With the election date getting closer, yesterday the Greens released their transport policy, and there’s a lot to like with it.

Like you’d expect based on their previous policies, the focus of the policy is on reducing emissions and improving safety as well as public health and that these goals can be achieved by making it easier and more attractive to use non-car modes and reducing emissions for the wider vehicle fleet. Their own summary they say:

Right now, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make healthier, vibrant communities a reality while tackling the climate crisis and rebuilding the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic. We can deliver fast, frequent, clean transport options that put communities on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050.

The Green Party will:

  • Sustainably reboot regional economies with a large scale investment in rapid, intercity passenger rail, connecting provincial centres with major cities.
  • Invest in urban development by accelerating transformational rapid transit networks in our major cities, including busways, light rail, and commuter rail.
  • Provide safe, separated school and commuter cycling routes with the capacity to be used by thousands of people each day, with a $1.5 billion Cycle Super Highway fund.
  • Make public transport free for everyone under 18, over 65, and community service card holders; half price for students; and more affordable for everyone else through a nationwide Go Anywhere transport pass.
  • Introduce a target date linked to the date set by the UK, likely to be 2030, at which point only zero emission light vehicles (cars, vans, and utes) would be able to be imported into Aotearoa.
  • Set standards and incentivise heavy freight to transition to zero emissions vehicles and be 100% powered by renewable energy by 2050.

There is more detail on each of these seven key focus areas as well as some more specific details on them for Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. I won’t cover every aspect above but here are some of the most interesting.

Regional Rail

The Greens Regional Rail is what they put out earlier this year and envisages a two stage approach to improving our regional rail network.

Stage one which would take till 2027 and is estimated to cost about $2 billion. It involves upgrading and electrifying parts of the network to enable services up to 110km/h between:

  • Wellington to Palmerston North and Masterton
  • Auckland to Tauranga
  • Ashburton to Rangiora

Stage two is expected to take till 2035 and extends that quality to a number of other places while the routes identified in the first stage will see major improvements to allow for services up to 160km/h. This is expected to cost about $7.3 billion

They’ve included a breakdown of their expected costs and service levels.

Cycling Super Highways

The Greens policy would provide for a massive step up in funding for walking/cycling/micro-mobility with a massive $1.5 billion contestable fund for our major cities.

The say councils will be responsible for identifying eligible routes and paths will need to be at least 2 to 5 metres with the aim of enabling “cycling to become a form of mass transit, supporting large numbers of daily users travelling by bike, ebike, and e-scooter”. Also they include some criteria:

Councils will be eligible to receive funding to build a Cycle Super Highway if the route is:

  • Continuous, linking several outer suburbs to the centre of a city.
  • Fully protected, either through its own off-road right of way or protected from car traffic on a road.
  • Direct, connecting people to where they need to go along efficient routes, not dog-legging through the backs of suburbs.
  • Able to start construction within the next three years and be complete within 24 months of construction starting.
  • Designed in a way that provides for cycling and walking to be separated

Overall this would be amazing if it was able to be delivered but that’s where the challenge will likely be. That’s because there’s a high-likelihood that some local authorities just wouldn’t bother doing anything about applying for that funding and therefore the fund will go unspent – I’m looking at you Auckland Transport.

Auckland

Last election the Greens adopted our Congestion Free network and that appears to be the basis for their policy again this time. One major change, and something that we’ve also called for recently, is they’re looking to split the delivery of rapid transit into two stages, much like with the regional rail plans.

In this case stage one would be to fast-track bus priority measures over the coming three years on all rapid transit routes. A case of quickly getting the network in place in a way similar to what Auckland Transport are proposing for the Northwest, and then coming back and putting in the permanent solution. This would mean that by the time the City Rail Link is completed, that the entire RTN network, in some form, is operational.

Stage one would also give time to plan, design and consent the permanent solutions for each of the RTN routes and stage two would see them being rolled out.

The Greens also still support street level light rail over more expensive light metro or heavy rail solutions for the City Centre to Mangere route as well as the Northwest and eventually the North Shore. They also say they’re proposing a more optimised solution.

We propose delivering an optimised above-ground light rail line to deliver a fast, higher capacity service, including:

  • A train every 4 minutes at peak times.
  • Travel time of 40 minutes from the Airport to the city centre.
  • Capacity to carry up to 21,600 passengers per hour in each direction.
  • Grade separation for three quarters of the journey allowing speeds up to 100km/h (i.e. not sharing the road).
  • Street level services through the city, Dominion Road, Onehunga, and the airport with 30-50km/h top speeds

The advantage of an above-ground light rail line is that it can deliver most of the benefits of a metro system at a substantially lower cost. That means we can afford to extend the light rail network further, faster, including to the north western suburbs and the North Shore.

The savings come from avoiding tunnelling and not building large underground stations which cost several hundred million dollars (compared to tens of millions for surface platforms) and require significant property purchases and disruption. Street-level light rail is also more easily accessible for people with mobility issues.

The Greens are also committing to a rapid transit only new harbour crossing to start before 2030.

The Cycle Super Highway funding will obviously also apply in Auckland and the say that while it’s a contestable fund that will have projects determined independently, they think the following routes would be good candidates.

  • A Northern Cycle Highway connecting the city to Takapuna and Albany via a dedicated walking and cycling path over the Harbour bridge and a continuous off-road path north. The entire cycleway is estimated to cost around $600 million, however, only the section between Akoranga and Constellation Drive requires new funding.
  • A Southern Cycle Highway connecting the CBD to Newmarket, Ellerslie, Penrose, Manukau, and Māngere. This could connect to the section already funded and in construction between Takanini and Papakura, and the planned extension to Drury as part of the motorway expansion.
  • An Eastern Cycle Highway connecting the eastern suburbs of Botany, Pakuranga, Panmure, Glen Innes, and Orakei to the CBD. This would involve completing the final stage of the Glen Innes to Tamaki project and building a new cycleway from Glen Innes to Panmure. It could then connect to the shared path under construction as part of the AMETI busway.
  • A Western Cycle Highway connecting the western suburbs of New Lynn, Glen Eden, and Glendene to Avondale and the existing connection to the North Western Cycleway.

This seems like a good approach from the Greens

I won’t go into the specifics (go to their policy for that) but here are the maps for Wellington and Christchurch too.

All up they say their proposals will cost $13.6 billion over the coming decade which will come from $10.3 billion in new capital spending and $3.3 billion being reallocated from the National Land Transport Fund and NZ Upgrade Programme by deferring deferring or scaling back some of the projects in them.

Overall the policy is good seems fairly practical, unlike the $60 billion boondoggle promises National have been making.

If there was any criticism is that it perhaps could have gone further. For example, they celebrate the shift in spending over the last three years to focus more on road safety but I’m surprised they didn’t mention the change to Vision Zero and also for this policy, having a focus around that ongoing programme, it’s certainly not ‘finished’. In addition, it would have been nice to see some focus on further encouraging the uptake of e-bikes to make use of those cycle super highways. Finally, perhaps one of the things the last three years has highlighted is that remain some structural issues that prevent/delay progress that need to be addressed and without that happening, much of this might not succeed. Finally, it would have been good with their Go Anywhere card if they had incorporated something like removing FBT from PT as part of encouraging businesses to offer PT passes as options.

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167 comments

  1. Really quite inspired by this policy, it also includes $400m+ for local walking & cycling improvements, so on top of the cycleway fund, another almost $2b for active transport is pretty great. Do love the continuing commitment to light rail (the original AT version!), hopefully they will get that (and the rest of the package) through any coalition negotiations. This is the sort of ambition we need to meet our climate & transport goals.

    1. What would of been good is if they had made or can make this whole transport policy a non negotiable one. I can only see Labour and greens in power after this next election. I don’t think labour would be too strongly against any of it.

    2. Came to late for me, should have been released before voting opened.

      As I’m in the UK and things are moving slowly due to Covid I did my postal vote asap.

      The policy the Greens had on their website was pants when I cast my vote.

  2. One can remember greens light rail to Waimauku last election.

    Greens passenger trains from Palmerston North to Napier last election.

    Greens (and labour) saving Wellington trolley buses.

    Greens Mayor of Dunedin City Council closing down the Dunedin Railways.

    Greens (JAG) promise of light rail airport to city by next years America’s cup.

    1. Yet you fail to remember the visionaries of NZF blocking all these (except the Dunedin Tourist train, though they certainly didn’t save it with their pro fund either)? Maybe the nature of coalition politics is too hard for you to grasp?

      1. Maybe they would have had more buying power had they formed a coalition with National (or at least threatened to). Although that didn’t work out well for the Maori Party.
        It was really Labour that said one thing and did another. They pretend to be pro PT/cycling but then spent all the money on roads.

        1. You do realise it’s not easy turning around the policy/ construction super tanker after decades of focussing solely on roads. Just restoring the CRL to nine carriage trains/Beresford entrance was a struggle.

    2. The Greens are a minor party, their policies are always going to be aspirational. They also don’t have a lot of clout sitting to the left of Labour.

      In saying that it would have been good to have seen at least some success in transport.

        1. Based on current polling very likely that Labour wins just under half the seats, NZFirst win none, and Labour needs the Greens to form a coalition.

    3. It’ll be great when NZFirst is gone and Greens and Labour can actually progress some of this stuff without Winnie and Shane blocking every move to do public transport in our cities.

      1. They had an Associate Transport Minister. They said nothing while the Light Rail fiasco blew out, at which point NZ First nuked. Not buying it, sorry.

        1. Also before the last election they were down to 1 leader and after the election the green went back to being a 2 headed snake and then they couldn’t make up there minds over anything , same happened with the Maori party . So the best way is have single leader to make all the announcements and then people might believe them .

        2. Because you don’t understand how successful coalition governments work. Negotiations occur within the government, not by the various parties feuding over policy via press statements. The time to openly disagree with your coalition partners is right now, during an election campaign.

        3. …Except they were only ever going into government with the help of NZ First post-election, so that doesn’t really wash. Plus, compare and contrast the rumoured going to the mattresses over LGWM vs. almost total silence on Light Rail in Auckland over the last three years. So why does Light Rail only matter during the electoral window, and never enough during the business of government to have an opinion worth having? What happens if they do sneak in – is it three year of ball-dropping and then a ‘Gee Wizz isn’t this a conundrum’ during the 2023 campaign?

          “Fool me once, shame on…shame on you. Fool me—you can’t get fooled again”

  3. I’m still not 100% convinced by regional rail. $7.3 billion is a lot of money to spend on a service that will still probably be slower and less convenient than driving. I’d love to be proven wrong, but I can’t see the patronage being that significant, maybe a couple of trains a day? Although it does seem like at both ends of the age spectrum people want to give up cars (both the aging demographic and less young people getting licenses)

    1. That’s the problem though. If all the negative externalities of driving were properly priced for. Then driving would be both much more expensive and parking at the other end would be much scarcer and also expensive. Until this is addressed you’re right..

    2. There’s plenty of regional rail in Europe and Australia that isn’t any faster than driving but is still popular. It’s probably had more than $7.3 billion spent on it over the years as well, our problem is we have to do the spending up front to make it work.

      1. Correct. It’s quicker for me to drive to London from where I live then take the train yet the train (prior to Covid) was permanently rammed. Not cheap either ($65ish return for a 50km trip).

    3. JimboJones – I am not sure why you are saying that regional passenger rail will be slower and less convenient than driving.

      If most of the kinks and double tracking where possible on the national rail network,coupled with improved signalling and train control, will improve running times and speeds for both freight and passenger train services across the network.

      With regards to your comment that ‘I can’t see the patronage being that significant’, if there was a national ‘open’ ‘tap and travel’ payment ticketing system for all urban, rural, regional and inter-regional bus, train and ferry services where a passenger can use their Visa/Mastercard or use a ‘Go Anywhere’ card for concession fares, like SuperGold holders, Invalids, etc, patronage will increase. The ‘closed’ ‘tap and travel’ payment ticketing systems like HOP, Snapper, Beecard and Metrocard create a ‘psychological’ in using public transport especially with HOP, Snapper and Metrocard cards are regionalised. Currently the Beecard is the only multi regional branded closed ‘Tap and Travel card the can be used in 9 regions.

    4. Most of the routes make some sense. But damn that Whangarei line I think would be a very hard sell. 3:30, an hour longer than driving, 450 mil, 2 trains each way per day doesn’t really make any sense to me. The rest, especially the golden triangle would be good though I think.

      1. I think the point of that upgrade is mostly electrifying and speeding up the freight line, the passenger trains are a side benefit for the cost of only the trains themselves.

      2. I’d rather take that and read, sleep, play with my phone/tablet/pc then worry about terrible kiwi roads and terrible kiwi drivers. May not appeal to you but would appeal to many kiwis and tourists.

      3. Also the effects of decarbonised economy and the costs of running the ICE vehicles.
        Hope we can get those costs increased for the ICE sooner rather than later and slowly ramp it up.

    5. Kris: Off peak journeys will almost always be slower unless you happen to be going from city centre to city centre. For example for me to get to Hamilton I would need to get a bus into Britomart (about 30 minutes), get the train to Hamilton (probably at best as quick as driving), then another infrequent bus to wherever I am going in Hamilton. Including wait times it will probably be twice as long, and that is assuming I don’t happen to miss the train to Hamilton which will be infrequent.
      That is all fine if you happen to live in a European city with great PT and don’t own a car. But if you do own a car (which the majority of us do), why make life harder for yourself? I think its better to spend that $7 billion in the cities so that we don’t need to own a car for day to day life, then think regional.

      1. I don’t see why it needs to be an either/or scenario, why not have both? Having cities as PT oases, while having to drive anywhere between them is not going to reduce car dependence.

        I think Stage 1 would be a pretty good start for a lot less money.

        1. I could dream up dozens of PT projects in Auckland alone that would get significantly more use and have far larger benefits than regional rail. So unless there is unlimited PT funding (unlikely), why not start with the biggest bang for buck? Why arbitrarily pick winners and losers?

        2. Given the money hasn’t all come from Auckland it shouldn’t all go to Auckland. I’d hazard a guess that regional rail would be a reasonably high priority for Hamilton and Tauranga’s portion of the money.

        3. Jimbo, there are many people who don’t drive or don’t want to drive (and the even more people who will be in this category in the timeframe this planning will impact). So if you argue against the cost of providing regional PT without attempting to quantify the benefits somewhat, you’re doing all these people a disservice in a ‘through-the-windshield-thinking’ kind of way. I’d start with the climate, local environmental, access, regional economic development, and safety reasons.

        4. Heidi, I reckon you could easily get much better outcomes with $7 billion for the climate, local environmental, access, regional economic development, and safety than regional rail. Anyway its a moot point really; I like what the greens have come up with, I am not opposed to RRR by any means, and I’d be happy if it was successful. I’m just a bit skeptical whether it will
          get enough use to justify that level of investment.

        5. Wherever the benefits are greater than the costs, shouldn’t it all be done? The more modeshift and sustainable transport improvement we can achieve, the more it spreads benefits into other areas of transport: active transport improvements improves PT outcomes and vice versa. Regional public transport improvements improve urban outcomes and vice versa. Public and active transport improve freight outcomes and vice versa.

          The costs of resurrecting a rail network that’s been systematically underfunded with a planned demise shouldn’t all be falling on us now; they are the result of irresponsible planning for the last 30 years at least. But that doesn’t mean the mode should continue to be ignored.

          If you want to tote up your reckons of the benefits, in order to confirm to yourself that the cost will be exceeded by the benefits, you could reread some of the posts Paul and I have written about the environmental, access and economic reasons for investing in a full public transport network (for which intercity rail is the spine). I’d start with A National Public Transport Network and Regional Access.

          https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Greater-Auckland-articles-by-Heidi-OCallahan-and-Paul-Callister-on-establishing-a-National-Public-Transport-Network.pdf

        1. The vehicle imports should need to meet increasing vehicle emissions standards. We also need to implement emissions standards as part of the WOF.

      2. JimboJones – I am not sure why so call off peak service will be slower. Hamilton to Papakura is only temporary until in theory the third rail is complete to allow more frequent passenger train services between Auckland (Britomart) to Hamilton.

        There is no reason to have regular ‘through’ passenger train services from Sawnson to Britomart (via city link) and Hamilton once electrification to Hamilton is completed.

        it all comes down to having bureaucrats that think outside the square when it comes to inter-regional passenger train services. The current ‘regionalised’ public transport planning is handicapping regional and inter-regional public transport planing, procurement and funding.

      3. I agree that $7bn plus seems a lot of money for the regional rail – if they can even do it for that price.

        If it is not providing some extra advantages then it’s just costing a lot of money to duplicate travel options already exist. People who don’t want to travel by car can always fly or travel by bus for shorter trips.

        People talk about rail networks overseas, but a lot of those were rolled out with good benefit-cost ratios. Even HS2 in Britain, which is highly controversial, still have a BCR above 1 last time I looked. (I’d be happy if the rail projects here had good BCRs I’m just guessing they don’t).

        Rail does have some emissions advantage over road and air travel (while they remain carbon fueled), but I’d imagine we’d get a lot more emissions reduction by taking just a fraction of the $7bn and put it into converting sheep and beef farms into forestry.

        1. HS2 is a stupendous megaproject.

          Look to Victoria’s Regional Fast Rail, or the Malaysian intercity upgrade. Much cheaper and widespread. Both of those have been covered on this blog.

        2. As some whose life is currently being ruined by HS2, I can confirm it is a stupendous waste of money (£115,000,000,000 or NZ $ 230,000,000,000). Think what you could do with that!

          Cutting up ancient woodlands, destroying historic towns and cities and only shaving a max of 30 mins off a trip from Central London to Central Birmingham at the expense of those in the peripheral of those two cities and the towns on the route unable to use it.

          The whole of the UK is paying but only the rich in those two cities will be able to afford to use it and now that the world has discovered MS Teams/Zoom, the actual need for it has been killed off (unnecessary business travel).

    6. Yes Jimbo and no one on the Shore will ever use a bus (white elephant), and look only 1000 people a day catch trains in Akl, electrification is clearly a waste of money you hippy dreamers…

      1. Chris the difference is that the NEX is a very good alternative to driving. It also didn’t cost $7 billion. Those are exactly the types of projects I think they should be investing in first.

        1. They are proposing exactly that, did you not see the list of all the busways and light rail they want to invest in first?

          Their regional rail stage 1 is about $2b in the first decade, and the inside city stuff is $11.6b in the first decade.

        2. JimboJones – Remember the $7 billion also includes upgrading of the track infrastructure and electrification which will is benefit freight trains services, so the actual cost for passenger train will be lower.

        3. We have to be able to do more than look backwards at what already works. The really art to meaningful change is having the courage to commit to what is not already there and working, but that works well elsewhere, or at other times, or will with new investment.

          Intercity rail is universally successful wherever it is done with some measure of competence it is hardly a wild punt. Furthermore much of the investment is in very long lasting capital assets that once done, give value for literally centuries (the RoWs), and decades (track and rolling stock).

          Additionally we already have a whole lot of the really expensive bits, the paths between and through cities, but we fail to exploit their full value both for passenger or freight. Arguably we are wasting value in rail now, and have been for decades.

          $7b over a decade is the equivalent of a few low BCR, duplicate highways the Nats want to build for way fewer vehicles than many suburban arterials in AKL. It isn’t that much for the transformation of the nation’s rail capability for both passenger and freight.

    7. There seems to be a lot of focus here on the relative travel time of rail vs driving. This seems to forget one very obvious point: while on a train I could do a lot of useful things with that time like work or play on my computer/phone or read stuff (heck, if I was tired I could also sleep!). In my car, about the only (legal) thing I could do while driving is listen to my radio or phone. I’d happily spend an extra half-hour or hour on a train if I could get a whole heap of work done while I was travelling, for example.

  4. Is there any details of the route for BRT from New Lynn to Onehunga? Considering the government are building a lot of houses on and around Richardson Road, if that is part of the route, maybe it would be a good time to start the BRT. Otherwise I think they could (should) spend a lot of money on Richardson Road (it needs new footpaths, cycle lanes, etc) only to dig it all up again soon.

  5. This is exciting. It’s the best transport policy I’ve seen in New Zealand.

    It’s missing regional buses. There’s an article about Paul Callister in Stuff today which makes the case well: https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/122421099/the-campaigner-fighting-for-comfortable-lowcarbon-transport

    And I agree with Matt that there should be more focus on safety and Vision Zero. Projects are still rolling out of our RCA’s and WK which show VZ hasn’t been adopted properly and our international commitments are being ignored.

    And low traffic neighbourhoods. The data is convincing – they reduce car ownership by 20%, increase physical activity, wellbeing, social connection, air quality. Yes, it’s a local thing… but it needs government direction.

    1. I agree Heidi its the best policy of all the parties. If I was a green politician I would downplay the light rail aspects and then quietly roll it out section by section giving the public time to come to terms with it and learn to love it. I would even make it a bit retro. Good point about the Intercity buses.

    2. Heidi – It is similar to the regional rail portion of national public transport network. Regional and inter-regional rail between Dunedin and Invercargill and between Christchurch to Hokitkia, Greymouth and Westport is not included but is included in the national public transport network.

  6. I keep looking at that map of Public Transport upgrades. It shows the route from Flatbush travelling through Otara then crossing the rail around about Massey road then connecting to Otahuhu station then travelling on the western side of the rail line to eventually end up at Onehunga. Is that really what would happen I cant see a route through there without great expense. I know its not meant to be a literal map. A cycling pedestrian bridge over the rail line from Great South road somewhere near the old Southdown station would be useful.

      1. Okay trundle through Otahuhu town center then loop through Otahuhu station then along Great South road to Neilson street its not going to be fast no matter how much priority you give it.
        Here’s my idea extend the 314 from Flatbush to Middlemore along Hospital road onto Massey road then along Savill road then Favona road then Mahunga Drive then over the Motorway bridge to Onehunga.

        1. Agree, it won’t be fast, but it would be faster during peak times. The main thing is making it more reliable, these crosstown routes aren’t used by many people end-to-end but they are very handy for shorter connecting trips along the route.

        2. Yes Jezza is right; people want to go to those town centres, not to m’ways. Enhanced bus on busy suburban routes linking town centres, RT stations, and residential and employment areas is great policy.

    1. Chuckle. Yes, my antennae were whizzing when I saw that. But they’ve used the term above ground when they’re talking about street level… they simply mean on the ground, not below the ground…

  7. “Make public transport free for everyone under 18, over 65, and community service card holders; half price for students; and more affordable for everyone else through a nationwide Go Anywhere transport pass.”

    Politically popular, but probably little else. They would be better to take an evidenced based approach and look at the pricing structures of Europe that have achieved huge PT ridership. When you give something for free you tend to devalue it and the user becomes ambivalent about whether they use it. Auckland pools is a classic example. You might expect to see them full with kids because they are free, but there is no incentive to continue to use them, whereas with a cheap annual pass does.
    I suspect the same applies to over 65 PT ridership. While free travel during the day is a bonus for that age group, rich and poor, anecdotally it does not seem to have translated to this age group using PT all day/ every day, something that seems necessary as the climate crisis deepens.

    1. I agree, making something free really de-values the service in the eyes of the consumer. People often buy something that costs more, purely because it is perceived as better but often would do the same job

      1. I’d get rid of all concessions and use the money to lower normal fares. That’s being done in Hamilton right now on the bus network, the result being the bus is far more attractive to most users.

    2. Expanding concessions isn’t a policy to build PT ridership, it’s a social care policy to make disadvantaged people’s lives easier.

        1. Who is saying it is? One assumes this will be funded by government directly just like the supergold scheme that subsidized free PT for pensioners.

          There isn’t really a ‘PT Budget’ at the national level, just funding allocations that change every year.

        2. Zippo – Whether funding for SuperGold holders or Community Services Card holders is from MSN (WINZ) or NZTA, it still coming from the NLTF. Currently NZTA re-reimburses regional councils for SuperGold Card travel.

      1. “it’s a social care policy to make disadvantaged people’s lives easier”

        And the greatest way to make people’s lives easier is to give them reason to abandon their car completely and that removes the fixed cost from their lives. Cheap transport for all the family is the way to achieve this.
        I fail to see how making all childrens fares free is targeted at the disadvantaged.
        It’s a shame that PT isn’t run for the benefit of all users and the welfare system for those who need it. It would most likely lead to berter economic and social outcomes for both.

        1. It’s considered more targeted to poor people because it would make a much larger difference in their lives. When you can afford 40k a year depreciation on a Remuera tractor then your child costing $500 less a year on bus fees doesn’t make much a difference. It’s the like why flat income tax rates (eg 20% for everyone) are considered as targeting poor people. Even though someone earning 250k a year pays way more tax than someone earning 50k a year. That 20% matters more to the person earning less.

          Not saying I’m disagree with your points though, it would be way better for the city and all its residents if cars were used significantly less.

          Once some more rail lines and cycle lanes are put in, congestion charging would provide a good venue to raise funds for PT, off people who want to pay way too much money to drive.

  8. Okay trundle through Otahuhu town center then loop through Otahuhu station then along Great South road to Neilson street its not going to be fast no matter how much priority you give it.
    Here’s my idea extend the 314 from Flatbush to Middlemore along Hospital road onto Massey road then along Savill road then Favona road then Mahunga Drive then over the Motorway bridge to Onehunga.

  9. I don’t see why it needs to be an either/or scenario, why not have both? Having cities as PT oases, while having to drive anywhere between them is not going to reduce car dependence.

  10. When I’ve heard Greens I didn’t expect anything good but just wow! I must admit that’s quite an amazing and comprehensive policy. Honestly it’s almost perfect. If cost wouldn’t be an issue I would add some more Regional Rail in the South Island and scrap the car import thing. That kind of thing we can think about after the rest of the plan is completed first. Sorry but you cannot compare UK and NZ. People in NZ currently need cars. And banning import of cheap cars before public transport is fully functional (not at UK level but just fully functional at some decent standard) is simply stupid and for lower income people it would be a tragedy. So that’s a no for now.

    I would love to see that plan implemented but as we all know everything looks good as long as it’s an election promise. Way bigger player couldn’t even deliver ONE light rail line that was promised. So unfortunately it’s hard to believe that any of that will happen. But nonetheless it’s beautiful…

    1. It’s a good policy because they don’t actually have to do anything to meet it. In ten years all new cars and most second hand cars will be electric anyway, so it’s hardly anything to ban the import on emission vehicles ten years from now.

    2. I hope there is some clause about collector cars, or stuff that you wouldn’t drive very often at all once every couple months. What if I become really successful and really want a cool old mini or a lambo that wasn’t available in NZ. It’d be way better than someone daily driving their 85 hilux. Hard to police I suppose

      1. There are already exceptions for ‘special interest vehicles’ which mean those old minis don’t need to meet current emissions or safety requirements If they are imported for personal use. Presumably that would still apply.

        1. You’re mixing up two bits there – the current rules don’t need to be met by vehicles older than 20 years old provided they met whatever rules were in place at the time they were built e.g. complied with relevant standards, which is most mass-produced vehicles. Classic-shaped Minis such as the 1999 Cooper Sport will be allowed in under this provision without an SIV needed as they’re old, but most of these lived a life on UK roads first and Minis are notoriously prone to rust.

          The SIV regime is for vehicles newer than 20 years that don’t comply but are unique in character (e.g. collector’s cars, special models, etc) that do not comply with today’s standards – most cars newer than 20 years will comply with frontal impact but not with emissions, which is the big headache. These are limited to a certain number in a calendar year.

          Most things built after 2007 are EURO 4 compliant and will come straight in after passing an entry test. I’d be miffed if I could buy a less compliant SUV off a dealer lot but couldn’t import a EURO 5 compliant modern Mini for my own use. That will need some looking at.

          I’d expect any new system to expand the criteria for the SIV regime if we are to do away with the 20 year rule, given there are a lot of modern performance classics (think Group A hero cars) which don’t attract the same attention from the motoring press (although this is changing) and there tends to be a bit of snobbery in the classic car community when it comes to newer cars, particularly towards Japanese ones.

  11. So good to see that the Greens have addressed my big bug ear with the status quo: the importance of having some kind of proto-RTN in place before we start gold plating it. I want an RTN now, not in twenty years from now. Great policy.

    1. I agree. Given the mess made of LR, we need to have those sorts of projects progressing along WHILE we fix the system up with technology we know and the infrastructure we have.

    2. DavidByrne – I agree with you. The Greens has open up the discussion to re-introduced regional and inter-regional passenger services, which about time.

  12. Seeing as NZFirst are not polling in any significant way and will probably be out of the running, and seeing as ACT will be running with National as the main opposition, there is a high likelihood of Labour still having to partner with Greens to form another coalition government – but hopefully one that is less dysfunctional.

    And seeing as Phil Twyford seems to have permanently soiled his credibility (its a pity – I like him, and he is great at parts of his job), do you think it is highly possible / likely that JAG will move from Associate Transport Minister to actual full Minister of Transport? And then Greens transport policy will have a good chance of becoming actual NZ Government transport policy. She is, after all, the only MP with actual training in the Transport field – a speciality that few other MPs can claim of their portfolios. We have Minister Salesa in charge of Construction –

    So: given the current trajectory we are on, this policy proposal should be looked at as actual real hard projects. Within reason of course. But I think that JAG has given a solid, unruffled performance this year, with an insistence on making highways safer rather than making more of them. She’ll no doubt continue on a program of making roads safe – which is good – but they will need to ensure that these new projects are started well before the 3 years are up, so that the Nats don’t cancel things if/when they crawl back into shape and power. The coalition hasn’t exactly sprung out of the traps in this term…

    1. She would still be one vote in Cabinet, she would ultimately have to carry out the wishes of the majority of Cabinet, which would be Labour.

    2. Another scenario is Labour on 62 seats and the Greens on confidence, supply, and a bit of home insulation.

      Serious question, what actually is Labour’s transport policy? The only thing up on their website is a 1-pager listing their achievements so far plus the NZ Upgrade.

      1. Labour seems to be completely tight lipped this time around, waiting until everyone else has dropped their policy before doing theirs I presume. It’s normally the sign of a weak party, making big promises super early. Seems that this time they are a bit more composed and national is proposing the crazy stuff.

    3. I’d hope so. Getting people into the best position for the skillset they have is the sign of good management. JAG has the superior understanding of transport and of its interplay with land use and climate planning. Twyford almost gets it but not quite. But he does have a valuable skillset in understanding policy levers. I would hope that however the cabinet is shaped, both of them will be able to contribute in the best way they can.

  13. It is great that the Greens Transport Policy has open up the discussion on re-establishing urban, regional and inter-regional passenger train services but falls short on regional and inter-regional bus/coach (not long distance coach services) that feed from regional and inter-regional passenger train services across all 16 regions in NZ.

    Public transport should be for all regions not just selected main centres and major provincial centres.

    1. I don’t disagree with you, but maybe you are a bit OTT about ‘selected main centres and provincial centres’?

      On their rail map above I count 58 stations, take out the dozen or so major centres and that’s still a lot of regional towns covered.

      Of course a rail network like that would make it really easy to connect in coaches from smaller villages to each town or city.

      1. John D – Greens haven’t factored in inter-regional passenger train services between Dunedin and Invercargill, between Christchurch to Greymouth, Hokitika and Westport and regional train services between Tauranga and Whakatane.

      2. John D – I forgot to add Masterton to Woodville, for regional and inter-regional passenger train services between Masterton (via Woodville) to Palmerston North, Napier and Hastings and possibility between Wellington to Masterton, Hastings and Napier via Woodville.

      3. Maybe they have factored it in but realised it’s not reasonable to build electric rapid rail to every last village in the country?

        Like Greymouth, Hokitika and Westport would require upgrading 350km of track and running at least two different train lines to serve a population of about 15,000 people across the three towns. The whole west coast has less people in it that one suburb of Christchurch.

        What I like about this plan is it’s actually pretty efficient and economically balanced, it focuses the expenditure on the core bits where the people are, and doesn’t waste huge sums trying to give the same thing to place where the are very few potential users.

        1. I think you are missing the point. If upgrading the track for passenger services, the track is being upgaded for freight operations as well.

          Under the Greens transport plan, electrification is between Christchurch and Ashburton only, with travel under a hybrid/hydrogen operation between Ashburton to Dunedin, so why not extent it to Invercargill.

          The track from between Christchurch and Greymouth is is already certified for passenger operations and from Stillwater to Westport is maintained for heavy freight. This means regular passenger train services can operate between Christchurch, Greymouth and Westport using Alstrom Coradia iLint or Stradler FLIRT 2-4 unit train sets back up with 60 or 100 seat Parry People Mover train set between Rapahoe, Greymouth and Hokitika being branch line tracks. Parry People Movers are specifically designed for branch line operations.

          I am not sure why you are oppose to the Westland region having proper public transport services and Invercargill not having regional and inter-regional passenger train services.

        2. Ok sure, thats in line with their Ashburton to Dunedin section, new trains running on existing lines without upgrades. However it’s still running a train line to serve some pretty small places which would make it very hard to run any kind of service efficiently, like Westport has about 2,000 people in it. You could get the entire population onto one train if everyone squeezed in! Those are the sorts of places where coach connections make more sense.

          I’m not opposed to them having public transport, just it needs to be effective, and a fair allocation for what is a very small and widely spread population.

        3. If it’s viable, surely the best option would be to just run a service from Chch to Hokitika, with Greymouth as a stop. I don’t think you’d need a train with 6 to 10 seats to service Rapahoe, let alone 60 to 100.

          Also the train trip from Greymouth to Westport is nearly twice as long as the road trip, a bus would make a lot more sense.

          What your proposing is basically if there is a railway line use it, in some of these places it is clear the railway line only exists because of freight. There is nowhere near the population to justify purchasing brand new 2-4 unit trains, just buy a bus.

        4. Jezza – If there is active operational rail line why not use it for both freight and passenger services. Why are you oppose to using operational rail lines?

          John D – Westport has an operational rail line that is used for freight, so why not use it for passenger train services. What have you got again using exiting operational rail lines?

          What have you got against passenger train services between Dunedin and Invercargill when there is an operational heavy freight rail line linking the 2 cities? The population of Invercargill urban area is 49,700 (Jun 2019)

        5. “Jezza – If there is active operational rail line why not use it for both freight and passenger services. Why are you oppose to using operational rail lines?”

          Because we could achieve much better outcomes by using much less money to run a bus.

        6. Because passenger trains are very expensive to buy and very expensive to run, like literally ten times as much as a bus, so you need decent patronage (i.e. fare revenue) for them to not be a big waste of public money.

          An existing operation freight line doesn’t necessarily mean its a good place for a passenger train. The West Coast has a lot of coal mines and not a lot of people. Coal goes on freight trains, people go on passenger trains, they don’t really work the other way around!

          Dunedin to Invercargill is a better candidate, at least it has a sizable town at the end. Not a lot through the middle though, and Dunedin isn’t exactly a huge city to anchor the service on. All the other routes feed into the big three centres of Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch, there’s a lot of logic in that.

        7. The justification for electrifying railways are difficult terrain or high traffic density.

          The Green Party policy wonk who came up with the idea of electrifying the track between Christchurch and Ashburton should hand in his train spotters badge.

          This section of track is straight and flat with eight trains per day. That is one train every three hours on average.

        8. Quite refreshing that the greens aren’t trainspotters and don’t carry badges, and can develop a forward thinking transport policy that extends beyond tomorrow’s freight schedule.

        9. Yeah isn’t the point to upgrade the network so it can do more work?

          Why should it be kept at an inefficient, low capacity, slow standard, then it’s just a wasted asset.

          This policy looks almost insanely rational, perhaps that’s why the Greens get called radical; transport policy has been consistently insane for decades, so bringing balance looks like crazy talk?

        10. Chris N – I agree with you. The current national rail network is under utilized. There is not reason other the political will to upgrade the networks for both rail and freight operations.

  14. Their polices look great, surely the best of what we can vote for.

    I like the idea of fast-track bus priority measures over the coming three years on all rapid transit routes instead of doing nothing while LRT etc might get eventually done.

    Lots to comment on but pretty much covered.

    Wonder what the “clean card” is, something we earn if we are “clean” enough 😉

  15. It’s a shame the greens are still being held to ransom by their rabid socialist wing from way back when. If they ditched their silly economic want they might be worth voting for.

    1. I’m in a similar boat to you. Although I think “rabid” name calling isn’t going to help anyone. But there’s some anti equality and anti science stuff that seems to underpin the party I don’t agree with.

  16. Westgate – Hobsonville – Albany doesn’t get light rail to close the loop and remains on buses?

    Been exploring out that area a bit more including the odd shopping trip to Maki st, visiting Hobsonville (which at least has a ferry) and now working in Albany.

    Seems like sooner or later, given the huge area being developed and with relatively flat land, it would make sense to consider a light rail link from Constellation or Albany RTN stations through Hobsonville and West gate to link up to western heavy rail station.

    1. Probably just not enough population at the moment, very frequent buses will be better for the moment, maybe build a busway that can be converted?

    2. If the eastern busway through to the airport isn’t a light rail line, then the upper harbor probably doesn’t deserve / need it. Plus bus rapid transit is nothing to be scoffed at, especially if it has enough room for terminating busses.

    3. There’s plenty of population going in this area so I’m surprised it doesn’t get considered. Sounds like the East Auckland trap all over again…. “No houses out East, so no need for rail/rapid transit”… then after all the houses are added you get “We’ll you’re not adding any more houses so there’s no need for rapid transit”. There’s always an excuse to not do something.

  17. I’m always a bit wary of long linear cycling “super highways” as the answer to getting more cycling. The Dutch are rolling some out between cities, but only *after* they have already tackled their urban networks. And a key to that is getting good local connections, particularly to public transport nodes. Running a cycleway along virtually the same corridor as the PT route doesn’t seem the logical first step to me.

    E.g. I wouldn’t want to bike every day all the way from Albany into town on a cycle superhighway (over 15km! Not everyone has an e-bike…) but I would happily bike from a home nearby along a shorter cycle route to the Albany busway station and then take the bus in. Bike+PT is your best competition to long-distance car journeys, and for all the short car journeys (eg the 2km school run) just make it easier to bike there. In both cases, improving LOCAL connections is the key.

    1. Totally agree. NZTA seem to be the only organization that consistently provides new cycle lanes on almost every project though. And they only really work on large corridors hence the situation. I think these large links are fairly valuable still to getting local paths put in. It would seem much easier to get support to connect to a network of cycling paths, rather than a stand alone local lane that people cant see anyone using, or actually being able to go anywhere. Plus I don’t think the northern cycleway for example is going to be used much for end to end trips, rather shorter ones that go along that corridor.

      1. In Kapiti the best cycleways are due to NZTA putting them in next to new motorways. They are used primarily by recreational cyclists. When they connect into urban streets crossings are often not ideal as the local authority doesn’t fully support local safe cycling. It is great to have the new cycleways but it would be even better if councils transformed local streets first into places much more bike and pedestrian friendly.

        1. It appears like NZTA is more attentive to government policy than local authorities on cycling, including AT, many of which basically drag their feet, fund other lower value high cost projects, esp overscaled road ones (eg 4 lane Matakana Link Road) instead.

          Completely fail to lead any good high volume low cost street conversion projects that nzta could fund cos they are still only focussing on sections of the community that still want every square mm of road, and every penny for parking and driving. This is a failure to respond to evidence and direction from govt (which they’re supposed to). A failure to lead.

          So perhaps only way they can get near their targets is build their own ones, generally in m’way corridors.

          This is, as Glen K says, not ideal. Having said that the NW is well used, and the NS one will also deliver access to busway stations, which all suffer from terrible severance from SH1. They do not need to be used end to end to attract valuable use.

          But they do need local on street networks to connect to.

    2. Many of us would be happy to ride 10-15km on a cycle highway along a motorway – the nature of motorway routes mean they are often the most direct way of getting somewhere – eg the NW cycleway. The alternative for a commuter or recreational cyclist is often riding on major arterial roads, or trying to pick a quieter but longer and more convoluted route. Agree with other comments that connection to a cycle highway adds weight to proposals for local bike paths – again, look out west – the envy of we central suburb cyclists.

  18. Go Greens. Down with Carbon, up with e-bike micro mobility. 7% polling means they can promote idea’s and push or roll labour in this direction (no handbrake).

    1. I guess you don’t understand how our parliament works, nobody wins under MMP, but the chances of the Greens being in the next government is pretty high given that NZFirst has tanked and the right wing can’t make up the numbers.

  19. Very, very many parts of this transport policy to like. The Greens have realised that the climate crisis is unlikely to be solved just by putting people in EVs and so the intercity rail spending is sensible. It mirrors the situation of much of Europe where huge amounts are being spent on rail such as the 10 year, $86 billion spend in Germany: Britain in the midst of a $48 billion spend on rail; and Austria’s investment in night trains, amongst other things.
    With a need to reduce carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2030, and the latest projections suggesting that won’t be enough, it seems sensible to start to invest in the necessary new infrastructure now.

    1. Is it? If you can swap a one hour flight with a ten hour train ride then you probably don’t need to be going in the first place. I’d rather that be the first question when it comes to spending billions of dollars on regional rail that could be spent removing actual congestion in urban centres.

      1. Rail wouldn’t be ten hours if we improved it and a rail network isn’t exclusively about replacing end to end trips.

        1. What is it replacing then? There’s only one place I could visit on the train as it stands that I wouldn’t be better off just driving to, and that’s National Park/Ohakune. If we’re going to add actual destinations like Rotorua?/Taupo then absolutely, but otherwise we’re just spending a lot of money on places already well-served by road, and anything further afield becomes a fly-in, fly-out job.

        2. Rotorua is a destination on their plan. Three hours from Auckland it says.

          But like Sailor says its not exclusively about replacing end to end trips, just as good for Whanganui to Palmerston North, Hamilton to Tauranga, Te Awamutu to Auckland, Te Kuiti to Wellington, etc.

          As far as I know there are no one hour flights between any of those places, no flights at all in fact. And off of them have average to poor road connections, except maybe Te Awamutu to Auckland at 3am.

        3. Journeys between all of the intermediate towns. Auckland and Tauranga, Taumaranui and Ohakune.

          A line with 20 stations has 190 pairs of stations. I’m travelling to Auckland, Rotorua, and Tauranga in the next month. I’d do all of them by rail if there were a service on the existing tracks, let alone if they were upgraded.You may well prefer driving, but that isn’t a universal opinion. Many people would choose PT even at the same journey time and many don’t have a choice as over 25% of New Zealanders cannot drive and even more don’t have access to a car.

        4. I’d like to find out how many people would prefer high speed rail over cars and buses before we spend $7bn plus on it.

          And there can’t be too many stations on what are relatively short legs else the trains won’t be very fast.

        5. And the network in the map above with 58 stations has 1,653 pairs of stations… sure some of those won’t be particularly useful, but at least half of those pairs will be fast and direct. Each town or city on the network will be efficiently linked to dozens of other towns and cities.

          Actually I’ve just looked at the travel times in the timetable document for some of the more odd trips like New Plymouth to Napier. If you take New Plymouth to Wellington and Napier to wellington, and subtract the Palmerston North to Wellington time off each line… you get New Plymouth to Napier in 5 and a half hours with a change in Palmerston North.

          That’s actually about the same as driving on a good day, so maybe it’s not crazy that people would make trips like that too.

        6. “I’d like to find out how many people would prefer high speed rail over cars and buses before we spend $7bn plus on it.”

          You’re in luck. That’s exactly what the Greens are proposing with their staged investment

    2. Our densities and city populations are nothing like most Euro nations.
      Other than perhaps (at a very big stretch) Auckland – Hamilton, high speed inter-regional transport in NZ is a nonsense.

      1. It’s not European high speed rail the are proposing, so the comparison to Europe is off.

        They’re taking about the same thing as Queensland or Victoria, what they’d just call a secondary line in Europe.

      2. The density of the Auckland – Hamilton – Tauranga corridor isn’t that different to the Brisbane to Rockhampton corridor, which has had 160km electrified passenger trains for about 25 years.

        1. You’re probably right, Rockhampton probably isn’t the best comparison, it’s over 600km from Brisbane, whereas Tauranga is less than 220km from Auckland.

          However, I can’t see any reference to it not being a sound investment in that link.

          I don’t think it needs to cost that much to start up. I’d start with trains doing 110kmh and use a hybrid to avoid the initial cost of electrification.

          While it’s not the same populations, the Sydney to Newcastle line takes 3 hours and is still very popular.

        2. Your link is to unbuilt high speed rail proposals. Try looking at the rapid rail they did build in Australia, like Vline Victoria.

          The Geelong line is pretty good, moves around 25,000 people each weekday, Ballarat at 16,000 a day and Bendigo at 10,000 a day are pretty good too.

          You can clearly see the results of their conversion to fast trains in the mid 2000s and the second set of upgrades in the 2010s in this patronage chart: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/V-Line_annual_rail_patronage_by_line.png

        3. Oh I just had a look at VicRoads data, the Princes Freeway to Geelong has an average total daily traffic flow of 59,000 vehicles at the busiest point. So the Geelong fast train has about a 30% market share on that corridor.

          The Western Freeway to Ballarat has 26,000 vehicles a day total, so that would be about 38% market share. That’s pretty impressive actually!

        4. @John D. Geelong is a satellite town to Melbourne and the patronage there would likely be mostly commuter traffic. But Ballarat would be comparable to Hamilton and if those figures are correct they are impressive, although Melbourne is a lot bigger than Auckland. It would be good to know if something like those sort of numbers could be expected on Auckland – Hamilton – Tauranga.

          @ jezza Yes I’m not sure if the social benefits exceed the costs for those lines. Some of the documents referenced in the footnotes might get into that.

          I’m pretty sure Labour have already said they back high speed rail for Auckland to Hamilton, maybe Tauranga as well. I just hope they do a decent feasibility study and are led by the results of that.

        5. But even if the market share is around that high I still don’t think the Auckland to Hamilton line upgrade is going to have a BCR above 1. Jezza says in here https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2020/08/26/the-initial-case-for-faster-trains-between-auckland-and-hamilton/ there are about 20,000 to 30,000 travellers per day between Auckland and Hamilton. Even at 30% market share and using the upper bound of that range, there would only be 9,000 train passengers a day travelling between the cities. Whereas the business case in the same article above says that 14,000 passengers would be required to give a BCR of 1 for an upgrade to 160 km/h on the existing route (Scenario B, 88 minutes Britomart to Hamilton CBD). At 9,000 passengers the BCR would only be about 0.7.

          The Green’s costings also look light. The indicative business case estimated it would cost $5bn for the 160 km/h service Auckland to Hamilton (with the cheapest scenario of keeping it on the same alignment). But the Green’s estimate for the same is just $1.48bn.

        6. The costing of exactly five billion dollars from pre-indicative-early-business case thing is an incredibly simplistic thumb suck. As the note in the document they consider them to be rough order coatings to be treated with caution.

          Accordingly if the Greens costing is more accurate, then the BCR would be around 2.4 with the same patronage and a third the cost.

          Victoria’s regional fast rail project cost AUD $750m (Admittedly over a decade ago), to rebuild 500km of track for high speed, buy 38 new trains and fully upgrade the signaling system.

          For a mere 140km between Auckland and Hamilton, it’s hard to see how they came up with five billion dollars. I’d trust the Greens costing more than that.

        7. I take the point that the costs haven’t been worked out in detail yet, but it sounds like they’ve worked out a high level scope of works to support their estimate so it’s not guess work. Their sum may have just come out close to $5bn and they then rounded it off.

          And cost estimates usually go up over time.

          While the costs for upgrading the existing line are difficult to set a standard rate per km rate for, they put the electrification alone at $24.4M per km or over $2b for the 90km from Pukekohe to Hamilton (compared to just $500m in the Green’s breakdown). They’ve got some benchmarking comparisons for that in the business case.

          The $750m for the 500km for the Victorian network sounds exceptionally cost effective. Benchmarking in the business case from the European Commission puts conventional rail at about 8m euros per kilometre average, about 4m per kilometre at best.

        8. It’s the electrification that’s adding the costs, neither Geelong or Ballarat are electrified and I don’t see why Auckland to Hamilton needs to be initially either.

          I believe there is some issue with having diesel tanks in trains parked at Britomart but it that’s the case then change the legislation so we can run bi-modes rather than spend billions upfront electrifying the whole route.

        9. Jezza the other major cost is the double tracking of the 15km of the swamp area , as they have to bring in truck/wagon loads of spoil of fill . And it may not happen until the RMA changes .

        10. Aucklands rail electrification cost $2.6m per track-kilometre. $500m for the electrification and signaling contracts over 196 km of single track, including a lot of civil works on tunnels and bridges and awkward urban constraints.

          The Greens costing seems pretty accurate in that regard, 90 km of double track for $500m.

          I honestly don’t get why that WSP report costed the electrification at almost five times the cost per track-km as it actually cost auckland six years ago. If anything it should be much cheaper than electrifying auckland with all the bridge clearances and tunnel lowering they had to do.

        11. David – I reckon the cost of that would be justified for the benefits of the existing freight alone. Which shows the absurdity of lumping the entire costs against just the benefits from future passenger operations.

        12. John, I think WSP have rightly or wrongly mostly gone with the $371m ($19.5M/km) for the Papakura to Pukekohe electrification more than anything else. The question is why is that so expensive compared to the Auckland network rollout. It can’t just be the station work.

        13. Sherwood – I think it includes replacing the motorway bridge at Drury as it doesn’t have enough clearance for the overhead wires.

        14. Well that does raise a few questions:
          1) Why is the 19km electrification from Papakura to Pukekohe costing almost as much as the entire Auckland suburban system of 100 odd kms? What exactly is lumped into that?
          2) Is this an appropriate cost rate to use for hundred + of kms of rural electrification?

        15. I imagine a motorway overpass could get expensive if you are trying to rebuild it in the same place while keeping it operational, but I am not sure if it provides a full explanation of the extra electrification cost there.

          I also see all the scenarios WSP considered in detail involve the cost of providing an underground station in the Hamilton CBD which could get costly.

          But the WSP document really should have provided a breakdown of their cost estimates and better explained how they’ve developed them so we could better tell if their estimates are reasonably reliable. Hopefully they’ll provide more when they complete the indicative business case.

        16. The underground station in Hamilton doesn’t need to be done upfront, it can be added as patronage grows. This was how Auckland’s rail network was revived, bite sized pieces rather than trying to build what we have today all at once.

          Britomart was analysed to death over it’s costs now it is one of the cities best value pieces of infrastructure.

        17. Scope of work for Papakura-Pukekohe includes a new substation/feedin point in the vicinity of Drury and additional track work at Pukekohe.

          Any good estimate requires comprehensive scope definition. I am not seeing that from WSP or the Greens…and as for the latter’s proposal for hydrogen trains; a very poor decision.

    1. It might seem a nonsense if you believe the status quo will go on forever; but very soon the country will have to decide, as we strive to halve our emissions, do we forsake our farming industry (50% of our emissions) or is there a more balanced way? It seems more likely from a rational economic view that that we may end up driving less.
      For those who say everyone will have an EV by 2030 there is no evidence to support that. The target is 80k EVs by 2020. How is it possibly going to escalate from there? Subsidies? Calculate the numbers for subsidies to make a meaningful difference to EV uptake. And please put on the top of the page what will happen to EV prices when subsidies start. cf housing rental prices. The $7 billion for rail starts to look very cheap!

      1. Hopefully new tech comes along to solve the farming methane issue. Seems like it could be pretty likely to happen. Various methods of altering gut bacteria to not make methane, feeding certain types of seaweed etc

        1. Jack, and maybe the tooth fairy will fix it? Climate change was recognised in the 90s and no progress has been made to reduce carbon in that time, certainly not on NZ farms. And you expect it to happen in the next nine years?
          And if progress is to be made will it reduce at least half of the emissions?

        2. Jack, emissions from farming are simply one indicator of a system that’s gone beyond sustainable limits. We can do better.

          Tech solutions don’t come with the co-benefits of healthier soil, healthier waterways, better biodiversity, and more jobs that the better solutions come with. We can already change to regenerative agriculture, mixed land uses, and other changes of farming practice. Why would we wait around for high tech solutions that simply allow the other types of pollution and exploitation to continue? (Apart from allowing the corporates who sell the high tech solutions to profit, that is.)

        3. This is what I don’t get. Why do we want to enforce entire systems when instead we can measure the bad outputs we don’t want, enforce those to be lower? You see this a lot, people seem to become experts on soil structures and regenerative agriculture after a few buzzy YouTube videos. If you have something specific you want to reduce then why not measure and reduce that? Seems completely reasonable to me.

          Now I’ll respond to specific arguments. @johnwood there are actual emperical tests that show this can be achieved, the seaweed reduces methane production by around 80% in sheep and cattle which would reduce nz co2 equivalent greenhouse emissions by 28% for the entire country! The caviat being that it requires time and financial insentive to ramp up production, various potential seaweed moguls would be able to provide data I’m sure. (Side note I don’t see the issue with corporations making bank if it helps us all)
          There is absolutely no economic insentive at the moment hence why essentially Noone is.

          @heidi I agree I think the reasonable thing to do is to promote planting sections of farms in native bush (which Noone, even the greens seem to want to do correctly by measuring ets of planted native hardwood correctly) and to directly measure water quality. Currently the proposed regs are not set up to do this though. The proposed tax is to enact a purely a blanket charge across the entire country per milk solid “if farmers don’t get their act together” seems to not really incentivise any progress, only pleases voters who don’t know any better. Would be way better to include a clause that says if farmers don’t want to meet these other arbitrary requirements then they should provide certified water (for example) tests taken at multiple random times that prove they aren’t harming. If you want to stop something then why not directly measure the thing? The soil thing is another that people don’t seem to understand at all. We do soil tests every year on any area we would apply any type of fertilizer to (NPK, cobolt and other trace elements, pH corrections among others) by every measure the soil has become far higher quality able to grow any desirable plant better than before, and to provide health benifits to the animals eat it. It would grow trees better too but that’s not at all desirable economicly in this country which is a bit sad. We have done water tests and the water flowing off doc land is of better quality when it leaves the farm vs when it arrives. The high tech solutions exist, they just need incentive to be implemented. If a farmer were to stop their cows producing methane today there would be absolutely no economic insentive. Enacting strict blanket regs with well intended but fatally flawed reasoning and concequences will only breed resentment and bankruptcy forcing a lot of people off their land. (If you want to create a new class of economic migrants to cities out of spite then sure whatever)

          Also I see the jobs argument all the time from any side of the political spectrum. It’s kind of silly. The goal is to produce more resources with less inputs and less people. We want to encourage jobs that produce the most amount of value for least cost. Like sure a business could employ double the people to produce the same output but that makes no sense at all. At least it’d be better to tax the business at a higher rate and just give the money out as a ubi or something?

      2. But regional rail will only make a marginal difference to the number of trips and hence emissions. I think the Green’s fossil fuel cars import ban is great – it does have the potential to move the dial on emissions a lot.

        1. “But regional rail will only make a marginal difference to the number of trips and hence emissions. ”

          It may well be the only way that most people can get between cities if we really have to start cytting down on carbon. Even electric cars have too much CO2 in lifetime costs.

        2. The Productivity Commission laid out some comprehensive scenarios of what it takes to achieve Net Zero and there was no suggestion cars need be banned. I think the Royal Society of New Zealand’s outlook was similar.

        3. I completely agree that cars will not be banned. However, rail may well be the only way that most people can get between cities if we really have to start cutting down on carbon. Even electric cars have too much CO2 in lifetime costs. People will drastically reduce how much they drive and intercity travel by car is a lot less attractive if you have chosen not to buy a car.

        4. Regional rail may only make a marginal difference if you assume the status quo. In Italy the roads are quiet and intercity rail pumps because of road tolls. If only motorists were to pay the $28 billion proposed for new roads then I am sure many fewer people would drive.
          I agree with you Sailor Boy about rail as the way to move between cities.

      3. Ok, but my main point is prioritise INTRA city PT not INTER city. Maybe we can look at the intercity stuff once we have semi decent PT in our bigger cities. We are a long way off that….so let’s put much more into that first.
        I have had to put up with the Eastern line debacle over the past couple of months…

        1. Zen Man
          I agree that city rail should come first and I empathize about the Eastern line. I use it occasionally and its currently a disgrace.
          It seems that the shear scale of the emissions problem mean that many things will have to happen quickly.
          I cannot understand why Huntly contributing 15% of emissions will operate to 2030, with Labour regarding that date as some major achievement.

    2. Nah, the sections they have proposed make sense to me. Auckland and Hamilton are going to have decent PT and cycling networks by the time this happens. Problem mostly solved. It also doesn’t all have to be done so that you’re on a 160km/h train all the way. Just the easier sections combined with tilt trains I think its very achievable.

  20. While I was looking over this last night, I couldn’t tell if the Greens want to encourage more bus lanes/bus priority on routes where the rapid transport is rail based, e.g. the Great South Rd between Papakura and Takanini. Does anyone know?

    1. I think the map is confusing it shows rapid transit route going from Mt Roskill then to Three Kings then Onehunga so even more street running if its going to be converted to light rail. As you lmply how can you have bus priority on a rail line why not just have more stations especially if we are going to have third or fourth mains. I have posted above about the Flat Bush Ormiston route running on the wrong side of the rail line between Massey Road and Neilson Street.

      1. It’s not a map, it’s a diagram. It’s meant to show a simplified outline of the regional network, not to be perfectly accurate on every inch of the alignment.

        The first stage enhanced bus would run on the street or maybe the motorway, but the document says the light rail is based on ATs plan so that means it runs alongside the SH20 motorway.

  21. Just thinking about a few abandoned lines here maybe they can be repurposed as passenger only light railways. For example the Roturua branch, the Taneatua branch plus the Wairoa Gisborne section of the the Gisborne line. Being light rail they could have street running sections to enable them to run into the town centers. So a long term Green Party plan may have main line passenger trains running to Tokoroa, Kawerau and Wairoa with light rail connections to Roturua, Whakatane, and Gisborne. Anyway this could get around the problem of having to mix light and heavy trains plus access to the city centers. I would love to see the old siding from Awakeri to the mill repurposed as light railway it could be a real tourist attraction recreating history and a trip through the bush to Roturua was always a standout. The view from Beach loop would be another highlight as would be a walk along the beach at Opoutama.

    1. The other line that should be upgraded and reopened is the SOL even if it’s for emergency purposes only or trains to New Plymouth and South of there . The CEO of KR has mentioned a while back that he would like to see it done just in case something happens to NIMT .

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