New Govt Transport Summary Emphasies Roads


The transport minister Steven Joyce today unveiled a new document which summarises the government’s broad policy direction for the transport sector. It’s basically a high level summary of the number of direction-setting documents for the transport sector such as the National Infrastructure Plan and the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport Funding.

Called “Connecting New Zealand” it says transport decisions over the next 10 years must be based on three things.

These are:

  • economic growth and productivity
  • value for money
  • safety


It emphasises roading and motorways saying the roading network is the backbone of the transport system.” It is responsible for moving 70 percent of our freight tonne-kilometres. Eighty-four percent of the trips that we make as individuals are by motor vehicle. The government will invest more than $36 billion in the land transport system over the next decade via the National Land Transport Fund. However, with the freight task expected to double over the next 3 decades, significant population growth in the top half of the North Island, and an ageing population, we need the whole of the transport system to lift its game and deliver greater value for money.”

While it acknowledges that the government wants to grow urban public transport patronage it also wants to reduce its reliance on government subsidies.

There is a mention of the City Rail Link but no new enthusiasm. It says consideration is being given to what projects are next after current Auckland roading and rail projects are completed. This includes consideration of a third harbour crossing, improved central business district access including a possible city centre rail link, and further infrastructure to support ferries and bus transport.

Andt once again it talks of how “careful prioritisation will be needed to provide the right solutions at the right time, and to ensure that we are maximising the efficient and effective use of existing networks.”

It's mainly about roads

The document does mention higher fuel prices as an issue but not as a reason for any major sea change in policy direction. It says the increase in fuel “underpins the need to improve the efficiency of the New Zealand supply chain, including the efficiency of transport activities and fuel consumption. It also contributes to the reasons why New Zealand is investing in a mixed portfolio of transport options. The government is investing in metropolitan and rail freight to ensure the transport supply has sufficient capacity and resilient alternatives as the economy and the population grow.”




  1. Ben says:

    There is a saying that goes round, Same crap [sorry could not put the actual word in here], different day.

    Look I am going to go out on a limb here and say that any investment in transport in this country needs to be mixed. Road, rail, sea and air all have their places in helping move people, goods and services around. Focusing on just one mode “excessively” shows either tunnel vision at the least.

  2. Matt T says:

    “Value for Money” from Steven Joyce. Yeah Right.

  3. Ben says:

    @ Matt T, Value for Money? Wouldn’t that mean for our sakes in seeking Value for Money is getting rid of the MoT, then replacing him with something that does gives us [the tax payer] better value for money?

  4. Max says:

    HIS values for money.

    If you don’t value PT, then of course even the Northern Busway doesn’t give you value for money.

    It just becomes a restriction of private liberty to these guys - reserving space for a sub-group when it should be freely accessible to all (car) drivers.

    Back in Germany, they had a (thankfully small) political party once, whose slogan was “Free (i.e. unrestricted) roads for free citizens!”.

  5. George D says:

    Roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, public transport.

  6. rtc says:

    So if 30% of freight is moved by non-road means, surely these modes should get 30% of the funding? That’s always been Joyce’s logic for not funding PT, claiming 90% of all trips are by road therefore it should get 99% of all funding.

    My only hope is that we’ll see the back of Joyce in 3 years (this year seem unlikely) and this insane transport planning can be halted.

  7. Jeremy says:

    He’s still pushing for a harbour crossing, I’m sorry Auckland, the CRL won’t be built under this Government.

  8. BD says:

    We all know that more than 90% of the money is allocated for new highways, the pubic transport money is not funding new public transport infrastructure it’s mainly to go on about public transport that has already been approved and or is funding, they just mention it to make the government look good and to keep the Green Party, etc off there backs and at the same time making the Trucking companies happy, idiots!

    No wonder why Auckland is going at it alone, too right for them, government isn’t listening.

  9. Max says:

    Auckland isn’t really going alone - it can’t. Our transport system is way too focussed on NZTA investment. We are just continuing on planning, making sure everything is “shovel ready” when the government changes (or when it changes its mind, though that is actually more unlikely in my mind - good money after bad, and all that).

  10. Patrick R says:

    This is no argument: x % is currently moved by road, so we must build more roads. If anything it is a sign that the sector is imbalanced. It is in fact an argument for diverting money to stimulate other modes. Especially when externalities are calculated. Especially our own electricity versus imported oil.

    His arguments are circular self-serving and weak.

  11. Patrick R says:

    OK here is the section from this doc on AK rail:

    upgrade and extension of the existing metropolitan rail network) (current)
    Auckland Electrification Project (electrification of the network) (current)
    Electric Multiple Unit procurement (current)
    investment in new and upgraded rail stations, including Newmarket, New Lynn, Grafton (completed 2010)
    reopening the Onehunga branch line (completed 2010)
    building the Manukau rail line (current)

    Every single project okayed and most funded under the previous gov. The best we can say is that Joyce did not stop them, and in the case of electric trains he has delay them and has removed their funding- now a loan. NO NEW PROJECTS UNDER THIS GOV.

  12. Geoff says:

    “Every single project okayed and most funded under the previous gov”

    The previous government did not fund most of the above. Most of the funding has come from the existing government. The Turnaround Plan funding, which is of far greater importance than the Auckland projects, is also coming from the current government.

  13. Patrick R says:

    Geoff wrong about the above list all voted for [ paid for] before this gov existed, before Joyce was even an MP. Except those items to be covered by the Regional fuel tax which he killed. Some 500 million of the electrification was replaced by this gov. and the 500 mil LOAN to AC.

    So yes: “Every single project okayed and most funded under the previous gov”

    Check the list. You will note that they are all either completed or underway. Nothing going forward. I know you are obsessed with the past but remember that isn’t a place we can live.

    The dude cutting the ribbon and saying the grand words didn’t start the process. Incidentally this is true of Brown too, as he reaps the benefits of the warm fuzzies around a number of recently completed projects in AK. The difference is that Brown is planning and fighting for further improvements, unlike Joyce.

    Again NO NEW PROJECTS UNDER THIS GOV. True or not Geoff?

  14. Geoff says:

    Most of the funding was allocated by the current government. Projects do not instantly have money when they are announced.

    As for the argument of new projects, all the projects are new. It doesn’t matter who announced or funded what, they are new projects and they are happening. That’s what counts.

    Some people seem to think that new projects should be constantly announced. Let’s get all the current ones finished first!

  15. Patrick R says:

    So what’s your point? Joyce is cool as he runs out stuff already started and [you are wrong] voted for and therefor funded, while doing everything he can to suppress the momentum in metro rail in AK, and mortgage our future on daft and uneconomic duplicate highways? Or what? It is hard to reconcile your anger with the previous gov with your love for the current one. Are you just so relieved that it’s not worse? Me too, but it doesn’t actually make it good.

  16. Malcolm says:

    “However, with the freight task expected to double over the next 3 decades, significant population growth in the top half of the North Island, and an ageing population”

    All surely excellent reasons to invest in rail instead of roads!

  17. geoff_184 says:

    Patrick R, what anger for the previous government? What love of the present government? I’m just reporting the facts, unbiasedly.

    One of those facts is that more funding for rail has come from National than Labour.

    Another fact is that rail is receiving massively more funding today than it did during the 1980′s and 1990′s, for which PT radicals appear to have no memory of.

    Let’s allow them to get on with the big projects currently underway before demanding billions more for projects which would have to wait until current projects are finished anyway. There’s only so much that can be done at once, and right now the rail construction industry is stretched as far as it can go.

    While PT radicals like to rave and rant about urban passenger trains, the bread and butter of rail in NZ is outside the urban areas. You never hear about them (because the PT radicals don’t look) but there are actually hundreds of rail upgrade projects happening nationwide, on a scale unprecedented in recent New Zealand history.

    Some people need to open their eyes and see how much is going on around the country, and stop judging the state of rail in New Zealand by what they see in Auckland.

  18. Matt says:

    Geoff, actually the funding was approved and allocated by the last government. It had to be. Things like the Western Line upgrade and reopening of the Onehunga Line had funds fully allocated before construction began. It’s how capital infrastructure projects work in this country.

    You may not like it, you may not even want to believe it, but the money was allocated in the Crown accounts before Joyce’s name ever appeared on a ballot paper. Capital works are not carried out on a fund-as-you-build basis in New Zealand.

  19. geoff_184 says:

    Budget announcements are just that though - budgets. The total amount doesn’t come out at the start, it gets divided into budgeted allocations over several years.

    Several of the DART projects only came into existence after 2008 (the scope of the project was extended). Electrification wasn’t funded by Labour, and neither is the Turnaround Plan.

    Project-wise, National’s spending on rail is three-fold over that of Labour. It’s less if you include the Labour buy-back price, but then that didn’t bring us anything new, so was a sunk cost, and one that didn’t even fully free the network from Toll control.

  20. Max says:

    “Electrification wasn’t funded by Labour”

    Geez, you are splitting hairs. As has been said - National would never have come up with this on their own. So all they did was not cancel it. BIG DEAL. I will applaud when they start changing the GPS back from it’s appaling State Highways-centricism. I don’t applaud govrnments for being “less bad than they could be”.

    Oh, and budgets don’t come out of thin air either. They are re-writes of older budgets, and work around committments already made by earlier governments. Or things like superannuition would never be a problem. A new government doesn’t start with a clean slate.

  21. geoff_184 says:

    “So all they did was not cancel it”

    Correct, they didn’t cancel it, and they proceeded to funding it. They also proceeded to funding upgrades of the KiwiRail business, and national network.

    Given the choice of walking away from rail, National has chosen to back it. They have also confirmed in the past week that given a second term in office, they will not sell or part-sell KiwiRail, which is refreshing.


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