Labour, National to unveil Auckland traffic visions

  • 06/08/2017

Rail and a regional fuel tax are expected to feature in Labour's plan to fix Auckland's transport congestion.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern is announcing the party's transport policy in the Wynyard Quarter of Auckland on Sunday afternoon.

She would not be drawn on detail in an interview with The Nation on Saturday, but confirmed expectations rail would feature.

The plan would be a full one and it would be "deliverable", she said.

Newshub understands it includes a regional fuel tax to fund transport initiatives, including a light rail line from the central city to Auckland Airport.

On Friday the Government announced a $2.6 billion cash injection for transport in Auckland, largely into already existing roading projects. It came a day after a report found the city's traffic problems were costing almost $2b a year.

The National Party also looks set to make a transport infrastructure announcement in Auckland on Sunday afternoon.

More motorways, or radical rail?

Youth lobby group Generation Zero wants to see both parties shift their focus from roading to rail.

"Stop building more motorways - they cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and in the long-term they only make congestion worse and worsen increasing emissions," spokesperson Leroy Beckett told Newshub.

"We need start thinking of Auckland as a city you can get around by public transport - it's not in addition to roads and cars, it's its own form of transport."

Generation Zero particularly likes Labour's intention to bring rail to the airport decades ahead of National's plan.

"It's the thing that will change Auckland that we haven't committed to yet, and it's something we'll need quite quickly."

Concerns over costs

While the Automobile Association (AA) of course backs improving Auckland's legendarily bad traffic, it wants locals to have more of a say in how that's funded.

"If we're going to be paying more, we think Aucklanders should have some choice about how that is done," says Barney Irvine.

"It could be through rates, it could be through a regional fuel tax, or it could be simply continuing the current transport levy. Or it could be something completely different. Either way, we'd like to see people given the choice, rather than leaping into a predetermined position."

Ultimately, he says, Aucklanders are willing to pay up "providing people get outcomes".

NZN / Newshub.