Calls for congestion charges to be introduced across New Zealand

Wellingtonians spend almost five days a year stuck in traffic - and a new report is pushing for congestion charges to solve it. But the Government's ruling out charges until the alternative is up to scratch. 

Some New Zealanders are spending more than one hundred hours a year sitting in traffic.

Think-tank, The New Zealand Initiative, says congestion charges could be the key to get Kiwis moving again 

"We've got endless examples around the world demonstrating it works in practice, it is time to start doing it," Oliver Hartwich told Newshub. 

Wellingtonians spend 118 hours in traffic every year - the same as Melbourne.

Aucklanders lose 150 hours to congestion - 12 more than Sydney - and almost as many as Istanbul - with a population of 15 million. 

"It only takes maybe five or ten percent of people making a different decision and it will have a massive impact on travel speeds," said Hartwich.

The first congestion charge was introduced in Singapore in 1975 - traffic's reduced there by 4 percent

London's scheme has seen a 16 percent reduction since 2003.

In Dubai - there has been between a 25 and 45 percent reduction - and travel times there have halved.

"The purpose of this is not to collect revenue, the purpose is to manage our existing roads better," said Hartwich.

The mayors of both Auckland and Wellington support congestion charges.

Andy Foster wants them to help fund the capital's transport overhaul, but says the Government needs to allow councils to implement it.

Phil Goff says Auckland needs decent public transport before a congestion charge is brought in - something echoed by the transport minister

"It wouldn't be fair or effective to use tolls to get people out of their cars until you've got decent choices: better public transport, rapid transit, more walking and cycling infrastructure in our cities," Phil Twyford told Newshub.