Transport is a major election issue as congestion continues to frustrate people living and working in cities, and pressure grows to cut carbon emissions and invest in efficient public transport. While Auckland is getting the most attention, parties are making promises across the country.
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Here's what the parties will do for transport in New Zealand:
Labour would commit $100 million to public transport projects in Christchurch. It would fast-track a feasibility study on rail to the airport in Wellington and fund a replacement to the Manawatu Gorge Road. The party would make more money available for regional transport projects by doubling the funding range from $70 - $140 million to $140 - $280 million. Labour would invest from the National Land Transport Fund on a 'mode neutral' basis - meaning projects would be eligible for funding when the evidence shows clear benefits to the transport system and local communities. Labour and the Greens will both build rail passenger services linking 'the Golden Triangle' of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga.
In Auckland Labour will build light rail from the CBD to the airport within a decade, and put $30 million towards a Skypath for pedestrians and cyclists across the Auckland Harbour Bridge. It would introduce a regional fuel tax to help fund the projects. The party would invest in rail electrification from the CBD to Pukekohe, and build a third main line for passengers and freight between Westfield and Papakura. Read Labour's transport policy.
National has pledged to spend $10 billion on 10 roads of national significance through public-private partnerships. The party would provide Wellington funding for double-tracking the rail network between Trentham and Upper Hutt, and a third platform for Porirua station. It wants one in three cars in the government fleet to be electric by 2021. In Auckland National has promised to invest $130 million to electrify rail between Papakura and Pukekohe, and $100 million to fund a third main line from Wiri to Westfield for freight. National hasn't set a timeline for rail to the airport in Auckland. For the Manawatu Gorge road, National transport spokesperson Simon Bridges said NZTA is contracting a new road route, with plans to be finalised by the end of the year.
The Green Party would build light rail from the Auckland CBD to the airport by 2020, and from Wellington's CBD to the airport by 2027. The party would make buses and trains free for under-19s at all times, and for students, apprentices, and people with disabilities during off-peak hours. The Greens want 98 percent of the Government fleet of vehicles to be electric by 2021. They want to roll out fast charging stations, and provide tax breaks for businesses providing electric vehicles or public transport passes for staff. The party would electrify all North Island main rail lines and introduce the 'Ruahine Runner' passenger rail through the Manawatu gorge. The party would prioritise rail, bus, walking and cycling, and eventually wants road traffic to be mostly low or zero-emission vehicles. Read the Greens' transport policy.
The Māori Party wants to open the regions to freight and tourism through its $350 million IwiRail initiative, and would collaborate with local iwi to restore mothballed rail lines. Work would begin by restoring the Gisborne-Napier line. The party would also implement free public transport for students at all levels and free public transport for everyone over 60.
ACT supports road pricing to reduce congestion and make public transport faster and more attractive. It supports ride-sharing, car-sharing, congestion charging and high occupancy toll lanes. Unlike NZ First, ACT supports the involvement of the private sector in road construction whether in a public private partnership or through direct ownership. ACT haven't taken a stance on rail to the airport in Auckland, saying that it shouldn't be an election issue. Instead the party proposes that half of GST generated by construction in Auckland should be given to the Council to fund the public transport projects that it wants. Like TOP (see below) they want to leave it to the experts.
New Zealand First doesn't believe in public-private partnerships for building roads - a clash with National's policy - or train services. Labour also hasn't ruled out funding roads through public-private partnerships. The party wants passenger services on all rail lines between main centers. NZ First want all new roading projects to be subject to strict cost-benefit considerations, and assess whether they could be better achieved partly or wholly through a public transport option. The party also wants foreign drivers to be subjected to a test before they can drive in New Zealand. NZ First wants heavy rail to the Auckland airport, with the party saying that light rail would not provide enough capacity and would be slower than traditional rail. They party have no specific timeline for delivery. Read NZ First's transport policy.
TOP looks to Greens transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter as "the expert in the field", a spokesperson told Newshub. TOP backs the Greens' policies for Auckland, believing they are based on the most robust academic work. For wider New Zealand, TOP is against what it sees as politicians interfering in public infrastructure. TOP believes public transport planning should be left to the experts, and funding should be used on evidence-based projects. The party says bridges and roads should not be used as political bribes.