NZ’s political heavyweights are covering common ground with their plans for Auckland’s gridlock, though the strategies are varied. Jack Marshall reports

As the election race ramps up, Labour and National have come out with two high-spending transport programmes for Auckland which appear to collide at some intersections, but on closer inspection are distinctly different.

Labour’s policies look to invest heavily on trains – mainly light rail, which is supplemented in the interim with priority bus routes.

National, on the other hand, looks to invest just as heavily, both in rail and bus services, but with an additional highway as an alternative to the Southern Motorway.

Both parties are promising to spend large amounts of cash as they try to address congestion woes in New Zealand’s largest city.

The most noticeable differences between the two parties are the light rail routes and the Regional Fuel Tax, which Labour has proposed. Both initiatives are absent from National’s policies.


Proposal: A law change which would allow Auckland Council to implement a Regional Fuel Tax to assist in paying for infrastructure
Money: At 10 cents a litre, this is forecast to raise $160m a year

Proposal: Light rail to Mt Roskill.
Time: 2021

Proposal: Light rail to the airport and West Auckland
Time: By or before 2027

Proposal: Bus Rapid Transit service from Howick to the airport
Time: 2018

Proposal: A third train line from Westfield to Papakura
Time: By or before 2027

Proposal: Build a range of cross-town bus priority routes including New Lynn-Flat Bush, Point Chevalier-Botany, Silverdale-Whangaparaoa, and Howick-Glenfield
Time: By or before 2027

Reduce $2b a year in congestion costs for Auckland
Save $1.2b from changes to ongoing projects

Total spend: Approximately $3.3 billion

As work continues on the City Rail Link in downtown Auckland, plans and proposals for other transport solutions are being offered by political parties. Photo: Troy Rawhiti-Forbes


Proposal: Electrification of rail line from Papakura to Pukekohe
Time: No date
Cost: $130 million

Proposal: A third southern rail line from Wiri to Westfield – to be completed before the City Rail Link is finished
Time: By or before 2024
Cost: $100 million

Proposal: A new highway near Alfriston as an alternative to the Southern Motorway (as confirmed to the New Zealand Herald)
Time: No date
Cost: $955 million

Proposal: A North-western Busway (as confirmed to the Herald)
Time: No date
Cost: $835 million

Proposal: Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) (as confirmed to the Herald)

Time: No date
Cost: $615 million

Total Spend: Approximately 2.6 billion

The Difference

Buses: Here, National and Labour have similar proposals to implement priority bus routes around Auckland City.

Trains: Again, National and Labour are looking to electrify the Southern line and expand Auckland’s rail with an extra train line and electrification to Pukekohe. *

Highways: Now we start to see some difference, National is backing the somewhat controversial East-West link, which is projected to cost a record $1.85 billion, stretching eight kilometres. Labour on the other hand, say they will “free up funding by getting better value for money from the East-West Link”.

Light rail: This is where the real chasm begins, Labour say it will build light rail to Auckland Airport within 10 years, instead of the 30 years which Transport Minister Simon Bridges offered back in March.

Regional Fuel Tax: Here’s the big difference. Labour is proposing to change the law to allow Auckland Council to put a regional tax on fuel to help pay for Auckland’s booming transport infrastructure costs. National says it will fund its rail policies through the Government’s 2017 Budget, and subsequent Budgets.

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