National 'seeking information that informed' decision to scrap projects in favour of second harbour bridge for walking, cycling - Woodhouse

National Transport spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says his party will be seeking further information from the Government as to how it reached a decision for Auckland's second harbour bridge for walking and cycling.

On Friday, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced the $685 million Northern Pathway project - as part of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme. 

After the announcement, there's been a mixed reaction with cyclists welcoming the crossing but Opposition politicians largely opposing the move. The ACT Party labelled it the "Sky Path on steroids driven by climate activists". 

Woodhouse says National believes it would be great to have walking and cycling across Waitematā Harbour but there are more pressing transport issues.

Speaking to Magic Talk's Sunday Cafe, Woodhouse says congestion remains a major issue in the supercity - but accuses the Government of having no plans to ease it.

A second harbour bridge for walking and cycling is the wrong priority, Woodhouse says.

"What Aucklanders really need is to ease congestion for cars and for goods, and there doesn't appear to be any plan to do that in respect of a second harbour crossing.

"Not only that, on Friday before a long weekend they [Government] quietly can some very crucial Auckland roading projects like Mill Rd. 

"What Aucklanders need is to get around in cars, and their freight needs to get around. This is an eye-watering amount of money for a very small number of people who'll be able to walk and cycle across the harbour."

Woodhouse also accused the Government of "artificially inflating" scrapped transport projects to "justify canning them".

"We'll be seeking the information that informed these decisions under the Official Information Act, but you can be absolutely sure that none of the costings will be released to the public or to the National Party.

Michael Woodhouse.
Michael Woodhouse. Photo credit: Newshub.

"I find that very disappointing - it's a frustrating part of the Official Information Act process… I think it's really important that we have an honest conversation about what things do cost."

He reiterated his belief a more coordinated plan was needed for another harbour bridge crossing. 

"There's no point doing walking and cycling now if in five years' time we're going to turn around and do a bridge crossing, which could have been joined up with walking and cycling."

Wood said on Friday a second crossing was the missing link in Auckland's walking a cycling network.

The crossing would be "an iconic piece of infrastructure" that would "put us on the international map", he said. 

"A stand-alone structure is the safest option that will not only provide a walking and cycling option for commuters but creates an outstanding piece of tourism infrastructure.

"It's important we get it right and make sure it’s an enduring piece of infrastructure, providing alternative modes of transport across the harbour and helping reduce congestion on our Auckland roads."

The Government is also working on a business case for a second vehicle crossing, this one a tunnel.  Wood said a second vehicle crossing would be "public transport-centred".