Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has hosed down a suggestion ratepayers help pay for the Government's multi-billion-dollar light rail project in the city.
Auckland Council is on a list of funding sources to help pay for light rail from the city centre to the airport, according to a document from the office of Transport Minister Phil Twyford.
The Government is trying to work out how to pay for light rail, or modern trams, in Auckland when it has $1.8 billion set aside and the cost is rising from an estimate of $3.7b in May last year.
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A spokesman for Goff said Auckland Council was not contributing financially to light rail. The Government had not asked for a contribution, nor did we expect them to, he said.
"The Government has agreed to fund the project, either through its own capital investment or by leveraging private sector money and other funding mechanisms such as a PPP [public-private partnership]," he said.
According to the ministerial document, alternative funding and financing includes a public-private partnership, a grant, loan, capturing money from higher land values - and "a contribution from the council".
The document, speaking notes about progressing light rail in Auckland, has been released on the Ministry of Transport website and dated June 2019.
The Government is currently considering two bids for the project: one from NZ Infra, a joint venture between the New Zealand Super Fund and Canada's CDPQ Infra group, and one from the NZ Transport Agency.
Leaked documents suggest the NZ Infra proposal looked more like heavy rail, leading one blogger to suggest it could cost up to $10b.
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A spokesman for Twyford said there were no plans to seek a contribution towards light rail from the council.
He said there were significant differences in how the two options would be financed and delivered.
"What NZ Infra is proposing has never been considered before in New Zealand, based on a public-private investment model. This includes co-designing the asset with the Government and its partners, with the majority of financing and risk transferred to NZ Infra.
"The NZTA is exploring a range of procurement, financing and delivery models, including alliances and public-private partnerships," the spokesman said.
He said the intention had always been to seek sources of capital outside the Government and council.
Auckland Council is currently going halves with the Government to build the $4.4b City Rail Link and right up against its debt ceiling which limits its ability to pay for new projects.