Passenger Rail

Parties set out election transport plans for New Zealand

The New Zealand Green Party has set out its plan for major investment in rail ahead of the New Zealand general election.

The party’s co-leader James Shaw said the plan would connect the country via rail.

“We will connect our major cities through a major new investment in inter-city passenger rail. This new network will transform how people move throughout our country, making getting out to the regions faster, easier, and better for the planet,” he said.

“Rail will carry thousands of people a day from Auckland to Hamilton, from Wellington to Masterton and Palmerston North, and from Christchurch to Rangiora and Ashburton, eventually including Dunedin and Timaru.”

The part would also invest $6.5 billion in rapid transit networks in the major cities of Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.

“This includes pushing ahead with a much-needed rail crossing to Auckland’s North Shore, which we’ve now seen is desperately overdue,” said Shaw.

Specific projects in the plan include two new light rail lines in Auckland from the CBD to Māngere and Westgate, light rail in Wellington from the train station to Newtown and subsequently to the airport, and passenger rail between the Christchurch CBD and Rangiora, Ashburton, Rolleston, and Hornby.

As part of the current coalition government, the Green Party had pushed for a light rail line linking Auckland airport and the CBD, however despite receiving proposals, the government declined to pursue the project. The Ministry of Transport and Treasury will provide a report to the government on the potential of the project after the election.

The opposition New Zealand National party has also released its transport plan, which includes heavy rail to the airport and a new road-rail harbour crossing. The party also committed to building the third and fourth main line and investigating a new line from Southdown to Avondale.

In Wellington, the National party plans to purchase new trains as part of upgrades to the metro network.