t be able to run in Auckland without modification).

  21. mark says:

    “Is this what we pay Nikki Kaye for??”

    I voted for her last time. I am SO not voting for her again.

    And while I see the benefit of extending electrification to Pukekohe, it’s not looking all that cheap at all, and I think it might indeed be better to wait until we electrify the rest of the Auckland-Hamilton line.

    Yes, that does somewhat screw the Pukekohe area, and I know they didn’t want to become part of Auckland anyway. But having become part of Auckland - whether people like it or not - doesn’t in the same instance mean they can now expect or morally deserve - all the services and benefits that the more urban parts of Auckland get. If people chose to live in the country, some things just aren’t going to be “city”, sorry.

    Good example (if slightly unusual, dealing with rail and an existing town, rather than with motorways and a new greenfields development) why we don’t want sprawl. Extreme infrastructure costs for at the very least initially, very little return.

  22. Cam says:

    Nice try Nikki, but nobody is buying it.

    Your’e on borrowed time in Auckland central. I’d be getting on Seek for a wee look right now.


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