Transport Minister touts boost for regions in Transport Agency's 3-yearly investment plan; Trucking lobby complains funding's being diverted to 'pet political projects of dubious economic merit'

Transport Minister touts boost for regions in Transport Agency's 3-yearly investment plan; Trucking lobby complains funding's being diverted to 'pet political projects of dubious economic merit'

The Government is investing a record $16.9 billion in the land transport system over the next three years.

Most of the funding will go to the regions rather than the big cities - a reversal from the previous three years.

Regional roads will receive $5.8 billion of funding - a $600 million increase from the prior period, while $5 billion will be invested in roads in metro areas.

The planned investment, detailed in the Transport Agency’s 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme, marks an 18% increase from the 2015-18 Programme and a 44% increase from 2012-15.

Of the total amount allocated, $12.9 billion will come from the National Land Transport Fund, which collects revenue from fuel excise duties, road user charges, vehicle and driver registrations and licensing, state highway property disposal and leasing, and road tolling. 

Auckland’s Regional Fuel Tax and the rates collected by local government will account for another $3.4 billion, while only $557 million will come directly from the Crown.

Coming back to the regional focus, Transport Minister Phil Twyford says, “A further $300 million will be invested in the regions in non-roading projects.”

As for the cities, nearly $4 billion will be invested in public transport, rapid transit, and rail, with a further $390 million for walking and cycling.

“This will fund projects like the AMETI busway, renewal work on Wellington’s rail tracks, the Skypath and Seapath walk/cycleways, and investigation of a new commuter ferry service in Queenstown,” Twyord explains.

“State highways continue to receive the largest share of funding with a total of $5.7 billion.

“We will invest $3.5 billion in new state highway projects like Puhoi to Warkworth, the Waikato Expressway, the Mt Messenger bypass, the Manawatu Gorge replacement, Transmission Gully, and the Christchurch Southern Motorway. A further $2.2 billion will be invested in state highway maintenance.”

Safety is another priority, with $4.3 billion going towards revamping intersections to stop collisions, installing median barriers in high-risk areas, and increasing road policing.

Roads receiving safety upgrades include Dome Valley, Drury to Paerata, Waihi to Tauranga, and the Hawke’s Bay Expressway.

'A missed opportunity'

Trucking lobby, the Road Transport Forum, says the programme is a missed opportunity.

Its CEO, Ken Shirley, says funding’s being diverted to “pet political projects of dubious economic merit, while crucial roading projects are postponed indefinitely".

“This kind of cross-subsidisation will lead to economic distortions across the transport market,” he says.

“The road transport industry is concerned that major highway projects such as an East-West Link alternative, Tauranga to Katikati and Otaki to Levin are not going ahead. These projects are important for the free flow of freight around the country and would significantly improve the safety of key routes.

“On the bright side, it is good to see projects such as the Mt Messenger Bypass and the Manawatu Gorge replacement route receive the necessary funding.”

Shirley also welcomes the Government’s increased focus on road safety, but says ultimately, highways designed specifically to separate traffic and provide safe connectivity between communities are key to ensuring safety.

“It is particularly disappointing that the Tauranga to Katikati motorway has not progressed. The road is experiencing ever-increasing traffic volumes and is extremely dangerous. While the Government has earmarked some safety improvements the only real solution is a four-lane motorway with appropriately controlled access points and separation of opposing traffic,” he says.

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Disappointing that they will not be doing anything new to increase intercity motorway roading capacity. No Motorway to Whangerei, Auckland Tauranga or Christchurch Timaru. Big spend up on super-expensive urban cycling infrastructure and public transport will please the urban planning zealots but help almost no one because it's too inconvenient for most to use.


Foyle - it looks like he's looking ahead. You're looking behind. Subtle difference, I know, but you'll see it eventually.

The problem with your apparent back-to-the-trees ascetic worldview is that it's based on existing technology (and some fringing/wrong beliefs about resource limits). The world changes. We are no longer riding horses, so investing billions to build better hitching rails and watering troughs is pointless. Energy and particularly transport technology is on the cusp of several massive revolutions (robo-couriers and drones, autonomous vehicles, point to point air transport and perhaps cheaper underground transport too if Musk's Boring Company pans out). So it is now a bad idea to be wasting billions on expensive old world tech - trams/trains and cycleways that foul up roads - when they are likely to be obsoleted before they are completed. Better to put the money into improved arterial roads (tunnels!) that will still have utility in future for autonomous vehicles - and not be near term mausoleums to central planners lack of foresight..

Autonomous vehicles won't solve congestion - they will most likely make it worse. Trams/trains will most likely continue to be the only way of moving a lot of people in a constrained space such as a city.

It's disappointing we're investing in walking/cycling lanes as they are hardly used, the uptake will never be there as Auckland in particular rains every other day. This also affects congestion because it uses expensive real estate that could otherwise be used for other forms of transport. Unless there is SIGNIFICANT expenditure in public transport i.e. subway we will just cripple Auckland's growth and it will only get worse rather than better.

I disagree. I used to cycle from Kohimarama to the city rain hail or sun. Now I cycle to work in Munich 400 km per week. A friend of mine who lives in Lower Hutt and commutes to Wellington every day made the comment that once you start cycling every day then you stop thinking about the car or bus as even being an option. I thought about it and he was right – I would never have taken the car to work! Ebikes are becoming more prevalent. Its quite forward looking investing in cycling infrastructure. Lots of hidden health benefits too.

Hi powerdownkiwi,

The further you look behind, the further you can see ahead.



Not so,unless you are Janus,from whose name January is derived.


"...but help almost no one because it's too inconvenient for most to use."

Every cycle user on there is another off the road. A typical backward looking comment which reflects the ingrained bias to cars that have got Auckland transport into the absolute mess it is today.

Looking forward to you traffic locked car ride home? Get yourself a bike and try it for 3'll never go back.

NZs such a hilly topography it’s not Amsterdam or London
Hasn’t enough cyclists been killed on NZs roads yet for common sense to kick in ?
Evidently not reading the usual pushbike brigade drivel

How many obesity related deaths do we have per year?
Hills can be solved with electric bikes
Road deaths can be solved with more investment in cycling infrastructure

Jumbo get on your bike
Decreased sugar intake works better against obesity & less likely to get killed on the road
Go ahead though you risk your own life
Hope you don’t leave a family behind like my cousin did
Have you cycled in London ?
Bike lanes do not stop deaths

I can totally understand if you're against people cycling, but why not at least attempt to make it safer for those who choose to cycle, particularly the ones that are aware of what's going on around them.

Yep I’ve cycled in London it was great.
Bike lanes would stop most cycling deaths. People die in cars too you know, it’s growing by the year at the moment.

Bike lanes are ok - but the trick is how they are designed.

There's one in Wellington (in a suburb called Island Bay). It's an absolute disgrace - a blot on the landscape.

The Wellington City Council has dilly-dallied getting it sorted out - much to the despair of the local residents (and Wellington motorists!)


northern lights you are scoring own goals here. We need this funding to reduce road deaths.

Northern Lights,

"Bike lanes do not stop deaths". Have you any evidence for this claim?

Read the attached; and then think before posting more rubbish.

Christchurch is flatter than London and has very little rain, and we still get people complaining about building cycling infrastructure. No reason this city couldn't have cycling rates comparable to Amsterdam.

I've see the photos, sadly they once did.

China has used NZ as a satellite for its people to invest in with China bank low interest loans to help facilitate
It’s time NZs government politicians on all sides woke up that this was the CCP plan all along to spread its nationals around the globe after decades of tight border controls.
The Chinese government has achieved its aim beautifully in Auckland NZs largest city and should feel very proud.
About time the CCP shelled out capital to improve NZs schools , hospitals , roads and installed a fast train
from Whangarei to Wellington at the very least.
Of course National politicians are more likely to act as servants to China & attend to beach house caretaking duties

Now that growth is dead, the name of the game now is for Govts to increasingly splurge on debt /infrastructure to keep the appearance of viable jobs .... socialism to keep capitalism afloat

But its a pity they wont use the last of the fossil fuel kick to create some sort of come down from the fossil fuel high... sparkly highways wont look that useful when you are back to horse and cart

h&e - I think he's heading in the right direction, and he's hamstrung by thr need to try and transition smoothly, while a lot of folk are still back in the dark ages. He's out of time, but until the likes of National Radio shift the conversation (watch this space) he has to fit with mass assumption.

But you're right - should be rail 2-way, urban electrified, all that....

Chuckle. I could'a written it myself.

I sense a beginning of an awakening though.

Maybe PDK Maybe : )


I have now bookmarked that report. A point that really struck me was that for the first time in human history,we are moving to LESS energy-efficient sources.The concept of EROI is not yet well known,but will become so.


I’m pretty happy with this.

Dealing with congestion by building more roads is like dealing with obesity by loosening your belt. Build em and they will fill up soon enough.

I’m all for trams, trains, separates cycle lanes and bus priority lanes. Most of the regions don’t have the population base to support this yet, but the larger centres do.

One of the big pulls for us buying a house in Masterton was access to a reliable commuter rail service into Wellington. It’s a massive sacrifice in terms of time spent commuting (4 hours a day) but our mortgage is 1/3 of what we’d have in a city.


Some rough calculations: For sake of argument let's ignore inefficiencies such as Fletchers and cycle lanes.
60k net migrants per year over the last 5 years = 300k population increase
Half of that $17B could be maintenance related, and the remainder only necessary because net immigration gains. = $8.4 Billion due to immigration.

That's $28,000 per immigrant. I hope all those award winning chefs and "business students" can cover the bill before they hop over to Australia.

And what does this get us in the long run? Our young are forced to either borrow for life, rent for life or leave NZ altogether.

Maybe those award winning chefs and business students could put on a high vis and pick up a shovel.

I'd prefer to just use the same capital to employ robots. I reckon a robot can flip a burger or do sell milk and energy drink aka retail management. But of course robots don't spend money on our sacred housing bubbles and dodgy training institutions.

So your assumption is that locals are the only ones that pay income tax, GST and provisional tax. Less inflow, number of people equals less tax intake. Please also check with “award winning chefs and business students” how much they have paid in fees to dubious institutions compared to a domestic student. Perhaps NZ should follow the path of Bhutan- No student visas or working holidaymakers or freedom campers. You can come in only if you pay $500 for each day spent here.

Don't be ridiculous. They pay next to nothing in tax. The money goes to the dodgy business owners (e.g. Burger King paying less than min wage) and the visa-mill training institutions.

They need a 4 laned hi-way between Tauranga and Hamilton(or a tunnel) with an inland Port being built at Ruakura and also SH1 from Hamilton to Taupo.
Thats thinking ahead. thanks

Yes they do. Tauranga is too isolated.

ng - see my comment up-thread. The times they are a'changing.


I like your style as long as we unlock the reserves of the meat and dairy boards to fund it, they have benefited from the road and rail systems for generations.
Surely they could chip in a billion dollars.

They pay and have paid vast amounts of tax already, and provide a huge number of tax paying jobs. How about we just come around to your house and take everything that's not nailed down + your car keys? You've got lots of extra you don't really deserve for the effort you've put in during your life, and so would be cool with that right?

The boards I mentioned were goverment establishments, their levies sometimes used for development of the agriculture infrastructure. In a curious twist of fate the infrastructure was transferred to Farmer boards with farmer shareholders.
Do you have a better analogy?

No, we need the motherland to build ultra fast train service between Tauranga-Hamilton-Auckland-Whangarei. Then implement cars share scheme at each centre.

About time NZ! Can we please finally move around BETWEEN cities like it is 2018? Thank you.

Well, at least we know how part of this is funded: the 10% increase in RUC for light, not a New Tax, just a swingeing increase in an Old one.

Oh, and one the July after That, and in July 2020...who said inflation was dead?

Should've left the light vehicles alone and whacked it on the heavy stuff which is way undercharged for the damage they do.

4 lane highway from Katikati to Tauranga , then what ? A giant carpark at each end.?? The road needs improving , no doubt about that, but not 4 lanes. The plan is to go through / across the Kaimais to link up with S.H.1 near Matamata, and always has been.

A lot of the traffic on that road is local population traffic. Its only going to get more population dense. 4 lanes out to say, pahoia would help hugely. As it, that road is a death trap.

Memo to and trucks aren't going to disappear anytime soon.

No, but any fossil-fuelled vehicle bought new now, is going to be a stranded asset before it has done it's design mileage.

And that goes for half the existing fleet.

So few people can think outside the 'now'.....

Can some one tell me what ham and eggs earlier post about growth being dead means? As for roading congestion in the bay of plenty, Tauranga is fast becoming the next auckland for that problem only made worse due to its difficult geography and inept city and regional administration... so the best way to solve that problem is to move away, thats what I did. Sure don't miss those traffic jams!

There was a belief that we could grow (inflate) our way out of our problems. That appears to not be working anymore.
immigration is a good example, without the growth in productivity all we are doing is dividing our wealth by more and more people, no one likes that outcome.

T4thE - sure. Growth is exponential. If based on something finite, it will always cease. Economic activity has never divorced itself from the real (and finite) planet - if it could, we'd not need dairying or tourism or mining or construction or fishing, or, or, or..... We'd just do it magically with dollar bills.

Which we haven't - rather proving the 'based on a finite planet, the resource thereof' hypothesis.

Growth is expressed in terms of 'doubling-time', when you're 1/8th of the way through something you have 3 doublings left (to 1/4 from 1/8, to 1/2 from 1/4, and from 1/2 to all-gone. Of course, if it's the highest-grade energy you'll ever see, beyond halfway you'll not really be growing, just kind-of equalling in an ever-more-stressed manner.

Here's the classic primer:

We're at or about half-way. Good-quality energy was the underwrite. It is deteriorating in quality. Forward bets (pension funds, investments, stock, savings) have never been bigger, nor less underwritten physically.

Only one way that can go..... Which is why we're starting to see $1 of GDP needing more than $1 of debt. Clearly a thin rubber thing waiting to go past Young's Modulus......