Today the government are announcing what projects they’re going to spend their $12 billion infrastructure fund on. They’ve already said that as part of that they’ll spend “$6.8 billion on new transport projects, with a significant portion for roads and rail“. It is a massive sum of additional money to spend on transport at a time when spending is already at its highest level.

While I agree with the general idea of borrowing a lot of rates are low to invest in infrastructure, one thing I worry about is some of the rhetoric that has been surrounding the idea. Particularly that we should build a bunch of (low value) projects just to keep highway building industrial complex happy. As I said after the infrastructure spend up was announced, if we’re going to spend this money it should be used towards a transition fund to build infrastructure that will help work towards a more a climate-resilient, sustainable, and low-emissions economy.

Unfortunately, much of the indications and speculation suggests this isn’t going to happen and the lion’s share of funding will go towards a bunch of big road projects that were being pushed by the previous government. It’s bewildering that they’ve spent so much political capital on forging a more rational evidence-based programme just to throw it all away and contradict the goals set out in their own Government Policy Statement.

With all that in mind, I thought I’d speculate on some projects I think will and won’t be included in the announcement. This isn’t in order of likelihood but just working roughly north to south through the country.


Whangarei to Marsden Point 4-laning

This project was originally announced in 2017 and I think is quite likely to be announced today. During the election National then promised to extend it all the way to Auckland as part of their RoNS 2.0 boondoggle. While four-laning all the way to Auckland is unlikely, I think the section mentioned is. One of the reasons for that is that the road does have safety issues and traffic volumes been increasing quite fast in recent years, growing by about 25% to about 19k per day over the five years till 2018. After Marsden Point volumes quickly drop off again and stay low till getting to Warkworth and is one of the reasons I don’t think that part will be announced.

At the time it was proposed, the NZTA considered four options for upgrading with most largely following the same alignment as the road does now. It is could cost $400-500 million although that may have increased.

Marsden Point Rail Spur

I think it’s less likely this will be announced but is always a possibility, especially if to please Labour’s coalition partner NZ First. There’s already a designation in place for the route although I understand a lot of design work is still needed – although some elements, such as $2.2 million of geotech work has already been undertaken with funding from the Regional Growth Fund.

Given the alignment of both this and the road project above are in close proximity, I wonder if there’s a possibility both could be combined in places to reduce costs.

It’s worth noting that there’s already $90 million being spent on upgrading the line between Swanson and Whangarei which could help support this spur if it is built.


Warkworth to Te Hana

I think it’s unlikely we’ll see this project as even old estimates put the cost at over $1 billion which would eat up a significant chunk of the fund. As mentioned above, it also has fairly low traffic volumes.


Penlink has been rumoured to be a strong candidate for inclusion given it is already designed and consented. If it is included, a couple of big questions include

  • Will it be two or four lanes.
  • Will it be tolled (as originally intended)
  • Will it be supported by other development north of Albany

These questions are all interrelated. The intention has always been that it would be tolled and if that happens, current modelling even 30 years out suggests two lanes is more than sufficient to handle the predicted volumes. But of course locals, business lobbies groups want a bigger four lane project which is estimated at about $400 million

Whether it’s tolled or not, one question is what happens on SH1 south of where it joins in or is it just helping peninsula dwellers get to the back of the motorway queue faster. Perhaps most notably, ATAP specifically mentions:

The project should be complemented by public transport improvements (for example the planned bus shoulder lanes between Albany and Orewa) to encourage mode shift in the area and avoid adding more vehicles to congested parts of the Northern Motorway.

We’ll be looking to see if those supporting PT improvements are included. On a related note, AT’s public transport plans suggests that with Penlink they would extend the NX2 to a new Whangaparoa station.

Skypath and Seapath

Both Skypath and Seapath are two big budget walking and cycling projects and are rumoured to be included. Both are expected to be relatively expensive with the new Skypath design now expected to be well over the $100m mark, possibly even double it and Seapath in the $60-70m range thanks to potentially including a bridge spanning the entire Onewa Interchange.

Among other things funding these two big projects them through this process might help do is free up funding from normal processes for a lot of other cycleway infrastructure.

NW Rapid Transit

Recently we highlighted the proposed staging for rapid transit to the Northwest and the first stage included $20-40 million of bus improvements. I suspect we could see this funded.

Light Rail

It has already been confirmed that no money from this infrastructure spend up will go on light rail.

Airport to Botany Busway

I don’t think we’ll see anything further on progressing this busway

Third Main (aka Wiri to Quay Park)

It appears almost certain we’ll finally see this funded and will include three key pieces of work

  1. upgrades to improve the approach to the Ports of Auckland
  2. an upgrade of the Westfield junction
  3. completing the third main from Westfield to Wiri

What is unknown is if we’ll see the government go further and announce funding for a 4th main at the same time, or extending that third main further south towards Papakura. This is likely to be at least $150m but could be much more if the 4th is included.

Pukekohe Electrification

This is another project that seems extremely likely and I imagine the intention will be to get it, and the third main complete prior to the opening of the City Rail Link. This is likely to be $200-250m. One of the things to look for is if it ties in with …..

Southern Motorway widening

The NZTA are just wrapping up the long running and highly disruptive project to widen the southern motorway from Manukau to Papakura and they now want to extend that to Bombay. Their initial priority though is getting it to Drury and they’ve been busy working on it the design for it. The reason this potentially ties in with electrification is that one of the motorway bridges over the rail line at Drury is too low to enable wires to get under it. If this isn’t included then Kiwirail will need to find another way to get the wires through.

If approved this will be at least a few hundred million.

Mill Rd

Like Penlink, the first stage of the Mill Rd upgrade is another project strongly rumoured to be included and is likely to cost about $500 million. Also like Penlink this has already been designed and consented.


Cambridge to Piarere

With the final section of the Waikato expressway only about a year away from completion there’s been a lot of focus from National MPs (and others) on extending it from Cambridge to Piarere. Like the Whangarei to Marsden project, this was originally announced prior to the 2017 election as a stand alone project but then included in a larger, lower value RoNS project (including potentially all the way to Taupo). Also like that Northland project the traffic volumes on this section have also been increasing a lot but then drop off a lot after the SH29 intersection.

However, the last update I saw prior to the change in scope brought about by the incoming government still had a lot of design and consenting work to do on the project. This is likely to be another project in the $400-500 million range.

Bay of Plenty

Tauranga Northern Link

Yet another of the previous government’s motorway projects that is likely to be funded as part of this announcement. It would see a new offline motorway built to bypass the existing SH2 through Te Puna and Bethlehem. And again like in the cases above, this section isn’t terrible based on the volumes and was initially a separate project but then National incorporated it into a crazy wider RoNS 2.0 scheme, in this case extending it all the way past Katikati 30km north.

Under the current government the plan was re-evaluated and still proposed to go ahead but as a two lane road with traffic volumes split across both the existing and new roads, as opposed to creating six lanes of capacity, which seems sensible, but again it’s now likely the government will go with the 4-lane version. I believe the project was consented back in 2017 and is likely to cost at least $300 million


Manawatu Gorge replacement

I think this project is being funded through normal processes and is currently going through consenting processes.

Otaki to North of Levin

This project was originally part of the Wellington Northern Corridor in the RoNS 1.0 but eventually scaled back a bit but is likely we’ll see included even though it has much lower traffic volumes than many of the roads mentioned above. This combined with the cost give the project a very low economic return. The preferred route is shown below and the business case from just over a year ago puts a two-lane version at $600m for a BCR of 0.37 while a four-lane version is costed at $750 and a BCR of about 0.25. Both of these should rule the project out but I suspect we’ll see the four-lane version announced.


Meiling Interchange

One of the most likely projects in Wellington will see the SH2 intersection at Meiling replaced with a grade separated motorway interchange. The project is also tied to work to improve the stopbanks alongside the Hutt River and will require the train station to be moved. The project was given funding in September to start working through the consenting process.

Petone to Grenada

I don’t think we’ll see this announced.

Lets Get Welly Moving

I suspect we could see some projects to support LGWM


Woodend Bypass

One possible project that may see funding is a bypass of Woodend north of Kaiapoi. National want to see this as an extension of the Christchurch Northern Motorway and it is probably in a similar bucket in terms of volumes and cost to most of the motorway scale projects mentioned above (with the exception of bypassing Levin). This is in part due to changing land use patterns following the earthquakes.

Four-laning to Ashburton

Again in their RoNS 2.0 promises National wanted to extend the new Christchurch Southern Motorway from Rolleston to Ashburton. I doubt we’ll see this given the likely costs and low traffic volumes on this section.

Other stuff

I’m sure we’ll see a bunch of other projects announced, including a lot of small one s and probably a bunch of local projects too. What do you think we’ll see?

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  1. Let’s buy the next election using the projects the opposition were probably going to campaign on in there election campaign. Cheeky Jacinda cheeky

    1. Lets buy the election with projects we cancelled 2 years ago, and re-announce the rail projects we promised we’d build but didn’t.
      The 3rd main, Pukekohe electrification and Marsden spur are all supposed to be projects underway.
      The real question on my mind is what are they doing about the East-West link. It was put on hold but the review outcome has never been announced. Perhaps today we might see some plans?

      1. With the way its going Labour will probably cancel light rail and spend the money on an upgraded 10 lane east west link (which would not need a PPP and be started ASAP).

        1. “…Labour will probably cancel light rail…”
          Be honest; did the light rail ever even proceed to the point where it can be considered “cancelled”?

        2. True. Labour have only funded an extra rail track and a bus lane to the airport but spent $6 billion on roads. I honestly think bridges did a better job of transport minister.

  2. 100-200 million for the Skypath? Is that a typo? Some kind of joke? What is it going to have? Emergency ejection seats? If that is a true price then personally I will go from supporting it to saying forget about it. there are far, far better cycling projects to spend 100-200 million dollars on.

    1. All the roading projects mentioned will create carbon emissions and make our climate goals harder. Skypath may seem like poor value but at least it’s sending us in the right direction.

      1. But two hundred million dollars works out at about $200,000 PER METRE.

        That is simply insane. Politically it will be a turkey shoot for anti-cyclists.

        And I did say spend the money elsewhere on the cycle network.

        1. This doesn’t seem to be a rational fund, though. I will be asking for the criteria used to decide which projects were included, and whether climate planning was involved. The GPS makes a big song and dance about increased transparency around investment decision making.

          The reality is NZTA likes big projects, as that keeps the construction industry happy. If the real criteria we have to live with is “Big” and “Feeds the Machine”, and can’t cope with bundles of bus, walking or cycling infrastructure projects, then it should’ve concentrated on rail.

          I’d criticise all of those road projects before I’d criticise Skypath. I think Skypath will be one of those projects people look back on and wonder how we could have lived without it. Initially it’ll probably create a big uplift in both commuter and recreational cycling, but I think we’d soon see a new awareness about cycling on the streets of the North Shore. That could lead to a new political pressure for cycling infrastructure.

        2. Mind you, $200,000 per metre does seem like an awful lot… given that rough figures for Light Rail projects are bandied around at around at least $40million a kilometre, and even that amount makes people break out in a hot sweat. So, $200million per kilometre of SkyPath – you’d have to say that is just a no show at that price.

          Or maybe it is all going in Consultants fees….

        3. Try $360 million. Not bad if you can get it for your pet project.
          Didn’t someone say a couple of weeks ago on GA that cycleways and the like dont have to provide a cost/benefit examination. Seems that must be correct.

    2. It still sounds like by far the best project mentioned above. $100 million to allow hundreds of thousands of people to walk and cycle to the country’s biggest city, or $400 million to 4 lane the bit of road between Whangarei and Marsden just so people don’t have to slow down very slightly (and that is considered one of the better road projects!).

    3. They would be far better off cancelling Skypath and putting the money towards a low level public transport, walking and cycling bridge from the Western Reclamation. A low bridge that is actually conducive to walking and cycling and would allow for buses, light rail or heavy rail-whichever gives the best outcome. A bridge where there isn’t a deafening racket from trucks.

      1. What about the nimby problem on both sides of the harbour? Just getting Skypath on the existing has been a long struggle.

        1. Why would you throw good money after bad? The existing bridge is a hopeless design and not suited to PT walking or cycling. If has poor grades and doesn’t give a very convenient connection to the CBD. The real issue would be dealing with the minority of wealthy white men who think they are entitled to park their high masted yacht in public space and who think their own desires outweigh the needs of the community..

        2. Because by the time it happens, after the business case and the consultation processes have happened, with the media doing its bit, NZTA would have turned it into a bridge for general traffic.

          We have a harbour and gulf that is world-class. We don’t do “world-class” for anything else. Instead of dissing sailing per se, we should make sure all Aucklanders can access it. I say we need to bring back the days when putzing about in a little boat was the best idea for a holiday for Aucklanders, not this modern burn-off-the-kids-future overseas holidaying that the rich here think is their right. Not sure what height you need to leave for a bridge, but let’s not trample too much on sustainable holidaying options…

        3. Then go ahead with skypath. But you need to source cycle helmets with built in hearing protection.
          My preference would be a low bridge that anyone could walk onto and fish from. Bugger boats.

        4. miffy, because pragmatism. We are where we are. Would the bridge be built in a similar form to the current bridge (truss girders with clip-ons) if it were built from scratch now? Almost certainly not.
          But after much time and effort, with ongoing maintenance the current bridge (apparently) can be used indefinitely. That means that no politician is going to try to rebuild it, or build another bridge, until the current bridge is pretty much stuffed. Welcome to NZ.

          We’re better off focusing on what is achievable soon, which is SkyPath and SeaPath (though I agree that the cost announced today seems excessive).
          Moving forward, we’re better off focusing on making sure any future harbour crossing is public transport only. Any tunnel combining roads and rail, or just roads, needs to be rethought.

        5. miffy, I’ve walked under the bridge. It isn’t THAT loud.
          Wear earplugs if you must, but SkyPath will be fantastic, it needs to happen ASAP.

        6. Well if you can get any sort of BCR for a cycle and walking facility on the existing bridge I take my hat off to you. I am sure a few people might want to use it but most people would be better off riding a bus or driving a car over that nasty old bridge.
          The 2008 study put a high PT bridge at 1.2 to 1.5 billion. A lower bridge that actually crossed part of the Western rec would be cheaper but they never costed it. Wasting 0.2 billion on a skypath that has less benefits than it costs just as a matter of stubborn principal just gives transport planning a bad name. It would be better spent on a bridge that provides real connections for people and advances the future of PT.

        7. Sure miffy, a lower bridge would have been worth considering. But anyone who proposed it would have been shouted down by the usual suspects in a certain major newspaper who (without a shred of irony) would have criticised it as an aesthetic nightmare, despite having for 50 years advocated covering Auckland with asphalt.
          This would have provided more fodder for the anti walking and cycling brigade, and eventually a politician or two would have blinked. Result: no walking and cycling harbour crossing. At all.

          What the BCR of the Skypath and SeaPath will be once the NZTA increased the cost, I don’t know. I’m with Heidi that the original SkyPath Trust plan would have been better. But again, we are where we are, and this is the best way to get the benefits of an active modes crossing. It will be used intensively from day 1 – I’m sure you and everyone else will be pleasantly surprised.

          Walking and cycling should have been provided for in the original bridge in the 1950s for minimal extra cost. But it wasn’t, it hasn’t been since, and this is as good as we’ll get now. Let’s keep pushing to make sure it happens.

      2. So we stop cargo ships accessing and delivering raw sugar to the NZ Sugar refinery at Chelsea?
        And prevent cargo ships and Naval vessels accessing the NZDF wharf at Kauri Point?
        Thats to say nothing of the high masted yachts and other vessels that your “wealthy white men” may currently take under the bridge.
        I would think that relocating all of that upper harbour infrastructure and business would run into the many billions, probably hundreds of billions of dollars.
        But I guess that if you’re a socialist its other peoples money, so no need to worry about it.

    4. $360 million for seapath and skypath. That’s an unbelievable amount of money required for the new version. I wonder what the BCR was to get that across the line. I fully support the concept and outcomes but this feels like it has ballooned under NZTA.

  3. I wouldn’t be surprised to see new trains funded for the Capital Connection and Wairarapa Connection. Horizons and the GWRC have been working hard on the business case. It’ll increase services in the Palmy line and reliability on the Masterton line.

  4. $6.8bn is a LOT of money. I think it could potentially fund all the projects listed above (with the exceptions of the ones the author considers unlikely to get funding like the Airport to Botany and Warkworth to Te Hana). I’m really hoping (and be very disappointed) if the third main and Pukekohe electrification isn’t included. As a Hutt Valley resident who travels round Melling often I am really hoping for the Melling interchange to get funding. Its not just a road project but a flood protection one too as well as moving the train station to a better location closer to the Hutt City CBD

    1. It’s really isn’t when you consider the amount of work that’s probably not going to be done. This Is just a drop in the bucket.

    1. Don’t feel disillusioned as inspiration is pending from the minister of BIG announcements. For the faithful we may be rewarded with a twophils performance of back slapping and guffawing. Just the medicine we need, promises before election. Yay! Let’s do this

    2. Shocking isn’t it. All the things I wanted them to achieve they have basically given up on, but all of the things I don’t want (such as even more handouts to rich pensioners) were implemented ASAP. It shows which generation is ruling this country.
      Why not spend the entire $6 billion on quick alternative mode wins. Better buses and bus lanes (both in city and inter city), better cycling infrastructure, more busways, more electric buses, bus stations in Auckland CBD, a proper country wide ticketing system, etc. Surely that would have a much bigger affect than upgrading a few small sections of road!

  5. That’s a disappointingly road-dominated list of projects, with a couple of rail and cycling projects thrown in. Hardly supportive of transitioning to a carbon neutral future that isn’t dominated by car based transport.

      1. The Green Party’s support of the Labour coalition government might be wavering more than usual after this, if the road-heavy scenario is to be believed. All talk, no do.

        1. They could be the big losers here unless they speak up. Have they actually achieved anything in almost 3 years? Planted a few trees I think…
          They are beginning to look like a joke unfortunately, completely ineffectual no matter who is in power. Maybe they need to be prepared to have a coalition with National this election to give them some bargaining power again.

        2. Wouldn’t be the first time.

          Didn’t JAG threaten to bring down the government if a certain tunnel went ahead?

        3. The Greens have to differentiate themselves in the election campaign and I think they should open up the possibility of going with National if National agrees to their bottom lines (remote as this is).

  6. The ones that make the most sense:
    Melling interchange
    Otaki-Levin realignment
    Manawatu Gorge realignment
    Marsden Spur
    Pukekohe electrification
    NMIT third main

    The ones that make the least sense:
    Any four laning road project

    I reserve my judgment until the announcement is officially made.

    1. Why does Otaki-Levin makes sense when it has a bcr of 0.37? Is there some major benefit the analysis has ignored?

      Why does Penlink make sense? What they need there is a frequent bus service unhindered by general traffic and supported by safe walking amenity to the bus stops, which is missing in great part. The first steps should have been to use the dynamic lane for a buslane. Instead they’ve used that dynamic lane for traffic, inducing yet more.

      1. If you lived in Whangaparoa you’d think differently. Access to Stillwater and the Peninsular has needed to be improved for at least 20 years if not longer.

        1. Access, yes. For all users. You’d start with the modes that are missing or deficient, and ensure that people who don’t drive have mobility without being dependent on others.

        2. It never fails to amaze me that people in Whangaparaoa (or Devonport, or wherever) consistently think that nowhere else has bad traffic congestion at peak times and they need hundreds of millions of extra capital spent especially on their small community.

          Glendene or Beach Haven needs a bridge across the inlet well before Manly does.

        3. The people of Whangaparaoa weren’t the ones that consented massive subdivisions right next to and on the Peninsula just because the people of Devonport or Central Auckland wouldn’t intensify. I don’t see why they should be expected to suffer because the Council couldn’t write a decent unitary plan.

        4. Quite right, Buttwizard. Still, investment should be focused at fixing what’s most wrong first. And that’s the walking, cycling and bus amenity. Have you seen the dire state of walking amenity to the bus stops?

        5. i’ve been to Whangaparoa plenty of times, don’t see it facing any issues the rest of Auckland isn’t. Not sure whats so special about them that need a special link.

          Not to mention it will drive up car use, as driving towards the city will become far more attractive, and the buses will have to continue to go the “slow way” reducing its attractiveness. Unless you reroute buses, which again comes with a bunch of issues, and would likely need additional routes to work.

          If more people used the feeder buses instead of the park and ride, most of the congestion issues would clear up. But AT continue to expand the park n ride, and the local board supplies overflow parking… absolutely ridiculous. Charge for the PNR so it becomes only mostly used only by people who need it. Once more people use the feeders, patronage will grow and more frequency can be justified on them.

        6. Riccardo, of course other places have it. The difference is that Whangaparaoa has it particularly bad with no viable alternative. It has also had fatal accidents that have completely cut it off.
          Looks like Penlink is going for the 4 lane option. A better target would be to make sure it has T3 lanes so that buses and people doing their part to reduce congestion by carpooling can be assured of a free run. Buses will become much more viable for people if their total journey time is reduced by 15+ minutes. Also cycling becomes viable (which it currently isn’t due to safety, terrain, distance…take your pick).

        7. @AKLDUDE maybe bus only and a shared path. But even then its just like… well what about heaps of other places which could benefit from a link like that? It still feels like a waste of money.

        8. Peter, why does anything get funded? Usually because it’s needed. I can’t think of many other places that need a link like this more than Whangaparaoa does.
          It has more traffic volume than almost all roads in NZ bar some motorways pretty much. It’s a rapidly growing area. It hasn’t had f#%k all funding for s#%t in many many years (oOoOo some gantries with a tidal flow lane…whoopdy f#%king do!) I’ve lived there and know what it’s like (don’t any more). It needs it.

        9. “Riccardo, of course other places have it. The difference is that Whangaparaoa has it particularly bad with no viable alternative. It has also had fatal accidents that have completely cut it off.”

          Exactly the same with Glendene, and Beach Haven, etc etc. Bad traffic and no alternatives, full of subdivisions already …It ain’t special!

          Penlink is two lanes and tolled. Maybe we do need a few more tolled two lane bridges around the place.

        10. Glendene, as it Glendene next to Sunnyvale? Where there’s a train station?

          Is this a joke?

        11. If you live in Whangaparoa then you are an idiot.
          Whangaparāoa not only has five a’s but the one you missed out even has a macron making it a double length. In traditional spelling it would have been Whangaparaaoa. But now most people have access to macrons and people think they look cool. A parāoa is a whale.

      2. Not an expert on BCRs but it does have 17,000 vehicles per day, narrow verges, driveways every 100 metres, and narrow overbridges built in the days of Semple. 11 fatal crashes in 2013-2017 and another 5 in 2018. Politically, even announcing the 2-lane as the preferred option was a bold step. (And it does include a cycleway!) An immediate safety improvement like lowering the speed limit might be better, but could they get away with it?

        1. I would have little issue with these road improvements if the parallel rail line was also getting the same upgrades. But that’s not happening at all, we’re doubling down on driving which is driving the climate change emergency. The rail line has barely changed since the 1950s at best. It’s no good declaring emergencies if you do the exact opposite/bau at ground level. That said, a cycleway is welcome news but it needs to joined up, not just an isolated section that “nobody uses”.

        2. The route does have 17,000 vpd at Ohau but many of them are heading for Levin, so a bypass will have a lot less traffic on it, hard to justify four lanes.

          As an example just 4000 vpd are actually using the existing SH57 to fully bypass Levin if they are heading in the Palmerston North direction or vice versa.

        3. If safety is properly valued in the business case, then doing a project with a low bcr is taking money from projects where the safety gains would be higher.

          Big if, of course. Safety is probably not valued enough yet. Nor is sustainability. And the conventional solutions to safety issues tend to induce traffic. We need a sustainable solution instead. This probably comes back to the usual problem. Other gains – travel time savings for motorists – are still raising the bcr on other projects. Even though they’re fleeting, and even though the carbon emissions from the unnecessary induced traffic should be reducing the bcr, yet don’t.

          If this really is a road that should be done, the government should amend the analysis process, not override the bcr.

          If the analysis was balanced and the technical solutions were best practice, safety could be achieved without compromising sustainability. I think you’re right – we clearly should be putting in lower speed limits and some minor improvements for those sections of road which are too expensive to bring up to spec at its current speed limit. May the time when the government actually does this come ever nearer.

        4. Heidi – I was just reading about how France lowered the speed limit from 90km/h to 80km/h on all 2-lane highways a year ago, in response to a rise in road deaths. Partly in response, more than half of all speed cameras in the country were destroyed in the gilet jaunes protests.

          I guess all I’m saying is that leadership is difficult. There is a faction in NZTA that wants to lower speed limits but it will be hard to pull off.

  7. Excellent summation of the possibilities Matt. In terms of Wellington, I agree that Petone to Grenada is going nowhere, and also agree that “I suspect we could see some projects to support LGWM”. This is crucial. Ever since Wellington rejected the proposed bridge over the Basin Reserve, the city has been avoided by NZTA as a form of punishment, but honestly, we’ve spent enough time in the naughty corner now. Something needs to happen.

    Hopefully, that will include a resolution on some of the key aspects around congestion in Wellington, not because it is all that bad, but because in reality it is quite easily fixed. Solve a few key conflicts in the city and the traffic will flow smoothly again. Key amongst these is the congestion caused by School buses and Mum & Dad traffic relating to the School drop-off at the Basin – it is so noticeable that a week ago traffic flowed smoothly, but now that School is back, it clogs up again. It’s time to make Wellington flow again.

    1. Barcelona’s climate emergency action plan, released this year, has action at 200 schools (one third of all the schools) in the next three years (followed by the others), which returns lane space from traffic to the children, adding trees for shade.

      But in NZ we’re not planning for climate yet, nor for the children, despite the narrative.

    2. Part of the reason that traffic flows better during the school holidays are that Mum and Dad are more likely to be on annual leave than other times of the year.

    3. “Key amongst these is the congestion caused by School buses”

      How can buses logically do anything other than ease congestion?!

    4. “Ever since Wellington rejected the proposed bridge over the Basin Reserve, the city has been avoided by NZTA as a form of punishment, but honestly, we’ve spent enough time in the naughty corner now.”
      Is this even remotely factual? It sounds like some nonsense someone speculated but which people chose to accept as fact.

      Wellington has had funding for transmission gully, the haywards interchange, the dowse interchange, the Kapiti expressway. Only the Haywards interchange had a BCR above 1 (the Kapiti expressway’s numbers were fudged for the future transmission gully). And less than 20 years ago Wellington also had an upgrade of the road between Plimmerton and Pukerua bay.

      This is far disproportionate to the amount that Wellington contributes to the national economy and the population base in the region.
      Talk about ingratitude…

        1. Although to be fair; much of that railway network spending was deferred maintenance after about 20 years of neglect.

          When you go back 50 years; the entire motorway was a disproportionate spend for Wellington.

        2. Of course I have no issue with Wellington getting improvements in its train network. NZ needs more multi-modal transport choices. But by that same logic Christchurch should get the equivalent mass transit network as it is a bigger and faster growing city. Christchurch in fact is the largest city in Australaisa without mass transit. Christchurch in the last decade lost 50% of its increase in income on increased transport costs because its sprawl landuse and roads-only transport model is so inefficient. Canterbury other than the Waikato has the highest transport CO2 emissions…
          But do the politicians and civil servants based in Wellington who make the decisions on transport funding care about these facts -nope.

        3. I definitely agree that Christchurch should get a greater slice of the funding pie and that’s not purely as a matter of principle. Even a state investment to kickstart reintroducing commuter rail from Ashburton & Rangiora and with a terminus in a decent place this time (instead of Moorhouse avenue) would be something significant. And/or some busways (that could be later upgraded to tramways & integrated with the central loop).

          Part of the problem though has been with some people in Christchurch itself and some of the uninformed groupthink they indulge in towards unrealistic schemes (example: ideas for expensive and fancy light rail systems out fo the box).
          But there is hope. Prior to the earthquakes; there were real improvements to the bus system happening that could’ve led to something much bigger by now.

        4. Given that passenger rail in Chch would be starting from scratch I think it would be very hard to justify the cost of bring rail closer to the centre than Moorhouse Ave. Designations should be made however to make it possible in the future.

          What is really needed is rail services that make use of the existing infrastructure with a relatively low capital cost, much like how things started out in Auckland 25 years ago. While Moorhouse Ave isn’t ideal the CBD has moved south post quakes thus it is a better location than it used to be.

        5. @Brendon “Christchurch in the last decade lost 50% of its increase in income on increased transport costs.” That’s interesting. Have you got a reference for that?

  8. I wonder if Penlink may be 4 lanes, but with 2 being bus ones?

    Also wonder if may be
    – any SH16 extension
    – electrification to Hamilton, but with long timeframe

    1. Yes I fear penlink will be 4 lanes
      There’s been only high level planning done for SH16 extension so I don’t expect that.
      I doubt we’ll see any other projects between Auckland and Hamilton in this announcement. At most there might be mention about building up the capacity in KR to roll it out in the future but still unlikely.

      1. I guess Goff can be partly blamed for that, if it’s true. Declaring a climate emergency and then putting Penlink, Mill Rd and infrastructure for greenfields at Drury on his wishlist.

        It’s as if he hasn’t read the Auckland Plan or doesn’t understand the compact city strategy.

  9. Where’s the funding for the govt’s slice of replacing Huntly Coal Power Station that is supposedly due to close in 2025?

        1. That would be correct if the government had instructed one of the power companies to reduce the dividend to allow a power station to be built, but this hasn’t happened.

          It is quite possible though that what miffy has described below might happen, which would certainly be public funding.

      1. Private ownership of power stations is the same scam as the banks run. They operate independently of the government and return prfits to their investors until they don’t work and then the government pays because they are the only one who can.

        1. “That would be correct if the government had instructed one of the power companies to reduce the dividend to allow a power station to be built, but this hasn’t happened.”
          An answer I received to an OIA request suggests that Minister Woods hasn’t even talked to Genesis. That’s hardly surprising because the government’s climate change policy (if there is one) is in complete disarray.

        2. They’ve got a climate policy – getting the ETS working properly to incentivise forestry conversions and action by other polluters.

          They’re also consulting on process heat and renewable energy regulation:

          I am concerned though that we are using up debt spending headroom that we may need down the track for emissions reduction.

        3. Yes. Putting it another way, we’re loading costs onto our kids who’ll have enough to cope with.

  10. This seems nothing more than an election stunt to cut the legs out from under National as far as Transport is concerned. It seems now that the 2 main parties are BAU with one caring about people just a little bit more than the other, the only difference. I sincerly hope they don’t play the ‘EVs will solve everything’ kick the cna down the road approach, especially as it is going to take them years to put in place the simple EV policy Greens are pushing for.

    Ah well, worse places to live I guess!

  11. I am not expecting it but construction of the Kawerau container yard. Another project would be to rebuild the log yard at Wellsford Station. Its no good spending money on rail if there is nowhere to unload and load freight on and off. Rebuild and reopen Morinsvillle would be another.

  12. I would love to see a high speed train between Auckland and Hamilton to be included in the budget. This would take lot of cars off the road. If there is a sport events in Hamilton, the Aucklanders would catch a fast train there, vice versa for Hamilton people to Auckland.

    1. Whilst I agree there should be rail between the 2 and the faster the better…I don’t really think its use to get people to sporting events in different Cities would be part of the business case!!!

    2. A high speed line between Auckland and Hamilton, that’s gonna cost billions. NZ will never have high speed rail, there’s not enough people to justify the expense.

      1. High speed in the NZ context means up to 160km/hr using much of the existing track/alignment, not a TGV/Shinkansen. If a train can average 100 km/hr it could do Hamilton-Puhinui in approx an hour.

    3. Funny you bring up sports. When I went to ASB classics men’s final, the family of 5 next to me drive up from Hamilton to watch the game.

    4. A high-speed train between Auckland and Hamilton would take up the entire 12 billion budget and billions from the next budget after that.

        1. You’d still be looking at a big capital expenditure in one hit which would not be economical.
          Surely it’s wiser to go for gradual improvements to the corridor?

        2. 160km/h trains is a nice dream and maybe even a goal.
          But with the current state of the infrastructure; I’d be expecting it in… …a decade.

        3. Indeed Daniel and Heidi, a steady but ambitious electrification and track improvement programme would make a huge difference.
          Set a target of a certain number of km a year for electrification, curve easing and track upgrades to allow sustained higher speeds which allows (say) Papakura to Pukekohe in two years, Hamilton in another two years, then Mount Maunganui in a further two years. (Needless to say, any contractor worth their salt would love six years of guaranteed work.)
          Procure bi-mode higher-speed (160 km/h max) rolling stock which can run the entire route from Mount Maunganui to Britomart (and the CRL when it opens) and run it progressively more and more under electric power at shorter block times as work allows.
          Voila, watch the upper North Island’s travel and land use patterns change rapidly. That would be regional development with vision!

        4. Remember Glen; the corridor would still be mostly used for freight movements.
          So there would be no point in having rolling stock capable of 160km/hr speeds if it was constrained by the speed fo the train in front of it.

          Surely the most sensible approach would be to first ease the curves to alignments that could make 160km/h speeds. Then upgrade the tracks to such a speed. And then make electrification the final step, to coincide with buying new electric locomotives and trailers that could run at high speeds and which (of course) could justify the purchase of EMU’s to take advantage of the fast speed.

    1. The government has allocated funding for commuter rail in Chch already in the same way they have for Hamilton to Auckland. The only difference is Ecan is so blind to rail they have ignored it.

      1. I don’t think that is right. There is $2m Mass transit business case that has been delayed because of a lack of transport planners.

        1. That article & video’s interesting Brendan. But it doesn’t really refute what Jezza said.

        2. ECAN under Brownlee when it wasn’t a democratic body rejected commuter trains. True.
          But recently;
          “during 2019, ECan ratified a Future Development Strategy and Regional Land Transport Plan covering the next 30 years.

          NZTA felt enough was happening to underwrite some $2m in business cases, including an MRT study to consider what mix of bus, tram and train routes ought to be built as a result.

          The intention was to start this business case in early 2020 so a funding case could be made to Government by 2021.

          But Wilke says in the middle of being put out to tender, the MRT component was set to one side.”
          The reason apparently a lack of transport planners in NZTA to do the work.
          So not much commitment to serve Canterbury’s transport needs from Wellington politicians and civil servants. But of course they are quite happy to take our fuel taxes and road user charges….

        3. “The intention was to start this business case in early 2020 so a funding case could be made to Government by 2021.”

          That might still be what’s happening.

    2. “Wellington politicians”
      You are aware that Parliament is elected by all of NZ and that most MP’s are actually Aucklanders, right?

  13. Electrify all the main railways, but get round problems such as the Drury bridge by using battery power over the hard to do sections.

    1. A DL locomotive uses 3500 litres of fuel running from Westfield to Wellington. Learnt that at the Kiwirail exhibit at the port on Sunday. So say a train has fifty containers then it’s transport costs about 100 dollars In fuel costs alone. I wonder how much it would be for electricity.

  14. Having driven to Northland three times in recent months, any safety improvements to the Johnstones Hill – Warkworth section of SH1 would be money well spent. To be blunt, that road is lethal and no longer fit for purpose. Even momentary inattention or small mistakes when driving that very busy, wandering and challenging road – really, a continually upgraded goat track – can easily lead to death or serious injury unless you are very lucky. Minor mistakes should have potentially catastrophic consequences on any first world country highway.

    1. You do know that the Johnstones Hill – Warkworth section of SH1 motorway is currently under construction and I think that it is due to open in 2021

  15. What I’d like to see (but probably won’t): A cycle infrastructure accelerator funding package. Imagine if the government put aside $100m or $200m and said “this money can be used to fund 100% of cycle infrastructure projects – but they have to be completed in the next 12 months.” Both Auckland and Christchurch have a ton of cycle projects in the plans, but they’re moving forward incredibly slowly. (I believe the completion date for Christchurch’s Major Cycleway programme is 2028). There are probably other cities in a similar situation. Compared to roads, cycleways are both quick and cheap to build, and you could actually see concrete results in 12 months.

        1. 20% of all transport funds should be being spent on walking and cycling. That’s $1.36 billion.

          And that was recommended by the UN before the world woke up to the climate emergency. So let’s not short change ourselves, here. 🙂

  16. And one last comment. I almost got run down on my bike on Tuesday by a right turning corporate branded vehicle that failed to give way to me when the driver decided taking advantage of a gap in traffic superceded the road rules. The kicker? it was an AT branded vehicle doing a rat run through a public park. This morning I see more rail chaos due to that hardy perennial, a track fault at Britomart. And yesterday, yet again, even PT cheerleaders like this site contained trenchant criticism of AT’s abysmal comms.

    Surely, before we throw more money at trains and buses, we need to fix the culture at AT and the PT governance model in Auckland, and by doing so and consolidate the customer base by massively improving the customer experience? I would think there is a strong argument for no more expansion until AT can proved it has a plan for fixing the root cause of all these track faults and cancellations across the PT network?

    1. Yes. I hope you reported that, Sanctuary. Awful.

      It’s like the driver at the Outer Link/ Inner Link driver change-over spot on College Hill on Sunday, sitting in a NZ Bus branded car, waiting for his bus to arrive, on orange dashed lines, with his engine running.

  17. Why should general tax ever be used to build roads? It is very easy to make the user pay (via fuel tax / tolls / etc), so why go for an everyone pays model? It seems to go against every economic principal (especially when we need to reduce emissions too). The fact that both major parties are doing it is bordering on corruption.

    1. I am sick of Wellington making the big infrastructure decisions. What about letting the regions keep their taxes and make their own infrastructure choices.

      1. It’s called Government Brendon. If you want to leave this country and create your own country, feel free to do so.

        There’s a massive amount of money being spent, most of it in Auckland. If you want to complain, get in line behind the rest of the country, who will be resenting that so much money is going to your bloated, dysfunctional city.

        1. Steady on, Guy. Brendon is doing more than most to get some sustainable outcomes. He’s allowed to be disappointed.

          More local control isn’t an out-there concept.

          We’ve all got bloated, dysfunctional cities. Christchurch should actually be used as the example that jolts government out of its sprawl focus. As if we needed another.

        2. Guy – Christchurch hasn’t got much at all from this, quite reasonable for Brendon to be having a gripe. Hell they haven’t even got one of the most logical road projects, a bypass of Woodend.

        3. NZ is one of the most centralised run countries in the world. In most developed countries State government and even Local government have there own tax base and can undertake these sort of infrastructure projects independently. Given the mess that successive governments based in Wellington have made of NZ infrastructure provision perhaps we should look at a more decentralised model?

        4. @Brendon.
          I’ve actually long wondered if NZ government should be more decentralised to provincial authorities (again) with their own revenue intake and ability to pass their own by-laws and have their own regulations.
          I know that such a system was scrapped in the Victorian days and that we have a successor system of 16 regions but I think that there’s a case for those regions becoming partially self-governing provinces again with much authority currently held by the central government in Wellington.
          And not least to ensure a more just allocation of government funding. I know that this means that wellington would get less money, but when I look at some of the boondoggles such as Transmission gully or the inner city bypass, that oddly may actually be beneficial for Wellington and the people living there.

    2. Jimbo
      absolutely agree that those who use roads should pay for them, which seems infinitely fair as more and more choose not to have cars. (There is a watered down road tax buried in National’s transport policy.)

      I loved Italy where the road toll is about 7 euros per 100 km. The autostrada was empty and the inter city rail was full. Imagine a tourist who drives Auckland Queenstown return being charged $350 – this would quickly cause more carbon friendly options to be chosen.

      1. One reason I like the idea of metered tap water is as a car free ratepayer Ive been subsidising the water some motorists use to wash their cars every saturday morning.

    3. I don’t know how much general tax is used to build roads. And I don’t know how much money the government collects from fuel taxes, levies, road user charges etc. But I would imagine that its somewhere in the order of $2 billion annually (that’s just my guess, someone may have the actual figure to prove me wrong).

      Likewise I don’t know how much of general tax is used to build cycle-ways. But I do know how much tax, levies, etc that the government collects from cycle fees.

  18. A small amount should go for finishing stage two and stage four of the Glenn Innes shared path. Right now it’s it’s so fragmented it’s not even really usable. It’s pointless until the complete all four stages, AMETI is coming along and is adding another fragmented piece to the puzzle with a bike lane from Pakuranga to Panmure.

    1. Can’t agree with that more, Stephen D. AFAIK ATM the NZTA continues to put this project through the business case wringer, and locals still sit in traffic.

      It’s important to understand that this project – particularly the Gowing Drive to Kohimarama Road link advocated by the local board – is as much about providing safe alternatives to driving for local (north-south) amenity as it is for through (east-west) routes. It should be funded and advanced immediately.

      1. Yes. Investing in cycling infrastructure improves safety outcomes for all users, including drivers. Something many people seem to have missed.

        1. Indeed Heidi, and what’s more many cycling projects (such as GI to Tamaki Drive) are away from roads, which not only improves safety outcomes but means no road space is taken away. It’s the ultimate win-win. Which makes slow progress on cycling even more maddening.

  19. All $12bn to restoring the old Light Rail network across Auckland, given directly to Council so that the Wellington business case machine can’t stuff it up.

  20. Just listened to the announcement. So Penlink is funded to the tune of 400mil, but not any NW improvements? Overall – roads, roads, roads. If this is not mismanagement in the time of climate change I don’t know what is. To say I’m disappointed doesn’t start to describe it.

    1. NW Auckland doesn’t exist. There’s just a giant void between Pt Chev and the Piha cafe apparently. Can’t wait to leave tbh.

        1. And BTW, if they want new trains for the Wairarapa/PNorth services they can reach into their own pockets and pay half share like Auckland had to do. No more using taxes as their own regional slush fund.

      1. Most of that “Wellington bureaucracy” are people who moved to Wellington to work in the public sector from other parts of NZ.

        1. While you are right that many people have moved to Wellington, they certainly don’t make up most of the public service.

          Having worked in the Wellington bureaucracy (not in transport) there is definitely a Wellington centric focus and a frustrating aversion to Auckland.

        2. “Having worked in the Wellington bureaucracy (not in transport)”
          Really? Out of interest: When was that?

        1. “Climate change is my generations nuclear free moment”. Is this infrastructure announcement delivering that -nope.

  21. I can’t help but feel we could have elected National and still got RONS 2.0 and no Light Rail. Transformational government indeed.

    1. Jacinda needs to spin up a special RONS Ministry separate from MoT and put Philly T in charge. Which will ensure nothing will happen .

    1. Third main Westfield – Wiri only.

      “$315 million for improvements to the Wiri to Quay Park Corridor in Auckland including construction of a third rail line to ease the bottleneck between Wiri and Westfield, providing additional capacity around Westfield Junction, and works around Quay Park to improve rail access to the Ports of Auckland”

    2. Grant, the release under Winston’s name today says

      >$315 million for improvements to the Wiri to Quay Park Corridor in Auckland including construction of a third rail line to ease the bottleneck between Wiri and Westfield, providing additional capacity around Westfield Junction, and works around Quay Park to improve rail access to the Ports of Auckland

      This says to me that the third main will be between Wiri and Westfield, which AFAIK is the main bottleneck, so this makes sense. Third main all the way to the port would mean digging another Purewa Tunnel and laying another track across the bay, which would be a huge consenting and construction mission.
      Wiri and Westfield makes sense, then perhaps Westfield to GI third main as the next step, or the fourth main Wiri and Westfield, before a third main to the port I’d imagine.

      1. “Wiri to Quay Park” is the name of the project. But the third main is only Wiri to Westfield. The rest is minor fiddling.

    3. Yes vague Stuff reporting or political talk, I guess eventually to the port, but “starting 2020” the first main bottle neck as was anticipated by Matt.

    1. Unfortunately; this will probably be supported by most of the electorate.

      As much as some people on here hate to face: New Zealand is pretty socially backward for a developed nation. The hardly surprising outcome when NZ imitates Australia and the USA…

  22. 4 lanes for Mill Road – In the minister’s words ‘to connect Manukau to Drury’ …
    SH1 does exactly that, problem is too many people are using it.

    1. I hope that these roads are tolled to remove the subsidy to the motorist and give the new electrified rail the chance to compete with road

      1. Unless we start getting genuine LS/express services the rail will just too slow. Two more stations to stop at before even reaching Papakura.

        1. They are planned as part of the post-CRL running pattern. They aren’t the magic bullet though, express services from Kapiti and Upper Hutt only knock about 5 mins off the journey.

        2. Those Wellington express trains are express in paper only. They dont overtake other trains and merely skip a few stops to make them seem faster but in reality they are a pathway killer/inefficient user of the network.

    2. It will be nice to see light rail added to the Mill Road project between Manukau and Papakura…..given forecasts on population increases south of Papakura over the next decade. But reality kicks in….no government would spend large scale money on PT in South Auckland….just small upgrades to keep the birds fed and salve the conscious.
      Not sure how great a bikeway between Papakura and Drury would be along the Motorway…..that money could be better spent elsewhere.

  23. Have they published BCRs for most of the projects?

    The whole argument about the ‘infrastructure deficit’ seems to be based on the idea we’ve had a lot of population growth without a commensurate increase in spending – but it ignores the fact that transport spending as a % of GDP has roughly doubled since the early 2000s. You only have to look at what has happened to the size of the NLTP and the jumps in the petrol price tax. And the NLTP doesn’t capture the CRL.

    And the argument presumes that we had little surplus infrastructure capacity before the increase in the rate of population growth.

    If we had a genuine infrastructure deficit we’d see it reflected in there being a whole of unfunded investment opportunities with good benefit-cost ratios. But I’m not sure we’re seeing that – in Auckland at least.

    There are needs which should be addressed but I’d like to see more evidence that we need acceleration in the spending rate. And either way, we should be picking out the projects, and options within projects, which offer the most outcomes for the money being spent.

    I’m also concerned that the program is using up available debt without doing much for climate change: it’s using up 5% of GDP – maybe 1/10th of headroom to relatively comfortable debt levels.

  24. This govt should fuck off.
    Zero integrity. Classic ‘chardonnay socialists’.
    Hugely disappointing. Cynical and hypocritical.
    At least with National we get what we expect we were going to get.
    I think this will pull down their support base rather than bolster it.

    1. As a tactic for getting re-elected they have done well, although they have left themselves exposed in the NW of Auckland and in the South Island.

      As a tactic for improving transport in NZ they have failed miserably.

      1. I don’t know whether it will help them get re-elected or not. It could be great ammunition for the Nats in the election campaign, in terms of attacking the govt’s integrity.

        1. Moving towards the centre is always good for getting re-elected.

          John Key mastered the art of proposing something then listening to the public and ultimately sticking to the centre and making little change. Voters paid more attention to what was ultimately decided than whether he flip-flopped in getting there.

    2. “This govt should fuck off.”

      How should we fuck off, oh Lord….?

      Nice to see you channeling Monty Python there Zen… No doubt as a mark of respect to the passing of Terry Jones…

    1. I guess while other countries that are really responding to the crisis properly get going on all their sustainability projects, and get nicer, less traffic-dominated, people-friendly places as a result, NZ might get down to some earnest court battles. What fun. :/ I suppose the sooner people use the legal system to show up the lack of climate planning, the sooner we can get on track.

      This set of projects might have been welcomed a decade ago. Today, it’s pure negligence.

        1. I’m happy to go with wanton cognitive dissonance. Just watching something on tv about the Thwaites Glacier which is melting at increasing rates and on its own could contribute to 0.5m rise in sea levels. In the face of just this single fact, how could you release a plethora of policies that can only substantially increase carbon emissions?

          What did the PM mean when she said, this is our generations anti nuclear moment?

  25. You got to be disappointed if you voted for this government. It’s just unfortunately the alternative is exactly the same.

    1. I think you guys are a bit too critical of this government. taking 18 months to 2 years to get policies in place isn’t unusual. They have done some of the things they promised
      – They have invested in highway safety and developing ways to bring the road toll down. We only saw that only go up under the last government.
      -they cancelled east-west link – as promised- just have not come up with a replacement yet.
      -Implementation of the regional fuel tax to help pay for some of Auckland Infrastructure.
      – Airport to Manukau is underway (, but that would have happened under any government.
      – boosting public transport funding by 46% over ten years- but that still happening
      – already allocated over $1 billion to improve Rail infrastructures- such as investing NZ$20 million into re-establishing Hillside Engineering in South Dunedin as a significant heavy engineering and KiwiRail servicing hub.
      They have completed some of their promises, but admittedly there have been failings with light rail and cycling. So you have partially got what you voted for. Just more work needs to be done.

        1. Except the actual community living there.

          Singlehandedly the stupidest road proposal made by the previous Government. And that’s saying something.

      1. You can’t dribble on about nine long years of neglect and then faff around until the day after you announce the election. That’s McCaw-esque levels of cynical play.

      2. To be honest why are we investing 20m in a rail maintenance depot at the arse end of the country? The logistics in moving trains there must be a nightmare, if they want a South Island depot surely somewhere near Christchurch would be a better location?

  26. Wow. If climate change is really nuclear serious this spend up does little to promote mode shift and a lot to continue private motor vehicle mantra. 1.3bn on Mill Rd FFF

  27. $247 million to develop the Drury railway stations sounds like a huge amount of money considering they’ll literally be starting from a green field.
    I’d also question what’s happening with Labours productive soils legislation, which could curb the development in the area negating the need for the stations.

  28. There’s some whinging from some of you that “Wellington” are stopping things happening. This quote from a story on Light Rail for Christchurch might put a different light on your political musings:
    “Wilke says he had Transport Minister Phil Twyford sat on his couch talking about it. The Government knows it must invest.
    “He told me, you guys need to sort it out. Come up with a joined-up plan. The moment something makes sense, and you’ve all agreed on it, the money will be there.” However, finding that unity, that urgency, is where Christchurch continues to stumble.”

    I’d say that probably the representatives for Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch have been talking considerably to Gov and making sure their most-desired projects are on the list. It is not going to be Phil Twyford and Grant and Jacinda sitting there making decisions by pointing a big stick. If you want to blame anyone, talk to your own city people.

    Personally, Wellington Central seems to have been completely shafted. We got nothing. Melling and Levin are miles away. Not a cent mentioned for Wellington transport itself.

    1. Wot are you talking about?!

      Wellington’s getting $1.35 billion.
      But Christchurch is getting $159 million. Not even 1/8th of what Wellington is getting.

      And yes actually; Wellington will benefit from improvements between Otaki and Levin (with their BCR of not even 0.5)…

      1. No, Levin is not Wellington, its in Horowhenua. Melling is not in Wellington, its way up the Hutt. Actual real, central, Wellington in Wellington, is not getting a cent. Us people what actually live in Wellington never even drive up to Levin – hardly ever to the Hutt – and yet we have congestion issues here too, that need resolution, but we’ve got not a cent.

        But seriously, this budget is obviously all about connecting the outlying areas to the existing networks, both in Auckland and Wellington. Christchurch actually has a genuine inner-city project (Brougham St), Queenstown has got money for projects right in the heart of Frankton, but it is really disheartening that “Wellington” (politicians) has not managed to get any funding for actual Wellington….

        1. “Levin is not Wellington, its in Horowhenua”
          If you actually don’t understand how Wellington will benefit from this; you lack a basic understanding of economics and development.

          “Melling is not in Wellington, its way up the Hutt”
          So you actually can’t appreciate that it’s part of the Wellington region and is used by a significant proportion of commuters into Wellington?
          I know to tell you this might break the guidelines, but you’re only making yourself look stupid.

          “Actual real, central, Wellington in Wellington, is not getting a cent.”
          And what does it even need? Ther’ss already the motorway and a railway service and a good bus network. It doesn’t even see much heavy traffic, I know you’re going to whinge about “the basin bottleneck” (which isn’t in central wellington either) but in reality; it’s NOTHING as far as traffic goes.

          “Us people what actually live in Wellington never even drive up to Levin – hardly ever to the Hutt”
          Moot point.

          “…and yet we have congestion issues here too…”
          It’s about as bad as the traffic that Palmerston north gets.

        2. At least it’s clear the politicians aren’t just doing projects for their own work area 😉 Nothing for central Wellington probably because no one can agree on what should be done. This is pretty much spade ready type stuff.

        3. It’s Wellington from Upper Hutt and Plimmerton to Island bay and Seatoun. This ridiculous faux snobbery/parochialism based on council boundaries that can be changed with the stroke of a pen is one of the issues holding back the Wellington urban area.

        4. Dan, I know, but I’m just teasing you, because you get so uptight that it’s worth it just to see your face turn red…. And now you’re going to take me outside the internet and punch me for calling you Dan again….

          … mind you, the comment about Palmerston North was brilliant, thank you. Had me laughing out loud…

          OK – let’s be serious for a second. While Zippo notes that “ridiculous faux snobbery/parochialism based on council boundaries” is holding Wellington back, I guess I’m coming from the point of view of a central area resident, who certainly does not like having people driving in cars from Horowhenua and the Hutt, and then demanding that my house is torn down so that they can access the airport faster. If that is ridiculous faux snobbery/parochialism then so be it, but I hope that you can see my point that their induced traffic is not appreciated in my hood.

        5. I’m sure it’s not appreciated. And, just curious:

          How much work have you put into ensuring there is intensification allowed where you are, Guy, and preferably of the not-full-of-carparks variety?

        6. Thanks Heidi, and good question. Yes, I’m actually quite active down here in the windy city in a number of ways, and have designed a few apartment buildings, one of which I live in – in the centre of the city. I’ve got SH1 southbound on one side of me and SH1 northbound on the other side of me, so am highly aware of traffic issues down here. Wellington CBD has been mandatory-carpark free for many years, although talking with the Council traffic engineers you wouldn’t know that. We design very little in the suburbs, but our practice is actively pushing infill housing in Auckland and Wellington.

          But we do have a serious lack of sensible density down here in the capital. There’s a fairly silly project right in the middle of the Taranaki St – the area picked for high growth by the WCC – and designed by offshore architects (Australian-Chinese) with seemingly very little buy-in to the desired density. You can read more about it here:

          But it is just so sad. In an area picked for 6-9 stories in height, the developers have proposed only 2 stories. Setting us back by years.

        7. Guy M, have you considered becoming a contributor to this website? No disrespect to the current contributors, but It would be good to get some perspectives from the real world as opposed to those offered by bureaucrats and consultants.

        8. Ha ha. Not me. The world I inhabit is real, I imagine.

          Thanks for that, Guy. Cool stuff. And yes, same problem here regarding wasted opportunities…

        9. “…but I’m just teasing you, because you get so uptight…”
          Ahahaha ah no, you’re just showing up how socially-challenged you must be as this sure to self-defeat resort to being cornered is the only way you know how to handle when you’re made to look stupid.
          Hahahah no loss to anyone else. 😉

          “While Zippo notes that “ridiculous faux snobbery/parochialism based on council boundaries” is holding Wellington back”
          People who aren’t sociually-challenged generally direct counters to the person who said it, which in this case was Zippo, not me (headpat).

          ” I guess I’m coming from the point of view of a central area resident, who certainly does not like having people driving in cars from Horowhenua and the Hutt”
          Well, then you’re very stupid if you support the new Melling interchange. Because it will induce more automobile traffic from the Hutt into Wellington. Won’t it?
          Aw yeah. DUh…

    2. Christchurch central doesn’t get anything either and Auckland central doesn’t get much, Skypath would be about the closest.

      These announcements are all about moving people in the outskirts of our main centres, whether it be by road or rail. Even the improvements in Queenstown look like they are mostly in the vicinity of Frankton.

      1. Auckland central already has NZ’s largest infrastructure project underway so I guess it can’t complain about not getting much out of this package.

        1. Agree, disappointing that light rail isn’t shovel ready but I think Auckland is getting a pretty good deal. TBH a whole lot of the nations tax dollars is going to be wasted on Mill Rd, which will create as many problems as it solves.

  29. How long have I been saying that Labour is pro-roading and is NOT pro-public transport nor pro-Railways?
    And do me a favour and spare me any scapegoating of NZ first.

    Probably the worst on here is the Melling interchange one. A complete waste of money that will improve nothing.

    And most of the general public will probably think this is great…

    1. I grew up in the Hutt Valley and as a child on my own walked to primary school crossing the main highway twice a day near Melling. Over the years the focus on cars means such walks would now be impossible. The Hutt Valley is now incredibly bike and walker unfriendly and the new interchange will only add to that. Pork barrel politics at its worst.

      1. I know. It’s disgusting and very backward. And worst of all; the Labour party is all for increasing this reversion to the failed automobile-dominated 1950s/’60s planning. Not only is the new Labour Mayor of Lower Hutt amongst the champions for this dopey Melling interchange but the local Labour (list) MP Virgnia Andersen is strongly advocating turning White’s line into a limited-access road.

        Honestly; the Labour voters on here need to try and change that party.

    2. Dan Eyres, you’re on a different planet from me.
      “Probably the worst on here is the Melling interchange one. A complete waste of money that will improve nothing.”

      I couldn’t disagree with you more. It’s hugely needed, and includes a new rail station, a pedestrian bridge over the river linking directly to the town centre, and removes the ridiculous traffic lights from the Hutt motorway. What’s not to like about that? What would you propose instead?

      1. I think you need to see an optometrist: My surname’s Eyre, not “Eyres” and nobody calls me “Dan” (at least; not more than one time).

        “…you’re on a different planet from me”
        Yeah, and I think everyone can see why that is.

        “It’s hugely needed, and includes a new rail station, a pedestrian bridge over the river linking directly to the town centre, and removes the ridiculous traffic lights from the Hutt motorway”
        There’s nothing wrong with the existing station, it’s in an ideal place at the bottom of the hill while the new location is worse. The “new pedestrian bridge” could have been built regardless and the traffic lights have f-all effect other than small back-up at rush hours (which has actually improved over the decades).
        So as I expected; you have not mentioned any way in which it is needed.

      2. Oh and I should add: I would do sweet nothing. Because there’s no actual existing problem with the existing Melling bridge, intersection nor location of Melling station.

        1. No problem with the traffic lights except the dozen or so people who have died there in the last 10 years. Melling Interchange is a safety project.

        2. “No problem with the traffic lights except the dozen or so people who have died there in the last 10 years.”

          The intersection has existed for 60 years.
          If this is true; it can’t be the intersection that’s the problem.

        3. “…Danny Boy…”

          Not this?”

          Yahahahaha ah well no. An intersection has nothing to do with a stoned train driver inadequately trained on the braking of a new train. And chucking money on this dumb project will make not suddenly make it immune to a stoned train driver. Not that the train crash and the intersection had anything to do with each other.
          Honestly: The fact you’ve even linked this is a further indictment upon you and your level of critical thinking.

          Not that one either?”
          Hmm let’s see: “northbound, 300 metres south of the Melling Station.”
          So basically; a rear-ending in heavy traffic, which has nothing to do with the intersection.

          or this”
          Hmm let’s see: “occurred in the northbound lane of SH2, near Haywards” and “bout 100m north of Petone’s southbound on-ramp on Western Hutt Rd”
          Oh whoops, both of these were NOT at Melling but at intersections with some of those new-fangled interchanges. So you’re shooting your own argument down.

          “or that
          Do you even check these articles?! That accident report is from 2002! Almost 20 years ago!
          Do you know what? The victim of that accident was a friend of mine (as was his twin brother)!

          “Maybe you’ve been away from home for a while”
          Ah no. Maybe you’re just talking twaddle.

          “but at a guess, I’d say there is a bit of a recurring problem there”
          Yeah; YOU’D say that. A guy who posts a whole pile of articles that disprove his point.

          “As Sailor says”
          Hahahaha yah. “Sailor Boy”. Case closed….

  30. After thinking about this I realised two things:
    – The government has to show they’re delivering something
    – There are no businesses cases, plans etc for non-roading projects (bar a few tiny initiatives)

    So they’ve taken whatever they could find. My issue with them is that they had 2 years to show some leadership and steer in the right directions but they floundered. So much for “Climate change is my generation’s nuclear-free moment”.

  31. All up they are spending $110 Mill less in the entire Sth Island than on a cycleway for Akl’s North Shore. Akl does need a lot of transport investment and I like cycling but flippin eck that’s embarrassing….

    1. Yip it is embarrassing.
      Q. What is the population of the North Shore versus the whole of the South Island?
      A. 250,000 versus 1,140,000.

  32. I’m loving this. Finally you are all realizing that Jacinda and Grant are just great career politicians and will do anything to stay in power. The main difference is that they will hug you as they kindly stab you in the back. I laughed when Grant just said on the radio that the Greens are ecstatic with the projects!
    The biggest irony as that despite more people still supporting National than Labour they will almost certainly get back in due to Nationals lack of mates, and Labour always have the best bribes.
    BTW I agree that some of these projects are marginal at best.

    1. Despite her bullshit rhetoric Jacinda and her hapless crew are a million miles from being ‘transformative’ (he says regretfully)

  33. I bet there are a few business leaders having a couple of quiet ones saying, “I can’t believe that we hoodwinked those clowns in govt two years in a row. At the start of last year we told them the business confidence index was the ‘be all and end all’, and they committed to stimulating the economy (and on the index that really counts, the NZX, we pocketed 30% growth); and then we told them that we need an infrastructure spend up (anything will do as long as we can get a shovel into it) and they bought that story too.”

    But where’s our clean water going to come from? And who is paying to decarbonise the grid?

    The real winner in this seems to be the Green Party, because if you have only the slightest concern about the environment they are the only option.

  34. “…Danny Boy…”

    Not this?”

    Yahahahaha ah well no. An intersection has nothing to do with a stoned train driver inadequately trained on the braking of a new train. And chucking money on this dumb project will make not suddenly make it immune to a stoned train driver. Not that the train crash and the intersection had anything to do with each other.
    Honestly: The fact you’ve even linked this is a further indictment upon you and your level of critical thinking.

    Not that one either?”
    Hmm let’s see: “northbound, 300 metres south of the Melling Station.”
    So basically; a rear-ending in heavy traffic, which has nothing to do with the intersection.

    or this”
    Hmm let’s see: “occurred in the northbound lane of SH2, near Haywards” and “bout 100m north of Petone’s southbound on-ramp on Western Hutt Rd”
    Oh whoops, both of these were NOT at Melling but at intersections with some of those new-fangled interchanges. So you’re shooting your own argument down.

    “or that
    Do you even check these articles?! That accident report is from 2002! Almost 20 years ago!
    Do you know what? The victim of that accident was a friend of mine (as was his twin brother)!

    “Maybe you’ve been away from home for a while”
    Ah no. Maybe you’re just talking twaddle.

    “but at a guess, I’d say there is a bit of a recurring problem there”
    Yeah; YOU’D say that. A guy who posts a whole pile of articles that disprove his point.

    “As Sailor says”
    Hahahaha yah. “Sailor Boy”. Case closed….

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