Mayor Phil Goff welcomes new report on light rail to Auckland airport
Mayor Phil Goff has welcomed government and Council agreeing on the need for light rail from the airport to city.
The NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport have agreed to a transition from bus to light rail between the airport and city based on the recent Advanced Bus Solution study.
“With nearly 18 million passenger arrivals a year at Auckland Airport, a mass transit alternative to growing gridlock is critical. And the growth in employment in the airport precinct, adding further pressure on the roads, also makes a public transport option important,” Phil Goff said.
“This report recognises the problem of ever increasing congestion on the route between the airport and the city, the two fastest growing employment areas in Auckland.
“We need immediately to protect routes for the bus rapid transit/light rail option including from the airport to Manukau and Botany. Future proofing our city is vital.
“It is great that there is now agreement on the need for light rail between the airport and the city. Work should begin on identifying triggers for making the transition. There are however big issues still to resolve.
“Bus lanes are consistent with later conversion to a light rail service. However if light rail is needed within just a few years, there is a question as to why we shouldn’t just move immediately to that solution. Secondly, bringing forward a mass transit route to the airport adds urgency to the need to find new revenue streams to fund it,” Phil Goff said.
South Auckland suburbs welcome solar technology with robot sprint
Entrust, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Vector are taking energy efficient solutions, including solar and battery technology, into the homes and schools of south Auckland suburbs Papakura and Takanini to help lower electricity bills and improve the health of homes.
Launched today at Edmund Hillary School in Papakura with a solar-powered robot race, the Energy Efficient Communities Project, a partnership between Entrust, Auckland Council and Vector, will deliver free hot water heat control units, up to 15,000 LED lightbulbs, and energy advice to homeowners in Papakura and Takanini.
Twelve local organisations, including schools and community facilities, will also receive a Tesla Powerwall that stores the sun’s energy and delivers clean, reliable electricity when the sun isn’t shining. The provision of energy efficient technology will be complemented by an education programme in local schools which promotes simple actions that families can take to reduce energy bills.
The Energy Efficient Communities Project is being run as a trial and it forms part of a multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership between the organisations to promote sustainable and renewable energy in Auckland including solar and battery technology.
Entrust, Vector’s majority shareholder, is leading and funding the project. Chairman William Cairns says the project will improve energy affordability, reliability and choice for Aucklanders.
“The benefits of these energy solutions are well-known at a government and commercial level. It’s important we drive these benefits a community level, where it matters most,” says Mr Cairns.
Auckland’s Mayor Phil Goff says the EECP can make a real and practical difference for Aucklanders as the city builds a more sustainable energy network.
“Energy efficiency is good for the community and good for our city. It means more affordable electricity bills, healthier homes and less impact on our environment.
“We need to make our housing stock more efficient and healthier and it’s partnerships like this that seriously boost our efforts placing the latest solar and battery technology in the hands of our communities. It provides the up-front capital to help home owners install energy efficient technology,” says Mr Goff.
Mr Goff said that the partnership has set a goal in Papakura and Takanini to have 1500 homes sign up for a free home health check with bookings available by contacting the EECP team at www.homehealthcheck.co.nz or by calling 09 8902299. If the trial is successful, council will look to roll out the approach to other communities in Auckland over the next several years.
Edmund Hillary School principal Kataraina Nock welcomed the installation of the solar and battery system, and believes the simple actions education programme to reduce energy bills will be incredibly beneficial for local families.
“Students take home what they learn at school, and with this project the energy efficiency message is not just about a sustainable city, it’s a conversation about the real and tangible actions families can take to lower household expenditure on electricity and the importance of a healthy home,” says Ms Nock.
Vector CEO Simon Mackenzie added, “This project will give us practical insight into the impact energy saving measures have on power bills, carbon emissions and Auckland’s network. We’re already seeing the benefits of solar and battery technology with some earlier installs and we’re keen to see that replicated.”
Mayor Phil Goff, Entrust Trustees, Vector’s Chair Michael Stiassny and Principal Nock competed against each other in the race today, led by students and their solar robot projects.
Indicative savings a year for an average household with practical energy saving solutions: $238.16 using 10 LEDs, $420 using the iSmart hot water heat control, and $406.15 by converting their existing showerhead to a low-flow showerhead.
Vector’s solar and battery system installed at a family home in May last year has provided enough solar power to meet 63 per cetnt of their total energy needs, while exporting 12 per cent back to the grid. This has saved more than 1,500kg in CO2 emissions which is like planting the equivalent of 5 trees.
People using the systems have access to a platform with up to date information on their energy usage, including how much they are using from system or the grid, and how much CO2 they are saving.
Watch: Launch video footage
Photos: Bryan Lowe
Mayoral Housing Taskforce meets to tackle housing supply
Mayor Phil Goff has convened the first meeting of the Auckland Mayoral Taskforce on Auckland Housing Supply.
The Mayoral Taskforce will comprise of Auckland Council, central government officials and the private sector. The objectives of the Mayoral Taskforce is to:
- Identify barriers and constraints to building more homes in Auckland at a pace and scale which meets the demand created by population growth.
- identify options and make recommendations to overcome those barriers and constraints.
"Growing by around 900 people a week, Auckland faces severe housing difficulties as the supply of housing fails to keep pace with demand,” Mayor Phil Goff said.
“The number of extra houses the city needs each year is estimated at around 13,000 and we have been building only around half that number. The accumulated shortfall in homes grows each year. This has resulted in the cost of buying a house becoming unaffordable for a growing numbers of Aucklanders, rent rises putting low income households under real pressure and growing homelessness.
“The role of the Taskforce is to bring the diverse expertise of the people in it to bear on analysing and finding solutions to the problem. To the extent possible, we will try to find common ground on these things and make recommendations aimed at resolving the problems.
“I am delighted at the high level of the participants on the Taskforce and that noted financial journalist and commentator Bernard Hickey, has agreed to facilitate the Taskforce’s discussion.
“Bringing together the cross-section of people involved in housing supply to share their expertise is an important step towards finding solutions to Auckland’s housing issues. I’m delighted that representatives from all sections have agreed to becoming involved,” Mayor Goff said.
Recommendations from the Mayoral Taskforce will be made public in May.