Heather du Plessis-Allan: Government deserves praise for light rail decision

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Thu, 1 Apr 2021, 4:44PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Government deserves praise for light rail decision

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Thu, 1 Apr 2021, 4:44PM

The government deserves a huge amount of credit for its decision on light rail. 

That wouldn’t have been an easy announcement to make yesterday: that you’re again stopping an already massively-delayed project, going back to the drawing board and starting again. 

That is essentially a public admission that they’ve wasted the last four years, and they know that that will attract ridicule. 

So credit to them and especially to new transport minister Michael Wood for having the courage to do that.

That’s a hell of a lot better than the alternative, which is what Phil Twyford was doing: forcing a bad piece of infrastructure on Auckland that many Aucklanders didn’t want or weren’t sure of.

My opposition to this has never been to the idea of rapid transport to the airport. That’s a great idea and something Auckland needs.

My opposition was to Twyford’s idea. It made no sense to plough the light rail down Dominion Road, which is busy enough without a train taking up space 

It was never going to be up and running in four years.

It was almost certainly going to cost more than - maybe even double – the $6 billion the government said.

Wood says he’s open to rethinking the whole thing. The route might change, it might go underground, they’re open to reconsidering ownership.

Obviously, my hope might be completely misplaced and we end up with another terrible idea, but I’m going to give Wood the benefit of the doubt for now.

And I’m going to give him the credit for doing the hard thing politically and starting again - because this is an important piece of infrastructure and if we get this right it’ll invaluable to our biggest city.