Auckland Airport rail link plans paused

written by Adam Thorn | June 25, 2020
Air New Zealand 777-300 chartered by the German government on the tarmac at Auckland airport (Air New Zealand)

The New Zealand government has kicked into the long grass plans to build a light rail link between Auckland Airport and the city.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the decision is a result of bickering between political parties, with only the Greens and Labour supporting the project.

Winston Peters, who is Deputy Prime Minister but representing a separate party in coalition, rejected the idea.


“Every program has got to stack up, be fiscally sound and it’s got to work,” Deputy PM Peters said on Wednesday.

“We’ve always been for heavy rail in this country. Light rail is a plan that the costs have blown out massively. It is not going to happen in the immediate term.”

Auckland mayor Phil Goff said, “It is frustrating that after three years, disagreement within the coalition has held this process up.”

The move comes despite a large uptick in flights around the country as New Zealand recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.


Last week, Air New Zealand revealed will actually offer more capacity on its Auckland-Queenstown route during the July school holidays next month than it did last year.

This is in addition to a broader increase in domestic capacity from 20 to 55 per cent in July and August, including restarting its direct A320 service between Auckland and Invercargill.

Air New Zealand is now operating to all 20 domestic ports it serviced pre-coronavirus and has dropped social distancing in line with the country lowering its coronavirus restrictions to ‘Alert Level 2’.

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