Tackling congestion on our roads has been a priority.
Through the Auckland Transport Alignment Project, I was able to secure $18 billion more in central government funding to deliver more busways and double-decker buses, extended and more frequent bus services, more electric trains and upgraded bus and train stations.
Expanding Transport Network
In the next two years, the money from the New Zealand Transport Agency in central government being spent on Auckland transport will be double what was spent in the last two years. This investment will also allow us to upgrade major arterial roadways and create roading infrastructure for new housing developments.
Major projects already underway or due to start soon, such as the Puhinui Station Interchange, will deliver further improvements, including rapid transit to the Airport and its employment precinct.
When the City Rail Link is completed, it will double the capacity of our rail network, allowing people to travel more easily and quickly into and through the city centre and freeing up space on our roads for those who do choose to drive.
To encourage even more people to leave their cars at home and use public transport, we’ve made public transport free for under-16s on weekends and public holidays.
Thanks to Aucklanders’ support for my water quality and natural environment targeted rates, we have enabled $763 million of investment over 10 years to restore our natural environment and clean up our beaches, harbours and streams.
This includes investment to help reduce wastewater overflows by up to 90 per cent and allow us to finish the task of cleaning up our waterways in less than 10 years—20 years faster than had been planned at the time I became Mayor.
Other recent achievements for our environment include making 26 kms of tracks in the Waitākere and Hunua ranges safe from spreading kauri dieback disease, providing $1.4 million to support the hard work of 110 community environmental initiatives, investing $50 million in capital works to reduce wastewater contamination in the Waitematā Harbour, and putting an extra $1 million into controlling possums in our regional parks.
Million Trees Programme
Alongside that, we have successfully delivered my Million Trees programme—in fact we exceeded the target by planting more than 1.1 million trees in three years.
While it’s encouraging to see the progress we’ve made, there is still much to do. When I launched my re-election campaign at the Indian Association of New Zealand’s Diversity Centre in Papatoetoe in August, I made it clear that I will continue to focus on transport and the environment.
Building on the success of my Million Trees programme, in my next term we will plant another 1.5 million native trees to green our city, absorb carbon emissions and create habitats for native wildlife. Work to clean up our waterways and restore our environment will continue.
Clean transport is a key part to tackling our climate change and environmental challenges, as well as making our city a better place to live.
Under my mayoralty, from next year council will purchase only electric and hybrid vehicles for its passenger cars. We will work with the government to bring forward the conversion of our bus fleet to electric and hydrogen, and to increase the number of electric vehicles on our roads.
I will also be pushing for the electrification of the railway from Papakura to Pukekohe under the Auckland Transport Alignment Project to start as early as next year.
To encourage more people to use public transport, we will reduce fares for all children to 50% of an adult fare, saving families hundreds of dollars a year.
These investments in our City, our environment and our communities will be delivered while keeping rates rises low and reasonable, as Aucklanders have told me they want.
With your support, we can continue the progress we have made towards creating a world-class City.
Phil Goff is Mayor of Auckland. Local Government Elections, including that of Mayorlity will be held throughout New Zealand from September 20 to October 12, 2019. Postal Votes should be sent in the self-addressed freepost envelopes to the Electoral Commission no later than October 8, 2019.
Artist impression of Puhinui Station Interchange exterior.