Labour backs Auckland’s city rail link with $1.2b, will cancel “holiday highway”

Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party
Labour will cancel the ‘holiday highway’ to fund Auckland’s essential City Rail Link, says Labour Leader Phil Goff. Launching Labour’s Transport policy in Auckland yesterday with Transport Spokesperson Shane Jones and Auckland MPs, Phil Goff said Aucklanders are overwhelmingly in favour of the rail link proposal.

“The Government invested significant resources into restructuring Auckland governance so that Auckland would speak with one voice. Now it has and Aucklanders are saying loud and clear they want this rail link in order to unclog the roads.

“Unlike National, Labour is listening. Today we are committing to central government’s half of the bargain.

“We will partner with the Auckland Council to give Aucklanders the world-class transport system they deserve.

“Labour will provide funding of $1.2 billion from the Land Transport Fund for the rail link — half the proposed cost — on the understanding that the Auckland Council is responsible for funding the other half,” Phil Goff said.

“Labour will fund the $1.2 billion by cancelling National’s plan to construct the new so-called ‘holiday highway’ between Puhoi and Wellsford.

“This investment will get Auckland moving,’ Phil Goff said.

“Aucklanders are fed up with sitting in endless traffic jams. Building the rail link turns Britomart into a through-station so trains don’t have to stop there and will double the number of trains coming into the city from south and west Auckland, take cars off the road and encourage investment to transform the city centre.

“The city rail link is the next step in building a modern Auckland public transport system. Without it, Auckland will never meet its ambition of being the World’s most liveable city.

“National’s spending of $1.7 billion on a new gold-plated highway is fiscally irresponsible in these tough times.

“Labour supports the so-called ‘Operation Lifesaver’ improvements to the existing Puhoi to Wellsford road rather than the gold-plated option.

“This alternative, which includes a Warkworth bypass, would fix the crash black spots and traffic bottlenecks at a cost of $320 million, delivering most of the benefits more quickly and cheaply than building an entire new highway. The combined costs of ‘Operation Lifesaver’ and our contribution to the Auckland Rail Loop comes to $1.6 billion, less than the $1.7 billion Steven Joyce has already budgeted for the ‘holiday highway’”, Phil Goff said.

Phil Goff said other elements of Labour’s Transport policy include:

• Tagging funding from the National Land Transport Programme to facilitate an increase in coastal shipping so that at least 30 per cent of inter-regional freight is carried by sea by 2040;
• Committing to reduce transport emissions by 40 per cent by 2040.
• To urgently investigate the viability of upgrading the rail link directly into the Auckland container port;
• Promoting walking and cycling as credible ‘active transport’ options;
• Keeping New Zealand’s rail in public hands, and investing in maintaining and modernising KiwiRail as a viable and sustainable transport solution;
• Engaging with the working group on establishing a Hamilton to Auckland commuter rail service;
• Re-evaluating which roads of national significance make sense. Labour disagrees with four more projects being added to the existing list;
• Investigating and prioritising improvements to the “East-West’ corridor proposal in Auckland;
• Setting ambitious new road safety targets.


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