The Auckland Transport Alignment Project

Transport sector: A case study of sector-level reporting

The Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) aims to:

  • encourage more people to use public transport, walk, and cycle;
  • address congestion;
  • increase accessibility;
  • reduce negative impacts on the environment; and
  • reduce road deaths and serious injuries.6

The ATAP involves a cross-agency partnership that includes the Ministry of Transport, Waka Kotahi, KiwiRail, the Treasury, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, and Te Kawa Mataaho. The ATAP is focused on joined-up planning and prioritisation across central and local government.

Every three years, the ATAP publishes an indicative package of transport investments known as “the ATAP package”. This package informs, rather than replaces, statutory processes, including the NLTP and Auckland’s Regional Land Transport Plan.

The ATAP 2021-2031 package signals an investment package worth $31.4 billion. About $17 billion of the funding is for new projects such as rapid transit and safety.

City Rail Link

City Rail Link is the ATAP’s flagship project and is currently expected to cost $5.493 billion to complete the main works. City Rail Link is funded equally by the Crown and Auckland Council.

Investment is also being made in KiwiRail and Auckland Transport for the City Rail Link’s operating costs for Day 1 readiness. Further investments will be required after City Rail Link opens – such as investments in wider network improvements – to ensure that City Rail Link’s full benefits are realised.

How performance is reported

City Rail Link Limited provides clear and comprehensive performance reporting on the delivery of the main works.

City Rail Link Limited’s reporting describes how it engaged with mana whenua and their involvement in decision-making. It also includes reporting on activities (for example, rangatahi training programmes, and Māori and Pasifika contracts) that contribute to wider outcomes for Māori.

City Rail Link Limited and mana whenua published a case study in June 2023 that highlighted best practice and lessons from their 10-year partnership. This case study is an industry tool for future partnerships.

There is currently limited information publicly available about the performance expectations and reporting against these expectations for Day 1 readiness and planning for benefits realisation by the entities responsible. We consider this a critical gap given the significance and complexity of the project.

We have raised this matter in our 2022 report Governance of the City Rail Link project.

Auckland Light Rail

Auckland Light Rail intends to improve public transport options for Aucklanders, support a more connected city, reduce congestion and transport emissions, and encourage urban development. Auckland Light Rail is jointly sponsored by the Crown, Auckland Council, and mana whenua.

The Auckland Light Rail Establishment Unit developed an indicative business case. In January 2022, the Government released its preferred option of a partially tunnelled light rail from Auckland’s city centre to Auckland Airport.

Auckland Light Rail Limited was established in October 2022 to progress a detailed business case. This is expected to be completed by mid-2024.

NLTP originally funded Auckland Light Rail until June 2022.

Budget 2022 established a multi-year operating appropriation, totalling $189 million, for the completion of detailed planning activities. Budget 2023 allocated a further $131 million capital appropriation for the Early Property Programme.

The Ministry of Transport and the Treasury have an important role in progressing Auckland Light Rail’s policy and funding work. Further details on scale of investments and the benefits they will bring is expected to be in the final business case.

How performance is reported

It is difficult to find performance information on Auckland Light Rail during the period in which it was funded by the NLTP up to Budget 2022. With the establishment of Auckland Light Rail Limited and the publication of its Statement of Performance Expectations and Statement of Intent, we expect greater transparency about financial spending and the performance of Auckland Light Rail and project delivery.

The Ministry of Transport does not have specific performance measures for this work. This makes it is difficult to know what is planned to be achieved with its funding and to assess its performance in this area.

6: Priorities as set out in ATAP 2021-31.