Last week the government released their latest budget. By in large it seems to have been fairly well received and one thing that strikes me about it is there was not one large headline grabbing initiative but lots of little ones that added up. It’s a shame the government can’t take the same approach with other parts of their policy portfolio, such as their focus on mega transport projects like Tunnelled Light Rail and another Harbour Crossing, at the expense of lots of smaller and faster to deliver projects that will have a greater overall impact.

There were are few interesting transport related items in the budget, though some had been signalled before.

Free and discounted public transport

While PT is already free for under children under 5, fare offerings for children over 5 and other young people vary across different regions. Discounts for children apply at different ages and the level of discount offered varies. Some cities offer tertiary students discounts and others don’t. Auckland also offers free travel on weekends for children 15 and under.

The government are simplifying all of that under the umbrella of easing the cost of living pressure on families. This will see $327.4 million (around $80 million per year) invested to provide free PT for children under 13 and half price fares for those under 25. This is on top of the plans previously announced for half priced fares for community service card holders.

The Chris Hipkins Government is helping ease cost of living pressure on families by providing free fares on buses, trains and ferries for children aged 5 to 12 and half price discounts for all passengers aged 13 to 24 from July 1 2023.

“Transport is a big cost for Kiwi households. It’s why we provided relief at the pump when petrol prices spiked following the invasion of Ukraine, and it’s why we are now providing ongoing cost reductions for children and young people,” Michael Wood said.

“Making public transport free for children will make it much easier for kids to get to school and provide relief to household budgets. Free fares for under 13s could save $30 per week for the average household of two children.

“Half price fares for under 25s as well as Community Service Card holders and Total Mobility Users will help over 1.6 million Kiwis save money, and make it easier for people to get to where they need to go.

“Budget 2023 continues our work to deliver a thriving public transport network with more services, drivers, and passengers.

“Cheaper fares for an additional 774,000 Kiwis through this Budget, on top of the 895,000 New Zealanders made eligible for half price fares in Budget 2022, will remove a barrier to taking public transport and will help to tackle congestion and get Kiwis moving.

Targeted fare reductions like these are good and make it much easier to understand for users. It will be interesting to see how it’s implemented, for example will AT require a registered HOP card to get them, like they do now for the free weekend fares?

Restoring PT services

Free and cheaper public transport is only useful if public transport services exist for people to use them and that’s been a real challenge, especially in Auckland. The Government had previously announced funding to help increase bus driver wages and through this budget they’re also providing $140 million to help restore PT services that have been cut

“We’re also putting money on the table for councils to restore public transport services to pre-pandemic levels. Public transport patronage has been increasing steadily since the pandemic but hasn’t reached the same levels yet. This funding will allow councils to consider reinstating cancelled services and minimise further service cuts to ensure Kiwis can access affordable, frequent, and reliable transport.

This is is fantastic as Auckland Transport had already signalled it might not restore some some of it’s cut services, even if the driver shortage was resolved, in order to save money. Getting those services back and expanding them is going to be critical to getting confidence back in the PT system and people back on board.

Supporting Electric Vehicles

The government are putting $120 million over four years into supporting the roll out of public EV chargers.

“We’re partnering with the private sector to build thousands of new EV chargers across the country. This will expand the growing national network of EV charging hubs – each containing up to 20 chargers – to up to 23 hubs.

“This will see charging hubs every 150–200 kilometres on main highways, a public charger for every 20-40 EVs in urban areas, and public charging at community facilities for all settlements with 2,000 or more people,” Michael Wood said.

They’re also putting in $30 million over three years to help subsidise low-emissions heavy vehicles.

“We’re also announcing a fund to provide grants towards the purchase of low emissions heavy vehicles, including trucks, heavy vans and non-public transport buses.

“Estimates show this will help get about 500 low emission heavy vehicles on to New Zealand’s roads, displacing fossil fuel ones. This transition could reduce operators’ fuel costs by up to 75 percent,” Megan Woods said.

$30 million over three years has been set aside for clean heavy vehicle grants.

“The fund builds on the success of the Clean Car Discount and Low Emissions Transport Fund to support road freight operators to lower their emissions, and over time their operating costs,” Michael Wood said.

In a weekly roundup earlier this year we covered a great local story about how one company had taken the plunge on electric trucks and found them working even better than expected.

Rail Network Investment

While not called out in any press release, one of the more interesting items is funding for Kiwirail to, among other things, complete a detailed business case for electrifying the rail network between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga. This carries on from a high-level study they commissioned in 2021 on the cost to electrify four key route segments in the North Island.

Once electrification to Pukekohe is complete there only be a gap of about 85km between the Auckland network and the electrified section of the North Island Main Trunk line between Hamilton and Palmerston North. Ideally the gap between Auckland and Hamilton would be closed through a rolling programme of rail electrification that could then be expanded to other lines, utilising and improving on the knowledge and supply chains established for the Pukekohe project.

Closing the gap of electrification between Auckland and Hamilton, along with other improvements to the network such as double tracking the line through the Whangamarino and improving line speeds, could help improve the viability of services like Te Huia as well as allowing for all electric freight services between Auckland and Palmerston North. Extending electrification to Tauranga would then enable the busiest freight service in the country to be converted to electric.

That high-level study suggested the Pukekohe to Tauranga section might cost around $850 million

Infrastructure delivery

The government have repurposed the Christchurch rebuild agency to be a new crown infrastructure delivery agency. While this is initially about supporting organisations that don’t have day-to-day experience of delivering large, complex projects, if it works well I wonder if in the future it could morph into an agency that could deliver things for agencies such as Waka Kotahi.

They’ve also released an Infrastructure Action Plan.

The Government has today also published the Infrastructure Action Plan, which sets out in detail what it is doing and will do in response to Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa, the New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy.

“This plan builds on the Government Response to the Strategy by identifying actions across our wider work programme that will start to address the challenges and opportunities set out in the Strategy,” Megan Woods said.

“Being smarter about the way we plan, deliver, and use infrastructure is critical if we are to meet the infrastructure deficit and deliver the infrastructure New Zealanders need now and into the future.”

One of the key focus areas in the IAP is this. We could certainly do with some better decision making in the transport sector.

Transport Spending

The Vote Transport summary gives a breakdown of just how much we’re spending on transport and it’s significant. While last year’s budget was initially showing 2022/23 as being just over $9 billion, it is now shown as over $10 billion, and similar for the coming financial year too.

And here’s a bit of a longer look at how that compares. One big thing you notice is “Other funding from the Crown for roading projects“. This is due to the discounted fuel and road user charges scheme the government put in place last year and then extended multiple times, with it due to end at the end of next month.

Was there anything else that stood out to you from the budget?

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  1. An obvious next step with electrification once Pukekohe is completed would be to extend it to Pokeno with the idea of running AT metro services as far as there.

    I don’t know the exact distance by rail between the two but I expect it would reduce the electrification gap to around 65 – 70km

    1. Pokeno isn’t in Auckland. There are plenty of things to fix in Auckland before we go offering services to other regions.

      1. It’s just an arbitrary boundary on a map, especially when more and more funding is provided by central government.

        I appreciate you’re as frustrated as I am with the lack of progress in the NW but it’s a poor reason to not make a logical enhancement to the existing rail network.

        1. I agree with this. I don’t know too much about the infrastructure side of things but at first glance it seems cheaper/easier to just, continue electrifying rather than to have a whole new project.

        2. Can they legally use it for projects outside their boundary?

          On a related matter, I am surprised Te Huia wasn’t given some pennies to keep up the momentum; maybe for new stations in Pokeno, etc, and enable stops there. Pokeno folk really should be able to use that service, anyway. In fact, some announcement on the next phase of Te Huia would have been nice. Makes it harder for National to cancel.

        3. I’m not suggesting AT cover the costs. I’m suggesting running PT to places that make sense, which would likely require the neighbouring councils to come to an arrangement.

          This may require government intervention but it already happens with AT buses running to Tuakau and is proposed for trains running from Palmerston North to Wellington. These will be run by Greater Wellington but some operational funding will come from Horizons Regional Council.

        4. Jezza – Pokeno is in the Waikato region and Busit Route 44 – Pokeno to Pukekohe is fund by the Waikato Regional Council not Auckland Transport.

    2. You seem to be assuming that electrification is inherently good. The study that said it would cost $860million to electrify Pukekohe to Tauranga didn’t make any estimate of the tonnes of CO2 equivalents reduced so we have no idea what the benefits are. It talks of 4 trains per hour on each line and assumes that might go up to 10 so the benefits can be very big at all. Every dollar spent on overhead lines a a dollar that can’t be spend removing coal dependence.

      1. Yes, in short I do think electrification between Pukekohe and Pokeno is inherently good.

        There is likely to be demand in the future for services at least every 30 mins on this section. It will also close the gap between Auckland and Hamilton making hybrid overhead/battery units more viable.

        1. If there is demand for services then that could easily be catered for with some diesel units running to Pukekohe. These are long sections of track with very few stations so the cost per person to electrify is extremely high and the emissions reduced very low.

        2. BEMUs would be the best bet if the only passengers were from Pokeno and Tuakau.

          However, if it makes BEMUs to Hamilton viable then it is a completely different equation.

        3. Agree with Jezza. Keep the wires extending towards existing wires surely must be a good thing while we increase passenger & freight between points.

      2. Electrification in almost all cases is a good thing.
        1) Less carbon emissions.
        2) Faster rail services (electric locos are more powerful and not having to change is beneficial).
        3) Reduced costs – cheaper to run, less fuel imports, use domestic produced electricity.
        4) Quieter and Cleaner (less particulate emissions too).

        The only way it is a negative, is if the money can be more effectively used elsewhere to achieve similar results – something which I am doubtful of.

        1. The Government has just spent $140million to get NZ Steel to use an electric arc furnace which is the equivalent CO2 reduction of getting 300,000 cars off the road. There is absolutely no possibility of any electrification of rail achieving that sort of reduction at a similar price. We haven’t even done the easy things yet. Fontera, hospitals, schools still burn coal. The political problem we face is that the carbon price is still too low and the transport sector is infested with enthusiasts who think rail is the answer to every question.

        2. There are absolutely better ways to spend almost a billion dollars in terms of reducing NZ emissions. New transmission and storage infra to support increased renewable generation. Arc furnaces and other electric heating systems as miffy has mentioned below – you could make a serious dent in industrial coal use for heat with that much money, assuming the grid could keep up. Throwing money at urban logistics companies to adopt BEVs for last-mile work, as mentioned in this article. Subsidies for home solar setups as in Australia. Expansion of successful private EV initiatives (CCS). A billion dollars would build us a world-class nationwide EV charging network. And that’s just cars. Imagine what a billion dollars spent on Auckland’s cycling network could deliver by 2030.

          Also – the other way it is a negative is that these massive flagship projects drain limited KR staff hours from working on boring-but-important things like improving maintenance practices in the Auckland metro area or doing preventative maintenance on said infrastructure. If you want European or Japanese reliability for our commuter networks, you need to be willing to provision Euro/Japanese levels of funding and man hours to that – both of which are limited resources.

          Now, it may make sense to eventually do this, and it will take so long to complete that taking baby steps like wires out to Pukekohe may be sensible. But right now we need to be spending in a way that hits emissions as hard and fast as possible, which means focusing on things like coal burning and transport solutions that can be up and running next year rather than in a decade.

          Anyway, until the business case from KR comes out, this is mostly just reckons vs reckons.

        3. It is slightly better than reckons. If you look at the Business Case that was done to extend electrification to Pukekohe you will see that the bigger share of benefits came from two new stations rather than electrification. They conflated the two issues in order to claim there was a positive net benefit.

        4. Maybe spending $860m looks a tough call now, but how will it look in the next decade when NZ is desperately seeking to reduce emissions. This NZ Steel project reduces emissions by about 1%, another 49% needed by 2030 with little progress in sight.
          How does the $860m look compared to the Northern motorway extension that achieved a massive increase in emissions?
          Miffy, completely agree that there needs to be an economic perspective, but there is a huge cost of doing nothing. I have seen our overseas carbon emissions purchases estimated at $12 – $32 B up to 2030.

    3. Pokeno is outside the Auckland Metro rail zone plus the town is in the Waikato region.

      Who is going to pay for the Pukekohe to Pokeno passenger rail subsidy considering that Auckland is not paying for Te Huia.

      If extending Auckland Metro rail between Pukekohe, Tuakau and Pokeno extend it to Mercer which has space for a ‘terminal’ station siding/overnight stabling making Tuakau and Pokeno a passenger pick up/drop off station as oppose to a ‘terminal station.

      Mercer is 5 minutes by bus from Pokeno making Mercer a bus/train interchange for frequent local bus services between Mercer, Meremere and Te Kauwhata.

      1. Same as what happens with the existing AT buses that run to Tuakau. Horizons and Greater Wellington are also planning this for the new Palmerston North train services.

        It’s just a problem that exists on a map.

        1. Jezza – Busit Route 44 Pokeno to Papakura (

          AT Metro Bus Route 399 Pukekohe to Tuakau and Port Waikato only has 2 services per day Monday to Friday and no services on Saturday and Sunday.

          With to the Capital Connection train between Palmerston North Wellington, both the GWRC (Greater Wellington Regional Council) and HRC (Horizons Regional Council) have been under writing any loses of the service for a while.

          With the new Capital Connection services GRWC will fund Wellington and Otaki which near the boarder with HRC and HRC will fund the service between Otaki and Palmerston North.

        2. I’m well aware of that, which is my point exactly. There are ways of running metro trains to Pokeno and I think it is inevitable it will happen at some point.

    4. I would only electrify to Tuakau first. We might have to remake it part of Auckland though but redrawing the Waikato/Auckland boundary but I suspect a lot of people in Tuakau would not be too unhappy about this.

  2. “to provide free PT for children under 13 and half price fares for those under 25”.

    Central government has a social responsibility to provide access to transport for those without alternative means. (Central govt sets the overarching land use / transport framework)

    It would be logical to provide free PT up the age of 15 as the option of a drivers license is not available until 16.

    The free PT could also be extended to cover all students, including tertiary students, and those with community services cards.

    The half price PT fares to age 25 seems a somewhat muddled policy.

    1. The half price PT fares to 25 is useful, as it reduces PT costs while people are making many significant life choices. Lower PT fares at each of these decision moments can really shift the dial on whether people bother with car ownership, whether they have to fork out for the extra cost of a carpark, etc.

    2. The social responsibility to provide access to transport for those without other means doesn’t require it to be free.

      I think 13 is a trade off between making things more affordable to families and not putting off the bulk of PT users by making it a place where older teens can just hang out for the day.

      1. I think the benefits of free PT for those up 18 would have outweighed the few who use it to hang out on trains all day, and are not doing so already.

        Free up to 18 and then free for those with a tertiary student cards (along with seniors). We are building bevaviours for the next generation of commuters once they reach their early 20s.

      2. I struggle to see how the government can have a social responsibility to allow kids to travel all over Auckland, but never mind.
        From a transport perspective we would be much better served by having young people pay something. The European cities that have attained incredible ridership levels have managed to achieve that with cheap monthly and yearly passes. Conversely the free weekend public transport for kids in Auckland has achieved little for ridership, and it appears that half price transport has done the same.
        It appears the real winners from this will be the wealthy whose kids seem to travel the greatest distance as they travel to private schools.
        Auckland desperately needs to make travel cheaper for all those who want to travel all day/ everyday; to induce people to abandon their vehicles regularly rather than just for the occasional cheap or free trip. Only then will the aim of a 60% reduction in emissions be anywhere near possible by 2030.

        1. “Auckland desperately needs to make travel cheaper for all those who want to travel all day/ everyday; to induce people to abandon their vehicles regularly rather than just for the occasional cheap or free trip.”

          Auckland (& NZ) needs to get rid of the many subsidies vehicle drivers have, then more will move to PT. Removing their subsidies should be the first port of call.

        2. Logically Auckland should do both. They should use the money spent on subsidies to improve public transport. The need to drastically reduce transport emissions requires all levers to be pulled as one politician said. I am not sure that he managed to reach any of them.

  3. Would anyone like to guess how long it might take to electrify Pukekohe to Mount Maunganui. I can’t see enough traffic to justify Pukekohe to Hamilton in isolation.. But we really need to know what happens to Auckland Port before we can decide if electrification is needed. If the port is shutdown then it will be full on to electrify. No announcement has being made on the Marsden Point so to me everything is up in the air at the moment. My estimate given how long it takes Kiwirail to get any projects done is that if a decision was made to close Auckland Port container operation in say 10 years then this would be adequate notice to complete the electrification.

    1. We need to look at significant modeshift from driving to rail for all these routes at some stage. Providing rail, even if not electric, is the most important step, from a decarbonisation angle. However, the level of rail uptake and modeshift that is required means that electrification is really important for it to both be attractive and to function well.

      1. Well if the aim is to run passenger trains then there is absolutely no need for overhead electrification because we can have battery power. I was thinking more for freight. Kiwirail is very choosy as to what it will carry and where it will carry it too. They also do not like swapping locomotives from electric to diesel and vice versa. Also placing strings of container wagons into sidings with electric locomotives is not possible. The answer would be to have some battery power for this task but I don’t see Kiwirail employing that technology unless you stuffed their mouths with gold. But I agree we need these routes upgraded for freight and passengers but electrification throws up all kinds of problems and it needs significant tonnages to be worthwhile. So you could spend all sorts of telephone numbers but still find Kiwirail running diesel locomotives for the majority of services.

        1. “Placing strings of container wagons into sidings with electric locomotives is not possible”
          I guess you better tell that to all the rail operators overseas that do exactly that…

        2. Okay show me how it could be done at Auckland port or Wiri inland port or at Southdown without a huge spend. Overhead wires are just incompatible where you have forklifts lifting containers on and off wagons. And it would be just as difficult at Tauranga. They drive the mainline locos straight into the sidings then decouple and then run around on the loop to get back to the mainline.The only place there are shunter available is at Westfield. And they use all the available lines for loading in the sidings for instance the forklift can reach across an empty wagon and pick up a full container off a wagon on the adjacent track.

        3. Royce, I’m pretty sure that the last announcement from KiwiRail pre budget included a bunch of new electric trains for the Wellington region (Kapiti and Wairarapa), but also included an electric battery powered shunter. I could be wrong, but that’s my recollection?

        4. Battery powered with recharge points around where it works or 3rd wire powered perhaps? Wonder how it’s done overseas?

        5. There has being an announcement of 29 light locos for branch lines and passenger trains in last year’s budget. These are meant to be low emissions but I think that means Euro 5. I can find no announcement of a contract for there purchase or details of there makeup. It would be great if some were dual mode electric plus battery or electric and diesel however I am not holding my breath. One example of there use could be to shunt the Dairy factory at Te Awamutu which is on the electrified section. Another might be Auckland to Wiri containers. However that is not what they are being purchased for. The other options is for the various container transfer sites to have battery powered shunter but this need stabling and crews and charging etc which is not required if diesels are used.

    2. Whilst electrifying Pukekohe to Te Rapa is important medium term there is a lot that needs to be completed first, otherwise it will be a repeat of the Auckland Metro electrification fiasco.
      The succession of speed restrictions and closures, as firstly sleepers needed replacing, then it was cracked rails, and now the actual track bed.

      Firstly the rails need to be actually in the right place, curves need easing, and swamps perhaps bypassed. Also some deviations may be required to enable full grade separation of all road crossings
      The corridor needs to be wide enough to accomodate 4 tracks.

      The track bed needs to be stiff enough for future high frequency, heavy loads, at much higher speeds. Drainage, cuttings, and embankments need to made robust enough to weather our increasingly severe storms.

      So this, and installing the underground signalling cables needs to be commenced from the bottom up, not the top down. The overhead comes last and will only deliver it’s benifit when fully installed.

      But the civil works will immediately deliver incremental improvements.

    3. Electrification through the Kaimai tunnel is the big win, shortening the time you need to wait between trains due to the volume of air diesel locomotives consume. That’s likely to be unavoidable if you want to increase total train numbers to support even a semi-frequent passenger service.

      And if you’re going to electrify the tunnel it simplifies operation to electrify all the way between the Port of Tauranga and Ruakura.

  4. Well I did comment in a previous post that I thought it should revert to being a Government department. Then it could do what its told and provide better services instead of being so bloody awkward.

    1. More political influence?

      Hows that working out with Waka Kotahi, who are directed to spend billions on super low value highways in marginal electorates.

      1. True and Treasury has never liked rail which didn’t help in the days of the old NZR but is this any better now. I think it isn’t because we still have the democratic process. The people can campaign to retain services and introduce new ones. Eight billion has being invested in our rail system since 2017 it’s about time we see some results especially for freight. And by results I mean increased tonnages not some accountant fiddling things to make out some kind of profit has being made.

  5. If you look at the Kiwirail/Beca report from 2021 you see how much flexibility the lower North Island will get from the hybrid engines.
    The report gives figures – cost estimates – for possible electrification Waikanae to PNorth and Upper Hutt to Masterton.
    If the hybrids come in 2026(?) they delay the need for the extension of the hot wires- I suspect
    the money for this may be hard to get and it probably should be focused on the Golden Triangle – but they still improve the service.
    You could make a case for hybrids to run extra services between Hamilton and Papakura as electrification extends from Pukekohe.
    Dunedin will be making the new carriages for the Capital Connection and Wairarapa and they could do the same for an enhanced Waikato service.

  6. The load on Auckland transport is making any job working with logistics harder and harder to manage. We are finding it is having a huge impact on the number of flower deliveries we are able to make on a daily basis. Bring on the drone flower delivery service!!! 🙂

    1. A flower delivery service is perfect for cargo bike delivery. We just need safe infrastructure. Drones have their place, particularly in data collection and research, but they should not be used for deliveries. That is putting a bandaid on the congestion problem, but only by adding another noise, risk and disturbance externality on the general public. If it was allowed, those who use the service because it suits their particular needs avoid facing up to the systems changes required to serve the entire population for all needs. For example, we need safe cycling infrastructure, which will serve flower deliveries, as well as restoring access to many non-drivers, including children.

  7. Two basic things: in this city, EVs do not help anything, they are usually only with a driver, taking space etc, and basically letting those that drive them feel better about the climate, even though they are doing absolutely nothing for it. Secondly, public transport should be free, for everyone, why on earth do we keep making it a complicated system. Either one dollar a ride, or free for all. All that money wasted on useless gates, and asking us to REMEMBER to use our AThop card at most stations where there are posts, no gates, so again we lose to AT if we don’t REMEMBER. They should have remembered to gate every station, it would have been easy, yet you see they get the dangerous / precious, but not Remuera which would have been so easy. Very strange I find. But of course Public Transport should be free if we really are living at a Climate Emergency Time, and a time when the wealthy don’t pay tax and inflation is hurting the most humble. Free P T and Tax the Wealth-y. It won’t save us from ourselves but at least we could move to a less inadequate country like that of pre Roger Douglas. Where would one be without wishful thoughts?

    1. EVs do nothing for the climate? You wanna try that one again? An EV trip that would otherwise be done in an ICE powered car is definitely a win for the climate. Just because it doesn’t eliminate a car from the road doesn’t mean it isn’t an improvement.

    2. I guess you can tell all the thousands of Aucklanders whose deaths have been hurried along by air pollution caused by ICE cars that EVs don’t help anything.

    3. What might help, Matthew, is not to look backwards to pre-Roger Douglas, but to think about the future a 14 year old must be thinking about it. Our work must be to make that as good as possible… and despairing about what’s been lost actually gets in the way of taking action. The kids need us positive.

      On EV’s I hear your concerns. Their place in a decarbonised future is certainly becoming less and less important the more we accept the benefits of public and active transport investment are so much higher, dollar for dollar. EV’s have their place – particularly E-vans and right-sized E-trucks for urban areas. Campaigning against EV’s isn’t really productive, but campaigning against them getting the lion’s share of the government’s decarbonisation effort probably is.

      1. Government funded incentives to move to EV’s does nothing towards relieving congestion, and nothing towards reallocating roadspace, to enhance the environment and encourage active modes of transport.
        But it provides the path for the motor industry and roading industry to carry on as before. The only change is government funding to assist their customers buying new cars to further clutter our public space.

  8. Its good to see plans are now “action” plans. – eg Infrastructure Action Plan

    It makes me wonder about the other plans we have – without action.

    1. Heh. In 2014 we had a Low Carbon Strategic Action Plan. If we’d followed that… we’d have been in good shape every step of the way, demonstrating what was needed for the next big decision…

  9. There is a couple of Transport aspects which have not being raised coming from the Glenbook Mill project. Firstly it will cut the convoys of coal trucks between Auckland Port and the mill. In addition shredded scrap from Sims metal in Otahuhu will presumably travel to the mill rather than Auckland port. It would be possible for this to travel on rail as the Otahuhu site is situated close to rail. And of coarse the mill is rail served.

  10. Why the large drops in rail-specific appropriation in the 2025-26 year and, especially, in the 2026-27 year?

  11. Missing from all these comments is the graph showing not much more than 1/3 of roading funding is coming from motorists via the National Land Transport Fund – at least for this and the next or previous years. So this crowing by the motoring lobby that they pay for their roads but other modes don’t is more spurious than ever.

  12. As you know the Budget 2023 has finally been released and has announced a package for Rail Network investment. Having more frequent rail from Wellington to Wairarapa, Wellington to Palmerston North is good to hear! Though, in Auckland’s case of starting intercity rail service between Wairoa River then to Tauranga, not good plan. In-fact will take longer say 2040 to get faster commute Hamilton then to Tauranga. Aucklands rail service Hamilton should be looked into again with including grade separation, execrating land for 2nd line in some parts of the line so don’t have problems with frequencies between passenger and freight services. The Auckland – Hamilton line should be done in phases.

    Phase 1 should be to invest in electrification between Pukekohe – Mercer, about $400-$500 million project. Complete construction by 2026 – 2027, along with adding stations in Buckland, Tuakau, Pokeno and Mercer. Get famers in the area to sell their land in Tuakau, Pokeno and Mercer to build subdivision of houses and shopping centre. Get Aucklanders to move to these areas since lifestyle and cost of living would be cheaper there. The first stage of Auckland – Hamilton electrification should be to extend electrification from Pukekohe to Mercer should construct standings for EMU units.

    Mercer makes a fantastic place for a rail/bus interchange since it’s close to the SH1. Also means could have the Intercity buses would be arrive into the station, pick up passengers and connect to places like Taupo, Napier, Palmerston North and New Plymouth. It would reduce the amount of private vehicles on our roads if there was an rail/bus interchange at Mercer since commuters would have more access and reduced travel times travelling by transport providers. At the moment in Auckland, if you’re living some parts of Auckland likes of central Auckland suburbs like Ellerslie, Remuera, Onehunga, Greenlane and further south west suburbs Mt Roskill, Hillsbourgh, don’t have good easy to find access to Intercity buses, would be even better commuters like around Papakura, Drury, Pukekohe, Tukarau and Pokeno. Intercity doesn’t have good accessible intercity bus stations. If the Government stepped in and built a rail/bus interchange at Mercer it would benefit a lot of people and climate.

    Along with Mercer, it should be part of Auckland region! Not Waikato region! During the Covid-19 pandemic, had lockdowns which meant government had to create a border for Auckland since its the most populous. The southern border was all the way up to Mercer along Mangatawhiri, if another pandemic was to happen again, border would needed from Mercer and Mangatawhiri. Makes sense for both of them to become Auckland in-case of another pandemic such as Covid-19 pandemic we’ve as a country experienced!

    Phase 2 should be to invest in electrification between Mercer – Huntly and complete construction by 2031, along with adding stations in Meremere and Te Kahuwhata. Get investors to buy land in Meremere ,Te Kahuwhata and Huntly to build subdivision of houses and shopping centre. Get Aucklanders to move to these areas since lifestyle and cost of living would be cheaper there.

    Phase 3 should be to invest in electrification between Huntly – Hamilton/Frankton complete construction by 2033 – 2036, along with adding stations in Ngaruwahia and Horotiu. Get farmers to sell off land in Ngaruwahia, Horotiu and Rotokauri to build subdivision of houses and shopping centre. Get Aucklanders to move to these areas since lifestyle and cost of living would be cheaper there. At Frankton station should construct permanent standings for the EMU units.

    1. Also forgot to mention, in-future they’ll be a need for a permanent terminus for Mercer so there would be 2 mainlines heading for Auckland, one going through Pukekohe and tunnelled through the Bombays

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