Greens: Wellington Will be “Unliveable Like Auckland”


The Greens say today’s decision to spend $2.4 billion on the Wellington Northern Corridor road project will make Wellington a “congested, unliveable city like Auckland.”

Greens MP Sue Kedgley says the rail corridor should be moving these peak volumes of traffic and freight.

She says the project will “sever Kapiti and destroy communities.”

Wellington's rush hour

Wellington's rush hour

Ms Kedgley also questions how it will help in earthquake-prone Wellington, saying  bulldozing a new four-lane motorway from Levin to the Wellington airport is not only plain stupid, it  doesn’t even provide Wellington with a secure alternative route in the event of a major earthquake.

“It’s madness to build a new motorway on an active earthquake fault.”

She questions the economics of building a second Mount Victoria tunnel, a second Terrace tunnel, a fly-over around the Basin Reserve, a motorway through Hataitai, and another through the heart of Kapiti.

“This will bring about a meagre 10 minute saving for commuter drivers. For every dollar invested in the Transmission Gully project, there are forecast benefits of only 36-50 cents. The historical cost benefit ratio for major road projects in New Zealand is 12 times greater than this at $6.10.

“The economics of the project simply don’t stack up. Add to this the fact that volumes of traffic on our State Highways have been falling for the last two years and you’re staring into the eyes of a $2.4 billion white elephant.”  Green’s alternative plan for Wellington’s transport problems is here

Auckland's rush hour

Auckland's rush hour

Business groups have praised the decisions. The Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce says the decisions are the right one and construction must start as soon as possible.

Chamber CEO Charles Finny says Transmission Gully is a far superior option than the coastal highway upgrade. “The coastal upgrade was never a viable option - it being more expensive and less resilient than the Gully, particularly with the projected impact of climate change.

Construction would also have been more disruptive.”  “The chamber is also supportive of tolling or electronic pricing to help fund these roading projects.  “The government should also be open to the use of more private sector investment including public private partnerships (PPPs) and borrowing to fund the road.”

wnc-map-fullsizeChairman of AA’s Wellington District Council, John Christianson, says the decision shows  great vision for Wellington. “It went well beyond what we were expecting because it’s dealt with the whole route from Wellington Airport to Levin.  It’s a Christmas package that will keep a lot of people smiling for a long time. Everything the AA has wanted for Wellington has been provided for, he says.  The AA is particularly thrilled with the doubling of The Terrace and Mount Victoria tunnels. In terms of value-for-money, Transmission Gully is now clearly the best choice.  It will improve the lives of thousands of commuters and freight operators whose journey will be safer and quicker.

“Critically it will also future-proof our region in the event of an earthquake, flooding or some other disaster by providing an alternative route north.”



  1. Jeremy Harris says:

    The greens are right on on this one… A BCR of less than 0.5 is hilarious when the whole system is set up to inflate roading projects BCRs…

  2. Joshua says:

    I find this actually quite funny from the greens, as one of their biggest policies from which people vote for them on is climate change, and their environmental beliefs. This actually undermines their core values as this project will actually improve these ideals.

    A project that is much needed even though it’s not PT.

    Also funny to think that both Labour and National agree with it going ahead isn’t it?

  3. Cam says:

    Is that true this project has a BCR of 0.5? That’s shocking. BTW Joshua both Labour and National seem to agree with all major roading projects going ahead so nothing amazing there.

  4. CieraT says:

    Very disappointed by the blatant waste of taxpayers money for this so called Wellington Northern Corridor/Transmission Gully project. What an elephant! Doesn’t the Fiscal Responsibility Act or somesuch prevent this kind of thing? Using a commonsense approach, is this really the way to go? On word comes to mind: FAIL!

    1. The project does not wash its face with a low performance BCR - impossible to justify in an open and transparent way. Obviously a lot of people who should know better appear to be turning a blind eye here Why don’t the rules protect us from these kinds of projects?
    2. The burden of construction and ongoing maintenance is carried by other tax payers. Truckies, a minority of motorists, construction and various landowners and vested interests may well benefit though.
    3. Discourages public transport, which destroys value of government investments and operational subsidies for PT.
    4. There’s actually no money to pay for it, so government will need to borrow, increasing national debt.
    5. $2 billion could be spent on more productive things - eg $500 for everyone in NZ, National Broadband, less cutbacks etc.

    Very sad day indeed! Maybe some sort of court action can be launched to put a stop on this folly.

  5. Jeremy Harris says:

    @Cam, the “Transmission Gully” section of what was announced today is 27 kms long and costs $1 billion, it has a BCR of 0.35 to 0.50 based on the NZTA’s own study done ear;ier this year with time travel savings of 10 minutes through this section…

    Overall the project costs $2.2 billion and saves 33 minutes so based on the TG part I’d say it has a BCR of 0.7ish and 33 minutes sounds very “creative” to me…

    The main arguments for is that we either had to improve the existing route (which wouldn’t provide a second route out of the city in the event of a disaster and it was more expense) or build Transmission Gully…

    I’d say there was a third option, spend $2.2 billion on walking, cycling, public transport, car pooling or providing HOV lanes…

  6. Anthony says:

    well at least if there is a wild storm, the motorway wouldn’t close as much as the rimataka.

    cheer up people, Wellington could get cheaper food and brands if the access into the city is easier.

  7. Joshua says:

    Good to see the government is finally thinking about the future gains of such connections and staying ahead of the game rather than behind it.

    Next step, do the same with PT.

  8. Jeremy Harris says:

    Getting ahead of other countries by building flyover motorway the Yanks are now starting to pull out of their cities..?

    You’ve become a National Party cheerleader lately Joshua…

  9. Andrew says:

    I can’t help but admire Wellington, following in Auckland’s footsteps of putting motorways in everywhere to solve all our transport problems. Like up here, congestion will be a thing of the past and every time you are on that motorway you’ll be admiring how much time you’re saving like we do?

  10. Joshua says:

    Haha - sorry I let my views get a bit carried away, I am a National Party Supporter wishing they invested more in public transport. I like the majority of their policies and ideals untill it comes to transport.

    My bad. I hate how it’s going to effect the basin and I do agree we don’t need another flyover, especially when auckland is a step ahead and progressing to pull out ours! I still think it’s a needed link however and there is a better solution out there somewhere.


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