Anger as details of Government's new transport scheme become clear

Kiwis are angry at price hikes required to fund the Government's new transport scheme.  

On Monday, the Government unveiled a $20 billion transport plan which will see the Roads of National Significance project revamped with 15 new roads to be built.  

However, motorists will face a $50 increase to vehicle registrations over the next two years to pay for it.  

The Government will also move the entire vehicle fleet to paying Road User Charges - currently petrol vehicles are exempt.  

In major cities, congestion charges could also be on the way, forcing people who drive at busy times to pay.   

The Roads of National Significance are mostly spread around the upper North Island, like the alternative to the Brynderwyns, Aotearoa's most expensive roading project, Mill Road.  

There's also the second Mt Victoria tunnel in Wellington.  

It was revealed by the NZ Herald last month that transport officials had advised National it had undercooked its campaign costings by half, leaving a $24 billion hole.  

Questioned about the hole today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown said there was a "range of estimates of what the costings will be".  

Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said "National in Opposition was really irresponsible and a bit reckless".  

"It's just not deliverable to both spend more money on infrastructure and reduce taxes."  

National has now worked out they need more money for roads so while it is keeping its promise to not increase petrol taxes this term, it's delaying the pain at the pump by whacking it up a massive 12 cents a litre at the start of 2027 and then another 10 cents by 2029.  

Drivers will also be paying more in the very near future too.  

Taking many by surprise, car registration fees are going up by $50 over the next two years which will rake in an extra $660m for the Government.  

A Wellington resident was entirely taken aback by the news.  

"Really? Shit, that's ridiculous really," he said.   

"It's just a money-making scheme," said another.   

Brown defended the increases.  

"The reality is, we committed to not increasing FED and RUC, we're not doing that," he said.

"But the reality is that we are raising some revenue through the motor vehicle registration fee."  

The Government also wants 50,000 roadside drug tests a year and to increase how much people pay in fines.  

"It's out the gate, if I'm being honest," said the Wellington resident.  

"These measures are not about revenue gathering, they're about sending a clear message to drivers that reckless behaviour and attitudes on our roads will not be tolerated," Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said at Monday's post-Cabinet press conference.  

The Government is also looking at bringing in congestion charging so drivers pay a premium to drive during rush hour.  

"The New Zealand Transport Agency must consider different ways of funding and financing major transport investments to ensure they are making efficient use of every dollar spent."

The Transport Minister is also shifting the focus of the land transport fund, no longer paying for walking and cycling projects. Those projects are facing a funding slash and freeze.   

Brown also gave an explicit directive for the fund not to spend any money on traffic calming measures like bus stops in driving lanes and speed bumps but it will be able to take speed bumps away.  

Public transport fares are also about to increase which Labour leader Chris Hipkins has said will be a "massive blow to low-income households".  

Brown is keeping his promise to pave the pothole problem with a $500 million fund - it'll soon just cost drivers a lot more to drive those fixed-up roads.