Press Release – Cameron Brewer
“Despite the CBD Rail Link being the most important project for the leadership at Auckland Council, it has so far failed to successfully advocate the project to the Government,” says Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer.Media release
Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer
CBD Rail Link advocates have failed to sell project
“Despite the CBD Rail Link being the most important project for the leadership at Auckland Council, it has so far failed to successfully advocate the project to the Government,” says Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer.
“Like most Aucklanders I’m a supporter of the project, but unfortunately the council’s leadership hasn’t lined up its ducks by presenting a compelling and credible case. Sadly, they only have themselves to blame.
“We’re now in a battle of the business cases and subsequent reviews which is a terrible predicament for the project’s advocates to find themselves in. We’re arguably further away from any agreement around the project’s economic benefits than we’ve ever been. The council’s advocacy over the past seven months has failed to bring the two main parties closer.
“Unfortunately there has been quite an arrogant view that Wellington should just fund this project because it’s what the Auckland Mayor promised during his election campaign. Putting overt pressure on the Government to deliver on a mayoral vision was a high-risk strategy which unfortunately hasn’t paid off.
“The good news is that the Government has left the door wide open and in fact is strongly encouraging the council to get on and protect the route. It’s also good news that Mayor Len Brown has reaffirmed that Auckland is getting on and progressing the designations and securing the route. However if Auckland wants taxpayers’ money for the project, it’s got a lot more work to do.
“There have been a lot of big political promises made around this project, but despite all the rhetoric the reality is the council’s still miles off convincing the Government to part with its money. That is not a failure of the Government. That is a failure of the council’s advocacy. One can’t help but think the project’s advocates have gone off a little half-cocked, and sadly for the project it has yet to find certainty.
“With Wellington’s officials and Auckland’s consultants now in a Mexican stand-off, the onus is now on Auckland to develop a compelling proposition to attract funding. This is not a time to bite the hand that could feed the project. Now is the time to work closer with the Government, and not throw brickbats,” says Cameron Brewer.