Appointments, light rail

Aiken joins Auckland Light Rail board

Aiken

Chris Aiken, a business leader with extensive experience in the property and urban development sector, has been appointed to the board of Auckland Light Rail (ALR).  

ALR chair, Dame Fran Wilde, said Aiken was a huge and valuable asset to the project.

“Auckland Light Rail goes well beyond strengthening the city’s transport network, and will deliver positive benefits to support sustainable housing choice and improving the communities where people live,” Wilde said.

Chris Aiken.

Aiken’s professional background includes involvement in large-scale and complex property development and construction projects.

He is a director on the Kāinga Ora Construction Programme Assurance Panel and a director with Kiwi Property Group. Before starting his governance career, he was chief executive of HLC, a subsidiary of Housing New Zealand, responsible for establishing urban communities such as Hobsonville Point in west Auckland.

“Auckland is a dynamic city and I’m looking forward to using my skills on a project that will help make the city, and Aucklanders, grow and prosper,” he said.

Aiken joins three other recent appointments to ALR’s board: lawyer Heather Ash, a former partner with the Simpson Grierson law firm; Leo Foliaki, a chartered accountant with experience working with large and complex projects; and Shane Ellison, former Chief Executive of Auckland Transport.

The ALR project will provide a 24km route with up to 18 stations or stops from the City Centre to Māngere and the airport, running every five minutes and capable of carrying up to 15,000 passengers per hour at peak – four times more passengers than a dedicated busway or trackless trams.

The route will include tunnelled light rail from Wynyard Quarter to Mt Roskill, continuing above ground to the airport running parallel to the SH20 motorway, with the provision of safe walking and cycling options along the corridor and with connections to all stations.

The light rail route will also be integrated with current train and bus hubs and the City Rail Link stations and connections, bringing Auckland’s transport infrastructure into the 21st century, allowing faster trips and reduced emissions.

Light rail can also be extended to the North Shore and North West without having to transfer from one line to the other. This transformational project is expected to create up to 97,000 new jobs by 2051.