On Monday, National launched its transport policy for the upcoming election, showing that at least National have learnt how to recycle, with the policy largely recycled from their 2020 campaign, which itself was mostly recycled from 2017.

As expected, the policy is almost all about building lots of big roads, once again using the Roads of National Significance (RoNS) name. It seems to be based on the idea of “four lanes good, two lanes bad”. While it certainly is much nicer and safer driving on a four-lane divided highway over a two lane road, that’s not the basis for a good transport policy.

National have included four public transport projects too – however, they’re all projects that are either funded and already underway, or appear to have some large caveats attached to them.

List of all projects by region are shown below.

The RoNS 4.0

I think we’re up to the fourth version of the RoNS now, and just like at the last election, one of the headline features of the policy is to build a four-lane highway from Whangarei to Tauranga. Though National do appear to have dropped the suggestion of tunnelling under the Brynderwyn and Kaimai ranges from their 2020 campaign promises.

Holes were quickly found with the policy, in the form of two 50km sections of the route missing (through the Brynderwyns and Kaimai Ranges), and out-of-date cost estimates for some included projects.

All up, National are claiming they’ll spend $17 billion over the next 10 years on the new RoNS 4.0, and that’s on top of the billions directed towards projects funded or already underway. A number of promised projects are ones that have been proposed and investigated in the past and been found wanting, but National just can’t seem to give them up.

As noted, the projected costs quickly came under fire from Labour who pointed out that on just four of the projects, National is using old figures – with the latest estimates being as much as $4.8 billion more.

  • Tauriko West State Highway 29 – National has put the cost at $1.9 billion. Waka Kotahi’s latest estimates put the cost range at $2.5 – 3.25 billion ($600 million – $1.35 billion short).
  • Warkworth to Wellsford Expressway – National says $2.2 billion. The latest Waka Kotahi estimate is $3.5 – $4 billion ($1.3 – $1.8 billion short).
  • Cambridge to Piarere – National says $721 million. The latest Waka Kotahi estimate is $1.5 – $2 billion ($780 million – $1.28 billion short).
  • Whangarei to Port Marsden – National says $1.3 billion. The latest Waka Kotahi estimate is $1.41 – $1.67 billion ($110 – $367 million short).

This is not surprising, given the large cost escalation of transport projects in recent years. It’s also likely that a number of the other projects on National’s list will end up being significantly higher too. For example, the East-West Link was estimated to cost $1.85b back in 2017 – at the time, it was estimated to be the most expensive highway project in the world, ever – and given what we’ve seen with other projects in recent years, it could easily be double that now.

To be fair to National, it’s not surprising they got some of these costs wrong, as I think this might have been the first time those new higher costs have made it into the public domain.

And while the cost escalation is not National’s fault, it will have a significant impact on the economic value of many of these projects. For example, based on that old cost of $2.2 billion, Warkworth to Wellsford was only predicted to have an economic return over a 40 year period of around 70c for every $1 it costs to build. With the price now up to $4 billion, and likely more by the time it starts, the economics of it will be even worse.

The key reason that is so low is that the road just doesn’t have the volume of traffic to justify a four-lane upgrade. Waka Kotahi says the trigger point to build it is 25k vehicles per day whereas the road only sees about 12k per day right now.

The issue of cost escalation is also highlighted by this graph I’ve put together of the cost of various roading projects per km. For those completed projects I’ve inflated them by CPI to get a fairer comparison. Note, not all projects are in here, as for some it can be hard to split out how costs are allocated. What you can see is the current projects under construction or proposed by National are in some cases orders of magnitude higher than what we’ve built in the past. Building roads at these kinds of costs is simply not sustainable – either financially or environmentally.

It’s disappointing and frustrating that we seem to have moved to a situation where it’s almost exclusively four lanes or nothing.

Though there are some non-RoNS projects National are committing to:

The Ashburton Bridge makes some sense, while the Queenstown and Otago-Southland bridge packages don’t have set outcomes and are just pots of money that they’ll decide what to do with later.

There are a couple of other comments worth noting too

  • They’ll use Cyclone and Flood relief funding to upgrade the Hawkes Bay Expressway
  • They’ll investigate expanding Penlink to four lanes
  • They seem to think that funding an additional harbour crossing with private finance will make it cheaper.

Public Transport

National have included just four public transport projects in their policy – and as noted, two are already underway and the other two have large caveats.

Of these, the Eastern Busway is already underway, though as National correctly note, the final section from Burswood to Botany is not currently included in that. That section does need funding but it is disingenuous to claim they’ll be building the whole thing. It’s also worth noting that the total cost of the remaining sections of the busway is estimated at $1.3 billion, so the funding mentioned is likely just the government’s contribution – which means the rest of it is dependent on the council finding its share of the costs.

Similarly, the funding for the Airport to Botany project is also assumed to be around half of what’s required, with the council having to find the other $1.1 billion. To me, rapid transport projects should be considered at the same strategic level as state highways and should get full government funding just like state highways do.

The suggestion for the northwest is notable for a different reason. Firstly, it’s hilarious that National is blaming Labour for not building anything here when it was National who refused to incorporate a rapid transit line when the SH16 motorway was widened (and the causeway raised) less than a decade ago.

More worryingly, it seems like National is being wooed by the same arguments around private finance as Labour were with light rail, and promise to use it to build a line to the Northwest – though interestingly they don’t specify a mode. They specifically refer to the model used to build Vancouver’s Canada Line and Montreal’s just opened REM. The REM was built by CDPQ, the Canadian pension fund who worked with the NZ Superfund to derail light rail here.

Finally, National say they’ll fund the new regional trains for Wellington that Labour announced three months ago. The only difference is they say they’ll fund 22 new trains, whereas Labour’s funding was only to cover 18 new trains. The additional trains are welcome – but the majority of the claimed investment is already underway, so like the Eastern Busway, this is somewhat disingenuous from National.

They’ve dropped from their policy last election the promises to build a fourth main, to extend rail electrification to Pokeno and to add sections of double track north of Wellington.

Funding and Financing

In order to fund all of this, National want to reallocate funding within the National Land Transport fund, include an additional $6.3 billion in direct crown contributions and $9.5 billion in private funding.

The reallocation of money includes cutting $4.5 billion of funding from public transport and $3 billion from road safety, while once again capping road policing funding. They did this in their last time in office and it was a significant contributor to New Zealand’s worsening road safety outcomes.

A further $400 million will come from dropping funding currently allocated to building a rail spur to Marsden Point.

That direct Crown contribution is money that could otherwise be spent on things like hospitals or schools etc, but this has become an increasingly common tool for funding transport projects by both parties over the last decade.

More concerning is the private funding (or financing). In their policy, and throughout the week, National have claimed that there are trillions of dollars sitting in the likes of international pension funds just looking for a place to invest.

But it seems National have mixed up financing and funding.

While those pension funds are more than happy to invest in building infrastructure, we still have to pay for it. Both Transmission Gully and Puhoi to Warkworth were built with this model, and to service the debt on those roads, we’re locked into paying around $250 million annually for 25 years.

That’s money that comes straight out of the NLTF that then can’t be spent on other things, so could significantly hamper the ability of future governments to build and maintain our transport system.

Given National reference Montreal, it’s also worth a reminder that I’ve covered before how Montreal’s REM deal works. The TL;DR version is: CDPQ get to own 70% of the infrastructure, despite only paying for half of the project – and then enjoy an 8-9% annual return on their investment for a century.

These financing options are a sure-fire way for us to spend a lot more money over the long term to build infrastructure. A deal good for bankers, not so good for New Zealanders.

Future projects

National have indicated what their next priority projects will be, saying they’ll start or progress investigations on the following projects:

  • Level crossing removal on Auckland’s rail network
  • A fourth main rail line for Auckland
  • Third bridge over the Waikato River in Cambridge
  • Safety and resilience improvements to State Highway 1 between Taupo and Waiouru
  • Palmerston North Ring Road
  • Second access road into Wainuiomata
  • Christchurch rapid transit
  • Christchurch to Ashburton four-lane expressway
  • Dublin Street bridge replacement in Whanganui
  • A Stokes Valley-Haywards connector road on State Highway 2

In summary, there’s not a lot of surprises here, and there’s also not a lot to like. This is a transport policy that aims to set NZ back to the 1960s rather than set the country up for the future. It will result in more congestion, more emissions, more potholes and more people dying on our roads.

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  1. Unbelievable that Marsden Point branch gets kicked to touch yet again. Considering trains to the port would go a long way towards improving reading in the north. Makes me wonder who’s pulling their strings.

    1. I am not too upset about this nor do I believe Kiwirail will be either because having a branch line into the port dilutes the effectiveness of the rail operation in the Northland region. An upgraded Road between the port and the Whangarai rail yards will allow for intensive container transfer in both directions with few empty workings. Furthermore the installation of charging facilities will allow for the job to be done with electric trucks. Containers will be loaded on and off rail at a single point. This will be more efficient than having to shunt at multiple locations. I can envisage Whangerai yards becoming the main distribution point for containers in the Northland area. However logging traffic will continue to be done by trucks. It will also make it more difficult to down size Auckland port which I think is a good thing.

        1. Kiwirail would be so busy building the Marsden Point branch and fixing up the rest of the network it wouldn’t have the resources or the time to rebuild the logging yards at Helensville, Wellsford, Otiria or the Dargaville branch to the standard that would be required for a modern operation. Witness how long it took them to build the yard at Wairoa which was months and months after the line to Wairoa had being reopened. There would be so many ducks that they would have to get in a row that they would never get there. Give them a break for a couple of years and reassess whether the branch makes sense then.

        2. This is the biggest load of nonsense I have read in a long time. The Marsden Point Branch has been firm Labour policy for the past 20 years and they have strong support from RMTU and others in the industry to build. The rail industry doesn’t need armchair advisers telling it how to do its job.

        3. My guess as to what will happen if the branch to the port is built is that Kiwirail will immediately cease operations at Whangarei and all containers for Northland will be handled at the port just like Tauranga and Napier. The only trains venturing North of the branch will be a daily shunt to the Dairy factory at Kauri and logging trains from Otiria there will be no logging trains from Wellsford or Helensville and the Dargaville branch will remain mothballed. The rail yard in Whangerai will be sold. Just possibly there may be some container trains from Otiria in the peak fruit season especially if the containers need to be exported through Auckland or Tauranga. I am not trying to advise Kiwirail what to do just trying to predict what they will do if the branch to the port is built.

      1. The fact the port was built without rail connection and it was on the original drawings is a mystery. I suppose you’d have to look at the fact that 6,000,000 tonnes were arriving to Whangarei Port each year before port moved to Marsden. Critically Stan Semenoff (owner of Semenoff transport) was mayor between 1989 to 1998 and again 2007 to 2010. More than once he was investigated for driver’s log book infringements after prompting his drivers to falsify entries. I guess my concern is safety and road wear and tear. Electric Trucks I’m guessing will be heavier than existing ICE fleets.

        1. Short history:
          National sat on it when the port was relocated
          Picked up by the Helen Clark government in the 2000s. They got as far as designating the route and buying the land under the regional council until another National government stopped work again in 2009.
          Picked up again by the Labour-NZ First coalition but for some silly reason the business cases have all had to be redone from scratch and the design work has taken forever.
          The unnecessary delay this time around has been like most Labour policies, tied up in unnecessary red tape and ministerial incompetence.

      2. When the Otiria-Whangarei line upgrade is completed logs will be going by rail from Otiria so some potential for fewer logging trucks on the road.

      3. Very obtuse nonsensical thinking trying to solve non-issues as outcomes. Auckland Port is not going anywhere simply because National is no way going to give into the subtle blackmail from successive Auckland mayors. Labour was stupid enough to promise this wanting to shore up their man in the mayoralty.

        1. Off course Auckland port is not going anywhere it makes little sense to rail or or more likely road containers and card from Marsden Point.

    2. Labour dropped the ball on it. It’s been underway since the last Labour government. Labour practically restarted it from scratch, which was stupid red tape.

  2. The policy seems designed from the premise that enough New Zealanders want to actively kill progress on climate action. Or, perhaps, that too few can see past the misinformation about “electrification” being all we need.

    In this day and age, there should actually be checks and balances in place – within the party itself, or the media’s willingness to cover it, or perhaps academia having a proper presence in the media – to prevent a policy so misaligned with responsible action even being suggested by a major political party.

    The only good thing is it is so bad it **should** kill their chances of a win.

    1. Not just straightforward electrification. They want to waste some of that electricity to make hydrogen to run trucks on their roads when electric trucks – and of course (electric) rail wherever possible – make far more sense from an energy use and emissions perspective

  3. It’s pretty simple question for NZ voter’s, $30B for light rail down Dominion Road or $17B for a wide range of roading projects across the country including essentially completing 4 lanes from Whangerai to Tauranga. All these projects make sense (apart from East West Link which is not great value for money), make no difference to the worlds climate change and improve safety and productivity.

      1. When National doubled it because projects always go over, but then forgot to double their own project costs.

      2. I think Treasury put it at $29B. But it’s OK nobody will build it so it will only cost a few hundred million in fees.

        1. About $1 million per metre! Can I build a few metres for them, I’ll just sharpen my pick.

    1. 4 lanes Whangarei to Tauranga is not included in that $17B. It’s a couple of motorway extensions only, not the whole route. As noted in the article, “two 50km sections of the route missing (through the Brynderwyns and Kaimai Ranges),”

    2. I agree with the idea that choosing someone that builds *anything* is better than someone that doesn’t

      But “including essentially completing 4 lanes from Whangarei to Tauranga” is outright false. They’d do a couple more projects in those corridors, nowhere near “essentially complete”

      And none of those projects make sense. They’re all massive net economic losers. We’re already scraping the bottom of the barrel with Otaki to North of Levin at 0.2BCR. Can only imagine how abysmally a road that carries half the traffic would perform.

  4. National can buy my vote if they let me in that sweet PPP deal. I provide a few 100k of money for a guaranteed yearly return of 10% over the next 50 years.

  5. There are a good number of people who have never used public transport recently. I listen to deniers who say that the busses are empty. They are very opposed to PT and are unaware of the good value of trains and busses to many. Last week my bus was full and others couldn’t get on. The trains are busy too and thousands of people are using Britomart. The Northern busway is our busiest but AT wouldn’t build the Rosedale Bus station.
    Each year, air pollution causes more than 300 premature deaths in Auckland and results in increased numbers of reduced activity days and hospital visits, and higher usage of medications. It is estimated that the social cost of air pollution in Auckland is $1.07 billion per year. 13,200 cases of asthma in children every year are exclusively caused by car pollution.
    The National party say they are better at managing the economy and better at business but that is not true.

    1. Well the thousands using Britomart had better get out and vote accordingly or they will be paying more for reduced service? Cutting $4.5 billion out of the PT infrastructure fund (which is currently $5 billion) seems like a 90% reduction. Although the Nats talk about 10 years and the current NLTF says 3 years.

  6. I support 4 laning where the traffic volumes justify (20-25,000 per day) as the crash rates for deaths and serious injuries are much lower.

    I don’t support:

    a) No increase in the fuel tax excise for the last 4 years

    b) General tolling roads where further increases in fuel excise tax could fund the road (the toll operational costs are significant & inefficient). I do support congestion tolling but that’s different.

    c) Using private capital. This simply requires a higher return on capital (than the interest cost govt could borrow at). Fuel excise taxes should be raised to cover the costs on new infrastructure.

    d) Using crown and ratepayer taxes to fund transport. It should be user pays.

    1. National’s full climate policy isn’t out yet but we do know they would eliminate the feebate and “make fuel efficiency standards achievable”, which I take to mean weakening the targets for future years which can be done by a stroke of the pen. Very likely all the mode shift stuff in the ERP would go too.

      1. Holy shit these guys are malicious. What’s the bet that these religious nutjobs don’t actually believe in climate change?

    2. The actual quote from Mr Simeon Brown was “The Te Hui train has been quite a debacle over many years to be honest.” Has this man or his boss ever been on Te Huia?

      1. I thought the same thing; an emotive comment from a transport illiterate but of course, he wasn’t asked to elaborate by Orsman.

      2. You don’t need to ride a train to understand it’s not paying its way. The reasonable debate is whether the resources wasted on this train could be better used elsewhere. Fundamentally, it’s politicians in Hamilton using the taxpayer to subsidise people to live in the Waikato and commute to Auckland on the train everyday who are benefiting the most.

        1. It’s used by a whole range of people travelling between the first and fourth largest cities not just commuters. It provides a convenient connection to Auckland International airport for locals and tourists, students use it to travel home and on and on.

        2. Where would the “wasted” resources go instead?

          And who decides what is “wasted” v “invested”?

        3. And is “paying its way” the new benchmark because, boy, have I got some roads to show you….

    3. A notable omission from the National transport announcement is any indicative cost benefit analysis for any of the roading projects – yet cost benefit is needed for Te Huia to continue?

      Hypocrisy driven by the demands of National’s donors and the instructions from the NZ Initiative/Business Roundtable I reckon.

  7. “… while once again capping road policing funding – they did this in their last time in office and it was a significant contributor to New Zealand’s worsening road safety outcomes….”

    National are literally willing to see people die so Simeon Brown can own the libs.

    1. Yes. Do they really think enough New Zealanders are willing to sacrifice our family members?

      We have enough research about the trail of death that’s left each time politicians reduce safety measures. Auckland’s Road Safety Business Improvement Review detailed what happened when the Nats reduced police enforcement. This is matched by data from other countries.

      New Zealanders need to show National that we want our children to survive, and that there’s no place for this callous disregard for lives.

      1. Yes, absolutely, and people will. Because for the majority it is not their family members but someone else’s. And a lot of people don’t make the connection between traffic and accidents – after all, if all those killed pedestrians/cyclists had been in a car, the might still be alive!
        As long as you can drive to the store/pub/gym and don’t have to walk too far, people are happy. If you can do it on 4 lanes, that is even greater.

  8. OK. So… what’s the alternatives? The current massive unwinding of the Auckland rail network due to ongoing track issues, the delay after delay to rapid transit projects in Auckland, the Council being left to their own devices to nuke community transport projects that they couldn’t fund anyway, and the ongoing indignity of a fuel tax for Auckland and Auckland alone while other regions get their trains paid for out of government coffers and preferential funding on significant regional projects.

    Like, you can see why I’m not exactly sold on the status quo (and remember, if it mattered, things would be better – so the fact they aren’t should tell you how much this actually matters to our current powerbrokers).

    I have a hard time believing that the National plans, realistically, can be much worse than the actual outcomes we’re getting in terms of progress. It’s an uncomfortable truth, but at this point I’m struggling to see any moral reason why the status quo should be allowed to continue. And if we do see more expansive plans for Auckland from Labour, why should I trust them to deliver after half a decade of failure and why should I see it as anything but a panicked knee-jerk reaction to a close election?

    1. The “current massive unwinding of the Auckland rail network”, as you put it, is just the result of finally facing and fixing the infrastructure decay that has developed over the past 50 years. Why don’t you give Labour credit for this, in fact many of the projects they have put in motion take years but the critics seem to expect instant results with zero disruption. We’ll probably have to face the galling sight of Simeon Brown opening the third main when they stalled the project for years to the extent of suppressing reports.

      1. Well said.
        The Kiwi annual report is well worth reading and itemises all the work done. The previous National government opposed the 3rd line and much more. When the Western and Eastern lines have been repaired and the CRL completed in 2 or 3 years passenger numbers will rise quickly. There have been many apartments built near to train stations despite strong opposition from the stupid car lobby. People living close to a train station will have a better life style than poor struggling families living too far away and spending too much time and money commuting

      2. If you can point to Kiwirail being red the riot act by the government over the shutdown and delays in the Auckland network, then fire away.

        You know, like how Wellington had like two days of train issues and they got hauled in front of the principal and told to write an essay about how sorry they were and why it wouldn’t happen again.

        This smacks of “Thank you Sir, may I have another?” levels of copium.

        1. Some of the things that happen are infuriating (ie the short circuiting insulator under the Newmarket bridge) but you have to remember Kiwirail is an organisation that was in “managed decline” until 2017, they were still talking about staff redundancies as late as 2016. Lost institutional knowledge takes years to rebuild.

    2. The status quo is definitely broken. The problem is these policies are demonstrably destructive to the environment, cause death rates to rise, are not financially viable, and will make traffic worse and cost of living go up along with house prices as it ties in with their greenfield only development policy and walking back on the MDRS.

      NW rapid transit under National watch would be the most expensive and road dependant version possible.

      If the current state is like a house on fire, these policies are like throwing petrol into the flames.

      1. Then what’s the actual plan to fix it? Who is being held accountable for how things got to this state of affairs? Why am I being expected to weigh up something which might be wrong fit for a route vs. a better solution but one that not only does the government seem incapable of delivering, but they also seem to just not care?

        Duke Nukem Forever gave the world the phrase ‘vapourware’ but it eventually came out after 14 years. It seems like we are going to be waiting significantly longer for rapid transit in the West if the best alternative to the National plan is Labour’s “Don’t mention the war” approach.

        If it mattered, they would have done something about. It’s time to be realistic and draw our own conclusions: It doesn’t matter.

        1. So you’ve shown your hand that you don’t really care about the planet, costs, insert every other issue raised above as long as you can get to the house you decided to buy out west quicker than you can now. Ignoring that Nationals policy of motorways and greenfields passes the issue you face on tenfold to others.

          I agree that both parties are trash, but whatever affects you personally the least I guess l.

        2. “Shown my hand” what the hell is that meant to mean? Yea dude, I hate the planet so much I want to see rapid transit projects actually get built as opposed to endless dicking around.

          I don’t have an answer for the issues around greenfield development other than I think you’re going to see that happen anyway. Based on both parties’ aversion to actual change and delivery, it would offer a path of least resistance and it seems like a pretty natural conclusion. Like you say, both main parties are trash.

          But you could help me out and tell me which rapid transit projects I’m allowed to be annoyed at not progressing, that would be a big help.

        3. I feel your pain and frustration, I’m from out west too. And I totally understand the dilemma, why are we put in this position? I’m one of those who feel totally ripped off having voted for light rail in 2017. Absolutely at a loss who to vote for.

          I guess I just land on the side of looking at the sheer destructive potential of the National policies compared to any benefit of whatever their as yet undefined rapid transit would be, and I just can’t see how doing something way, way worse will actually result in a better outcome for the West or the city and country.

          I tend to speculate the rapid transit proposal will be rapid bus which will require ripping out the whole NW motorway so that we don’t lose any car lanes and keep the road builders occupied for the next 10 years on that alone. Probably lose the bike path too because from their perspective hardly anyone uses it compared to the more important car lanes. And the whole project will get lower priority than the precious East-West link and Wellsford highway (both of which will probably increase traffic on the NW motorway as the E-W link is partially designed as another city bypass to Waterview) so won’t even get done anyway.

  9. This stardust blown in the eyes of voters needs to be exposed. More road deaths, more congestion (at the ends of any RON that is actually built).
    For example, Penlink 4 lane is stupid. Buses don’t need it except where already planned at the Whangaparaoa end, where the signal intersection regulates the vehicles that can get onto Penlink.
    Mill Road was going to be built by NZUP until the costs were updated.
    All the “won’t spend” is the real policy behind these glitter statements.

  10. National’s read the opinion polls showing only 23% think climate change is the most important issue (https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/ct/news/documents/2023-06/20th%20Ipsos%20New%20Zealand%20Issues%20Monitor%20%28May%202023%29.pdf). Furthermore, 15% think National the most effective on climate change and only 37% think the Greens most effective. An awful lot more education about climate change is needed. So far the disinformation funded by the fossil fuel industry is paying dividends.

    1. When it comes to transport, I think there is too much focus on climate change.

      I am on board with the whole premise, but local issues such as congestion, air quality, cost of fuel and additional expenses of car ownership, urban regenaration, choice etc would have been far more effective. These are tangible to your local tax/rate payer. Climate change just isn’t, yet.

      1. It depends on the audience. Those are all key messages but it also helps to explain that improving transport for people is entirely compatible with reducing emissions; there’s no need for trade-offs. People win all ways; those who stand to lose from transport improvements are simply the current polluting businesses.

        1. I agree, Heidi. So start with the messages that deliver local improvements first and that our climate change goals around emissions (at least for transport) look after themselves, without too much extra effort.

          My thoughts are we are have it the wrong way around.

    2. Yes. Education, demonstration, informed deliberation and the dismantling of sources of misinformation – along the same lines taken to control the tobacco industry’s misinformation – should have been a big focus of government.

      Now it’ll need to be independent bodies doing this work. Will academia step up?

      Labour could at least help by walking away from climate damaging policy themselves.

        1. Lol.

          I suppose, as usual, what we should be demanding is that the media tackle them. A major party going full climate denial does provide them plenty of subject matter for clicks so there’s no excuse for hiding how bad this is.

          I wonder what the lawyers will suggest…

    1. Sure… I’ll be writing them… to make sure they have a sane rapid transit policy that isn’t going to waste money on years of expensive light rail proposals that go nowhere, like ALR has the past six years.

  11. It’s not the National manifesto that is going to be important, it’s ACT’s. Unfortunately ACT will be able to pull the strings of any National/ACT government and, again unfortunately, this will most likely be the next NZ Government.
    Labour have been a party big on ideas, poor on delivering and the Greens and TPM are absolutely bonkers.
    On top of this, the majority of NZs don’t want to be told to mode shift, so there are happy with building more roads.
    If you don’t like this democracy, move to Rarotonga.

    1. Another insightful comment Henry, thanks for your contribution. There are a lot of earnest people working hard that I am sure appreciate it.

      1. I’m sure glad you appreciated it Phil, I was hanging out for some internet recognition from someone I’ve never met xx
        I’d take ambition over earnest though and I did like a lot of the ideas that Labour put forward. Minister Twyford especially had some excellent ideas, but ideas don’t equal prizes.

        1. “the majority of NZs don’t want to be told to mode shift”.
          Henry F you miss the point. It’s not about being told to mode-shift.
          Many people would appreciate the choice to be able to mode-shift, but that choice is largely not offered at the moment. National/Act, if they make it into govt, will further restrict any choice in this regard. I wonder what proportion of NZers don’t want to be told that they pretty-much have to go by car, like it or not, because that is the present reality.

        2. @Dave B. Mode shift is available now to almost everyone in NZ, it’s free and mostly the infrastructure is already in place.
          It’s called ‘walking’ and anytime you don’t want to use a car, just help yourself to the footpath. You will find it’s door to door and the health benefits are immediate.
          With each step you can congratulate yourself on saving the planet.

  12. More years without a rail link to the airport. Sad.

    I always wanted surface LR from Wynyard Quarter to the end of Dominion road, and Heavy rail from Onehunga to the airport as an extension of the Onehunga line which will reach Henderson post CRL (Henderson- Airport line via Mangawhau). Would be way cheaper than underground light rail for sure. It would help to solve the 30 minute frequency of the line post CRL caused by the stupid single track between Penrose and Onehunga. It would also serve Mangere etc. Surface LR will would be good for Queen street and the CBD in general. Oh well.

    I don’t know why it has to be one way or the other, or heavy rail vs light rail (to the airport) like it has been debated for years. We should utilise both.

    1. So I was told HR to the airport via Onehunga was in National’s campaign promises for 2020. Why is it dropped I wonder?

      1. Probably because its got an awful BCR compared to the alternatives.

        The only thing it was superior on was that it looked easier on a map.

    2. I’ve flown in / out of Auckland multiple times using the Airport bus and transfer onto the train. It was honestly fine. Never long waits as everything is on fast frequencies, runs in T3 lanes for most of the trip so is reliable. In fact the bus is more reliable than the train portion by a mile at the moment.

      Spending billions on a heavy rail link which would (maybe) only marginally improve the service seems very wasteful compared to other transport needs in the region.

      Mostly it just needs better shelters ticketing and signage at the airport end. But then again, the entire airport (in particular domestic) is actually a pretty crappy experience. Tacky 2000s era mall vibes. Oh and the T3 lanes need to be extended into the airport area itself.

      1. Have the T3 lanes been of use in your experience out of interest. ie has there been enough congestion for you to be zipping past the traffic?

        1. I have flown at off peak traffic times mostly. So not really.
          I have seen videos where the bus was flying past. And even though my bus didn’t need them, it still made the service more useful to me because I could take a later train / bus knowing I was guaranteed to not get stuck in traffic.

      2. I agree – the airport bus/rail link is great. I even did it with luggage and 2 kids.

        Rail (LR or otherwise) from the north will come eventually, but I’d actually extend the bus RTN and that is, to be fair, where National’s Airport to Botany plan comes in. I’d also run that bus RTN up to Onehunga, too.

        Once done, that’s a lot of people in the region who have access to the airport via an RTN, even with a transfer (although direct for A2B riders)

        1. Domestic flights are in the ETS. Those emissions would happen regardless, I just outbid someone else for the right to emit them. Want less carbon burned? Auction / give out fewer credits.

  13. This party is so backwards, heck even our cousins in overseas Australia had either side trying to out do each other for PT infrastructure.
    I think anyone thinking this election will see past their bad and misleading policies and vote elsewhere.

  14. The Kiwirail yard expansion plan at Bunnythorpe sticks out massively by its omission. Guessing they will can that like they will can just about anything big in rail.

  15. Actually, BCRs don’t seem to matter to National. Its probably just that they raided the PT fund so much for roads, there isn’t anything left. And private funding probably isn’t interested in a 3-station line.

  16. In reply to Henry H.
    You obviously don’t walk much.
    Outside our urban areas there is almost zilch infrastructure for walking.
    Not even a walkable grass verge.
    Hence rural people have to rely on being driven even for absurdly short journeys.

    Even In our urban areas there are also very serious deficiencies in walking infrastructure. In many areas footpaths are only on one side of the street, and have the lowest priority in maintaining access.

    Until very recently there was not even a safe crossing for pedestrians for kilometres between Evans Bay and the harbour edge walkway.

    Also obvious is the general lack of pedestrian crossings adjacent to all bus stops on arterial roads, even those served by frequent bus services. So either the morning or evening bus commute requires dodging heavy traffic to get to, or from, the bus stop.

    And there is no pedestrian route across the Waitemata harbour at all, zilch only 2k from by far the most densely populated area in NZ. Also the area with probably the lowest proportion of car ownership.

  17. You Project Cost per km graph left out Tauriko West.
    At around 6.5km, it results in a range of $385 million – $500 million per km. Leaving the East West link in its 53ton dust, and as far as I can tell, be the most expensive road in NZ. Oh and if you look back at the previous business cases (the first was rejected and had scathing peer reviews), they are superb 😉

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