Last Friday, almost six weeks after election day, National finally came to an agreement with ACT and NZ First to form a government.

They also released the agreements between each party, and looking through them, here are the things I thought were the most interesting (and often concerning).

The Ministers

To start with, the announcement also included the ministerial positions that will sworn in today.

The one that will have the most impact on what we discuss is Simeon Brown, who among a few other roles, picks up:

  • Minister of Transport
  • Minister for Auckland
  • Minster of Local Government

Then we have Chris Bishop, who gets:

  • Minister of Housing
  • Minister for Infrastructure
  • Minister Responsible for RMA Reform.

And Matt Doocey picks up the Associate Minister of Transport role. The associate minister has often been the person who deals with things like the safety programme.

Shane Jones is also back in a role similar to the one he had in 2017-2020 as Minister for Regional Development. I include this as a good chunk of the investment from the then Provincial Growth Fund went towards transport projects – including investment in rail.


National’s policies understandably form the basis of the new government’s policy programme, but they explicitly call out a few changes made to these as a result of their deal with ACT.

  • National’s Going for Housing Growth policy will now accommodate the ACT/National agreement to make the Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) optional for councils, and to consider sharing a portion of GST collected on new residential builds with councils.
  • National’s commitment to supercharge electric vehicle infrastructure with a comprehensive, nationwide network of 10,000 public EV chargers by 2030 will specifically take into account ACT’s concern that there be robust cost benefit analysis to ensure maximum benefit for government investment.

Making MDRS optional is ultimately a way to try and kill it without actually removing it from the books. This is particularly concerning as all three major cities have spent a lot of time and public money to try and invent ways to avoid upzoning to not upset NIMBYs rather than embracing it. But given that the plan changes in response to the MDRS have already been notified and are largely in effect, will those councils go through the cost of stopping or changing them now?

This does also highlight the absurdity of Auckland Council leaving a huge swathe of the isthmus unchanged while waiting to hear about light rail, including the areas around existing rapid transit stations at Morningside and Kingsland.

Of course, all of this is about ACT continuing to argue for more regulation and fewer property rights for people when it comes to housing.

As for the EV chargers, this is unlikely to be a bad outcome. The private sector is already investing significantly in EV charger infrastructure, and National’s policy on this always seemed out of place.

On top of those changes are various ACT-specific policies they will pursue.


  • Repeal the Clean Car Discount.

The Clean Car Discount has been extremely successful in encouraging the sale of lower emission vehicles, with those now making up around 12.5% of the light-vehicle fleet, up from 7.5% before it was introduced. Repealing this is very much a backwards step, and purely for ideological reasons.

Most of the items of interest to what we talk about sit in the Infrastructure and Housing section.

Infrastructure and Housing

  • Institute long-term city and regional infrastructure deals, allowing PPPs, tolling and value capture rating to fund infrastructure.
  • Introduce financial incentives for councils to enable more housing, including considering sharing a portion of GST collected on new residential builds with councils.
  • Legislate to make the MDRS optional for councils, with the need for councils to ratify any use of MDRS, including existing zones.
  • Work with Auckland Council to implement time of use road charging to reduce congestion and improve travel time reliability.
  • Reverse speed limit reductions where it is safe to do so.

If all of this were implemented, it could potentially create a number of new revenue streams for councils to be able to fund their priorities, which is a good thing. The concern, though, would be if that then gets tied up in paying for big infrastructure projects – especially if those are made more expensive by using things like PPPs.

Given all of the housing that’s been built in Auckland in recent years, how about backdating that sharing of GST with councils a bit?

As for speed limits, Waka Kotahi and local government haven’t just been going around and arbitrarily dropping speed limits for the sake of it. Furthermore, as independent analysis has shown, speed limit changes on roads like the Napier to Taupo highway have created $93 million worth of benefits for only small costs – because journey times haven’t changed all that much.

One thing other thing that stands out is the lack of comment from ACT on ensuring transport projects stack up economically. There are a couple of mentions of policies needing full or robust cost-benefit analysis, including the EV chargers mentioned above – but there’s no call-out for the same approach to the billions of dollars that National have pledged for highway projects.

Public Service Delivery

  • Immediately issue stop-work notices on several workstreams, including:
    • Auckland Light Rail.
    • Let’s Get Wellington Moving

I certainly won’t be mourning the end to the current light rail saga; the proposed tunnel option was absurd. Labour’s handling of light rail is one of the most frustrating and disappointing aspects of transport policy over the last six years. They were handed a scheme pretty much ready to go, and it would easily have been up and running by now had they not been distracted by dreams of building metro-style solutions.

New Zealand First

National’s agreement with NZ First also confirms that National’s policies form the basis of the government, and specifically calls out:

The Parties will also progress the following additional policies which are a priority for the National Party:

  1. Build infrastructure with 13 new Roads of National Significant and four major public transport upgrades

The agreement also talks about NZ First’s priorities, and these are the ones that stood out to me.

Infrastructure, Energy, and Natural Resources

  • Establish a National Infrastructure Agency under the direction of relevant Ministers, to coordinate government funding, connect investors with New Zealand infrastructure, and improve funding, procurement, and delivery to:
    • Prioritise regional and national projects of significance.
    • Facilitate or procure funding for regional and national projects of significance.
    • Procure from government agencies for appropriate Crown projects.
    • Oversee procurement from the private sector
  • Prioritise strategic infrastructure to improve the resilience of heavy industry in New Zealand.
  • Establish a Regional Infrastructure Fund with $1.2 billion in capital funding over the Parliamentary term.
  • Cancel Auckland Light Rail and Let’s Get Wellington Moving and reduce expenditure on cycleways.
  • Commit to building a four-lane highway alternative for the Brynderwyns and investigate the use of private finance to accelerate construction.
  • Progress further work examining connecting the railway to Marsden Point and Northport from the Northern Main Truck Line.

On the first point: we already have an Infrastructure Commission, but this seems to suggest NZ First want them (or another government agency) involved in procurement too.

I also recall National regularly criticising the 2017-2020 government’s “Provincial Growth Fund”, which sounds very similar to this new “Regional Infrastructure Fund”.

Meanwhile, expenditure on cycleways continues to get blown way out of proportion. Despite all of the rhetoric and media articles about it, data from National Land Transport Fund shows that spending for walking and cycling in 2022 was less than $200 million – and nearly $60 million of that was spent by local authorities.

That’s out of nearly $5.5 billion in total transport spending, which means walking and cycling is about 3.6% of the transport spend. What’s more, much of the walking and cycling budget is currently going to a single project which is actually about protecting a motorway and rail line and just happens to have a cycleway on top.

Does an “alternative to the Brynderwyns” mean just that section, or the whole Whāngarei to Auckland corridor? Given the Warkworth to Wellsford section alone is now estimated at around $4 billion and there’s not a lot of funds in the transport budgets to pay for this (or even the debt on a PPP to build it) how far will this go?

Ensure all public service departments have their primary name in English, except for those specifically related to Māori.

Winston Peters has specifically called out Waka Kotahi over this, saying “How can you have a waka on the road?“. What’s notable about this is that the transport agency changed its logo to make Waka Kotahi more prominent in 2019, and began using the name Waka Kotahi in communication from March-2020 onwards, while Winston was Deputy Prime Minister.

Lastly, for all that is in these agreements, it remains to be seen how much actually gets achieved. Many of the big infrastructure projects on National’s list will require many years of design and consenting from an industry that is already at capacity with current and planned projects.

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      1. Labour’s central infrastructure promise was ALR. Six years later, that project is actually less advanced than it was when Labour took it on and the infrastructure Labour tried to pose for photographs with was… a road that National started.

        National and co. are coming in with a central infrastructure promise of “more roads”. They will get their more roads.

        They could do literally nothing else for the whole term and when then next election rolls around, all they have to do is point at whatever road is closest to being finished and going, “We did that in less than three years; what did Labour do in six years?” They’ll also be able to point at the CRL… which is a project that they can truthfully (but misleadingly) claim to have started.

        Politicians like tangible ribbon cutting, especially mega, projects because they’re tangible. What tangible evidence that Labour were in government for six years actually exists? When you think that they took power during a housing crisis and an infrastructure deficit it just gets worse. I absolutely agree that all National (and maybe ACT and NZ First) have to do is just not be Labour.

        1. Maybe the massive Kaianga Ora development at Avondale, the innovative KO building at Point Chevalier using modular construction. The very large 3 tower rebuild of the Greys Avenue KO complex, anther one at Northcote. And there’s plenty more. Then there’s the 9 car platforms on the CRL, the Beresford station entrance, the massive amount of work on the rail line from Pukekohe to Quay Park. Honestly, some people need to get out more.

        2. “Kaianga Ora development at Avondale […] Then there’s the 9 car platforms on the CRL, the Beresford station entrance, the massive amount of work on the rail line from Pukekohe to Quay Park”

          None of those things exist. That’s how politics works. It’s not what you’re actually responsible for… it’s what’s finished when you’re in power. That’s why Labour were posing with Transmission Gully or trying to act like they didn’t call Pūhoi to Warkworth a holiday highway.

          *and I’m pretty sure the modular building is also not finished

        3. You obviously don’t realise that organisations like Kaianga Ora and Kiwirail, subject to years of “managed decline” take years to rebuild the institutional knowledge and capability before they can get back to large scale infrastructure projects. To say “they don’t exist” is just silly, they have to be built to exist, it doesn’t happen overnight.

        4. “When you think that they took power during a housing crisis ”

          That’s one area where Labour got things quite right – easing our restrictive anti-density housing laws. Ironically, this was bi-partisan with National, supported by the Greens, and only ACT opposed (the only party that SHOULD have AUTOMATICALLY supported this deregulation!)

          As a result, housing consents rose massively, as did the share of actual townhouse / apartment builds that a city (as opposed to a town) like Auckland needs. No, Labour didn’t build tens of thousands of homes themselves – as if National would! – but they did actually make it a lot easier for the market to build them.

          But this new govt is already pushing to rescind that.

        5. I don’t think governments are judged on what they achieve. They are judged on whether or not they annoy the crap out of people. The last lot tried to reform things nobody cared about except to know they didn’t want it reformed (3 waters and RNZ/TVNZ), they messed up things people wanted (light rail) and had too many Ministers who acted like clowns. When handed an easy win in the form of a youth crime wave they failed to even pretend to be leaders by cracking down on it and gave the impression of a bunch of hand wringers. If you can’t even try to be popular you have no place in government.

          Labour only succeeds when they have a bully in charge like Kirk or Clark. They need that to keep the drips in line and behaving themselves.

        6. …and saying the current (now past) govt was soft on crime over and over sure wouldn’t of helped with a criminal’s perception of getting caught or the consequences if so. Bring on four year terms so we don’t have this silly campaigning coming around so soon each election term.

        7. That’s the point I am making. It is always about perception not performance. Yet the numpties in Labour failed at it and now they are the opposition. The worst part is this isn’t like when Helen Clark got thrown out and John Key sat there doing nothing at all for 3 years. This is like when Mike Moore got thrown out and they were hated so much that the incoming government could be as radical as they liked. We only have Labour to blame for the bad situation we find ourselves in with National and ACT free to stuff everything up.

        8. Whirlsler says, “None of those things exist”.
          Well the 9-car platforms on the CRL have actually been built. They do exist, even if the overall project is not finished yet.

        9. Grant @3:07pm:
          What crime is trending down? The link you sent opened up stats from Oct 22 to Sep 23 showing that every crime type was up during that year.

          Maybe you mean monthly. Monthly victimisations, dropping from 33,965 to 31,070 may seem impressive – but not so much when that same number was 21,046 in June 2017.

          You can’t deny that Labour was soft on crime – even to the point of Andersen stating that crime hasn’t increased, it’s just being reported more.

        10. When you put in November at lot of it looks better. Compared 12 months before. Yes, a lot of up and down though.

  1. There are several current projects which will likely need more funding. Project iRex, the rail ferry replacement and terminal upgrade. And the Auckland rail foundation rebuild. Also the national ticketing project. Will they provide the extra cash or not? Then there’s the Auckland fuel tax which is supposed to go under the great leap 100 days forward.

  2. The right wing have woken up to the concept of using National as the vote winning centre party with ACT to get the extreme right wing stuff they actually want. ACTs policies couldn’t be more tailored to the rich if they tried, they only want a small well costed government that stays out of private affairs when it suits them, when it doesn’t suit they go the exact opposite.
    But still it would be hard for them to do worse than the last government in terms of Auckland and transport, I can’t think of a single thing Labour achieved other than the Airport busway.

    1. Eastern Busway
      Albany Busway extension
      Third Main project
      Pukekohe electrification project
      Restored the CRL to the original plan
      Funded electric buses
      Allowed councils to run PT services directly
      New electric ferries on the way
      Te Huia

      etc etc

      1. The Albany busway extension was confirmed by the previous National government. However other than that you’re 100 % right, there have been a number of wins under the previous government.

        1. I also feel like these projects were started or at least promised more than 6 years ago:
          – Eastern Busway
          – Third Main project
          – Pukekohe electrification project

        2. None of them were funded prior to 2017 and they began in 2019, 2020 and 2020 respectively. National made some noises towards them in the 2017 election campaign, having ignored them for years.

          They are all definitely Labour achievements.

        3. “Where Labour had focused on light rail, most prominently to the airport, National’s announcement was on the electrification of 20km of track to Pukekohe, costing $130m and with work starting next year and the third ($100m) rail line easing freight and commuter train congestion between Westfield, at Otahuhu and Wiri. The total dollar value for those two projects plus improvements in Wellington came to $267m.

          Labour is also committing to both the Pukekohe electrification and the third trunk line but these were asides at its rally.

          The Government had anticipated Labour’s big event by telling the New Zealand Herald on Friday that it was also about to announce big plans for an alternate section of highway south through Alfriston towards Papakura, was looking at a busway for the northwestern motorway and would advance funding for the east Auckland AMETI busway project through to Howick.”

        4. Yes, they did campaign on them in 2017. National also campaigned in 2008 on extending the northern motorway past Wellsford and building the expressway past Levin. 15 years later neither of them have happened.

          Who knows whether National would have delivered on these projects after ignoring them for years, one thing we know is Labour has finally delivered them.

          I agree that Labour was not transformational but they did continue to advance the public transport improvements in Auckland, started by the Clark government and continued by the Key government.

        5. National were elected after the GFC, we wanted them to be fiscally responsible. Labour were elected with a mandate to build infrastructure, hospitals, fix mental health, transformation, etc but there is little to see for it other than even more tarmac in East Auckland.
          I didn’t vote for National and I would prefer Labour to still be elected, but I’m less concerned about the election result than I normally would be, I doubt it will change much.

        6. “I didn’t vote for National and I would prefer Labour to still be elected, but I’m less concerned about the election result than I normally would be, I doubt it will change much.”

          – Few to no cycleways or road safety improvements, especially speed limit changes
          – Housing intensification hindered in all sorts of ways
          – Massive new motorways pushed through to construction (where already planned) and new ones being planned / permitted
          – Landlord and firearms laws getting more permissive again (off topic on a transport blog, but those are the one that really worries me)

        7. They also want to get rid of half fares for 13-24 years old and free fares for children. The money to be given to landlords as a $2 billion gift. $2 billion could fund new regional trains for Te Huia and elsewhere with lots of change left over.

        8. Jimbo – my comment was in the context of the irrelevance of election promises, it’s what actually happened in each term or at least was committed.

          My main concerns with the current government getting voted out is a couple of safety things. After a slow start the median barrier works are finally getting underway, while there are a number of cycleway projects such as one here in New Plymouth that are now up in the air.

      2. A lot of those were started under National or promised by National in the 2017 election. Not exactly the transformation I voted for.
        Te Huia doesn’t help Auckland at all, it is pretty much only for commuters from Hamilton to Auckland, there are no trains at useful times for the other direction.
        Electric buses are good, but that is operational. Can you tell me of something new that Labour thought of and started building, considering they were voted in to fix infrastructure and be transformative?

        1. Plenty of people use Te Huia to travel from Auckland to Hamilton. It also reduced traffic coming into Auckland so yes it does help Auckland. You’ve got to look at PT as a system not just individual services. As far as the other projects like the third main, National actively opposed them during its term even. Simon Bridges actively supressed the report on the third main and you’re trying to give them credit for the project starting? Get real, nothing was happening until the government changed. Same with the Eastern Busway, in limbo all through the Key government.

        2. “nothing was happening until the government changed” – it feels like the opposite to me. This blog used to be quite interesting because new stuff was being built all the time (rail / bus network / cycling / CRL / etc), now there is virtually nothing happening unless you live in Albany / Pukekohe / Botany. Whether that was anything to do with government I don’t know, but it seemed to come to a grinding halt about 6 years ago.

        3. Construction began at the Maungawhau station site in October 2019 with the demolition of 30 buildings. Now 2019 is less than six years ago, is it not, when the “grinding halt” was supposed to have happened. Try using facts instead of “feels”.

        4. Yes, they did campaign on them in 2017. National also campaigned in 2008 on extending the northern motorway past Wellsford and building the expressway past Levin. 15 years later neither of them have happened.

          Who knows whether National would have delivered on these projects after ignoring them for years, one thing we know is Labour has finally delivered them.

          I agree that Labour was not transformational but they did continue to advance the public transport improvements in Auckland, started by the Clark government and continued by the Key government.

        1. A lot of the armchair critics don’t understand how long some of these projects take, getting finance, workforce, planning etc, and proceed to whinge that nothing is happening. In fact many upgrades will be completed in the next two years which this government will undoubtedly take credit for evern though opposed and delayed almost everyone.

        2. “Better drivers pay and conditions” – do you think the buses were more reliable under Labour or National? They only got better pay after the system imploded!

        3. Couldn’t easily move the bus operators to accept the change to the National-led PTOM framework until things got bad, but Labour took advantage of that to ensure it changed. Now we have all the drivers that were needed.

    2. Spoke to a senior AC planner last week who said the Medium Density changes were still in midst of hearing but basically in a holding pattern pending clarity on what new Government will actually do. Much of the Government imposed changes are impractical – particularly the “3 by 3” without requiring consent which will potentially deliver slums of sub-optimal design (eg over shading because the HIRB rules have been slashed). So hopefully making the rules optional means we can have more liveable dwellings – not just more.

      1. “will potentially deliver slums of sub-optimal design”

        Sorry Graeme, but emotive fear mongering like this over decades has led to people living in cars, and others spending far too much of their minimum-wage money to make landlords and housing speculators rich.

        Shading and so on are potential issues, but whenever I hear a politician make comments like this, it really turns me off.

      2. 3 by 3 development still has to meet the building code, including a measurable standard for natural light.

        I’d rather see developments of 3 complete units rather than shady work-arounds based on partially converted garages, along with sleepouts and cabins crammed front and back.

        Better to have 12 people share shade than share a shower.

    3. And yet ACT is pressing ahead with the hugely expensive political COVID enquiry when it is the party that wants to cut Government spending

      1. I think it’s NZF that want the enquiry, despite being part of the government that implemented the covid response plan. It keeps the conspiracy constituency that voted for them in 2023 happy.

  3. Is NZFirst planning to convert the North Auckland Line to a road for trucks? They say, “Progress further work examining connecting the railway to Marsden Point and Northport from the Northern Main Truck Line”. But maybe it’s just a typo like, “Build infrastructure with 13 new Roads of National Significant”. If so, why examine one railway, but build 13 roads? Is that because the road BCRs won’t stand up to being examined?

  4. Another interesting piece in the NZ First agreement:

    – Amend the Building Act and the Resource Consent system to make it easier to build granny flats or other small structures up to 60sqm requiring only an engineer’s report.

  5. Good analysis and summary, thank you.
    I’m confused as to how I feel about this massive announcement. On the one hand, as a non-car owning cyclist who enjoys riding trains there is little in it for me, but on the other hand under labour much was promised and not delivered.
    Regarding the pledge to freeze or cut cycle funding I’m sceptical, given how popular cycling is becoming across all demographics, how it is now a major part of our tourism industry, and how a lot of boomers are retiring and starting to live and move around differently. Much as I detest them, some of the retirement villages are providing boomers with a taste of dense urban living and this may well be good for cycling and PT infrastructure.
    The thing that really f**ks me off is the huge donations from Richies Group, as Intercity buses are an insidious monopoly.

  6. We JAFAs now have a mayor who is a man, and we occupants of Aotearoa now have three men who “lead” the nation.

    Women fought to vote in 1893.

    In 2023, we still live in a man’s motu. And that is either ugly, scary, or boring; but it is most certainly uninspiring.

    1. Wrongly or rightly we jaffas have had mayors who are men for the last 25 years. Why raise it now?

      Are we allowed to mention two out of the three party leaders in power have Maori ancestry?

      Demographics of the new Ministry –
      There are 28 ministers in the ministry – 19 national, 5 ACT and 4 nz first.

      17 are electorate mps and 11 are List mps.

      17 (61%) are men and 11 (39%) women.

      8 of the 28 are Māori, or 29%. This is more than twice as much as the share of the adult population.

      25% are in their 20s or 30s, 39% in their 40s, 25% in their 50s and 11% aged 60+.

      46% are from Auckland, 25% from rural areas, 14% from provincial cities. 11% from wellington and 4% from Christchurch. 89% are from the North Island.

      1. The South Island, Canterbury (NZ’s second largest region measured by population), and Christchurch (NZ’s second largest city) are the most poorly represented demographics in this coalition government.

        Canterbury built more houses last year than all of the lower North Island regions combined. Canterbury regionally contributes the second highest amount of hypothecated transport funding to the NLTF. Greater Christchurch’s built environment is changing very quickly. Infrastructure deficits are increasingly in a way similar to Auckland in the post WW2 period. Yet politicians, formal policy makers, and informal policy advisors such as this website basically ignore us…

        My level of contempt for NZ’s whole infrastructure provision system is high. I am somewhat hopeful that this new coalition government will implement some reforms that will make difference. But I was hopeful in 2017, and in 2020 too… Promises are easy, implementation is hard…

        1. Surely the region nearly bankrupt NZ after the earthquake prone area needed rebuilding to a high standard. Of course the ideological government of the time invested big time in too many motorways diverting billions of dollars from other projects such as a decent rail system. I hear their cycleways of recent are pretty good though.

        2. Re Christchurch earthquakes bankrupting NZ.
          Nope Christchurch households were very well insured. NZ received $40bn in payouts from international re-insurers. The GST etc. on this payout essentially funded central governments contribution to the rebuild.
          Re Build infrastructure with 13 new Roads of National Significant and four major public transport upgrades
          The only road or public transport upgrade that National campaigned on for Canterbury is a motorway extension/bypass of Woodend. So, I suppose I am not that hopeful…
          NZ will probably stupidly make the same mistakes for its second largest city that it did in its first. Which will be costly and inefficient to fix after the fact…

        3. Also, the earthquakes and rebuild were a decade ago. Continuing to use that as an excuse to under fund Canterbury/Greater Christchurch is a bad faith argument in my opinion.

        4. Also Grant, much of the government’s contribution to Canterbury rebuild was from EQC. Which had been used as a piggy bank by the Bolger/Clark/Key governments (cost of capital charges etc) so when called upon to pay up said our cupboard is bare. The chair told Brownlee that technically they were insolvent (liabilities exceeded reserves) to which he responded “you only have a cashflow problem”. Hence the focus on fixing all the cheap easy repairs and delaying the difficult expensive stuff until the (increased) EQC levies had topped the piggy bank up.
          P.S. I’m still working my way through a re-repair claim from a botched 2013 repair. The bill now is about 5 times the cost of doing it properly 10 years ago ! All insurance policy holders are still paying for the malarkey.

  7. Fantastic to finally have a coalition govt of “doers” not “talkers” like Labour fooled its voter base in 2017 and 2020.

    NZ First have been the only party to push railways and achieve a lot. They, alone, got $4.5 billion invested in new rail projects since 2017. Labour did a little bit, but it was Winston and Shane who obtained the lions share of funding for rail.

    Light rail was a disaster from Labour / Greens. It was always going to die an unfashionable death.

    Now, let’s see the push for the railway line to Marsden Point. Shane Jones will be the Minister to push hard for that.

    1. No, they didn’t do it alone and the investment continued in the second term without NZ First. 57 new locomotives from Stadler for the SI being just one example.

      1. Funding was obtained by NZ First that allowed Kiwirail to go out to tender for the new locos. Labour just happened to be in govt when the tender was signed. Big difference there.

        Labour initiated bugger all for railways. What NEW money did they get for Kiwirail from Dec 2020 to Oct 2023?

    2. The Greens didn’t support tunnelled AKL light rail. There policy is “Build surface light rail through key routes in our major cities.”

      The tunnelled option for AKL was dead regardless of who won this election.

      1. But that doesn’t mean light rail is dead, in fact it’s essential in the future transport mix. Just put it on the surface where it belongs and where every other country puts it. That does not exclude the use of some tunneling where appropriate. Or viaducts, trenches and embankments. And I don’t care if viaducts are ugly, they give the rail users a nice view.

        1. That light rail scheme is as dead as the dodo. Now we will have to wait until everybody associated with the last failed scheme is retired or dead before anyone can try again. Weirdly this is actual progress. The tunneled thing was never going to happen and so it had to die and be laid to rest before we can move on.

        2. Light rail is deader than dead. It’s so dead it’s unborn children are buried in the coffin too. It will be a decade or more before anyone dare’s mention the word rail in Auckland again.

          ALR vigourously and comprehensively killed off the very idea of light rail, as everyone was telling them all along, and they’re the only ones that can’t see just how badly the fucked up.

    3. “Light rail was a disaster from Labour / Greens”

      Lol. Apart from the fact that – as someone posted below already – the Greens didn’t support the “spend a few billion dollars to go underground so we can keep car parks on the surface” option…

      … Labour had a direct majority in govt. You know? More than 50% of the seats. Please don’t blame the Greens, they were not in this govt (except in a “by invite only” climate change role).

        1. So… reaction to it already being a giant mess, as opposed to… you know… having something to say about it before it happened?

          Do people get how that’s not a super-convincing argument? By that stage they were three years in and a year away from the supposed delivery date of the Mt Roskill section.

          Now tell me how many headlines you can find about the Greens and LGWM.

        2. “…having something to say about it before it happened?

          “Now find…”

          Meh. I said it was the first thing I found after 5s of searching. I didn’t say I wanted to do your research.

          My point was that it seems weird to blame the party that was kept at arms length and was in favour of LRT, when it was opposed by the party which WAS in govt directly, or the party leading the govt. I know that JAG was a better transport minister in the associate role than Twyford in charge.

      1. Winning more than 50% of the seats is what killed Labour. They got a bunch of inexperienced people in caucus who knew they were never going to be reelected so they didn’t even try to be popular. Instead they did their sincere but annoying Labour thing.

  8. Anyone have any idea what the proposed 13 new Roads of National Significance are destined to be – or where they go to / from ? Any ideas?

    1. “National’s vision is to provide New Zealanders with safer, faster and more reliable transport options so they can get to work, get their kids to school and freight can move around the country more easily.”
      National will deliver 13 new Roads of National Significance:

      • Northland – Whangārei to Port Mardsen, Warkworth to Wellsford
      • Auckland – Mill Road Stage 1, East-West Link, North West Alternative State Highway
      • Bay of Plenty – SH29 Tauriko West, Tākitimu Northern Link Stage 2
      • Waikato – Cambridge to Piarere, Southern Links
      • Greater Wellington – Petone to Grenada Link Road and Cross Valley Link, Second Mt Victoria Tunnel
      • Nelson – Hope Bypass
      • Canterbury – Belfast to Pegasus motorway including the Woodend Bypass.

      1. Some of those have already been thrown out I believe. The Petone -Grenada Link road was costed as being one of the worlds most expensive roads, and got canned a few years back because it was totally impractical

      2. Some of those have already been thrown out I believe. The Petone -Grenada Link road was costed as being one of the worlds most expensive roads, and got canned a few years back because it was totally impractical – WK gave up on it.

        1. I thought the east west link was the worlds most expensive highway? Is there a new winner. Isn’t east west consented and ready to tender? I wonder if that be one of the things in the first 100 days to be delivered?

      3. If you read National’s transport policy there is one paragraph that sums it all up. To paraphrase:

        “We know we have climate goals but in future we will be driving electric cars so we need more roads”.

  9. Google nationals transport policy they had during the election campaign. Think this blog even covered that. Yes I’ve forgotten myself what they are.

  10. It says everything that National must do a “thorough cost benefit anaysis” on an EV charging network, but 13 RoNS will get by with little scrutiny.

  11. Have just returned from a round trip to Taupo,it is fair to say State Highway 1 is in dire straits between Cambridge and Taupo,there is remedial work being done for several kilometers,which will need to be repeated on the other side of the road,then move up the road,rinse and repeat. It is difficult to see WK actually getting on top of this,despite Nationals grand plan,the road speed on SH1,will be dictated to by potholes and roadworks.
    No one wants to admit it ,but the highway degradation,has been exacerbated by 50 tonne loads,why now is the Waikato Freeway needing deep remediation,when it was fine for years,the 50 tonne limit has taken a few years to show its hand,but is now dealing all the bad cards.

    1. True, and 50MAX is just the start of it as HPMV permitted status can take vehicles over 60 tonnes on a given route.

      This is supposed to be road-wear neutral because of extra axles to spread the load, but anecdotes from truckers suggest 80 tonne logging combinations are not uncommon.

    2. But that’s OK because National instigated the HPMV category.

      Ironic, isn’t it, that they are going to in charge of fixing the road damage that they have caused

      1. “Ironic, isn’t it, that they are going to in charge of fixing the road damage that they have caused”

        Meh, gives them the excuse to spend more money on roads and roading companies – They just need to echo Hipkins after the cyclones “We can’t be spending money on luxuries like active modes and PT now, we need to make sure our roads are fit for purpose again first.

        It’s a feature for National, not a bug.

  12. What really gets me is that I think this will be the first government to pass legislation specifically to make roads more deadly.

  13. I do wonder how much more Labour might have achieved had there been no Covid pandemic to deal with, and no government-hate-camp set up in parliament’s grounds. Now that those distractions are behind us, maybe a third-term under Labour might have delivered some of those things that we are now blaming them for not achieving? After all, it took National all of its previous 3 terms to get things like Transmission Gully fully locked in.
    And the question to be mindful-of now is, what surprise-events and problems will this new government have to deal with, which could derail its glib promises to “get NZ back on track”? Pride cometh before a fall.

    1. If not for the pandemic they wouldn’t have gotten into government in 2020.
      Don’t believe me? Look at the polls.
      Saying that one more term will fix everything is like saying that one more lane will fix congestion. Wishful thinking that is based on nothing and detrimental to our future.

      After seeing how little Labour accomplished (Seriously, KO and 9-car platforms?) I’m hopeful that the nats can do something useful like Airpot to Botany or get a real western busway going.
      It’s only unfortunate that act got in but what can we do now.

      1. Well I hope you like Roads of National Significance version 2, because that is what National intends to prioritise, and they will underfund everything else to try and pay for it. Anything meaningful for public transport, walking or cycling may well be wishful thinking that is based on nothing and detrimental to our future.

      2. Which polls are you looking at? There were two TV One polls that showed that National could form a government but the majority of polls in Dec, Jan and Feb showed Labour still being able to govern.

      3. “Saying that one more term will fix everything is like saying that one more lane will fix congestion. Wishful thinking that is based on nothing and detrimental to our future.”

        I agree in part – the only way that Labour (maybe) could have turned over a leaf is if they had lost a great amount of voters, but still managed to get back in with a much stronger Greens (or some other combo). But the reality, I agree, is that Hipkins’ Labour was unlikely to ever be impressive. They were tired and lacking in conviction on much of… anything?

        The issue is only that while Labour pi**ing away their time is frustrating, and another 3 years of that would have been bad, what is coming now is still shaping up to be a lot worse in my view. On transport and other matters.

        Labour is to blame for their flaming-out. But its the new government who will be to blame for driving us deeper into the climate change and transport cul-de-sacs.

  14. Echoes of the Past
    When it comes to the improvement of public transport as an essential solution to the traffic congestion that continues to plague Auckland, Groundhog Day has again arrived with a newly-elected, National Coalition Government…a Government that once more proposes to favour the Road Gang instead of public transport.
    After just such an election in 1975, the New Zealand Herald prophesied:
    “It may well be that some future Administration may be impelled for cogent political reasons to support the rapid transit scheme, or some modification of it, in order to rescue congested streets from complete chaos. If the density of population continues to increase, it is hard to imagine that more and more buses would be poured into existing corridors while the railways were allowed to go to waste.” [The New Zealand Herald 20 May 1976]
    The Herald was right all those years ago with the City Rail Link almost a reality now in the 21st century. With that optimism in mind, perhaps light rail, and even a harbour tunnel or new bridge, in another fifty years and after a dozen more elections?

    1. Well, National say they will build the airport to Botany BRT so let’s see how that goes. I have always thought it’s a very underrated project given the dearth of options out that way.

  15. The idea of a four lane highway over the Brynderwyns could be built without four-laning the whole section from Whangarei to Auckland, just as Te Ahu a Turanga is being built in the Manawatu with two-lane highways connecting at either end. But let’s face it, presumably the idea is so that they can say “well now we need to connect it up to other motorways”.

  16. In case people missed it, this is what National have said in response to suggestions the Regional Infrastructure Fund is just the Provincial Growth Fund by another name.

    They’re still calling the PGF a slush fund and are promising tighter controls for the RIF with Chris Bishop in the mix and requiring business cases to stack.

    Perhaps the combination of Jones and Bishop will actually keep the focus on things which will help the most, but I doubt it. Personally as much as I don’t trust NZ First, considering they are at least interested in heavy rail as mentioned by the post; while National is still in a roads, roads, roads mode with an apparent lack of concern for making sure these actually stack up economically I suspect more likely National’s changes will just mean the RIF achieves less for the money they spend than the PGF.

    Of course that’s if they actually do anything. This reeks of “well we kept lambasting the thing we’re now implementing so we now need to pretend it’s somehow not the same thing and instead a lot better” and most likely the RIF will be no better or worse on a per dollar basis.

    Although even without any changes in how it really runs, it’s possible Labour’s priorities did have some influence on the PGF and so will National’s on the RIF. And for all Labour’s flaws in their first term, their priorities were IMO still better than National’s so by that token it may still be worse. Oh and I’m not sure if Jones’ and NZF’s priorities are same now as then and unfortunately probably also worse now.

  17. What changes were made to National’s policies as a result of their deal with ACT regarding housing and electric vehicle infrastructure? Tel U

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