It was Sunday evening and the rain pooled on the tarmac. Our flight into Auckland was delayed a couple of hours and we were really cutting it fine.

Tickets to Spark Arena and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson had set us back more than $300, and even in the gloom we felt pretty enthusiastic about making the show on time.

As my friend collected our suitcase, I scurried outside.

Everyone has an Auckland Airport story and this one is nothing unique.


We had left the Corolla at Park 'n' Ride for the weekend and caught the bus to the terminal for a speedier commute back into town.

But the Sunday night traffic into the airport was so bad a backlog of vehicles, including all the public transport, stretched for hundreds of metres down the street.

Having agonisingly waited for our bus to arrive, I phoned my companion and told her to start jogging in the rain towards town. It was only through a piece of commuting jiu-jitsu involving legally questionable parking and a petrol station carwash that we made it to Spark Arena.

Does New Zealand have any infrastructure project as glaringly, desperately overdue as Auckland's airport rail link?

Despite our late flight, with light rail we could have made it to the waterfront in a third of the time - and with a fraction of the stress.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff calls himself an optimist. He and the Greens want the rail link built within four years, in time for Apec and the America's Cup, instead of on the National Government's decades-long timeline.

Easy for me to say, but as an Auckland ratepayer I'd suck it up and take another hit if we can get light rail up anywhere near that fast. Still, it won't get across the line without significant central Government investment.

Perhaps we just need to incentivise the whole thing by playing to political vanity. Politicians love legacy projects.


How about a cross-party agreement before the election, that if the rail link is signed off by the next Government, whoever is Prime Minister at the time gets naming rights for eternity?

"Bill's Bullet"; "Little's Lightning"; "Trainy McTrainface". I don't care.

Auckland has been spoilt of late with a vast selection of world-class events and concerts.

But what's the point in attracting the likes of Tyson, Adele, The Rolling Stones and Ed Sheeran when getting into our city is such almighty pain in the butt?