Brownlee: no tolls to fund rail loop; Auckland should sell assets
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says Auckland Mayor Len Brown will have to consider selling council assets to fund the central city rail loop.
Speaking on TV3’s The Nation, Mr Brownlee said selling the assets - shares in the airport and port - would inevitably have to be something considered as the business case for the loop.
But speaking on “The Nation” last May, Mr Brown said he would not agree to the sale of any assets.
“That’s fine, that’s his position and I think he's entitled to go to the ratepayers in the coming election and say that,” said Mr Brownlee.
“Let's be clear: He's got a right to stick to his policies, but as we come up to the point where we're looking at the business case which is about how it's funded and all the other aspects of it, he'll have to have some answers.“
Mr Brown has proposed that the rail loop could be funded by road tolls, or a congestion or a network charge.
But Mr Brownlee said the Government would not agree to any charges being imposed on existing assets that had been funded by taxpayers.
Mr Brownlee said the council maintained it could build the loop without selling the assets.
“I think that’s a political decision that they have to make,” he said.
“They're as committed to this as we are, they're actually committed to doing it sooner than we are.
“So I would assume that they’ve got all that sorted out.”
“I don’t think it would be fair to say that we are somehow trying to put a wedge in there that’s going to put pressure on Mayor Brown,” Mr Brownlee said.