Transport Minister: Get Over Road versus Rail Debate


The transport minister today called on the public to “get past” the road versus rail debate.

Opening the new Newmarket train station this afternoon, Steven Joyce said that both are needed, especially in Auckland.

Addressing a gathering of key local body mayors and leaders, relevant officials and local MPs he said that it demonstrated the Government’s big commitment to preparing Auckland’s transport infrastructure for the future.”
The opening of the new station and the signing of the $1b electrification contract, which he attended prior to the opening, were milestones.

He said they marked progress “towards a more reliable and efficient public transport network that more Aucklanders will want to use.

“To meet its growth projections Auckland will need all transport modes operating effectively and efficiently. That’s why the government is focussed on both rail and road infrastructure projects like the electrification of commuter rail, the completion of the Western Ring Route, the Victoria Park tunnel and Newmarket Viaduct.

“Once these major projects are completed over the next four or five years we will have achieved a step-change in the ability of Aucklanders to get around their city.

“Altogether the government is currently investing over $4 billion dollars in major highway projects and commuter rail in this city, without resorting to a regional fuel tax. And that doesn’t include the crucial inter-regional highway links to the north and south.

“Once the new Auckland Council is created we’ll work with them to develop the next steps beyond the current wave of projects, including assessment of the timing of a third harbour crossing.

“Completing this project provides a new station offering all the amenities and services expected of a modern public transport facility, potential for more trains at peak times, and means fewer delays for trains coming into Newmarket. “New Zealand’s future success is completely tied to that of Auckland as our largest city and largest local economy.

These projects demonstrate the Government’s big commitment to preparing Auckland’s transport infrastructure for the future,” says Mr Joyce.

Here was my earlier video tour of the new station- video

ARTA’s Chief Executive, Fergus Gammie called the new Newmarket station “truly a station for the twenty-first century.”

The chief executive of the Newmarket Business Association, Cameron Brewer, said that with the new station, “ we can now really start promoting rail as a viable transport option for employees and visitors alike.




  1. Jon R says:

    Ending the so called “Road vs Rail debate”?

    Well, no one has ever said there was this fictional debate which Steven Joyce continuously brings up. The facts are his Governement has NOT announced ONE SINGLE NEW piece of railway investment which was not already planned for.

    Would the Minister of Trucks (err..Transport) please prove what he says and announce funding for the Stratford - Okhukura line so it can be reopened asap?

    Would he also announce the funding for the Waikato Commuter Rail services?

    How come only new money found has been 100% for roads so far while he has been in office?

  2. Max Robitzsch says:

    When it’s about evolution, it’s called “Teaching the controversy”. Similar thing here: mention it often enough, and people start to believe there’s a debate going on, where in this case there actually isn’t.

    Government simply said “nope” to PT funding.

  3. Matt L says:

    Not really very interesting comments by the minister.
    He says that electrification, WRR, Vic park Tunnel and Newmarket tunnel will provide a step change for people to get around the city. With the exception of the WRR all the rest including electrification are just improvements on what we already have, step change maybe but only very small step.

    The only positive I can see is that after the WRR the only major highway project left will be another harbour crossing (but I’m sure the roading lobby will be able to dream up a few more)

  4. Brent C says:

    and no mention of the CBD tunnel

  5. Stu says:

    Indeed, these are upgrades not additions. More rail please.

  6. Joshua says:

    I agree with the all transport statement, just wish actions matched the words.

  7. jarbury says:

    Yeah where’s the debate? The government has announced a pile of roading projects and brought forward a pile more.

    It has merely not cancelled public transport projects (after thinking long and hard about how it might cancel them). I’m yet to be convinced.

  8. Cam says:

    God what empty rhetoric, again. If he does not have a bias towards one or the other why has he not pointed out any rail projects as being a priority for the next decade when he has about 10 roading projects?. Why has he committed $100 million to Puhoi/Wellsford before cost benefit analysis have even got underway? Why has he committed to transmission gully when it has a poor cost benefit analysis? Why has he talked down the possibility of the CBD loop being built before it’s study has been completed? Why has he set the ATA up in a way that they can’t help but focus on roads? Why has he reduced central government funding for PT operating costs over the next ten years?

    Does he mean we should get over the debate because roads have won and he thinks we should just all agree they are better? If that’s the case i could see this being a sincere statement, if not it’s just the spin of a shrewd politician.

  9. Jeremy Harris says:

    Ha Ha, politicans gotta love them, “we need both” he says, yeah as long as the rail is existing and the roads are new…


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