Published: 30 MAY 2022
Building and Infrastructure

Billions of dollars of transport infrastructure projects planned or underway in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland are providing significant opportunities for private capital, consultants, and developers right now.

The projects are unprecedented in their scale and duration and are sufficient to warrant local headquarters for offshore investors, especially when there’s also work to do in other New Zealand centres. It’s a common story up and down the country – builders, developers and civil engineers are inundated. To learn more about how you can be involved, contact Investment Specialist Aldrin Thayalakal

Auckland’s mass transit system tendering now

Procurement of professional services and consultancy is happening now for Auckland Light Rail (ALR). ALR is the planned expansion of Auckland’s mass transit system, currently trains and buses, to include a light rail network. In January this year, the Government agreed on a 24 km-long tunnelled light rail corridor from Wynyard Quarter in the city centre to Māngere in the south. Māngere will be home to 17 per cent of Auckland’s future population growth and 33 per cent of job growth over the next 30 years.

The light rail corridor will be the first leg of a system that will eventually connect to the North Shore and northwest, integrating with a planned second harbour crossing. It’s expected to have up to 18 stations, with trains running every five minutes. The cost has been estimated at NZ$14.6 billion, and is considered New Zealand’s largest and most complex infrastructure project yet.


Thousands of homes will be developed along the route, many in Mt Roskill and Māngere with Kāinga Ora (the Government agency providing rental homes) as lead developer. Waka Kotahi The New Zealand Transport Agency expects there could be as many as 66,000 new homes by 2051. Many new businesses can also be anticipated around stations in what will be denser retail mixed-use zoning. Altogether, the agency believes around 97,000 new jobs will be created. 

Right now the project is going through a detailed business case and design, as well as consenting, process. This includes refining the route and costs and finalising the delivery and funding. It is anticipated that the planning and consenting phase will take two to three years and construction will then take six to eight years. 

Tenders were invited in mid-May.

A second harbour crossing calls for registrations of interest

With approval given for the ALR, the Government has also brought forward the timetable for a second crossing over the Waitematā Harbour and intends to make the key decisions next year.

In May, the Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections project called for registrations of interest to investigate reliable, efficient and sustainable transport options across the harbour. In a partnership between Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, and Waka Kotahi, this next phase of work will look at a range of options and recommend a preferred way forward for all transport modes – walking and cycling, rapid transit and road. The recommendations will include the form, function, route and timing of future cross-harbour connections.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the new harbour connections will be a game-changer for the city and have a massive influence on the city’s evolution. He adds that finding industry professionals with the right mix of skills, expertise and experience will be essential for the project’s success.

Waka Kotahi General Manager Transport Services Brett Gliddon says a range of industry professionals, both domestically and globally, have indicated strong interest in working on what is a complex legacy project.

The tender and procurement process for the second crossing is being coordinated with Auckland Light Rail (ALR) to give industry professionals the ability to better plan their resources for the significant pipeline of infrastructure work across Auckland.

Rail project assessing costs and timeline

The City Rail Link (CRL) has been underway since 2017. Estimated to cost NZ$4.4 billion, the project was planned to be complete by late 2024, but CRL Ltd is currently assessing the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the project’s construction timetable and costs.

The CRL is a 3.45 km twin-tunnel underground rail link that better connects the city’s rail network, allowing it to at least double rail capacity. Rail transport growth statistics suggest that by 2035, CRL stations will need to cope with 54,000 passengers an hour at peak travel times, rather than the original estimate of 36,000.


A single Alliance is delivering the main CRL works: the stations and tunnels. The successful bidder was the Link Alliance, comprising Vinci Construction Grands Projects S.A.S., Downer New Zealand Ltd, Soletanche Bachy International New Zealand Limited, WSP Opus New Zealand, AECOM New Zealand and Tonkin + Taylor.

City Rail Link and the Link Alliance negotiated a NZ$75 million Early Works Contract. While work at Britomart, Lower Albert Street and Otahuhu has been completed, there are still multiple stages to the build across numerous locations. 

Funds in place to decarbonise the city’s transport

Add to these programmes the need to electrify New Zealand’s vehicle fleet to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and there’s even more work available. The New Zealand Government recently announced its Emissions Reduction Plan and part of that involves a goal for 30 per cent of all cars to be zero-emission by 2035. This will require an associated network of charging stations around the country. 

The plan allocates more than NZ$650 million to help decarbonise industry over time, with a further NZ$355 million planned for use in forthcoming budgets. The money will be used for co-investment with the private sector to replace coal boilers and other fossil fuel infrastructure. New coal boilers are now banned.

In addition to its massive transport infrastructure projects and the move to green energy sources, Auckland can boast that it is a haven for transport innovators. Whether supporting EV charging, autonomous air taxis or overhead cableways, the city is a hub for fresh thinking on how to tackle congestion. With so much work underway or in the planning stages, many investors are keen to be part of the action.

New work visa rules are designed to attract construction talent 

Skilled workers in engineering, construction and project management can apply for a work visa from 4 July 2022. With New Zealand’s borders fully reopening from 31 July, workers in these occupations can apply for residence under the ‘direct to residence’ part of the Green List from September.


Find out more

Contact Investment Specialist Aldrin Thayalakal to learn more about investing in Auckland, New Zealand.

DISCLAIMER: This article provides general information on potential investment opportunities in Auckland and is not intended to be used as a substitute for financial advice. The views and opinions expressed are those of the relevant author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Tātaki Auckland Unlimited. Tātaki Auckland Unlimited disclaims all liability in connection with any action that may be taken in reliance of this article, and for any error, deficiency, flaw or omission contained in it.