sign uplog in
Want to go ad-free? Find out how, here.

National pledges to connect the upper North Island with four-lane expressways paid for by enabling NZTA to borrow more and reallocating money from the NLTF and the Govt's Covid fund; Robertson finds $6b hole

National pledges to connect the upper North Island with four-lane expressways paid for by enabling NZTA to borrow more and reallocating money from the NLTF and the Govt's Covid fund; Robertson finds $6b hole
Image sourced from Wikipedia

National is committing to building a second Waitemata Harbour crossing, connecting Onehunga and Auckland Airport with rail, building an expressway between Warkworth and Wellsford, upgrading State Highway 2 between Tauranga and Katikati, and building a tunnel through the Kaimai Ranges.

The harbour crossing would take the form of a tunnel for road and rail, likely between Esmonde Road and Wynyard Quarter. Work on this would begin in 2028. The project would cost $5 billion.

The vision is to connect Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga with four-lane expressways to create what National Leader Judith Collins described as an "integrated region of 2.5 million New Zealanders".

This would include the building of a tunnel under the Brynderwyn Hills to connect Ruakaka to Wellsford.

The Party is pledging to spend an average of $3.1 billion a year over the next 10 years on transport infrastructure, on top of what the Coalition Government has committed to – bar Auckland light rail and possibly the Northern Pathway across the harbour bridge.

It on Friday detailed how $17 billion of that $31 billion would be spent across the upper North Island. Details for the south are yet to come.  


National said it would pay for transport infrastructure by enabling the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to put more debt on its balance sheet, like Kainga Ora does.

NZTA is funded via the National Land Transport Fund, which derives revenue from petrol tax, road user charges, and motor vehicle registration and licencing fees. In this sense, it is a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model.

National would like to give NZTA the ability to top up this fund by borrowing up to $1 billion a year - about a quarter of its annual revenue - over 10 years. Its transport spokesperson Chris Bishop said this “intergenerational model” would “allow us to properly develop a pipeline of projects around the country and invest ahead of time rather than after an investment is needed”.

However, putting the debt on NZTA’s books, rather than on the Government’s books, would be more costly. Investors would consider buying “Transport Bonds” for example, more risky than buying New Zealand Government Bonds.

National would also direct $7 billion of unallocated funds from the $20 billion Covid Response and Recovery Fund towards infrastructure, and would reallocate $6.3 billion of National Land Transport Fund funding over 10 years. 

Finance Minister Grant Robertson questioned what would be cut to free up this $6.3 billion. has put the question to National. 

“The axe is hanging over projects like Skypath that Aucklanders want and that will create jobs in the next year, in order to fund projects that are over a decade away," Robertson said.

National said it wouldn’t increase fuel tax or road user charges in its first term and would repeal the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax.

However it would use tolls and is open to “revenue-neutral” congestion pricing.

The projects

The Crown would pay for expanding the existing rail network in Auckland. This would include:

  • Building a third and fourth main line;
  • Building a rail link to Auckland Airport from Puhinui and from Onehunga;
  • Investigating a new rail line from Southdown to Avondale with construction to start from 2030 onwards;
  • Electrifying the rail line to Pōkeno in the Waikato;
  • Extending commuter rail to Huapai via a diesel shuttle to Swanson or Henderson; then investigating electrifying the line.

The other Auckland projects National is committing to include:

  • Constructing the East West Link;
  • Delivering Bus Rapid Transit from Onehunga to the CBD;
  • Building Northwest Bus Rapid Transit;
  • Adding a diesel rail shuttle to Huapai;
  • Starting work on the Second Waitematā Harbour Crossing;
  • Adding funding to upgrade Auckland’s Ferry Network;
  • Introducing additional funding for Auckland Local Board priorities.

National’s upper North Island projects include:

  • Building an expressway between Warkworth and Wellsford;
  • Building the Hamilton Southern Links project;
  • Building the Cambridge to Piarere extension of the Waikato expressway;
  • Upgrading State Highway 29 to an expressway between Piarere and the Kaimai Range;
  • Upgrading State Highway 2 between Tauranga to Katikati, including the Tauranga Northern Link;
  • Upgrading State Highway 1 between Ruakaka to Wellsford (including a tunnel under the Brynderwyn Hills);
  • Upgrading the State Highway 29 route from Tauranga to the Kaimai Range including a tunnel through the range.

National has previously announced the following projects:

  • The Cambridge to Piarere expressway;
  • The Belfast to Pegasus expressway including the Woodend Bypass;
  • The Christchurch to Ashburton expressway.

RMA reform

National is pledging to replace the Resource Management Act with an Environment Act and a Planning & Development Act, most likely with legislation closely aligned to the models adopted by South Australia and Scotland.

See these National Party documents for more on funding, the Auckland plan, and the upper North Island plan.

Policy evokes a reaction from Robertson

Robertson said: “On the one hand, Paul Goldsmith is saying he will cut net debt to 30% of GDP within 10 years while at the same time saying he will spend more and take on more debt to pay for Judith Collins’ wish list.

“It’s also back-to-the-future with National again making empty promises about the RMA. New Zealanders heard them promise this for nine years when they were actually in Government while failing to deliver on one word of it.

“This Government has actually got on with the job. We already have an RMA amendment bill in front of Parliament, and passed the legislation for a streamlined consenting process for a number of projects to get them off the ground faster.

“The Government’s New Zealand Upgrade Programme and the roll out of our $3 billion of shovel-ready projects are underway now. They will create jobs in the coming months and years that New Zealanders desperately need now as part of our COVID-19 rebuild.”

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.



Assuming the future can pay for it, somehow I doubt that's good thinking, going to have some really angry children and grandchildren

Do you see any of these projects reducing GDP?


Is GDP something I should care about? It's a metric that was useful in wartimes to estimate the output of a country's industries. In the modern world it's pretty much meaningless.

What metric do you suggest?

A combination of GDP, GPI and some sort of happiness index.

Though you said GDP was meaningless.
Asking for a friend.


Can we keek to obfusacation to a millenium please?

If we all went out and trashed each other's property, GDP would go through the roof. Christchurch was GDP-positive - but clearly a negative by any real count; they haven't fully 'recovered' yet. GDP fails to address depletion of resource, fails to measure pollution (and it's consequences) and is therefor a meaningless measure.



It is absolutely meaningless on its own. It's like sitting in a car and seeing that the speedometer is showing 100 km/h. But going where? In who's car? How far? How much fuel do I have? How much do I need? What's gonna be at my destination? Is the speedometer even working?

A HAPPINESS INDEX!! You've certainly got the right username anyway.. Kuumbyyaa and let's all go dancing around the maypole!! GDP is reflective of a GPI, but if you want some sobering reading then by all means include a GPI.. right now it's in the single digits.

Oh, I thought we would be the new Hong Kong, ten- twenty years down the track.So China would pay the bill and our president, Wong Key, would sign it off and he would live happily ever after in Hawaii.

Happiness indices are actually a real thing. There's a branch of economics which deals with them. Some jurisdictions actually use them, and it's not too far from either the Nats social investment approach or labours wellbeing approach.

Your comment reeks of ignorance.

If you don't like the smell then get your head out of the swill bucket

And that comment drips arrogance. The way I see it a GDP (Gross Domestic Production) is indeed reflective of a GPI (Gross Productivity Index). If productivity of the national workforce is up then GDP will be up. As a primary product exporter led country our GDP hides our mediocre productivity per capita. Your suggestion of a "happiness index" is straight out of the kuumbyeyaaa manual. Utterly subjective, difficult to empirically measure and therefore meaningless IMHO. Feel free to cast your pearls of wisdom, oh great sage, upon my barren plains of ignorance if you would stoop so low.


I suspect the future they assume will pay for it is not your children and grandchildren, but the 100s of 1000s of imported people. Until National states otherwise one can only assume their main method to grow the economy is a continuation of their population ponzi scheme. Plans such as these only reinforce such livelihoods - they would not be needed by a stable (or slowly growing) population as would be the case in the absence of mass immigration.


the pyramid scheme requires filling up the bottom, to enable those at the top to keep getting richer.


Roads, migrants and houses....

Money on key infrastructure should have been spent, as we increased our population through migration over the last decade or two. SO it is really just catch up. If Covid is going to be part of the future over the next decade, then public transport may not make the most sense at teh moment. Private EVs are green and allow people to travel safely in their own bubble.

So WI, tell me how swapping on mode of transport ( private CE'd car/ute) for another mode (private EV) is somehow going to reduce the congestion and the energy sapping delays of goods traffic (no EV trucks at the moment with the same goods capacity). Efficient and fast Public Transport is indeed the key in our large cities, coupled with increased use of Heavy Rail and upgrades to our woefully narrow and overloaded State Highways

I'm not super keen on Kainga Ora being able to borrow and for this to be held separately off the government books. But that borrowing makes a lot more sense than having NZTA borrow in that manner for roading projects.

because you can sell some houses and lower some debt, maybe that is the long term plan sell the harbour bridge to help pay for the new crossing, the new owner could put tolls on to recover the money

At least Kainga Ora generates revenue. How will NZTA pay its debt? Higher future petrol taxes? Good luck as we move into electrification.

Diesel has much less tax on it too, instead you pay RUC.

RUCs will be brought in for electric cars soon, likely in 2021 or 2022.

You make it sound as if Kainga Ora is some sort of successful commercial enterprise. When over 60% of the income it receives is from government subsidies of rent paid for from the general tax pool its nothing more than a vehicle for government social policy. Therefore not much different from NZTA although the funding NZTA gets is at least from taxes collected on a user pays basis. Not that I agree entirely with either of these funding models - its still crown debt either way just moving it around a bit to get the Core Crown debt metrics sounding a bit nicer.

Well how is that for a lolly scramble of wasteful spending, folks.
This election is going to be a 5 set match of idiot tennis.


Some in Auckland wish the projects were already completed.

What's your alternative to fixing the Auckland problems?

Ahh. I've got a good one.
How about we address the plainly evident issue of miss-pricing of transport infrastructure usage in Auckland?

So.... make it more expensive for people to get around with no actual alternative for doing so?

I didn't say we don't focus on developing alternatives.
I'm arguing we need to address the causes of congestion, not continue to incentivise it.


The causes? We added too many people and housing is unaffordable close to employment centres. It would be much cheaper to just shoot a handful of motorists each day until we level things up. You'd probably pick up a few fringe green votes as well.

Interesting that you think Auckland had no congestion prior to the recent immigration and house price boom.

when i grew up there was very little and most familes could only afford one car, and we walked, biked and took the trolly bus.
also the suburbs where not miles and miles away from the city.
twenty five years ago i had a bet with ,my boss i could drive a truck from auckland airport to northcote for a pickup at 3.30pm on a friday in under 1/2 hour.
and i won the bet did it in 25 minutes, try that now

Haha - you wouldn't get to the first airport roundabout in 25 minutes these days!

I'm not saying there was *no* congestion, just that adding more and more housing on the fringes has resulted in visible, measurable congestion in the time that I've lived where I have lived - an extra ten minutes a year, roughly, over the last three years.

Fewer people in Auckland!
We've just re-built a brand new city in Christchurch.
How about we use what we've already spent billions on first before we set about spending even more?
Christchurch is an unbridled City on three flat sides - unlike Auckland that has natural barriers that all of these initiatives are set on fixing.
It has an International Airport.
It has a Port.
It has new Roads.
It has new Buildings.
It has a Railway line in existence.
It has huge areas to expand residential and business activity into.

Use Christchurch as the 'escape pod' for Auckland in every sense.

Gerry, is that you?

Also when you say '3 sides' I presume you really only mean 2 sides since the port hills can't be developed much further. The north is somewhat constrained by the Waimak anyway.


Fixing Auckland is easy. The South Island declares independence. Problem solved.

'The north is somewhat constrained by the Waimak anyway.' ... Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Pegasus all north of the Waimak look unconstrained by the river to me. Oodles of expansion room at Rolleston, West Melton etc.

Rangiora, Kaiapoi and Pegasus aren't *Christchurch City* are they?

No, satellite towns but they are examples of the many areas near ChCh that show the river is not a barrier to expansion.

MM, most of the 'burbs in Auckland were sattelite towns a while ago.. then they invented "infill housing". The Waimak would be a barrier until new bigger bridges were built

As we correspond extra clip on lanes are being installed.

They did that with AHB and look at the congestion now.

Haha new roads, one side of the city has been waiting since 2011 - maybe we need to get Gerry back to finish the job. We do have a congestion-free city centre because it is now just about undriveable due to the council's addiction to cycle lanes. In the nicest possible way we live in Christchurch because it's not Auckland.

If you are referring to the part of the eastern side where large areas of land have sunk significantly and are now very exposed to flooding, there's not a compelling case to invest heavily in public infrastructure.

And these places that are more exposed to flooding, the only place that floods as far as I know is what was once the suburb of Bexley - built on a swamp and had its'own pumping station which the council now doesn't utilise - understandable as it no longer has housing or roads and is slowly returning back to what it once was. A very small area when talking about the whole east side of Christchurch. So with your logic maybe we should roll it out across all sectors, health care would be interesting - what age would you no longer qualify for an operation?

Vape. Bexley is just one eastern suburb of a number that have suffered land elevation reduction. A study of the councils flood management and floor level control area maps is an instructive and sobering exercise when considering the effects of sea level rise.

Yes but its still Christchurch..

Build light rail in every new suburb. Light rail on every main road in and out of the isthmus. Cross rail connections to the shore and south. Build rail alongside the motorway. High speed rail from Hamilton to Whangarei. Increase bus access and frequency. Increase the ferry transport. Subsidised taxis for the infirm and elderly.


What would you rather spend money on? Focus groups? Consultants?


Do National's policies for some reason not go through the same design and consulattion process as Labours?
Interesting opinion you have.

I'll tell you right now I'd rather we didn't give 32 billion dollars to an incredibly noncompetitive and powerful cartel of roading/transport infrastructure contractors.

They are talking about retooling the RMA, so apparently not.

Ahh. "Talking about"
Well, we can all rest easy in the knowledge that they are talking about it

Oh talking about it, writing reports, probably a case study or two, 'reaching out', a few hui, a workshop or two (all generously catered) and some team building exercises for good measure...

sorry, what was the actual question again?

Is this National or Labour you are talking about?

Either/or. Take your pick. They both seem to get about the same amount of actual spadework done. Infrastructure in this country is a 'jobs for Wellington' programme which employs a lot of consulting engineers and people who prepare business cases over and over again, but very little actual construction considering the need for some of the projects in question.

Useless pack of no hopers. Somehow they get everyone caught up in their soap opera games when they are only a aprox a third of the economy.

Ha ha
People rubbish Labour for their lack of delivery, and rightly so. But the Nats didn't always deliver. Case in point - their 'RMA Reform' under Key...

And I'd rather we didn't give billions to cashed up companies for no reason other than they were able to work their books and show a 30% drop from a given month in 2019 to the same month in 2020. But I guess the "cartels" would be building something for us in return.

So people locked down at home, not spending with cause and effect drop in T/O becoming crooked business owners 'working the books'. Bizarre.

About 10 - 15% of those that took the wage subsidy actually needed it. The rest were better to either close (thus ripping the band aid off) or didn't need the cash. Our company didn't need the cash but we were eligible and we took it. Our competitors didn't need the cash, but they were eligible and took it (which is why we did). Heart sugeons didn't need the cash, but they were eligible and took it. Maybe you didn't understand how the whole scheme worked, but it was pretty easy for a lot of companies (particularly B2B) to defer invoicing by a month or two to show eligibility. What's bizzare is anyone who can't see the WSS being, for the most part, a total and complete waste of money.

Yes, a few no doubt 'worked the system' but given it was a scheme constructed at very short notice under emergency conditions there was always going to be leakage. But a large percentage were bona fide recipients.

you got a source for that 10 -15% figure ??? First I've seen it mentioned anywhere .

There was the $80 odd million claimed and paid out by two large meat processing companies namely Silver Fern Farms and Alliance. If that's not crooked I'm not sure what the definition is. And if its not absolute negligence that the government paid out these sums without any questions then I'm not sure how you define negligence.

Do some research before you shoot from the hip McNitty, both companies were forced to run 1/2 shifts so could only process @ 1/2
capacity, they also missed export orders due to lack of shipping/stevedoring. They complied.

Ouch - looks like I hit a nerve there. Not a supplier and a net beneficiary of Grant Robertson's largesse are you? Funny then how Affco didn't need want it and actually said so. At the end of the day the same stock was killed over the season so where is the impact on revenue again? And a large part of the reason they were short on capacity was because of the drought. And if Tally's say they didn't think it was acceptable to claim the wage subsidy then you really know its not. Corporate bail out at its best of two marginally profitable and inefficient companies from Labour.

Like I said McNitty do some research. Silver Fern and Alliance are both CoOps for a start. Secondly they are considerably bigger than Affco. Thanks to the drought all companies were running flat out trying to process the drought cull and running double shifts to try (unsuccessfully) and keep up. Just because Talley's said they didn't need it means they are already running a stripped down enterprise (ask anyone who works for them) that was already understaffed. Easy to comply with the "distancing rules" when you already only have 1/2 the staff on. They also run a high level of robotics/automation.. hence less staff.

I really have hit a nerve haven't I. Subconscious guilt I suspect. SFF is only half owned by suppliers for a start after they needed a bail out from the Chinese (Bright Foods) so maybe you need to get your facts right. And why being a co-op (or being bigger) makes one iota of difference to the moral or ethical argument is lost on me. Your response that Talley's are running an efficient operation just confirms what I said. Alliance and SFF are unprofitable and inefficient. And again over a killing season how did they suffer a drop in revenue due to covid and how did any workers lose out on hours worked, which was what the wage subsidy was for?? You said the plant capacity issue was due to the drought - yes that's exactly what I said - this is just typical farmers holding off stock and then wanting full capacity at the same time everyone else wants it. Normal operating procedure for the industry, nothing to do with Covid, and why Alliance and SFF are in such a poor state.

So nymad, who builds the desperately needed roads,bridges,tunnels? Or would you rather NZ continues to use dual carriageways for the next 50yrs?

"Desperately needed" a business case for some of them.

Tunnel through the Kaimai Ranges alone is a massive project

Indeed. Brynderwyns won't be a doddle either, I should think.

Would be interested in opinions on whether beefing up the AKL Tauranga route and rail links would kill the AKL port move to Whangarei proposal.

Alternatively they are planning a new port on the Firth of Thames...or Manukau
The proposal for a rail freight rebuild between Avondale and Wiri seems to suggest that.
No problem if the Resource Management Act is disarmed.

You mean they were planning. Both dropped for very obvious and valid reasons

There has been another report written recently recommending Manukau Harbour, silting is not a problem apparently.
Commissioned by a road transport group from memory.

Manukau is shallow with a shifting bar and is on the wrong side of the Island. All factors raised in the report. You've seen the push back on dredging Auckland Harbour.. Imagine what you'd see if you're dredging continuously, which was an identified requirement. Also you'd have to build Port infrastructure from scratch.. pretty pricey and convoluted with the current protest industry and RMA. Firth of Thames isn't a goer for the same infrastructure reason.. both Port and road/rail links

The report exists and can be used for the convenience of whatever government.
Logic has nothing to do with it.
We live in the world of social media and MMT, manufactured money..
But feel free to write your own report..

Unlikely I think MM, Tauranga is an export oriented port, Auckland more an import one

The four-lane highway upgrade that's been / is being discussed removes the brynderwyns from SH1. At the moment the preferred route goes around them to the west.

Yes that makes more sense, but the announcement says bryderwyns tunnel...

I wonder what the toll would be to use the tunnels, and possibly other parts of this proposed project. Some have put tunnel tolls as high as $50, I fully expect it would be well into double figures.

Are the rail projects included to sweeten the pot for Winston? Judith would do literally anything to become PM, so why not consider a deal with the devil?

Good point, and the 4 lane motorway

Just need the 4 lane highway the rest of the way to Levin. SH1 in the North Island is a national embarrassment (I can't speak for the SI)

Drove it today. It is truly an embarrassment.

Worked forJA

I think realising NZ First is on the ropes,it is to hijack their voters..

Exactly what we need. Brilliant foresight by National, with well-rounded arugments and common sense. JC is just crushing it; there is no way Labour could have come up with this let alone plan it. Just too incompetent. It's like Twitford got his light rail project inspiration from the Simpsons' monorail episode. We are going to face tough times and if we are going to print and/or borrow cash for stimulation, there needs to have a solid plan that bears results. Here it is.


I love the smell of sarcasm in the morning.

Honestly, I can't tell if this is (intentional) sarcasm.
If National came up with the exact same policies as Labour, many "Cindy"-haters would praise them for their brilliance.

That unnerving thought that National has become Labour, and Labour has become National does linger in that Kotare comment.
But in a World where Good News is Bad News, who knows!

Labour is quickly on the phone to their infrastructure committee asking for there result's and plan from the last three years of meetings....waiting..need it by mid September please

In the press release today, Judith Collins is quoted as saying, "National believes light rail will be to the 2020s what monorails were to the 1980s." You couldn't make this stuff up.

Unrelated, but demonstrative of the thinking, when commenting on climate change "On the School Strike 4 Climate NZ protests: “They are very earnest and very truthful in what they believe. I don't know what they're going to do in 12 years' time when the world has not actually led to a MASS EXTINCTION OF HUMANS (my caps). I'm sure that they will have found something else… Another generation will come. Every generation has its thing.”. A complete lack of understanding of what extinction is, and a complete lack of understanding that the concern about mass extinction does not primarily include humans, but everything else on the planet. You could not make this stuff up, honestly.

Such ignorance is unfortunately celebrated all too often as "common sense".

Funniest post in ages, even if it has been written by a Road Transport Forum bot!

Do we have the skills and resource to execute this plan, or do we need to import services from foreign corporations who get rich and we are left with an increasing bill? Sounds great. Waiting for Labour's response.

It's just a fact that building any infrastructure project entails risk and big projects entails big risks. You therefore need big companies that have the financial strength to take on that risk. We only have two NZ owned companies that can do projects of this size but even they will JV with offshore companies to diversify their risk and get a combination of overseas know how and local expertise working on the design and build. This isn't "importing services from foreign corporations who get rich" its just common sense and commercial best practice. And as for who would be better off managing these projects? My pick is not Phil Twyford who would struggle to manage his way out of a soggy paper bag.

After 6pm , the traffic on most stretches of Auckland - tauranga , and Auckland Whangarei reduces to a dribble. Conjestion pricing of the existing roads would make far more sense.
And hopefully they dont reduce the rest of the countries roads to potholes to pay for these pet projects, like the did for the last 9 years .

The release (above) does include congestion charge options.

... and a focus on fixing potholes in 2021.

And therein lies the problem hey solardb, the pot is only so big so someone loses out...

Most of these projects are ridiculous, esp the 2nd harbour crossing including road, you're just funnelling a bunch of traffic into a bottleneck.

So the National party for Aucklanders, with a few crumbs thrown in for the rest. Killing Kiwi saver payments will guarantee they won't get in. The well paid and wealthy shafting the rest again.

Isn't that what the blue team represents thought m86?

Supporting the 2%'ers.

Which is why I've never understood why so many people vote for them.

They aren't killing govt kiwisaver payments, they want to stop contributions to the NZ super fund. There is plenty on the list outside Auckland:

Building an expressway between Warkworth and Wellsford;
Building the Hamilton Southern Links project;
Building the Cambridge to Piarere extension of the Waikato expressway;
Upgrading State Highway 29 to an expressway between Piarere and the Kaimai Range;
Upgrading State Highway 2 between Tauranga to Katikati, including the Tauranga Northern Link;
Upgrading State Highway 1 between Ruakaka to Wellsford (including a tunnel under the Brynderwyn Hills);
Upgrading the State Highway 29 route from Tauranga to the Kaimai Range including a tunnel through the range.


The nats in their last term announced CHCH to Ashburton 4 laned and Northern CHCH motorway extension including Woodend Bypass. The CoL canned them both despite the obvious need.

There's no need for 4 laning Ashburton to Christchurch.

I regularly drive that road on business and emphatically disagree. And do most users I talk to.

To justify it on the standard cost/benefit the road would need to be used by about 25,000vpd, it's currently used by about 14,000.

Yeah but you only new one cyclist and hey presto its all on.

Wants are different from needs.

Well they (who, gov for council) plan to spend $16 mill or thereabouts, on a 800 metre walkway. in Christchurch. Yes that’s right about $20,000 per metre. Don’t even think it’s a four lane walkway. Some streets in Christchurch still EQ busted to be virtually unnavigable. Priorities, priorities, priorities where art thou Romeo.

The death tolls on that road disagree with you.

Vivid. Yes. I'm guessing perhaps you might run also that dodgem course and have seen the near misses and only just avoided carnage that I many times have. It's thinking ahead to understand the significant financial benefit of widening this road. But I guess if you plan on decimating the mid Canterbury economy as CoL minister James Shaw is by cutting the dairy herd in half, then there is logic in continuing with yesterdays roading systems.

From the other story:
During a select committee on May 20, Goldsmith mentioned suspending Super Fund contributions, as well as winding back government contributions to KiwiSaver members as a means of cost-cutting.

Asked by at the time whether this was in fact National Party policy, Goldsmith said, “They’re examples of things we should be thinking about in the short term.”

On Thursday, he didn’t mention cutting KiwiSaver contributions, but was more definitive about Super Fund contributions.

I saw that but it's pretty tenuous to put any sort of weight on it. Not much more than a passing comment. Super fund seems like a distinct possibility but even that isn't official policy. I don't support stopping either.

They're clearly thinking about it, and talked about it at the 2016 or 2017 budget IIRC, where they considered making kiwisaver compulsory and (for some reason) that means they would need to get rid of the government contributions, too.

Don't forget that National have already taken away the $40 annual fee subsidy from the government, and halved the government contribution from what it used to be.

If it ever becomes Nat policy I'll criticise them for it.

That said, I'm much less concerned about not getting a government handout than I am about government wanting to tax my income more or charge me rent for my own assets.

If she doesn't win and get rolled over, Judith can stand for Mayor of Auckland. She has my vote.

Some good stuff here (the Auckland heavy rail stuff), and some clangers.. four lane highways all the way from Auck to Whg, Tauranga etc? Overkill, some more stretches of double lane to make overtaking safer and easier for sure, but the whole way.. nope.

Bus rapid transit from Onehunga to the CBD.. Why not use the train thats already there? or is it already at capacity, and can more services not be added?

its only single lane, they would need to double lane it but if they want to run to the airport then yes that needs doing,
and dont forget the council lowered the road bridge over the rail line so you can no longer fit a train under it

Out of curiosity, have you driven Auckland-Hamilton since they completed that section? It is a big improvement.

sure, went to hamilton zoo the other weekend. But simply not needed for the volume of traffic to/from tauranga and whangerei unless they've gone up massively in the last few years.

they are both very busy, but for tauranga they would four lane from piarere to the bottom of the kamai's that way you have the benefit of the already built 4 lane motorway to the end of cambridge

They sure do love their roads.

I thought real kiwis loved cars, especially V8s?

Vision, decisiveness, details, timelines and commitment. The fundamentals of all successful enterprise. Middle NZ will lap it up. Especially northerners.

Vision, decisiveness, details, timelines and commitment. The fundamentals of all successful enterprise. Middle NZ will lap it up. Especially northerners.

Just a quick question. Is there an example of building successful enterprise among this list of National Party politicians? Can you point to any that have driven infrastructure projects?

They haven't had much of a chance recently given Phil the hammer Twyford has been infrastructure supremo and serial project execution failure. Ardern's front bench of 12 is currently filled by 6 ministers during this time of national crisis, Collins has a full house ready to rock.

So that's a long-winded way of saying no.

Simple choice; keep backing serial failure to deliver projects or try something new.

Tauranga Eastern Link..beautiful bit of road, $2.50 toll each way..Cuts 1/2hr off Whakatane to Tauranga trip

No doubt with the Nat, they will sell whatever state houses left and could privatise few National Parks to pay for all that.

Neither is policy as far as I know. Collins has a wicked twinkle in her eye though, do you think perhaps she's already done a deal to sell Tongariro to her Chinese mates.

Potentially a big sulfur mine.

Plenty of plastic bottles worth could be exported if they diverted Tongariro into a bottling plant!

Yes; More roads has long proven its worth in solving congestion problems worldwide

As long as they include plenty of rest bays for the freedom campers, this will pay for itself in spades


they should recreate the old Ministry of works, get the fat fingers out of consulting and contracts.

Look how well it's working with trying to reintroduce actual capacity into NZTA (cliff note - it's an utter failure). As much as I agree with your sentiment, we need to be practical and the world has moved on since then, politicians no longer respect engineers or allow asset planning to be carried out with integrity (or any autonomy). The people with the ability to deliver need the protection of the consulting organisations where we can provide independent advice, and the bureaucrats can act as the middlemen to the politicians, whose sole purpose is to make sure the whole thing continues to be as inefficient and indecisive as is possible, by changing projects and policies every three years.

Why , in NZ, does everything take so bloody long??
Starting stuff needed NOW, in 5-10 years. Pathetic.
All this extra population and bugger all provision and planning done to cater for them: massive failure of public administration from 2010 to date, by both parties.
Infrastructure requires more borrowing and vision and also more taxation on top 20%.
We have none of that and no one wants to talk about it.

And at the end it will be contracted out to an offshore company... apparently we can not manage build a road in NZ. If that is the case we should shut up shop now.
Sorry hit report comment. Fat builders fingers.

We can't even pick up our own rubbish or park our own cars without foreign corporations, how on earth would anyone think we could build roads?


Collins floats a "proposal" of creating 4 lane highways connecting Whangarei-Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga

NZ needs a vision - That's a feel-good thought-bubble - that's not a vision

What is needed is a divided dual-carriageway from Whangarei all the way to Wellington. And put a high-speed wide-gauge rail-line alongside it while you're at it. NZ needs a purpose-built arterial transport backbone through the middle of the North Island. I began to develop such a proposal back in May 2020 here on got a few upticks but thats about all. Not much interest

See comment about the history of the Hulme Highway linking Melbourne and Sydney - 840 kms

Last time I checked Sydney and Melbourne had slightly bigger populations than Auckland and Wellington. In fact if we have 2 lanes they should probably have 10.


Ah the good ole National rhetoric of more roads = economic transformation...
You know what neither Nats or Labour understand? That affordable housing is the key to transforming the economy. And, that the solution is very simple indeed - build houses and sell them to FHBs at no profit

No, we already have enough houses. What we need are less people. Which will solve the 'price' thing too.

Correct Labour should run this election solely on building affordable houses. I would gladly donate if they came out with that plan.

That's what they ran on last time mate, among other things also yet to be delivered.

Their model was totally flawed, as it relied on developers to build and sell the houses with a profit margin (usually between 20 and 30%). If you take out the profit margin then you can deliver housing that most FHBs can afford. Very, very simple.

It also relied on house prices continuing on the path to the stratosphere, but the CCP trying to attempt to stop capital flight meant that slowed right down, and while house prices are still rising due to population pressure it is nothing like it was

I do seem to recall more houses and less people being a cornerstone of the last campaign. Well, slowing the rate of increase of people, anyhow.

Not a lot of good choices though. FBB and AML are one thing this govt did deliver, if not kiwibuild and immigration, and I don't have much trust that the nats wouldn't promptly unwind those given the chance.

Would be nice to have some money spent in Wgtn We waited near on 60Yrs for transmission gully motorway.
Wgtn crying out for infrastructure, , an the cost keep rising .

Borrow and Spend..Is that not the mantra of Liberals ?

You're thinking of tax and spend

The Auto Lobby wins, at least in the planning. Let us see how many of these come through on the ground, pun intended. Wait, first they have to win the elections and form the government, right ? Good luck with that, Judith and Team.

Yes - rail to Airport to Onehunga -that's really going to help me? I live on the North Shore..

You guys get the second harbour crossing.. which is of piss all use to me, as a west aucklander. :)

If it doesn't personally benefit me, let's definitely not do that?

Booma mantra

Don’t worry Frazz, you only have to wait another 30 years and most of the Boomers will be just a memory. Population solved so long as we control immigration. Empty houses and empty roads.

True but their debts will still be with us.

The Anti-Burkes

Frazz - NOTHING can help you if you live on the North Shore.

I'd move somewhere survivable.


No harm in promising as most probably will not win and if by chance do win, will think but for now no harm in promising.

Now wait for Labour comming out with promise.

I like it, at least it's a plan to aim for. Time for the Adult's to take over. Arden is a brilliant leader in times of trouble without doubt but the COL really haven't succeeded in any of their election promises. Time for a change just like it was time for a change away from National after 3 years.

The pandemic isn't just going to go away in September, you know - we will be dealing with its effects for years.

Actually that is a very good point for an undecided voter. Who do we want running the country while the virus is still raging overseas and looking for any opportunity to rage across NZ too.

Well Shoreman, let's see. Instead of roads, you could build light rail. Fix the housing crisis National created. Fund the health system National deliberately underfunded to run a mythical surplus. Likewise the police, the education system, the public service - all stripped to the bone by National.

You could put more wrap around services instead of building more prisons. Addiction services. Aged care.

31 billion could make a huge difference - but it won't ploughed into tarseal on a promise of yesteryear.

On health, the oldies are now asking for young people to subsidise private health insurance for them, after endlessly clamouring for tax cuts at every election while they were working.

So much for own two feet.

Impressive to see Nats want to splash $$$$ at the Upper North Islanders, but there are other parts of the country in need of attention. Will there be similar announcements forthcoming for the rest of NZ?

Why not? It's only keystroke-issued debt. Even before covid, thae amount of debt outstanding was unrepayable, post-covid it's even more ridiculous.

These people are going backwards.

What is more disconcerting, is that the Govt benches aren't far different.

Yes. The figures very deliberately show $17B allocated for upper North island and $13B unallocated.

I would be happy if NZTA completed the Takanini Exchange project. One man with a wheel barrow would have been faster.

"The harbour crossing would take the form of a tunnel for road and rail, likely between Esmonde Road and Wynyard Quarter. "

This would have to be accompanied by a congestion tolling cordon. There is no point providing another northern connection that simply shovels more traffic along an already congested SH1 south.

Hmm, so the birth rate in NZ is 1.8 children per woman, who on earth is all this infrastructure being built for?

The 1000 a week coming in that the Nats want, that will pump us back up to being a rock star economy!

You read my mind and I hope those all a'flutter about these roads but also concerns about our high immigration rates of late, should consider this themselves

we have zero replacement growth in NZ so the only way to grow the population is to import people, but we have not voted on what level or what number we would like to see NZ at, that has been decided by officials and parties without feedback to the population.

It is nothing but a ponzi scheme that you can't put a fullstop on, if you are using rapidly growing population as means to "grow" then there can't be an end to it. Even Japan with the high population there, have come to a grinding halt where births are concerned, you'd think they'd be fine to have a falling population, but it seems, no.
The answer to it is actually technology, but only if it benefits all.
Side note. I see a future where women begin to lose their rights to chose their life paths in an attempt to get birth rates up, it is already sneaking in in parts of the USA

And more to the point, without any consideration of, or consultation with, their Treaty partner;

Notice the date - 1994.

RE: RMA reform
Whether it is RMA removal or RMA reform it needs to be done.

NZ has had the largest increase in real house prices since 1980. We have simply bid up the price of land which is totally unproductive use of capital.

The aim is for sustainability. Something that can be kept going for more than, say, a generation.

The RMA has overseen the biggest rape of our life-support requirements that has ever happened, so it is clearly inadequate. The problem is that we need tighter regulation (by several orders of magnitude). The joke is that the Collins rabble want to unwind it firther - as they did when they had to sideswipe the Cant'y democracy to get at the water.......

But the tidal-wave is breaking; global events (too many people, not enough remaining resources, too much excretion/pollution) are overtaking this discussion. Rather like deckchair-booking for the day after the iceberg. Most of these need-to-be-bigger-to-assuage-the-growth-imperative projects will never be completed.

I agree.
Government after government has failed to put in place national environmental standards based by social cost benefit assessment.
Government after government has allowed the RMA to be applied like the town & country planning act, rather than being truly effects based.
It is now full of rules stacked as high as the skytower which have been written at the whim of planners who dont face the costs of the rules themselves, and which have not had individual cost benefit assessments undertaken on them.

The problem is that we need tighter regulation (by several orders of magnitude).

Agree. But I think what stuffed the RMA was a very early bit of case law referred to as the "overall broad judgment";

The overall broad judgment approach allows for comparison of conflicting considerations and the scale or degree of them, and their relative significance or proportion in the final outcome.

In my opinion, it turned the purpose (s5) from what I think reads and was intended as a triple bottom line to a weighting-based/(nearly) anything goes piece of legislation. It [the judicial precedent set with that particular judgment] took the law out of the hands of the written statute and instead, delivered decision-making to the courts.

The solution to that is land value tax. Decreases land values, improves productive and efficient occupation of land. Increases housing supply and reduces rents. Would also be good to shift the burden off GST and income tax. We don't want to disincentivise trade and productivity.

my thoughts
Building a third and fourth main line; Tick
Building a rail link to Auckland Airport from Puhinui and from Onehunga; Tick and then they should look at running it from onehunga alongside the motorway to connect up out west
Investigating a new rail line from Southdown to Avondale with construction to start from 2030 onwards; just do it
Electrifying the rail line to Pōkeno in the Waikato; should be to Hamilton why stop at pokeno
Extending commuter rail to Huapai via a diesel shuttle to Swanson or Henderson; then investigating electrifying the line. do electric dont piss around
The other Auckland projects National is committing to include:
Constructing the East West Link; no just not worth the cost other ways to do this most expensive road ever
Delivering Bus Rapid Transit from Onehunga to the CBD; double track the rail line
Building Northwest Bus Rapid Transit; look at new tech
Adding a diesel rail shuttle to Huapai; fail dumb idea
Starting work on the Second Waitematā Harbour Crossing; depends where they put this they need to do before the city from the south otherwise you will just bottleneck the inflows
Adding funding to upgrade Auckland’s Ferry Network; they need a ferries on the manukau to feed the airport and rail and buses at onehunga
Introducing additional funding for Auckland Local Board priorities. pork barrel
National’s upper North Island projects include:
Building an expressway between Warkworth and Wellsford; yes all the way to whangarei ( go around whangarei not through)
Building the Hamilton Southern Links project; yes good
Building the Cambridge to Piarere extension of the Waikato expressway; yes good
Upgrading State Highway 29 to an expressway between Piarere and the Kaimai Range; yes good
Upgrading State Highway 2 between Tauranga to Katikati, including the Tauranga Northern Link; yes good
Upgrading State Highway 1 between Ruakaka to Wellsford (including a tunnel under the Brynderwyn Hills); why a tunnel huge expense for trucks so they don have to go up a hill cheaper to cut through?
Upgrading the State Highway 29 route from Tauranga to the Kaimai Range including a tunnel through the range. why a tunnel huge expense for trucks so they dont have to go up a hill cheaper to cut through?