I hereby give notice that an ordinary meeting of the Planning Committee will be held on:




Meeting Room:



Thursday, 5 November 2020


Reception Lounge
Auckland Town Hall
301-305 Queen Street


Kōmiti Whakarite Mahere / Planning Committee









Cr Chris Darby


Deputy Chairperson

Cr Josephine Bartley



Cr Dr Cathy Casey

Cr Richard Hills


Deputy Mayor Cr Bill Cashmore

Cr Tracy Mulholland


Cr Fa’anana Efeso Collins

Cr Daniel Newman, JP


Cr Pippa Coom

IMSB Member Liane Ngamane


Cr Linda Cooper, JP

Cr Greg Sayers


Cr Angela Dalton

Cr Desley Simpson, JP


Cr Alf Filipaina

Cr Sharon Stewart, QSM


Cr Christine Fletcher, QSO

Cr Wayne Walker


Mayor Hon Phil Goff, CNZM, JP

Cr John Watson


IMSB Member Hon Tau Henare

Cr Paul Young


Cr Shane Henderson






(Quorum 11 members)




Duncan Glasgow

Kaitohutohu Mana Whakahaere /

Governance Advisor


3 November 2020


Contact Telephone: 09 890 2656

Email: duncan.glasgow@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Website: www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz



Planning Committee

05 November 2020



ITEM   TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                                         PAGE


12        Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections Business Case                                   5 



Planning Committee

05 November 2020



Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections Business Case

File No.: CP2020/14074




Te take mō te pūrongo

Purpose of the report

1.       To report the findings and recommended next steps of the Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections business case.

Whakarāpopototanga matua

Executive summary

2.       Auckland Council staff have been working in partnership with staff from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport on the Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections business case to understand the case for improved transport connections between the North Shore and Auckland isthmus.

3.       This nationally significant corridor faces several key problems now and into the future. These are:

·     current and future growth is placing increasing pressure on the corridor leading to reduced access, travel choice and the efficient movement of goods and services

·     access in the corridor is highly dependent on a single route with several vulnerabilities.

4.       The business case focuses on ‘programme level’ issues and conclusions – outlining a series of high-level interventions to be progressed further:

·     further investigate the potential for land-use planning and demand management (e.g. road pricing) to optimise existing infrastructure and delay the need for major investment

·     urgently upgrade the Northern Busway to increase its capacity, reliability and overall service quality

·     develop an additional rapid transit connection for the North Shore (including across the Waitematā Harbour to the city centre), that supplements and integrates with the upgraded busway and the wider public transport network to provide high quality access to opportunities and travel choice

·     improve roading connectivity in the corridor in a way that addresses resilience issues in the corridor (including the Auckland Harbour Bridge).

5.       Work on this business case has confirmed the urgent need to enhance the existing busway, which is now being progressed through a detailed business case by Auckland Transport. The scale, complexity and multiple interdependencies of the indicative rapid transit and road improvements identified means that more detailed analysis is required before their exact form, function and timing can be confirmed.

6.       Development of the busway improvements detailed business case has been approved by the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport boards.

7.       In addition to the busway improvements business case underway, the next stage of work is a Strategic Transport Networks single-stage business case looking in more detail at the rapid transit connection and how it will integrate with any new or upgraded road connection. Public engagement will occur as part of this phase of work.





Ngā tūtohunga


That the Planning Committee:

a)      note the findings and next steps of the Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections business case

b)      support Auckland Council’s ongoing involvement in the project, including strategic input and urban planning advice

c)      note that the potential scale of the impact and investment for the programme calls for a combined Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency/Auckland Council/Auckland Transport governance level structure, and that the problem statements, objectives and performance outcomes must be agreed by the partners before any further work is commenced.




8.       In 2018 the Minister of Transport asked Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (Waka Kotahi) to provide advice on the “need, timing, form and function of any new cross harbour connections”.

9.       Auckland Council staff have been working in partnership with staff from Waka Kotahi and Auckland Transport (AT) on the Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections business case (the business case) assessing future cross-harbour strategic transport needs. The findings and recommendations of the business case have been reported to, and endorsed by, the boards of Waka Kotahi and AT.

10.     The business case report is being finalised and will be released by Waka Kotahi in early November.

Previous work

11.     The need for improved connectivity between the North Shore and the Auckland isthmus has been anticipated for several decades and many studies have looked into possible options. The business case has built on this previous work and undertook updated investigations with the most recent demands and policy expectations.

12.     Specifically, this business case responds to direction in the 2018 Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP), which outlined the “urgent need” to “confirm the rapid transit corridor’s future mode and alignment, including how it integrates with a potential future road crossing”. ATAP also noted “the need to provide more certainty about the optimal timing, modal mix, configuration and operation” of any future crossing.

13.     While there have been several previous studies into improved connections across the Waitematā Harbour, these studies have largely focused on options analysis, rather than defining the problem to be solved or outlining a case for investment. This business case is also the first investigation to take a fully mode neutral approach that is consistent with business case principles and considers the wider transport system at the same time.

Project scope and purpose

14.     The purpose of the business case is to understand the case for improved transport connections between the North Shore and Auckland isthmus. The business case is focused on the strategic transport corridor made up of State Highway 1 and the Northern Busway (the corridor), and in particular the key section across the harbour. However, it is recognised that changes made in this corridor have implications across the wider transport system. For this reason the project has retained a broad view, with the study area (figure 1) covering the entire North Shore and stretching from Orewa to south of the Central Motorway Junction.

Figure 1: Business case study area

Current context

15.     Auckland is home to around 1.7 million people of which around 337,000 live on the North Shore.

16.     The Auckland Harbour Bridge (the harbour bridge), is the most travelled route in New Zealand, carrying on average around 171,000 vehicles per day in 2018 (around 205,000 people assuming an occupancy of 1.2 people per vehicle) and around 30,000 public transport trips per day.

17.     Coastal areas are significant taonga (treasure) to Māori; spiritually and functionally. This area also contains a number of sites of significance/importance to Mana Whenua identified within or near the corridor. This includes; Wai Kōkota and Te Tō - Victoria Park, Te Onewa (Stokes Point) pa, Te Rōutu o Ureia – Pt Erin, Motungaengae (Watchman Island) and Te Kō pua a Matakamo kamo – Tuff Crater.

18.     This part of the Waitematā Harbour is a highly valued and sensitive environment and much of the coastal marine area within the project area is classified under the Auckland Unitary Plan as a Significant Ecological Area – Marine.

Tātaritanga me ngā tohutohu

Analysis and advice

The problems to be addressed

19.     This nationally significant corridor faces several key problems now and into the future. The key issues are:

·     population and employment growth are leading to an increased demand for travel, which will increasingly exceed the existing network’s capacity. As capacity is reached and exceeded across more modes of transport and across more of the day, there will be significant detrimental effects on access, travel choice and the efficient movement of goods and services

·     the very high and growing dependency on the corridor, particularly for cross-harbour travel, means that its vulnerabilities have increasingly significant impacts on Auckland and New Zealand if service levels are compromised. While the harbour bridge is in good condition, it is an ageing structure with growing maintenance needs and will require increasing traffic management restrictions to protect its ongoing structural integrity.


20.     The business case summarises these issues in the following three problem statements (relative weightings from the business case are shown in brackets):

1)      Increasing difficulties serving the growing travel demand along the corridor is worsening travel choice and reducing connectivity between people and places (55%)

2)      Inefficiencies and unreliability in the movement of goods and services will drive up costs and delays and impede access to markets and customers (15%)

3)      Reliance on a constrained and vulnerable Auckland Harbour Bridge and corridor risks the provision of resilient and reliable transport and utilities services (30%).

21.     As can be seen, addressing growing travel demand is the key focus of the business case. The need to deal with ‘freak’ catastrophic accidents on the harbour bridge through improved resilience was noted by the business case, but the substantial cost of providing such resilience through the provision of alternative roading capacity meant that the expected benefit of eliminating the risk of such accidents was viewed as being relatively low.

Business case findings

22.     The business case focuses on ‘programme level’ issues and conclusions – outlining the following high-level series of interventions to be progressed further.

Integrated planning and demand management

23.     The business case found that the timing and scale of growth on the North Shore is a key driver of the timing of investment. There is an important link between the timing of greenfield urbanisation around Dairy Flat on the North Shore and the need for high-cost rapid transit and road investment. Focused growth around major centres (especially Takapuna and Albany) and of employment on the North Shore could help reduce pressure for travel across the harbour.

24.     Road pricing, if applied, could help reduce congestion on the corridor, likely delaying the need for road investment. However, it will increase public transport demand and potentially bring forward the need for rapid transit upgrades. Legislative change would be required before any road pricing scheme could be introduced.

Busway upgrade

25.     The analysis confirmed the need to progressively enhance the Northern Busway to meet the growth in demand, until a supplementary higher capacity Rapid Transit Network intervention can be delivered. The inability to meet future public transport demand to, from, and within the North Shore would constrain Auckland’s economic performance and inhibit planned urban growth.

26.     It was identified that this was needed urgently and as such AT have already commenced work on a detailed business case for busway enhancements that is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The outcomes of this and the extent to which the busway enhancement ultimately boosts public transport capacity will impact the timing and nature of subsequent investments.

Additional rapid transit connection

27.     The analysis has determined that, even with enhancements, an upgraded busway will not have sufficient capacity to meet medium-long term public transport demand. After considering a wide range of options, the preferred approach is to provide an additional rail-based rapid transit connection across the harbour.

28.     The business case identifies that the additional rapid transit connection should directly serve Takapuna and Smales Farm from the north and south, as well as integrate with the busway and the wider public transport network. North of Smales Farm the business case identifies that further work is required to be done to determine the route of the rail connection, whether or not it replaces the current busway and how it interfaces with long-term route protection work and growth planning north of Albany.

29.     The business case is does not determine the specific timing of this investment as this is dependent on a range of factors, including population growth, the introduction of road pricing and the success and longevity of the busway enhancements. Nevertheless, an additional rail-based connection is likely to be needed around the mid to late 2030’s. The planning, design and construction timeframes for a project of this scale are likely to be around 15 years.

30.     The business case does not identify a specific mode for this connection. Finalising the mode of this new rapid transit connection (i.e. light-rail, light-metro or heavy rail) will be done through a regionwide network planning process because of significant interdependencies with other rapid transit corridors/projects such as City Centre to Mangere and North-West Rapid Transit.

31.     These short and longer term interventions will significantly improve access and transport choice for many people who will have access to an improved public transport network. It will significantly increase transport capacity across the Waitematā Harbour and enable many more people to avoid the impacts of congestion. It will also improve the resilience of the transport network by providing an alternative mode and physical link to the road-based bridge connection and provide an alternative crossing for other infrastructure providers.

Improved road connectivity

32.     The rapid transit connection will not however fully address all the problems and investment objectives identified by the project. Traffic congestion on the existing harbour bridge is forecast to remain, increasingly stretching into interpeak hours, and the harbour bridge will remain the primary road connection, leaving the network exposed in the case of a catastrophic event or when the bridge needs to undergo structural upgrading or maintenance (an increasingly likely situation over time).

33.     The business case therefore still considers there is reason to progress with investigating a new or upgraded road connection.

34.     Modelling undertaken for the project comes to similar findings as previous work has; that constructing additional lanes across the Waitematā Harbour will not eliminate congestion and only minimally improve travel times, due to the saturation of the overall road network. Increasing traffic volumes across the harbour would also likely feed more traffic into the city centre and along local roads (running counter to project and Auckland Plan objectives). If traffic capacity is limited on these links (such as through reductions in traffic capacity into the city centre), it would appear counterintuitive to invest in additional capacity and then deliberately restrict it. These matters will need to be addressed in the next phase of work.

35.     Taking into account these factors above, and considering the significant size of the investment likely required, the business case recommended that the other options (busway enhancement, applying road pricing, and the provision of a new rail connection) be considered first before the construction of an additional road connection.

36.     The timing of the need for the new or upgraded road connection is even more unsure than the rapid transit connection, as it in turn relies to some degree on the form, function and timing of that connection. Nevertheless, the business case does not identify a need for the road connection before the mid to late 2040’s.

37.     Figure 2 below shows the indicative timing proposed for the three main physical interventions.

Figure 2: Indicative timing proposed for three main physical interventions


38.     The business case identifies the capital cost range of the recommended programme as being approximately $6-18 billion, anticipated to be incurred between 2024 to 2047. This consists of the following high-level estimates[1]:

·     Busway enhancements: $0.5-0.6 billion for bus improvements

·     Rail-based connections:

$5 billion for a tunnel from the city centre to Takapuna and Smales Farm;

$3 billion to extend this from Smales Farm to Albany (noting these are nominal examples of networks for estimation purposes only)

·     Road connection:

$1-2 billion for an in-line road bridge expanding the capacity of the existing bridge; or

$10 billion for a road tunnel from the city centre to Esmonde Road and additional motorway lanes to Constellation Drive.

39.     Once completed, the cost range of the programme’s operations and maintenance would be approximately $100-130 million annually, mostly for management of tunnel operations.

Tauākī whakaaweawe āhuarangi

Climate impact statement

40.     This business case, which sits at a programme level and does not commit the government or Auckland Council to any course of action, or confirm funding, does not directly impact on council’s climate response.



41.     Nevertheless, the findings of the business case and its recommendations will inform future decisions which may do so. The implications of these future decisions could include:

·     Transport emissions: Modelling undertaken for the business case suggests that once constructed, a rapid transit connection would reduce transport emissions, while an improved road connection would increase them.

·     Growth and land use change: Changes to growth and land use patterns as a response to transport investment (whether purposefully as a change to land use zoning and/or by the market reacting to particular investment) are likely to impact on levels of emissions. Rapid transit investment is likely to support a more compact urban form focused in the existing urban area and around centres, which in turn is likely to generate fewer emissions. Investment in improved motorways on the other hand is likely to support less dense, higher polluting, greenfields growth.

·     The construction of the connection/s: The general construction process contributes to greenhouse gas emissions through the production and transport of materials and the site work and construction process itself. Given the large scale of the works required, the construction of any connection across the Waitematā Harbour is likely to generate significant climate emissions.

·     Improved resilience to weather events: Some sections of the corridor are particularly exposed to adverse weather events, which may become unpredictable and extreme as a result of climate change. Upgrades to the corridor can help reduce this exposure and improve resilience, such as through the raising of the northern approach to the Harbour Bridge which is presently subject to coastal inundation from storm events and sea level rise.

Ngā whakaaweawe me ngā tirohanga a te rōpū Kaunihera

Council group impacts and views

42.     AT have been involved in the preparation of the business case as a joint partner with Waka Kotahi. The outcomes and recommendations of the business case were endorsed by the AT Board in late October. The AT Board have already approved the commencement of work on the detailed business case for the busway enhancements.

43.     Given the programme level of the business case, the involvement of Auckland Council staff has been largely limited to members of the Auckland Plan Strategy and Research department. Other parts of Auckland Council, including Plans and Places, the Development Programme Office and Panuku will be involved in the next, more detailed, stage of the project as appropriate.

Ngā whakaaweawe ā-rohe me ngā tirohanga a te poari ā-rohe

Local impacts and local board views

44.     There has been no formal involvement of local boards to date due to the high-level, programme level nature of the business case. However, stakeholder engagement, which will include local boards, is proposed as part of the Strategic Transport Networks business case to help inform the more detailed and concrete decisions around the route and form of any connection/s. A focus of this engagement will be on ensuring local boards and their communities are given opportunities to fully engage in the next phase of the project through its development.

45.     As the first step of this engagement, specific briefing sessions are being set up for the coming weeks with the most directly affected local boards. Recognising the regional impact of this project, a memo will also be sent to all other local boards summarising the outcomes of the business case and offering to provide a similar briefing.

Tauākī whakaaweawe Māori

Māori impact statement

46.     Engagement with Māori has to date been at a high level, commensurate with the programme level of the business case. It is expected that mana whenua will be substantially more involved in the next phases of work.

47.     During this business case phase of work, mana whenua iwi have been updated via Waka Kotahi’s Iwi Integration Group (IIG) forum and were consulted as part of the multi-criteria analysis process to gain insights during the development of the business case. Waka Kotahi have met to discuss the high-level outcomes of the business case with the IIG. A meeting to present to the mana whenua governance group had to be cancelled and is in the process of being rescheduled.

48.     Waka Kotahi will continue to lead iwi engagement on the project and are developing a Māori/mana whenua engagement strategy as part of the next planning and consultation phases. To inform the project’s development, iwi will have the opportunity to provide Cultural Value Assessments for different parts of the corridor.

49.     Ongoing iwi involvement in the project will likely include (but not be limited to) inputting into the design and delivery phases and advising as to how the project can maximise benefits for Māori well-being.

50.     As noted previously, coastal areas are significant taonga for Māori, and the area within and near the corridor contains many sites of high importance and value to mana whenua. Recognition and respect for this will be a key part of the next, more detailed, stages of work and will be helped by the involvement of iwi as described above.

Ngā ritenga ā-pūtea

Financial implications

51.     No funds are being sought as part of this report. Auckland Council staff time spent on the project will be covered within existing departmental budgets.

52.     Funding for the next phases of work, being the Strategic Transport Networks business case and the implementation of any busway enhancements, will be considered by AT and Waka Kotahi as part of their forthcoming (respective) Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) and National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) planning and approval processes.

53.     In the long-term, the funding of either or both of the more substantial connections would have significant financial implications, being equivalent to 30-50% of the current RLTP programme. The ongoing development of ATAP will guide the likely investment levels and timing, in conjunction with other regional projects.

Ngā raru tūpono me ngā whakamaurutanga

Risks and mitigations

54.     There are no risks with the committee being updated on the business case.

55.     However, there are a range of significant financial, reputational and timing (i.e. risk of delay in project delivery) risks associated with future stages of this work should it proceed to construction. Most of these are due to the scale of the project which would be the largest and most expensive in New Zealand’s history.

56.     A risk register is included in the business case. A similar register will form part of any future work and continue to develop as the project progresses.





57.     For Auckland Council a few of the main risks are:

·     Financial – As noted previously the construction of the respective proposed business case interventions are substantial. Funding for the next stage of the project has been identified and will need to be confirmed through the forthcoming RLTP and NLTP processes. The costs and subsequent funding of further stages for the design and implementation of the project(s) would need to be determined at that time. As a project of national significance, it is expected that most, if not all, of the future stages of the project would be funded by central government; however, this is not guaranteed.

·     Misalignment with council development strategies – Two of the main examples of this are:

No, or delayed, crossing – Auckland Council plans have long identified the need for an additional harbour crossing, in one form or another, to support growth on the North Shore. As identified by the business case, this growth and increasing demand for travel will result in reduced access and travel choice as networks become congested and unreliable, potentially limiting the growth which can occur.

Different crossing alignment – Previous growth and land use planning has tended to assume any new rapid transit connection would run along the existing busway. Should this change and a new rapid transit connection follow a different alignment then changes would be required to Auckland Council’s growth and land use plans. This will be considered within the next phases of work.

58.     Auckland Council staff will continue to be a part of the collaborative partnership working on the next phases of the project. This will enable the Council to be involved in the delivery of the project and monitor its progress.

59.     Given the potential scale of the impact and investment of the overall programme, it is critical that future stages include a combined Waka Kotahi/Auckland Council/AT governance level structure. Additionally, to ensure strategic alignment as part of the next steps of the programme, problem statements, objectives and performance outcomes must be agreed by the partners before any further work is commenced. This should sit at an elected member / Waka Kotahi and AT Board level. This will help ensure that outcomes of importance to Auckland Council, such as active modes and climate change, are appropriately recognised.

60.     Because of the importance of this partnership and governance approach it is recommended that they are noted by the committee in its resolution. The implementation of the approach in the next phases of the project should help mitigate these and other risks to Auckland Council.

Ngā koringa ā-muri

Next steps

61.     The next phases of the project are:

1)    Ongoing delivery of busway enhancements following completion of the Enhanced Busway Improvements detailed business case.

2)    Development of a Strategic Transport Networks single-stage business case covering:

a)    The rapid transit connection – including form, alignment and timing.

b)    Strategic transport networks (road and rapid transit) – looking at the wider transit network on the North Shore as well as how the road connection will integrate with the rapid transit connection. This phase will also consider whether the connections should be constructed together or separately (temporally and/or spatially).

c)    Route protection based on the outcomes of a) and b).

62.     This is illustrated in the diagram in Attachment A.

63.     Work is also underway as part of ATAP on the development of rapid transit planning guidance to help inform long-term rapid transit planning decisions, such as those required in the Strategic Transport Networks business case. This work includes staff of Auckland Council, AT and Waka Kotahi.

64.     Public engagement will occur as part of the Strategic Transport Networks business case.


Ngā tāpirihanga






AWHC recommended next phases



Ngā kaihaina



Alastair  Cribbens - Principal Transport Advisor


Jacques  Victor – General Manager Auckland Plan Strategy and Research

Megan Tyler - Chief of Strategy


Planning Committee

05 November 2020





[1] Options for connectivity with the rail network (light or heavy) remain unconfirmed, potentially increasing this range.