• Tonight at 7pm on nzherald.co.nz and iHeartRadio we will have a live Auckland mayoral debate between Phil Goff and John Tamihere hosted by Heather du Plessis-Allan. What do you want to ask the candidates? Send your questions to email@example.com
An announcement by Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere that he would dump the regional fuel tax if elected could not be actioned without Government approval.
This morning Tamihere announced he would drop the fuel tax, and instead prioritise road and rail projects, kickstart a new harbour crossing and sack the Auckland Transport Board if he wins October's local body election.
But the statement has been mocked by Transport Minister Phil Twyford and current Mayor Phil Goff - who confirmed he cannot make the decision without Government approval because the tax is in legislation.
"I think that Mr Tamihere has an extreme case of electionitis," Twyford said.
"I have no idea why he would think that the rest of New Zealand would want to shell out billions of dollars extra for Auckland's transport projects at the expense of their own."
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said Tamihere's plan was unfundable, unworkable and undeliverable.
"It's pure fantasy," he said.
"There is no business case to back it up, no engineering case to show that it's even viable.
"It's electioneering nonsense costing billions of dollars that the Government won't fund and Aucklanders couldn't and wouldn't fund through their rates."
Goff said the Auckland Transport Alignment Project massively increased funding by $9 billion.
"It is getting projects around the city underway, like the Eastern Busway and extensions to the Northern Busway, stations like Puhinui, and major arterial roads like Penlink and Mill Rd.
"Tamihere would create commuter chaos by promising to slash $4.3 billion worth of funding for transport projects. That would gut public transport and massively increase congestion."
Tamihere announced his road and rail transport policy at a press conference this morning.
He said under Phil Goff and Auckland Transport, Auckland had become the City of Snails - but under Tamihere, the city's priority project will be "put on steroids so the city is open for business 24/7".
But he still planned to build a new harbour crossing which would turn the Harbour Bridge into a 10-lane, four-rail track superstructure.
Goff said last week the proposed crossing would cost $10 billion, but Tamihere today said that number was made up for "scare and smear tactics".
Money lost through dropping the "Goff gas tax" would be recouped from central Government, Tamihere said.
Public-private partnerships would also contribute funding, according to Tamihere's policy document.
The policy also advocates for building the East-West link - a transport project to link Onehunga and Mt Wellington which was a National government priority but is now being re-evaluated.
Tamihere said he would reroute the link along the current transport corridor, with two-lane viaducts built over rail lines where necessary.
It also contains a promise to make public transport travel times competitive with car travel.
Private investment would also be sought to build new park and ride facilities at no cost to council, according to the policy.
He also promised trains and "tram trains" running to Auckland Airport within nine years, with some 42km of new rail built across Auckland.
Appointing two Auckland Councillors to AT's board would increase the accountability of the transport organisation, Tamihere said.
He said he would take his instructions from the people of Auckland, rather than Wellington "like the present guy".
Tamihere and Goff will go head to head at 7pm tonight in a debate hosted by the Herald and Newstalk ZB.
Audiences from around New Zealand are invited to take part in the Auckland election special by sending in questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.