Yesterday the government announced what would be funded as part of their massive $12b infrastructure spend up, that they’ve called “The New Zealand Upgrade Programme“.

As previously indicated, the package includes $6.8 billion on a variety of transport projects and we now know what those are – I managed to correctly pick many of them in my post yesterday.

The Government’s programme of new investments in roads and rail will help future proof the economy, get our cities moving, and make our roads safer.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford says these important projects will speed up travel times, ease congestion and make our roads safer by taking trucks off them and moving more freight to rail.

“The New Zealand Upgrade Programme reflects the Government’s balanced transport policy with $6.8 billion being invested across road, rail, public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure across New Zealand.

“This programme brings forward and funds significant projects, allowing them to be built sooner. The significant package is designed to give the construction industry certainty and confidence about future work.

“Many of these projects have been talked about for a long time, but we are the first Government to fund them. We have also made important changes.

“We must look to the future as we design this critical infrastructure. The projects have also been redesigned and future proofed to include provision for public transport and walking and cycling.

“We can do this and bring these projects forward because of our careful management of the Government’s books. It means New Zealanders can be assured they will be built as soon as possible.

“Our decision to fund these projects by taking advantage of historically low long-term interest rates means this Programme will free up funding in the National Land Transport Fund and Auckland transport budgets.”

That last line is actually quite important, by separately funding these projects many have been taken out of the queue for traditional funding and at the announcement Minister Twyford told me this equated to freeing up $1.8 billion from the NLTF. In other words, that is $1.8 billion that can be reallocated to other projects. I would hope that given the road heavy nature of this announcement, that freed up funding goes primarily towards walking, cycling and public transport projects.

One thing that stands out to me about the announcement is just the size of some of the numbers involved. Many of these projects have increased in cost substantially and I wonder how much of this is the result of construction cost inflation even though contractors were claiming they needed more work. For example it was only a few years ago that a $400 million project was claimed as “the biggest transport project NZ had ever seen” yet now that would be at the lower end of the scale. This is something I’ll look at more in a separate post.

Before jumping into the specific projects, I thought I’d break it down a few different ways.

Spending per region

Auckland is getting the bulk of the spending with just over half coming the city’s way. When you add in Northland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, the upper North Island (UNI) gets over three quarters of the total investment. As Todd Niall pointed out yesterday, Auckland deserves that given the huge growth we’re experiencing, and similar arguments could be applied to the rest of the UNI.

However if you assess the spending based on the number of residents each region has, Auckland isn’t even in the top three. In that ranking Northland comes out on top with $3,667 per person, Bay of Plenty is second $2,878 per person and Wellington third with $2,548 per person. It’s only after that where Auckland appears at $2,119 per person but that is still far ahead of the other regions on the list (and those not making an appearance.).

Spending by project type

When looking at the types of projects being built, just over $5 billion of the spending, or 75%, is going towards a handful of large roading projects – although we’d expect they’d all include upgrades to at least walking and cycling too. There was also suggestions that many of them could include transit and/or freight priority lanes.

We then have $1.1 billion going towards rail projects, $360 million towards walking and cycling and $155 million towards other projects which appear fairly multi-modal, including things such as bus priority.

With that done, let’s look at the projects.The details come from here and formed part of a booklet produced for the announcement.


SH1 Whangārei to Port Marsden – safer connections
22km – $692 million

I expected this project to be announced but it appears construction will be some time off with it not starting till 2023/24 with full completion around 2027/28. I also understand there could to be a further announcement related to it today.


Interestingly almost all of the projects are located in South Auckland which in part is a reflection of the growth that’s occurring. In addition, with the first two projects on the list it’s not clear if it being included in the announcement means the NZTA are taking them over as a state highway projects.

7km – $411 million

Positively they’ve decided to go with the sensible Penlink option with it being a two-lane tolled road. This is one of the projects that helps highlight how much costs are increasing as just a year or two ago this option was costed at about $280 million. Construction on Penlink is now scheduled to start in late 2021 with it opening in late 2025. Disappointingly there was no mention of bus lanes on SH1 north of Albany like ATAP suggests are needed.

Mill Rd
21.5km – $1.354 billion

Mill Rd is the biggest single project on the list and the government are saying they’ll build the entire corridor all the way from Manukau to the motorway again at Drury. The first section from Manukau to Alfriston was consented by AT a few years ago but there will be much design and consenting work to do on the section south of there, including working out how it bowls through a bunch of quiet suburban streets in Papakura. Construction on the first stages is expected to start in late 2022 with the full project complete in 2027/28.

SH1 Papakura to Drury South
6km – $423 million

The existing motorway will be 3-laned from Papakura to south of Drury, where the Mill Rd corridor will connect to it via an interchange. Construction is expected to start later this year and take till late 2025 to complete.

Northern Pathway
5km – $360 million

This is the name for the combined Skypath and Seapath projects which will be built. Like all the projects, this has increased in cost a lot but it’s worth remembering that one of the reasons for this is after the NZTA took the project over, they’ve considerably upgraded the design. Construction will start early next year with the project completed in 2023/24.

Wiri to Quay Park
$315 million

As mentioned yesterday, this actually comprises a few different projects, such as improving access to the port, improving the Westfield Junction and the third main. I suspect where possible we’ll start to see future proofing for a forth main too. Construction starts later this year and will take till mid to late 2024 to complete, likely just in time for the CRL to open.

Papakura to Pukekohe Electrification
19km – $371 million

This is another of those projects we’ve seen increase in cost a lot in recent years, especially considering that just a few years ago the rest of the network was electrified for for about $500 million. I understand the project includes adding a third traction feed which is likely needed for post-CRL operations anyway. Like with Wiri to Quay Park, construction starts later this year and will take till 2023/24 to complete.

Drury stations
$247 million

Two new stations will be built at Drury, one east of the motorway where the new town centre is expected to be built and one to the west of the motorway. I’m not sure why the western station has been prioritised ahead of one at Paerata where a lot of housing is going in closer to the rail line sooner. I’m also not sure why these stations are expected to cost so much. Even the Puhunui station which is likely to be bigger and grander than these stations will be is only costing $60 million and is located on a section of track that is busier. Construction of these is slated to start in 2023 and again be completed by late 2024.


SH1/SH29 intersection
$58 Million

Cambridge to Piarere wasn’t included in the funding but a roundabout to improve the intersection that would be at the end of it is. Construction is due to start in 2022 and be finished by late 2024

Bay of Plenty

Tauranga Northern Link
6.8km – $478 million

As expected the TNL will be built and will be built as a 4-lane road – although they say “One lane in each direction will be used to prioritise public transport, vehicles carrying multiple passengers and/or freight“.The project will start construction later this year and be completed in late 2025.

Te Puna to Ōmokora
7km – $455 million

Perhaps one of the more surprising of the announcements will see the TNL motorway being extended to Ōmokoroa (before the TNL motorway is even finished). Like about it talks about including priority lanes. This is due to start in late 2023 and be finished in late 2027.


SH58 safety improvements
8.5km -$59 million

A number of safety improvements will be made to the road. Construction will start in the middle of the year and be completed by mid-2023.

Melling Interchange
$258 million

Construction is due to start in late 2022 and be completed in 2026.

Ōtaki to north of Levin
24km – $817 million

As described yesterday this is going to be a big, expensive piece of road. Construction isn’t expected to start till 2025 and take till 2029 to be completed.

Wellington rail upgrades
$211 million

This is a series of projects  across the network and includes a number improvements to the Wairarapa services. It will also see the Capital Connection carriages refurbished. Construction starts this year with a phased completion till 2025.


Urban roads
$125 million

There are a handful of roads that will get upgrades as part of the funding. Some of the focus of some projects is about  adding bus priority. Construction starts in late 2022 and completes in 2024-25.

Rural Roads
$34 million

A number of rural safety improvements. Construction starts in 2021 and is finished in 2022-23.


$90 million

This includes a number of projects including bus priority on SH6 and SH6A. Of all the regions, this is probably the one with the highest proportion of public transport as well as walking and cycling projects. Construction starts in 2021-22 and is completed by 2023-24.

That completes the list of projects. What’s notable is that some are not due to even start construction for many years and are only at the start of the design and consenting phases. Hardly ‘shovel ready’ like these projects were said to be. I pulled together a quick chart showing when construction of each of these will start. They will have some level of work occurring prior to that point.

In 2024 when a large number of projects come to an end, are we going to see similar calls for construction industry stimulus?

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  1. I don’t think anyone can say $360 million is money well spent on a bike path.
    Skypath was supposed to be 20-30 mill originally. As much as I want to be able to occasionally walk or cycle from my house in Ponsonby to the Bridgeway Cinema, this is not money well spent while people continue to be homeless and our Hospitals are falling apart.
    I would like to know what the extra 330 million is being used for.

    1. I think it is great news. It means we no longer have any child poverty in New Zealand because quite clearly any country with child poverty wouldn’t spend $360million on a footpath. It means our hospitals are all in good shape and our health system fully funded as again no sane nation would spend that sum on a footpath while its health system struggled. It means our children have access to the best education system in the world and our students don’t struggle with tertiary education costs because only a country of complete imbeciles would spend a fortune on a footpath before sorting out the education system.
      Yes I am pleased because it proves New Zealand now has everything it needs. Our country is complete.

      1. It probably should have been done years and years ago, but yes – a cynic might say it is money to keep the special pleaders of Grey Lynn happy on social media.

        I would love to see it built, but I also can’t help but think 360 million could be put to far better use in healthcare in South Auckland.

        Putting on my tinfoil hat, I can’t help wondering if maybe that is NZTA’s political objective – make the whole damn not-invented-here thing so gold plated it gets cancelled.

        1. encouraging more people to walk and cycle helps reduce the need for healthcare spending … one of the more cost effective things you can spend money on to address public health measures is creating environments where people are able to be more active in their daily lives.

        2. Well in that case it’s imperative that we spend hundreds of millions on a small path connecting the well-off inner city suburbs on the waterside as opposed to the dozens of kms of bike lanes across the entire region that could fund.

        3. It’s a vital link, been delayed for years. The useage will be huge. Once it is up and running it will be one of Auckland’s major attractions.

        4. This will connect of lot of Auckland together & is just the beginning. Many cycle & shared paths are being planned all over Auckland. It’s logical to do the centre ones early on. Yes and I agree with SDW, it does really help with healthcare including mental health. Better to prevent than cure.

        5. Child poverty is so important we should really cut all funding to all road/airport/port upgrades of any type (we have plenty of transport and can get by fine without any more). We don’t really need to maintain it either, really, aside from keeping bridges from collapsing. We also need to cancel all arts, parks, university, beach cleanup (really any cleanup), agriculture, hunting, fishing, recreation, science, technology and all the other really unimportant things too. We also should get rid of all food safety standards too because it adds way too much cost to the price of food.

        6. Deimos perhaps we could sell all the hospitals and use the money to build a share footpath and cycleway from the Auckland CBD to Waiheke Island. Cleartly the health benefits of a few more middle class wankers cycling outweighs anything the hospitals can achieve.

        7. 96% of the transport infrastructure spend up went to four regions -Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Wellington. On a per capita basis Northland came first, then Bay of Plenty, Wellington third and Auckland fourth.
          Graphs and numbers here on GA.

          New Plymouth’s Mayor, Neil Holdem put it eloquently when he referred to Devonport’s power walkers heading across the Skypath to have an almond latte in the Viaduct Basin even as people were dying on Taranaki’s sub-standard roads.

          The tax cut message is going to be very attractive in places like Taranaki and the South Island because of this infrastructure package…

        8. Too right Brendon, but not just Taranaki. North West Auckland gets nothing except worsening SH16 mega congestion. Not even a measly 20mil to get train shuttle Swanson to Huapai.
          The tax cuts looking very attractive now

        9. @zippo I think you’re grasping at straws if you think this will be well used. It’s a steep grade, unless they are putting in a moving walkway I don’t see that many people using it, probably only the most dedicated cyclists.

        10. Brendon New Plymouth’s Mayor, Neil Holdem clearly doesn’t know where Devonport is in relation to the start of the Skypath.

        11. Mike, the grade’s nothing to an e-bike. And the catchment’s now huge due to e-bikes, too. Things have shifted completely from where they were 5 years ago. Have some vision. It’s infrastructure like this that allows cities like Paris to increase their cycling numbers by 54% in one year.

          The cost of all these projects is fishy, however…

        12. Here you been to Paris Heidi? It has a couple of wee hill’s but for the most parts it’s very flat.

        13. Grade is less steep than the Northwestern cycleway has, less steep than the Grafton Gully cycleway.

      2. Today’s announcement gives more clarity to the project formerly known as “skypath/seapath”.

        It is now “northern path” and the cycleway is going all the way up to Albany and along Constellation Drive, as well as hooking into existing cycle paths in the North Shore.

        The cycleway over the bridge will now be made of steel, instead of carbon fibre.

        Hence the extra $300 million costs.

        1. Seapath (3km?) was 40 million. So it’s 260 million extra.
          At the same rate for Seapath we have 120 million for the next 9km to Albany. So 140 million for the upgrade Skypath design and construction inflation?

        2. I think the Seapath may have been quite expensive. Was it a platform over the water for part of its length? The economics on Seapath alone weren’t that good, whereas comments made on this blog say that cyclepaths typically have very good economics, which if true implies that the Seapath costs were higher than normal.

        3. Yeah I also heard today from inside parliament about the 99km of separated walking and cycle tracks around the country as part of the otther roading projects. Seems to be one of the biggest single investments in cycleways in one go ever. I can’t remember any other government spending so much on cycleways, although John Key was talking about a national cycleway from cape reinga to the bluff back in 2008.

    2. Calling it the “Northern pathway” and noting it is now a 5km project is a considerable change from the original proposal of hanging a perspex covered bike-sized bailey bridge onto the side of the Harbour bridge and hoping for the best.

      But even at 5km, it works out at 80 million a kilometre or $80,000 per metre of pathway. This is still mostly a cycle path. It isn’t like it has to be designed to resist the wear and tear of carrying heavy vehicles, or be upgradable to light rail.

      The taxpayer in me smell a rip off. The cost is outrageous and it deserves to be queried closely by the media and politicians.

      1. Miffy, your attitude about biking is disappointing. I was not fully appreciative of the possibilities of short commutes until we travelled to Europe and saw some of the amazing cycle paths in some of the cities and the wide demographic using them.

        In New Plymouth at Christmas the use that was made of the beach cycle way was fantastic – kids through to many, many older people.

        I am converted to cycle ways even though I don’t use them because I walk and bus. Surely with NZs growing obesity issues we need to encourage active modes – rather than have the economy swamped by climate change, superannuation and spiralling medical costs wouldn’t it be worth having a shot at chamging something?

        1. Most of those cities in Europe where they are cycling mecca’s are dead flat, Auckland is not even remotely dead flat, even the flat bits aren’t all that flat.

        2. And yet flat manukau has almost no cyclists while the hilly Isthmus is full of them. And obviously that is why Palmerston North and Hamilton are such cycling cities.

          The availability of separated cycle infrastructure is the main predictor of whether a city has high cycling rates. Juts look at the difference between Dutch cities and Belgian cities. Both flat areas, same culture, same language (at least in the Flemish parts), very different cycling mode shares.

          There are hilly cities in Italy and Switzerland that have good cycling mode share. Ebikes are also making it easier and easier to cycle in hilly areas.

          Easy excuse to kill cycling, but hills are not what stops cycling. Riding close to 1 tonne hunks of metal travelling at high speed is what does that.

        3. johnwoodtakapuna I really have no problem with cyclists. Sure most of them have a chip on their shoulder but I am genuinly happy they want to ride a bike. I have a serious problem with spending $360million of tax payers money on an overpriced cylceway that isn’t even going to be any good. It will be steep, really noisy and doesn’t even follow a direct route from anywhere worth starting from to anywhere worth going to. Over a 1/3 of a billion dollars! Wasted when if they want to encourage cycling they could build a huge program of cycleways throughout Auckland. But no they want a big expensive one to give the idea they care about cycling.
          Worst of all once people see what they got for the money it will probably cause a massive backlash. Try funding worthwhile projects in the 10 years after this piece of crap opens.

        4. After it opens and is a huge success, you can call yourself John Roughan. But $360 million does seem an enormous price tag, maybe NZTA would be good enough to explain exactly what it plans to do why the cost has increased so much.

    3. To be fair it also costs $58 million for a single roundabout to be built.
      Some serious gold plating or money wasting going on in NZTA…

      1. Or cost of the greasing of the bearings on the revolving door of NZ corruption.

        You know how it goes, you sign off the price gouging bid then over some champers in the corporate box at the tennis you have a conversation with the bidder where the fact your child is graduating in six months and is looking for a job suitable to their considerable talent just happens to come up…

        1. Telling the bidders and NZTA that you have $6 billion in your back pocket probably doesn’t elicit the best price either.

        2. Funny you should mention corruption, its a bit daft saying we are corrupt when it was just announced we are the least corrupt nation, first equal with Denmark.

      2. You do realise NZ has sky high land costs now. The real estate bubble feeds into other parts of the economy like infrastructure project costs.

        1. Or for a roundabout that probably fits within an existing road designation in rural Waikato where the land would cost about 1% of the project if even needed.

    4. Wait till you here about $1.34b on a traffic inducing neighbourhood ruining duplicate parallel highway through Papakura….

      Additionally cycling projects typically have by far the highest BCRs, you’re looking for poor value in the wrong places…

      Also now we can spend the cycling budget on many other cheaper project.

      1. Urbanista – yes agree, parallel highway running literally 2-3km away from each other … seems crazy. The reason Papakura and Takanini residents take this route is that it’s ‘a short cut’ or ‘the back way’ to access Manukau and Botany / East Tamaki areas.

        I can only hope that the extra lanes will not be for general traffic (t3, bus etc), and a cycling route is included, at least that way it may serve the current and future residents of those areas in other ways than purely encouraging them to drive

    5. It’s cheaper than a four lane bridge or tunnel to carry single occupant cars across the harbour as an alternative.

    6. hopefully the connection of skypath and seapath will be completely redesigned and the total mess at Northcote point will be changed so that the entire length is along the eastern side of the motorway.

      The spiral access/exit into northcote is a very bad piece of design for all parties and users.

      Being continuous along the waterside with a connection using the underpass to the west side would be great

    7. $360m is ridiculous! I fully support Skypath, but even adding in Seapath and having Skypath a bit larger, there is no way it should cost even half of this!

      Then there’s $58m for a roundabout in rural Waikato! This better include having multiple lanes in all 3 directions for some distance, otherwise it’s an appalling waste of money.

      How TF has Penlink gone to $400m+ for a 2 lane road when that is more than the 4 lane version was supposed to cost (land is already owned and set aside too)?

      They absabloodylutely better be designing W2W for 4 lines even if only installing 3.

      1. 4 tracks Wiri to Westfield will be interesting immediately north of Puhinui and I’m not sure about Middlemore

    8. Totally agree.

      Companies are bound by financial limits and the requirement to make a return on capital.

      We should also demand and expect of our government of the people by the people, that governments themselves legislate themselves to be bound to make decisions based on improving total welfare/capita through social cost benefit analysis.

      Government spending should not be politically driven lolly scrambles.

    9. The longer it is delayed, the more the cost will go up.

      Just get on and do it. In years to come, the next generation of Aucklanders will be wondering what all the fuss was about.

    10. I love the concept of the Skypath, and I’m all for cycling projects in cases where they can be installed cheaply enough to get a good return, but this one has got well out of hand.

      To put the health benefits in context you could get about a 2200 room acute services building for that money:

      If this one somehow has a good BCR they should publish the analysis.

  2. $360M for the 5km skypath and seapath…. While these should have been built years ago and there has been a few percent inflation, this cost is astronomical compared with previous costs. What about the rest of aucklands uncompleted cycle network and would this be better value for money?
    All the rail projects were last elections promises and were projects that were supposed to be already underway.
    And as for moar roads, what is the reasoning behind cancelling them for 2 years? This is effectively all that has happened. At least 5 of them were about to be built, the shovel ready ones. Most of them are unchanged from National.
    And the media spin about not funded, yeh right.

    1. It’s not “media spin”. They weren’t funded and now they are. Try going shopping without any money and see how far you get.

    2. If you believe they were funded by the Nats, then you will believe anything. National talk a big game on these projects but they took 9 years to what? have them announced?

  3. Overall good package. Would have chosen Cambridge to Piarere over Otaki to Levin. Notable Auckland roads omission: the east west link. Rail money is good. Does it include the third track south of Papakura? Hope future proofing for 4th track also included. Also the graph and amounts per person per region are wrong. Otaki to Levin is almost all in Manuwatu – Whanganui region not Wellington region (the border is just north of Otaki).

    1. I believe Winston is going to make a rail announcement today. They haven’t all of the $12billion yet. I think I’m right in saying that.

      1. Yep…. they are using $110 million to upgrade the northern line so modern freight containers can be transported on trains from Whangarei to Auckland, buying land for the Marsden Spur plus a couple of other things. Seems like there have been lots of compromises behind closed doors. Wonder if there are more surprises at budget time?

    2. The East West link would be a disaster. Divides Onehunga from the harbour and would be the most expensive in the world per km.
      Search the GA website for info about the plan

  4. It would be good if the third main and Pukekohe electrification have walking and cycling paths costed in. Also a number of pedestrian paths over or under the lines to reunite suburbs which have being severed by the railway. My favorite is Great South Road to Hugo Johnstone drive to join up with the cycleway along the foreshore to Onehunga. But there are other worthy places. Given the prices quoted you would have to think theses two projects will be gold plated.

    1. I agree that more links over the railway (and major roads) is desirable but I think its a bit harsh to say the railway severed the suburbs – most of these towns and suburbs were built around the existing railway line rather than the other way around.

      Also glad to see the TNL being extended to the Omokoroa turnoff – that town has had massive population growth and the single, hilly two-lane SH2 is no longer adequate, even outside of holiday periods. Though a local road come ting it with Tauranga via Te Puna and avoiding SH2 might have been a good alternative?

    2. A number of pedestrian and cycling bridges over the motorways (that really did sever the suburbs) is something that might be more “shovel ready” than some of these projects. NZTA have a number of designs already made that could be altered, and there’ll be some places where the span is the same and the approaches aren’t too difficult.

      Maybe a bundle of pedestrian and cycling bridge projects should be set up now, in anticipation of another election year’s whoopee fund?

      1. Now that’s a great idea – get’s my vote! And it could be a major drawcard for Auckland – stitching Kingsland back together over the motorway, in a separate pedestrian / cycle network that doesn’t rely on being next to Symonds St / Kyber Pass / Dominion Road etc. I’d really love to see some designs for those!

  5. It would have been good to see some money for the Northwest of Auckland. Hopefully some of the money freed up will be spent there. eg speeding up implementation of the new bus route on the shoulders of SH16, working out better PT for Northwest communities (It takes 1.5 hours to bus from Whenuapai to CBD) better cycling connections to the motorway paths needed too. There is a huge list in this high growth area.

    1. I’m hoping Twyford realises the pressure is on to have real progress towards short and long term solutions for the NW before the election.

      1. People are so hopeful yet fail to recognize Tywfords words and actions don’t line. Look at the LR fiasco. Promised rapid transit on NW. Kiwibuild fail I could go on.
        I do not expect the priorities of the freed-up $1.8 to be skewed towards PT or active modes. Happy to be proven otherwise.

  6. Completely forgotten the north-west.
    Imagine if they had used that money to buy up land along RTN routes or even the car-yards along Great North Road, and built true density housing. Then they might not have to spend a fortune in Drury which is known for flooding.

    1. Yep, imagine Kiwibuild in an inner suburb and then building a Rapid Transit route alongside it, its almost like it would be showing connected policy!

        1. Linking up land use transport I.e. integrating affordable housing with mass transit is another missed opportunity from this infrastructure package.
          NZ has limited capital and infrastructure capacity constraints so this infrastructure package pushed out integrating housing and transport proposals out another 5 years or so.

      1. There’s a new apartment going up in Panmure about 3 mins walk from the Transport centre. Half the units are under Kiwibuild. With the help of Kiwibuild I’ve bought one (and I’d almost lost hope during the period of the previous govt). Sorry to not fit in with your narrative of parroting MSM that Kiwibuild was a disaster. For some of us, it’s helped us reach our goal of owning a home, and in the case of Panmure, close to a paid transport hub too.

        1. Great news, Simon. Congratulations. That’ll be an interesting place to live; should see some regeneration love over the next decade.

        2. Thanks Heidi. I ‘m not celebrating until settlement is done and dusted though! But fingers crossed if all ok, it will be great to live in a nice new place with a rapid transport centre almost very close!

          There’s also a big new apartment block going up next to Glen Eden Station by Mansons. I’d be very surprised if some of the units in it were not being sold under the Kiwibuild banner.

          Obviously Kiwibuild has not been perfect, but amongst the attacks in the press, it’s easy to forget there’s first and second chance homeowners who have benefitted from this govt putting Kiwibuild into place. Even if this govt did 2% worth of work on helping these people into their own homes, that’s still 2% more than National did in 9 years! I have nothing but contempt for the likes of Judith Collins when she hypocritally attacks Kiwibuild.

        3. Rightly said.

          Part of the problem is the many and different expectations. Most of which Kiwibuild could not fulfill.

    2. Why do people keep saying that? They forgot the North, East, West and Central as well didn’t they? Everyone who isn’t near Mill Road or Whangaparoa was forgotten…

      1. The East is getting AMETI. The North Shore already has a busway and that is being extended. The North West is coming off an incredibly low base to begin with and still getting nothing. But it is getting tens of thousands of new residents over the next ten years.

        1. Aren’t their plans for a temporary busway and then light rail? I think busway is probably the best solution as light rail would probably take 15+ years and will just be axed next time National get in power (probably this year).

        2. There’s vague discussions. The Light Rail isn’t progressing because the CC2M bit is on hold. The business case for NW LRT isn’t drafted. The busway plans have not been formally announced and didn’t get funded in this announcement. So in short, no, there’s nothing concrete, and certainly nothing that compares to projects already happening for B2A, AMETI and the Busway extension for the busway that’s already there.

    1. To spend $1.3Bn on something that’s no benefit to anybody?

      Surely there has to be a useful way to spend this amount – I’d prefer it to go to the light rail personally, but everyone has their own opinion I guess. It’s quite significant that although I live in Franklin, I don’t know anyone who supports the crackpot Mill Rd plan.

      1. Yeah it obvious you do not live in south Auckland. It is an alternative route to serve one of the fastest growing areas of Auckland. Traffic along the GSR is maxed out now…. southern motorway will not handle the population increase the size of Hamilton commuting added to it. The south is growing and this project is to allow traffic to get to Manukau, botany and east tamaki. It is needed now….. wonder if part of the project also includes grade separation works at the three crossing in Takanini….not part of the original scope of works… but I do wonder if there are a couple of add ons included

        1. And the south shouldn’t be growing if we have any care for our kids. They cannot maintain such a large sprawling city. We haven’t been able to maintain what we’ve got. There’s no way, with climate change effects thrown in, that they’ll be able to afford this monstrous greenfields development stuff. Particularly as we so love to ‘borrow’ even just to fix up what hasn’t been maintained, or to build anything new, so they’re paying for multiple generations of bad planning. It has to stop.

        2. Actually 25% of the children in New Zealand are in South Auckland. If we think about South Auckland as a nexus for a sustainable transport network. Then the focus is maybe different.

          Car sprawl is bad, but if we also build a rail/bus rapid and regional transit network consolidating the employment, goods and people in the Manukau-Tauranga-Hamilton region. Then spatially this works.

          Commuter towns via rail, etc.

          Hamilton is almost as close to Manukau as Silverdale or Orewa.

        3. Disagree wholeheartedly, Nicholas. No more land. Auckland is too big. We need to intensify and care for what we have. Our carbon footprint is multiple times what it should be just because of our urban form before we even start to bring it down with focused attention.

          Imagine if the sort of public money that’s going into supporting these greenfields developments was put to developing properties instead, in key locations, selling some of them and moving on, fixing up infrastructure as they go. And private developers could be putting their infrastructure dollar into helping improve what we have instead of adding to the asset base we have to maintain.

          We could be winning this challenge but we’re losing big time. I’m 100% focused on the children of South Auckland, as well as West Auckland and all over. Sprawl is not the answer for them.

        4. I guess one of my points is that this program is funded and started. I doubt a National government would change it.

          However, the way it is designed and built, the way the spatial planning happens. This is all still good for debate.

          For example, want if these new stations in Drury are TODs?

          All the intensification with the isthmus still needs to happen. But Auckland is growing at 35,000 per year. Even under the AUP the area in Onehunga only goes from 20,000 to 40,000. That’s not even one year’s growth.

          LRT for the isthums is also behind by at least another 1-3 years. Whereas these projects are starting now. So let’s get the focus right by including RT and active mode.

        5. We must push hard what the parties will change.

          TOD in Drury? Well for starters, it’s not what Ma is doing currently. But even if Drury was done as a high density TOD, the real benefits of living at those densities is that in each direction there is walkable urban life. That ain’t there in Drury. It’ll be suburbia, with traffic. Because even if plenty of people take the train to work, you don’t manage to fit all elements of city life into a Drury town centre. They’re still so far from everything, they’ll be driving the kids around after school and as a family every weekend. The people who need a car for work will still drive to work.

          And you know the wastewater’s only sized for the density that’s going in, which is pretty low… so even if they realise what’s happening half way through they’re poked.

        6. Sorry Heidi but that wrong there with South Auckland.
          1) 40% of Urban Development per the Auckland Plan is set for Greenfield
          2) This recognises we will have sprawl mainly from industrial growth on the fringe and industry decamping from the Isthmus and heading south.

          As long as industry continues to develop or relocate we will have sprawl and we will need residents to service the industry. Now we can manage this by proper transport networks, amenities and the 15 minute City. Or we can put our heads in the sand and harm South Auckland’s biggest employer – industry.

          And that is why Mill Road is set for 2 general lanes and two transit/freight lanes.

        7. Ignoring the rather pathetic name-calling, can you make your mind up – is this road (a) an alternative route to SH1 or (b) a direct route to Manukau, East Tamaki, and Botany? How about (c) – it achieves neither and is not needed or wanted by anyone outside AT. If you look at the plans you’ll see that 90% of the new Hamilton will be located west of the motorway; I’m sure this new population will be keen to avoid both the ten minute frequency train service and the newly widened motorway, to happily negotiate the residential streets and traffic lights of Papakura so they can join this monstrosity which will whisk them along to the tail end of the queuing traffic in Redoubt Rd in no time.

          Sorry, it doesn’t include level crossing replacement bridges in Takanini – that would be vaguely useful, something this project isn’t.

      1. So Auckland can be hotter. Already NIWA is predicting that Auckland’s mean average will see a 1.4 to 1.6 deg C increase over the next 5-10 years, so additional urban sprawl will be additional increase on top of the predicted increase.

        The planet warming is happening now, so as a country we need to start use long term sustainable environmentally friendly urban and transport planning.

    2. It’s a very expensive residential distributor road. While the project is necessary I question why it needs to cost so much?

      1. How is this necessary? It benefits nobody. Are they moving the airport to Ardmore? (About as sensible as moving the port to Marsden I guess)

        There should be a safety upgrade of Mill Rd and Cosgrave Rd – replace the roundabouts with signals, add a northbound passing lane, improve intersections sight lines and provide cycle lanes / shared use paths. Easy, less than $20M, and no need to turn Redoubt Road into a motorway.

        1. It is necessary in the way that the entire Mill Road corridor needs safety improvements and I was implying that it does not need to be motorway standard.

        2. ” Are they moving the airport to Ardmore?”

          Now you’ve done it! In 5 years time all airport freight will be at Ardmore which will have it’s own railway line for freight trains set up to carry ULDs. I can just see 747 freighters on final for RWY 23, and imagine when the big Antonov comes in.

    3. A parallel highway cos SH1 already is shit? Buses need to head east west to interchanges at rail stations, not north-south…. mill rd is not on any Rapid Transit plan… where’s the network planning?

    4. @Felix, the point of Mill Rd is to take pressure off the Southern (which is the most congested piece of multi lane road in the country) and provide a route for all the new development occurring. It is also to provide a level of redundancy for the multiple times the Southern gets closed for serious accidents etc which can grind the entire city to a halt.
      Yes it will induce more traffic, but how much? I think for the most part it will be a benefit.

  7. Nz herald yesterday reported that Mill Road would have rapid bus lanes. Does anyone know what is the source of that information? Originally Mill Rd project was going to include cycling ways – wonder if that is still true?
    I am wondering if hidden in some of these larger projects – like Whangarei to Marsden or TAURANGA northern link there might be cycleways, freight priority lanes or bus lanes. The devil might be in the details.
    Also wonder what projects will be funded or brought forward in Auckland because of the free upped $1.8 billion dollars- will it be spent on bringing AMETI forward? East-West link and/or more cycle ways?

    1. It’s going to be interesting to see this pan out. It should be a bus and truck corridor, perhaps with a wide planted median separating out a cycleway too, if that can all be designed safely for the vulnerable users in the area, such as the school children.

      What it needs is to have no general traffic capacity at all, except local access, with traffic directed down to the motorway. That way, it’s not just extra road capacity and traffic isn’t induced.

      But BAU BS will prevent this, so there will be more road capacity, and there will be more traffic in the rest of the city as a result.

      And so the modeshift gains and emissions reductions from the inner areas will continue to be undermined by the high vkt and emissions from the people stuck in car dependency on the outskirts.

      1. Yes there seems some improvements in how things are getting done but pretty much is business as usual, more road provision, in these more greenfield areas. Conversely though it’s good to see the Drury stations getting put in early, but weird about Paerata (perhaps needs more agreement of what to do there or something).

      2. Actually, I take that all back. I was thinking that if they’re wanting to move people, buses are better than cars. But I don’t think that’s the right place for a bus route – doesn’t have much walkup catchment.

        The whole network of bus routes needs to be looked at, as others have said. And to solve the safety issues, the whole network of roads does too. This shouldn’t be a through route.

        If we had a SUMP – a sustainable urban mobility plan – we’d

        1/ block roads like this to help reduce our vkt as required by the plan, and

        2/ we’d make sure the bus routes on GSR had continuous priority and excellent walkup pedestrian amenity, plus we’d have good cross routes to feed to them.

        1. South Auckland is a major complex that ties Hamilton and Tauranga with locations in between. Part of the conversation needs to be about building an RTN centred on Manukau.

          There maybe reasons for like bus operations to connect bus via Mill Road via a SE rapid transit network.

          This also needs to be considered in the context of any port relocation decisions.

          Another point I consider when returning from New Plymouth on Tuesday was the SH1 causeway at Papakura is insufficient is Auckland needs to be evacuated.

          In general I’m against more roads, as the induce more the status quo. Which does not reduce emissions. Nevertheless, in the context of a building multi-modal network and resilience there maybe points to discuss.

        2. ah, if only we had a SUMP. Milan 1.2 million people is starting to be transformed by their negotiated plan; and Vienna 1.8 million which has had something akin to a SUMP is one of the great cities of the world.
          Who would have thought that the majority of a population could move around walking, biking, busing, tramming and training?

        3. John there’s a hell of a lot more than 1.2m people in Milan, it’s the 4th largest city in Europe with a population of 5,7m in the metro area, Vienna also has a metro population of 2,6m.

        4. A significantly poorer population as well Heidi.

          That’s said I don’t think the Govt is spending enough, there are so many shitty roads which need rebuilding they should be looking at borrowing 2” billion, the cost of debt is low so borrow more.

      3. The original design did have buslane improvements around Redoubt Rd. a cycleway has always been purposed but with some scary looking roundabouts in the project. There have been rumours about provision for light rail at some future date ( have we heard that one before). But if they want east west movement … you got to fix the three rail crossing at Takanini. I wonder if they are trying to direct traffic away from the Manurewa off ramp as well by having some SH20 traffic using Mill Rd instead.

      4. Truck lanes on a road that has a couple of steep gradients?

        Mind you if that moves the heavy vehicle designation from Great South Road I will be well pleased

    2. I’m all for cycleways, it’s disappointing that the national cycleway budget is still only around $100m, it could be five times that amount. But how do people feel about putting them directly alongside motorways? That’s getting more and more to be the norm. It detracts a lot from the enjoyment of cycling which is one of its biggest pluses.

      1. I agree. I all them FUMES – following unhealthy motorways easy solution.

        Too much research coming out about the air quality and noise effects to continue with this approach. Physical health, mental health, neurological health…

        1. Yeah might be ok in rural or semi rural areas where there’s space for that kind of separation. In Auckland, we don’t get that. We get the poison.

        1. Just back from cycling from Paekakariki to Coastlands at Paraparaumu. All on cycleway and half of it next to the new expressway. It is not bad due to the great planting they have done which in a relatively short time will block much of the view and noise of the expressway. Just a pity we seem to need new motorways to get a decent cycle track.

  8. Pleased with the progress, but it seems like its all about reducing travel times rather the actual need to travel long distances. Land use poses a significant challenge and is seemingly left by the wayside.

  9. The low value road projects (Otaki to Levin upgrade, Papakura to Bombay upgrade) are bad but at least they didn’t fund even stupider projects like East West Link or duplicate Mt Vic Tunnel.

    This looks like a cynical play to pull the rug out from under National’s transport policy, and it probably is. I do worry about escalation though; what if National responds by promising voters even lower BCR roading projects? While those policies may not be immediately implemented, they will shift the overton window in a regressive direction.

    On the other hand it’s good to see National talking openly about congestion charging. If consensus can be built across the political spectrum then it might actually happen.

    1. National will promise some big tax cuts. So there will be one party promising tax cuts and the other promising handouts and that will be the only real difference between them. Labour will no longer promise houses or public transport or infrastructure or environment as they have already failed with these. I can’t see how Labour can win, although maybe Jacinda will pull them through.

      1. “I can’t see how Labour can win”
        I can: The alternative gets more exposure. Just look at that Paula Bennett.

        1. True that.
          But some nice juicy tax cuts are pretty tempting aren’t they? Especially if you voted for change at the last election and instead just got more of the same…

      2. Are you thinking Winston will side with National or NZ First will fail to get back in?

        It has to be one of those as I don’t think the scenario where a Bridges and Bennett led National will get the 46 – 47 % required to govern alone.

      3. Two problems for the opposition.

        Support partners. They lack. Apart from ACT which has one seat – potentially more in 2020 but that gain is most likely to be swallowed up by traditionally right wing voters.
        NZ First won’t work with National and National’s best hope is that NZ First are not returned to Parliament. Currently polling suggests they are in trouble however Winston Peters is a very good campaigner and his party often has a surge in support on poll day.

        Popularity. Simon Bridges as preferred PM is still below 10% while the Prime Minister has consistently retained high support around 40%. While we are voting for parties, not personalities, the next eight months will be the real test as to how both parties resonate with the undecided. Jacinda Ardern managed to revive the Labour party from apparent defeat only 7 weeks before the election. It may require a change in leadership from National, of whom I can’t guess will be successor.

        1. Another problem is a pretty decent chunk of their caucus don’t want to win in 2020. It will suit their political ambitions much more to see Bridges and Bennett fail this time around, so the prime spots in cabinet are available in 2023 or 2026.

        2. Under no circumstances must brand Jacinda be tied to Labour’s failure to deliver key policies. I mean the media didn’t question them much during the last election, so why start talking about them now?

        3. To be honest, Simon was always going to be a stop-gap leader after Bill failed to proceed. Parties often have several changes of leader once they have lost an election (witness Labour after Clarke – Goff, Shearer, Cunliffe, Little, then Adern), so I think it is widely expected that Bridges will give it his best shot, fail, and resign. He knows that too – and then National will think seriously about the next leader – and we all know which bald-headed ex-CEO they they are lining up that role for…

        4. Which will shoot our aviation emissions sky high… clever attempt by that sector; they know the nips are coming and they’re trying to ward them off.

        5. It is possible that Winston flips. His party probably needs to be seen as partner neutral to remain relevant.
          I think it is more than possible for National to govern alone (well with Act). They are already polling pretty close and if they promise big tax cuts it will definitely win more votes.
          It reminds me of the Clark Labour party that was voted out because they didn’t give big surpluses back as tax cuts.
          By the way I am not a National voter (although unless Labour get their act together I might be).

        6. National will offer tax cuts. But the public are more wary of the result of reducing tax and the impact it has on public services … and many of us know the trickle down theory that was sold to the electorate as part of the 2008 election hasn’t exactly made us better off.

        7. If you cut tax you have to explain what spending will be cut, they’re not as popular at election time as they appear on paper.

  10. Finish the GI shard path, if they can spent $360 mil on a cycleway across the bridge they can spend significantly less finishing a project that is only half finished and in its current state is more or less useless.

    1. Very logical project that wouldn’t cost a lot (relatively speaking) but just not a vote winner or a headline grabber. Unfortunately AMETI in all it’s stages will continue to dribble on for the next 15 years as the funding that was allocated to it is pulled in other directions. It doesn’t seem right that Mill Road should be started before Ameti is completed but that’s politics.

  11. The Drury stations are too close together and the cost estimate seems high.

    For that cost, I would expect building a full TOD complex instead of just plain stations.

    I would expect the cost include building seamless direct integrated connections (walkway, cycle way) to surrounding lands (which will eventually developed into high density amenity)

    Also they could also build something on top of the station instead of just building a low rise station.

    1. It seems odd that are so close together too.

      The station at Paerata where a lot of growth is projected would be the most logical.

      1. I can’t find a map of where they are to be placed. I would have thought that a station at Paerata Rise would have been essential

    2. I still don’t understand how the indicative cost for those Drury stations can be so high. Are they going to be full-on transport interchanges with bus platforms, parking buildings, shopping precincts, etc? IIRC, the new stations that were built at Huapai and Waimauku for the Helensville trial a few years back cost under $1m for both. Even GWRC managed to deliver a brand new station (albeit a basic facility for a rural area) at Matarawa back in 2007 for $150,000.

    3. Has anyone enquired as to why they didn’t just use the same site as the old Drury station, right next to the overbridge and town centre? Surely that would’ve saved some money…

  12. Ah yes, I forgot the Shore was totally isolated. Guess I was foolishly taking into account the busway that’s been there for a decade, the ferries between downtown Auckland and the various wharves and the motorway itself. I mean, it’s practically an island, isn’t it?

    Transport is about competing priorities. A Skypath at under $50m was a a slam dunk. There’s better uses for $360m in other parts of the city, sorry.

    1. Skypath + Seapath was closer to $100 million in the last numbers I saw:

      SeaPath Provision of a 3.4km shared path between Esmonde Road and Auckland Harbour Bridge/Northcote Point $31m

      Skypath A new walking and cycling connection between North Shore and the Auckland city centre across the Auckland Harbour Bridge $67m

      Also, how much of that $360 million is “other works” under the cloak of cycling/walking will need to be seen.

    1. That announcement is relevant for residents in the Northwest too, because the tracks will be lowered in the 13 tunnels between Swanson and Whangārei. Perhaps the next step will be to electrify Swanson to Huapai, and then use that as a “workaround” for the delayed NW light rail project?

      1. We should have brought those electric battery hybrid EMU when we had the chance rather than waiting 10 years for the Pukekohe electrification. Dumb it was amazing how quickly both National and Labour piped up with promises to extend the electrification when AT was going to buy them. We can’t have a flexible train expansion of the Auckland system can we. At least Patrick. R isn’t around to call me a dumb arse for suggesting a conspiracy.

        1. What’s the 10 years you are talking about? Pukekohe electrification is due to be completed in 2024.

        2. Well I think it was proposed in 2016 and it has only being promised for 2024. So let’s say maybe eight possibly ten. Still needs to get through the next election. You can guarantee if National gets in some project will get cancelled beside the light rail. I will stick with my point about both parties not wanting the train network to be easily expanded past the currently electrified sections. I would have thought you two would agree after yesterday’s road fest announcement.

        3. The first of the new tranche of EMU’s is going into service this year, with the remainder of the fleet to be rolled out over the next couple of years.

          Had these been BEMUs it would have only brought forward EMUs running to Pukekohe by 3 to 4 years, not sure this would have been worth 50 % increase in the cost of the EMUs with batteries.

        4. Looking at the construction timelines above Pukekohe electrification will probably be contracted by the time of the election, so it wouldn’t be a candidate for cancellation.

        5. Heidi look back that is what he said. I didn’t appreciate it but I feel I have being proved right. All these big projects have a long time line in my view tempory fixes such as purpose built rolling stock can advance the cause quicker than being prepared to patiently wait for a gold plated solution. On a recent trip to Whangerai I noted the use of low deck wagons to convey over height containers. This solution could of being used by Kiwirail when Government funding wasn’t forthcoming. By the way the containers were carrying carbon dioxide interesting I wonder what it is being used for. Maybe in greenhouses to enhance growth. I have just seen on the news that Kiwirail expects to have the line and the tunnels fixed by September. Contrast this to the official projects like the CRL and the electrification all ceremony and expense.

        6. Jezza I know you are against running trains to Kumeu which is why you reacted negatively to my post. But what about having trains running to Pokeno are you against that as well. Look at it like this the official line is too build a huge park and ride at Dury which I assume you would be in favour of charging parking fees for. How else could you explain the price of 280 million. Alternatively we could have battery electrics running off the wire between Pukekohe and Pokeno. Meanwhile we can argue for the next 20 years whether we should extend the wires further south.

        7. I support running trains to Pokeno, although I think it would be better served by Hamilton trains. From memory the batteries on the BEMUs were not expected to last much longer than they were needed for the Pukekohe run so they wouldn’t have been much use for a Pokeno extension anyway.

          The problem with BEMUs is you have to buy quite a large fleet of them to serve a relatively small non-electrified section as they spend the majority of their time running under wire. From memory 17 were required to service Pukekohe.

          Yes, definitely charge for PNR at Drury if we have to have it, don’t see why ratepayers from Mangere should subsidise people on lifestyle blocks parking their cars at the train station.

        8. National campaigned on electrifying to Pukekohe at the last election, they also promised the 3rd main so I can’t see them cancelling anything related to it.

        9. Jezza Hamilton trains won’t get you through the CRL or even into Britormart we have discussed this many times. And Matt yes National did promise these two projects so we will have to hold them too it if they try and delay. I am somewhat puzzled why someone isn’t questioning the prices for these projects and Dury station. I noticed during the presentation Winston nearly choked when he was trying to read the number out If I was a National party spokesman I would be seeking clearification and maybe threatening to withdraw support for these projects they seem eye watering expensive.

        10. Royce – I don’t think that is a big deal. Once the third main is complete it is likely Hamilton services will run through to Otahuhu with minimal stops anyway. Running express will make up for any lost transfer time.

          Given these trains will run through Pokeno anyway it makes more economic sense to use them rather than purchase more EMUs and a whole lot more batteries, with a relatively short life.

        11. Jezza – AT Metro trains will not run to Pokeno, as Pokeno is part of Waikato Region not Auckland region.

          Royce – Hamilton to Auckland train users don’t want to change trains at Papakura, Otahuhu, etc, they want to travel to the Britomart paying one fare from Hamilton to Auckland city.

          This why we need a national public transport agency to eliminate these stupid cross regional boundary funding issues for public transport.

        12. So we have carry on with the dirty old diesels. And if the going price for a new Station is 140 million then I can’t see any being built at Pokeno or Tuakau in a hurry. I expect the park and ride at Dury will have to do. I am starting to favour Robins idea of express EMU’s from Pukekohe rather than running through to Otahuhu. It would mean a more intensive service could be provided between Hamilton and Pukekohe. But 2 changes to the airport not good for public transport novices to get their head around.

      1. I agree, it’s a good investment, in fact they should be spending 20 billion and completely more road projects around the country.

    2. Wow all that can be had for what amounts to spare change down the back of Grant Robertson’s sofa. It’s extraordinary just how low the low-hanging fruit in transport investment is in NZ. And none of it involves building more road capacity for single occupant cars.

    3. I might be the only person on here to say it; but I think this is amongst the actual wise investments in this budget.

  13. Re: Mill Road. Presumably with rapid bus transit enabled, many residents in the new residential areas will bus into Manukau for employment, or then get the train from Manukau into Britomart? So could help bolster Manukau?

  14. Who can blame young activists for feeling let down?

    School Strike 4 Climate Auckland former organiser Luke Wijohn says, “These projects sound like something ripped straight out of the National Party’s handbook, and it’s because they are. Only last week a National Party candidate called for a four-lane bypass in Levin – how can Labour present a plan with projects born out of the Nat’s climate denialism as transformational?”

    “This is a betrayal of the more than 170,000 Kiwis who took to the streets of Aotearoa in September and the people who voted them into power in the name of change.” says Wijohn.

      1. We now know for sure what we had all strongly suspected – this is not a ‘transformational’ government, rather it is a centrist and pragmatic govt that bows to politics rather than vision. It talks the talk but is not at all good at walking (driving?) the talk.
        Because of this, we all need to make sure we aggressively hold them to account. And it will often feel as if we are dealing with an ever so slightly more left wing version of National…

        1. A transformational Government in NZ????

          Anybody who believed that needs their collective heads read.

          The last transformational Government was that of Richard John Savage

        2. Do you mean Michael Joseph Savage or Richard John Seddon?

          I think the Lange government was pretty transformational as was the first term of the Bolger government.

    1. I guess Labour won’t mind losing environmental voters as they will change their vote to their coalition partner anyway.

      1. I find myself agreeing with Sue Bradford for the first time in my life. “Former Greens MP Sue Bradford says the focus on roads is a blow to the government’s environmental credibility”
        I thought climate change was nuclear serious. This spend up is about winning votes from middle NZ stuck in traffic.

      2. I think they would mind that, though. I think they hate having to have the Greens. I just think they’re working from a political handbook from 1975.

        1. About as likely as seeing pigs fly. The Greens’ refusal to detach their environmental activism from socialist dogma, and their fear of tarnishing their lefty credentials, mean its highly unlikely they’d ever find enough to agree on to be in any formal governance arrangement with the National Party.

        2. Ya whatever.
          I well recall the Maori party going into a coalition with the Nat’s.

          Conclusion: The Nat’s will try on a coalition with anyone to get into power.

          And actually no; the Greens aren’t very “socialist” at all.

        3. Great idea and many more centre people in the party would jump at it. But the radical ex-Alliance part of the party would not wear it.

          What concessions could the Greens have got out of National in the last election. Minister of Transport, Minister of Environment? They could have been calling the shots.

          That’s what happens when idealism trumps real politik.

        4. Didn’t Vernon Tava setup a party for this election so Nats could go with him? The Sustainable Party or something? Much like the Greens, he has been very quiet on the MOAR ROADS’s all very much Under Rug Swept!

        5. Of the Nats could sweet-talk the Maoris into a coalition, they could also sweet-talk the Greens into one.

      3. And the Greens have cleverly mapped out that most of their focus for the election is on water and climate change – spaces where none of the other three parties have positioned themselves. It will be very interesting to see what traction they get from a population more and more concerned about both issues.

  15. I find myself agreeing with Sue Bradford for the first time in my life. “Former Greens MP Sue Bradford says the focus on roads is a blow to the government’s environmental credibility”
    I thought climate change was nuclear serious. This spend up is about winning votes from middle NZ stuck in traffic.

  16. With all this roading building and sprawl especially in Auckland, will make Auckland hotter. Already NIWA is predicting that Auckland’s mean average will see a 1.4 to 1.6 deg C increase over the next 5-10 years, so additional Auckland urban sprawl will see additional increase on top of the predicted increase.

    The planet warming is happening now, so as a country, we need to start to use long term sustainable environmentally friendly urban and transport planning that is public transport, cycling and walking focus to reduce carbon foot prints of our communities to slow warming.

    The only good thing that come out of it, that rail has been given more money for major rail upgrades.

      1. I am not being overly pessimistic. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that every square kilometre of non sustainable environmentally friendly urban sprawl will add to the already increasing mean temperature average of a city that is caused by a warming planet, more so in Auckland, which currently, has the biggest urban sprawl in the country due to years of bad short term quick fix fossil fuel based urban and transport planning.

  17. Interesting how O2NL won’t commence until mid-2025.
    That’s plenty of time to can’ it if other projects go overbudget….

  18. Some of the costings are huge, 2 train stations for $240m and Skypath etc for $360m, looks like a lot of rounding up to get to the approx 8 billion

  19. Along with the valid criticism of the spending on roads that parrot’s National’s policies from Sue Bradford (shock horror I agreed with her!), and Generation Zero (Bravo guys!), another thing I noticed that wasn’t included, and has also meant criticism today, was the lack of funding for new inter-regional rail services between Wellington and Waiarapa, and Manawatu.

    Instead we get the typical Labour half way house action – just give the almost 50 year old carriages a bit of a do up again. FFS when is the govt going to do a proper job for this, particularly the Capital Connex? The funding for the do up is an insult.

    Again, instead of spending 1.5 on a ridiculous road in South Auckland, we could spend money on procuring great new inter-regional/regional trains for this area, and even getting a regional service going in Canterbury. All transformative things as Jacinda spoke to at Wynyard wharf in 2017.

    Rather than staying true to their word, they’ve decided to pull off a political stunt to try and knee-cap National for the election. It really shows that Jacinda doesn’t actually have the courage of her convictions IMO, otherwise she would believe she could win the election without resorting to this roadsfest.

    As a long time Green’s voter, also very disappointing to see the Greens not put as much emphasis on transport, as they once did. I actually noticed the drop at the last election. IMO. they should be front and centre when it comes to transport, and they should’ve been pushing hard for Genter to be Transport minister given she has much more professional experience in the area of transport.

      1. No new or emerging technology is allowed we have to power our regional and long distant passenger trains with clapped out DC locomotives or if you are very lucky you might be allowed a DF see my comments about the battery electric trains which were nearly ordered by AT for running to Pukekohe while we await for the electrification. Who is behind this is it Kiwirail or the Ministry of Transport or as I have suggested maybe its the politicians. Maintaining the status quo is hardly what a responsible country does especially in regards to emissions. Do you know neither the DC’s or the DF’s meet Euro stage 0 while the DL’s just about meet stage 3a but they are not suitable for passenger trains and are hopelessly overpowered even if they were. So not only are they pouring out co2 but also soot and nitrous oxide which are not good for anyone’s lungs or the planet. I believe there is a Euro Std 5.

        1. This is why NZ needs to have a separate national public transport agency under the Ministry of Transport to plan, fund and procure all public transport services across all 16 regions in NZ.

          Also, the above ground national rail track infrastructure, signalling and train control needs to be taken away from Kiwirail and be a separate entity under the Ministry of Transport, to operate as a ‘open access’ strategic steel road asset to allow increase freight and passenger train movements across all 14 regions that have rail capability, leaving Kiwirail is a rail operator only.

          Like with NZTA who struggles with public transport, Kiwirail is being ‘protective’ of its rail freight operations by being the track owner and rail operator which is not in the best interests for regional, inter-regional and long distance passenger train services through out NZ.

        2. Having lived in Japan and travelled extensively around Europe it’s galling to see the absolute lack of medium-fast (130-160-200 km/h) regional services you see in most parts of Europe.

          Heck, even a so-called poor nation like Ukraine has the moderately fast Hyundai “Inter-City+” trains (The ones recently often used in Canterbury regional rail graphics). And you don’t have to be a large population country like Germany. France or Italy. One of my favourite European countries, Slovenia, has the inter-city Pendolino tilt trains. This is definitely doable for a country of NZ’s population and geographical size.

          And it’s sad to see regions with the vision like Horizons (Manawatu-Whanganui) wanting more inter-regional rail passenger services but being shot down by a supposedly supportive government.

          Even Australian regions have these services. the large cities are connected with their hinterlands. Exactly what the likes of Christchurch should have. So again, very sad to see no mention whatsoever of Canterbury regional rail, after it was proudly mentioned in 2017 by Jacinda. So it was interesting to see today coverage of that coming out and one of their ministers in Chch on the defensive.

          Kris – I completely agree with you regarding the national track infrastructure. It’s a strategic asset and should be in a separate organisation with Kiwirail paying Rail User Charges and concentrating only on actual train operations. As you say, this would also allow rail in NZ to become open access like it’s become and becoming in the various EU countries. There is no reason why rail should be different to the roads, seas and skies when it comes to access.

          There may be private organisations that could be interested in running regional passenger operations given the chance, especially since Kiwirail has never appeared particularly enthusiastic about this. However doing this separation is likely to be opposed by NZ First who are very supportive (and likely protective) of Kiwirail. Kiwirail needs general support but they don’t need protection, especially if they’re not going to be pro-active when it comes to regional pax services.

          I curse the day when Cullen and the last Labour govt put Ontrack and Kiwirail back together!

          Heidi – I’m looking forward to your post. It was interesting to see the comments in the stuff article about no new regional hybrid trains. One commenter was there with the “it’s not economically viable” refrain that you get in NZ.

          Which shows many NZers still don’t get what most European govts get, that there’s a large social benefit and value with stumping up the money to connect the various towns and regions across their countries, even if looking at just the $$ it doesn’t cover its own costs in some regions. You wonder how some of the more depressed towns in NZ would maybe be, if they had a regular, reliable, and rapid regional/inter-regional rail service.

    1. Yes. Post coming soon about what’s possible … if we were to follow the climate action leadership from places with politicians that actually care.

      So much could be done for regional rail and bus.

      1. Heidi, are you aware of the current submission period for changes to the way rail is funded? It’s a big change, and one that this blog has long called for, so I thought you guys would run an article, but we are 75% of the way through the submission period and still nothing. Any chance of getting an article published?

        The changes being proposed in the bill out for submissions:

        – Abolish KiwiRail’s track access charges for other operators, and KiwiRail’s responsibility for setting those charges.
        – Set new and transparent track access charges regulated and set by government, that all track users will pay directly to government (specifically, into the NLTF) instead of to KiwiRail.
        -Establish a new three-year RNIP (Rain Network Integrated Plan) that has input from councils (and therefore the ability of individuals and groups to lobby through three year submission processes) much like the existing three year RLTP that revolves around roading.

        This legislation shouldn’t be ignored, we’ve been calling for these changes for years, and the more submission in favour the better.

        1. This is very interesting Geoff. I wasn’t aware those areas were part of what’s on the table for the new NLTF policy, that yes, is a very positive development (even if the Road Transport Forum and National Party were apoplectic when it was announced)

      2. Heidi, are you aware of the current submission period for changes to the way rail is funded? It’s a big change, and one that this blog has long called for, so I thought you guys would run an article, but we are 75% of the way through the submission period and still nothing. Any chance of getting an article published?

        The changes being proposed in the bill out for submissions:

        – Abolish KiwiRail’s track access charges for other operators, and KiwiRail’s responsibility for setting those charges.
        – Set new and transparent track access charges regulated and set by government, that all track users will pay directly to government (specifically, into the NLTF) instead of to KiwiRail.
        -Establish a new three-year RNIP (Rain Network Integrated Plan) that has input from councils (and therefore the ability of individuals and groups to lobby through three year submission processes) much like the existing three year RLTP that revolves around roading.

        This legislation shouldn’t be ignored, we’ve been calling for these changes for years, and the more submission in favour the better.

    2. That $5bn is going towards a handful of large roading projects, but only 1.1 to rail needs to be hammered home to voters, who likely only hear about Labour’s ‘preparation for climate change’ and see pictures of a bike at the start of Jacinda’s short video The Greens are promising that “at the right time… it will be said very often” that they “fought hard for everything good in that package” and fought to improve the bad, but need more MPs. However, for now they’re publicising the good and only adding, “We need to keep pushing further and faster, to move away from fossil fuels, and ramp up investment in electric rail, frequent and affordable public transport.”

      As for the Capital Connection, that $1.1bn does include, “Three new storage facilities for train carriages will be built, one each in Masterton, Levin and Wellington” There’s no point building those between 2022 and 2025 if there’s no extra trains to put in them. hints those will come from “Budget 2020 or 2021”. That’s likely going to need voters not to increase the Green voice and not be fooled by the sound bites and pictures.

  20. Seems odd that the Government has decided to provide funding for two very expensive stations at Drury, yet nothing for much-needed stations at Paerata, Tironui, Tuakau, Pokeno and Te Kauwhata where there is already large amounts of residential development in walk up distance.

    Having the three stations in the northern Waikato built now from the start would help ensure the Waikato trial service is a success with serving as many commuters as possible.

    Once the electrification to Pukekohe is completed and the new station layout is built at Pukekohe, the Waikato trains from Hamilton could terminate at Pukekohe and return to Hamilton, providing a service in both directions.

    There is likely to be express services using 9 car EMUs running from Pukekohe via the Third Main through the CRL, which will provide a fast service which will be attractive to Waikato and Franklin passengers.

    1. I agree with you Robin.
      But the reason for this is because the Waikato province begins at Buckland. And the train service is for the Auckland region only.

      And yes I think they’ve gone the wrong way about this.
      And I also don’t see why they’re chucking money away on two stations for Drury when they could’ve used the great site of the original Drury station.

      1. Because they’re putting in development on the west side of the motorway and are wanting a walk up catchment…

        but will probably interfere with that walkability by building a massive P and R.

        1. Scrolled down and LOLed at the quoted commute times to ‘Auckland City’’:
          37 mins by car
          1:41 h by PT
          2:10 h by bicycle
          Oh my…
          At least Manukau City is only 15 km away.

        2. On a related note: Is this an effort to ”Parramatta-ise” Manukau City?
          To build it a suburban hinterland with light-rail ready arterials; like Te Irirangi Dr, Mill Rd and perhaps an eventual reprise of the Weymouth-Karaka Bridge proposal?
          It already has i’t’s’ own version of Badgerys Creek Airport.

        3. @Kevin:
          Parramatta isn’t the only built-up commercial office district beyond Sydney’s regular CBD in the greater Sydney metro.
          There’s also: North Sydney, Chatswood, St Leonards, Epping and Blacktown &? Liverpool are going the same way.

    2. There is already opposition to the current proposal of trains from Hamilton terminating at Papakura and going from Papakura to Auckland city on an AT Metro train and pay additional fare on the fare all ready paid for travel between Hamilton and Papakura.

    3. The positive is they are putting them in early not just relying on car mode travel on a green fields area which we all complain about. Stations at Te Kauwhata, Pokeno, Tuakau etc will “naturally” come I think anyway. From what I read in the business case they just didn’t quite make it into the Waikato service budget & time constraints for the start up. “Te Kauwhata was considered to be the easiest of these stations to reactivate for rail purposes.” also: “Tuakau was considered as part of the option selection process, but it was subsequently decided to align improvements there with the future metro service direction of the H2ACSP and it is not included in the preferred option.”

  21. “This is my generation’s nuclear-free moment, and I am determined that we will tackle it head on.” Jacinda Adern.

    *Goes and spends billions on roads that National wanted to build.*

    It would be hilarious if it weren’t so tragic.

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