Transport Minister Michael Wood today announced that former Chief Executive of Manukau City Council Leigh Auton has been appointed as Independent Chair of the Auckland Light Rail Establishment Unit to engage with Aucklanders and take the project forward.
Leigh Auton has been appointed as chair for an 11 month term ending on 31 March 2022 to allow him to lead the Establishment Unit and support the transition to the delivery entity and its governance structure.
Michael Wood said Leigh Auton has extensive governance experience and a strong track record in the public sector.
“As a long-time resident of Counties Manukau and former Chief Executive of Manukau City Council, he understands the transport issues Auckland is facing.
“Appointing Leigh is another step towards getting the project back on track. His extensive experience with local government and work with iwi means he is well-placed to lead the engagement on this project that Aucklanders have been calling for.
“Leigh also has experience with transport infrastructure, including the upgrade of Auckland’s heavy rail network, Manukau Rail Station, and Te Irirangi Drive.
“He will now lead the Establishment Unit’s six-month work programme that includes partnering with Māori, engaging with stakeholders and communities, developing a business case, and determining the best delivery entity.
“Our Government expects to receive advice from the Establishment Unit at the end of the year. We will then make the key decisions on route, mode, and delivery entity.
“Light rail is a key part of our vision for Auckland – we want to create a vibrant connected city that’s easier, cleaner and safer to get around. The city centre to Māngere line will form a backbone that in time will connect with the North and North-west, forming a rapid transit network across the city,” Michael Wood said.