Transport featured prominently in this election, particularly in the opening weeks of the campaign. At the same time, the differences between the parties when it comes to transport policies has been stark. It’s also worth remembering the outcome of the 1News poll recently.
With the election on Saturday, I thought I’d do a quick round up of the key transport polices of the key parties likely to achieve over 5% in the polls.
If National’s policy was characterised in one word it would be roads. At times, it seemed whatever the question or challenge, the answer was to promise another road upgrade.
Since then, they’ve also announced:
- The $135 million Nelson Southern Link.
- A four lane road between Rotorua and its airport for $75-100 million
- Upgrading the Melling interchange in Wellington for $72 million
- In Auckland, other than the East-West Link mentioned above they’re promising to
- Take over the $955 million Mill Rd project, making it a state highway
- Widen the Southern motorway between Papakura and Drury
- Widen SH20B from Puhinui to the Airport
- Accelerate construction of Penlink
There’ll certainly be no shortage of work for the NZTA.
National also talk about potentially funding many of these roads through the use of PPPs and the East-West Link and Penlink are both listed as “Initial projects to be considered” for one.
While much of the focus is going on roads, National aren’t terrible when it comes to public transport and there are a few good policies they’re proposing.
- Key amongst these is an apparent acceleration of a $130 million extension of rail electrification to Pukekohe. This is likely tied in to the Southern motorway widening as one of the motorway bridges at Drury needs to be lifted for this to occur.
- Also benefiting PT in Auckland is a $100 million commitment to build the much needed third main between Westfield and Wiri, which will allow for both more commuter and freight services.
- The Northwestern Busway will be accelerated and they say they’ll work with the council to accelerate the Eastern Busway (AMETI), although that still is tied to the Reeves Rd flyover
- For one of the hottest topic transport issues recently, National say they’ll work with the council “on a mass transit solution between the CBD and Auckland Airport and complete route protection“.
- As part of the SH20B work mentioned above, they’ll also be adding bus priority between the Airport and Manukau.
- In Wellington, National are promising to double track the Hutt Valley line from Trentham to Upper Hutt as well as a number of other, smaller projects like a third platform at Porirua Station.
Walking and Cycling
National have been surprisingly quiet when it comes to active modes, only saying that they will “Continue with the $333 million Urban Cycleways Programme“. This language suggests the urban cycleways programme won’t get any additional money beyond the current 2018 cut-off.
Other transport policies include wanting to reach 64,000 electric vehicles by 2021 (we currently have about 4,500)
I think we can probably be accused of a little bias when it comes to the PT policy of Labour (and the Greens) given they’ve adopted both our Congestion Free Network 2.0 and our Regional Rapid Rail schemes. Their projects for Auckland includes:
- Light rail from the city to the airport over the next decade and then later extending to the Northwest and to the North Shore.
- A busway from Howick to the Airport, starting with a connection from Manukau and Puhinui to the airport.
- Like National, they also plan to electrify to Pukekohe and build the third main from Westfield to Wiri.
- Starting a trial service for Regional Rapid Rail.
Outside of Auckland, Labour say they’ll:
- commit $100 million towards PT in Christchurch, includes a passenger service from Christchurch to Rolleston
- develop a Congestion Free Network for the Wellington.
- the same rail network upgrades (plus a few extra) than National promise.
Labours road policies are much smaller than Nationals.
- Their most overt roading policy is to build a replacement for the Manawatu Gorge.
- In Auckland they’re promising to scale back projects like the East-West Link. Other large roading projects may also be reviewed
- In Wellington Labour do list a number of roading projects they’ll work on a range of projects, such as:
- a new arterial between the Terrace Tunnel and Mt Victoria, including duplication of the Mt Victoria tunnel – although they say this will happen in tandem with rapid transit plans
- improving connections between SH2 Transmission Gully (via SH58) and SH2 and Wainui Rd
Walking and Cycling
- The investment in walking and cycling from the Urban Cycleway Fund (UCF) has really helped jump start cycling investment and seen a lot of people using them. Labour are promising to extend the UCF with a second tranche of $100 million being invested. They also plan to create a $15 million ‘Active Neighbourhoods’ fund for “smaller community level projects that will encourage walking or cycling at the local level“.
- It’s unclear if it’s separate from the funding from what’s announced above but Labour also say they’ll put $30 million into Skypath.
- Tied in with this they say they’ll “Update New Zealand’s transport design standards to ensure they meet world’s best practice for street design“
Labour have announced a number of policies that could change how funding is collected and distributed. This includes making funding decisions mode neutral, something long overdue. They also plan to double the size of funding range for regional transport projects from up $70-140 to $140-280 million.
Introduce regional fuel taxes for regions to use should they want to to raise funding.
Like Labour, the Greens have adopted our Congestion Free Network and Regional Rapid Rail with the major difference being a promise to finish it faster. Also like the other parties, they list electrification to Pukekohoe and the Third Main as priorities.
In Christchurch they plan to spend $280 million on PT infrastructure including $180m to build three rapid transit lines by 2022
- The Northern Line – passenger rail from Rangiora to the city
- The Southern Line – passenger rail from Rolleston to the city
- The Airport Line – bus rapid transit from the city to the Airport
In Wellington the key plan is to introduce light rail:
- by 2025 light rail from the train station to Newtown
- by 2027 light rail extended to Kilbirnie and the airport
- commission a scoping study to extend light rail routes to Miramar, Island Bay, and rail into Lower Hutt.
There is also investment retain and improve the trolley buses and to they say they’ll support councils to have all buses electric by 2030. Like the other parties, the Greens support double tracking the Upper Hutt Line and want to provide more funding for the Capital Connection and Wairarapa services.
Outside of the main cities, they want to establish a passenger service between Palmerston North and Napier.
A big part of their transport policy is to provide a Youth Green Card to give free public transport for everyone 18 or younger. Tertiary students and apprentices can also get in on some of that with a Student Green Card, which like the existing SuperGold Card, would give free off-peak travel on buses and trains (no mention of ferries). They say this is estimated to cost $70-80 million.
The Greens have an ambitious plan for cycling by investing $1 billion over the next decade “to create safe cycling networks nationwide, especially around schools“. I assume this would be a continuation of the Urban Cycleways Programme. There’s no particular mention of Auckland but their policies indicate of this $1 billion, $135 million would go each to Christchurch and Wellington.
- The Greens have a few other interesting policies.
- They want to incentivise electric vehicles by removing the Fringe Benefit Tax from them, primarily to target business fleets.
- They also want to remove FBT from employer provided public transport passes which would help level the playing field a little with employer provided parking.
New Zealand First
New Zealand First doesn’t have a huge amount of detail about their transport policy on their website, only really a series of bullet points. Many of the policies could have a significant negative impact on cities like Auckland due to a focus on giving more funding to regions.
- Expansion of median barriers.
- Restore the Manawatu Gorge road connection to reinstate SH3.
- Restore road Funding Assistance Rate levels (FARs) and regionally distributed funding.
- Rebalance metropolitan spending so that the regions get equality.
- Build a national network of fast EV charging points in service areas.
- The only real PT infrastructure project listed is to “Build a rail spur to Auckland International Airport connecting it to the main trunk line“.
- Establish accessible public transport for people in all major population centres with accessible ‘flexible transport services’ operating in smaller centres.
- Public transport, walking and cycling to be factors in urban spatial development plans.
- Offer travel enhancements to SuperGold Card holders.
Separate to PT, there are a number of big rail projects which would mainly be for freight.
- Develop Railways of National Importance (RoNI) backed by full electrification.
- Complete the rebuild of Northland’s rail network and build a spur to Northport.
- Reinstate the Gisborne to Wairoa rail line and upgrade other lines.
Some of the other policies which could have a significant impact include
- Shifting the Ports of Auckland to Northport by 2027
- Driver license training for every secondary school student.
- Phase-in mandatory third-party insurance as part of vehicle registration
I think that’s enough to chew through. Any major policies I missed?