But there is agreement between Ministry of Transport consultants and Auckland Council consultants over one crucial part of that project. Both consultancies agree that the notice of requirement for the designation that will protect the route should be lodged.
Specifically, the Ministry of Transport Auckland City Centre Rail Link Business Case Review states up front:
There is a strategic case for lodging a NoR and it would make sense for Auckland Council to proceed with this.while the Auckland Council's CITY RAIL LINK Summary Report (prepared with the involvement of Price Waterhouse Cooper, Parsons Brinkerhoff, John Bolland Consulting, Market Economics, Beca, GHD, and Ascari) states:
Auckland Transport and Auckland Council and their advisors are strongly of the view that the overall evaluation results are sufficiently robust to justify the immediate commencement of the designation process, particularly as the CRL is economically justifiable in terms of its transport related benefits alone. This process needs to commence as soon as possible to minimise the potential for any development to increase costs, delay the project, or even prevent its implementation.I read that as we agree that the designation process should be undertaken now.
No-one is saying that construction should start now.
The Auckland Council report also states:
Auckland Transport and Auckland Council acknowledge that, in line with all major project development programmes, more work needs to be done to further develop the case for funding of the City Rail Link.That seems entirely sensible, and is also pretty much in alignment with what is stated in the conclusion of the MoT study. This states:
 The Review concludes that there is a range of actions that could be undertaken or facilitated by Auckland Council and Auckland Transport which will improve confidence in considering outcomes expected from the CCRL (Central City Rail Loop).
Finalisation and implementation of the Auckland spatial plan and City Centre Masterplan to establish achievable growth projections for the CBD and to quantify where the growth projected for the CBD will occur. Demonstrating commitment to resolving current and emerging CBD access issues, for example by improving bus operations and addressing capacity issues. Development of a robust and achievable multi-modal programme for transport in the CBD, which considers a thorough analysis of alternatives and identifies the optimal mix of modes to meet demand. Beginning implementation of large scale residential developments along the rail corridors. Implementation of additional park and ride sites, and changes to bus feeder services where appropriate in terms of overall public transport demand. The implementation of these measures, combined with rail patronage above forecasts and a robust economic case, would provide a strong signal that the conditions are in place to drive the necessary benefits from the project and therefore to reconsider the case for investment.
These points from MoT's consultants are appropriate. Moving Britomart Rail Tunnel project to the next stage after designation - ie getting government funding - will require attention to these areas.
In particular, Auckland Council needs to demonstrate it has the focus and mettle to plan and implement associated land use changes that will deliver the economic developments that justify this investment.