Wellington Scoop

Light rail is on the list, says Phil Twyford

Transport Minister Phil Twyford has confirmed that light rail is being considered as part of the Let’s Get Wellington Moving plans.

The DomPost’s Damian George quotes Twyford as saying yesterday that the Government is working closely with the Wellington City Council and the Greater Wellington Regional Council on Let’s Get Wellington Moving.

“Light rail is being considered as part of this. We will have more to say about this in coming months.”

Damien George writes that light rail for Wellington could be approved within the next two years as part of an almost $4 billion plan to fix the city’s traffic congestion problems.

And the mass transit system would not come at the expense of roading projects, with a State Highway 1 tunnel under Te Aro, between second Mt Victoria and Terrace tunnels, also part of the final proposal. The comprehensive plan, which aims to ease congestion between Wellington Airport and the Ngauranga Gorge, is awaiting sign-off from Cabinet before being released publicly later this year.

And further:

The only remaining hurdle is how the project would be funded. While the recently announced Government Policy Statement on Land Transport did not allocate any funding for the project during the next three years, it is understood there is adequate funding available from the three agencies to get the project started.

The DomPost quotes Wellington Mayor Justin Lester as saying while nothing had been agreed on, there was strong public support for light rail, and he also liked the idea. “I’m a strong supporter of improved and modern public transport and light rail needs to be a key consideration.”


  1. Peter F Coleman, 1. October 2018, 13:30

    Light rail to service stack n pack highly monitored smart cities.

  2. Ross Clark, 1. October 2018, 21:05

    There’s little point in investing in light rail if at the same time you are investing heavily in roads. You won’t see overmuch modal shift in those circumstances.

  3. Cecil Roads, 2. October 2018, 7:27

    Ross – the investment in infrastructure is to support population growth. In 2017 alone an extra 70,000 people started living in NZ. You can debate whether we should be allowing so many in, but having done so we need to widen roads and put in mass transport so we can all get about without getting stuck in endless traffic jams or waiting for a bus.

  4. John Rankin, 2. October 2018, 13:27

    @CecilRoads: No, it’s a choice cities make. Some cities, like Vancouver (growing much faster than Wellington), have chosen to accommodate all future growth in urban travel using walking, cycling, and transit. Vancouver city has built no new major roads for about 25 years and the number of trips by car remains static. These cities put the billions of dollars saved by not building major roads into making walking, cycling and transit more inviting.

    Cars have the same effect on our cities as cows have on our rural areas — doing long term damage to the many for the sake of short term gain for the few.

  5. Cecil Roads, 2. October 2018, 14:18

    John, I think you’re being spatially economical with the truth as Vancouver City is not Vancouver Region by any stretch of the imagination. Vancouver City is the bit full of people doing quite nicely ‘governing’ the wider hinterland. Big transportation is done by the BC Government and out there in la la land lots of roads are getting built. Check this list and you will see over thirty road projects.

  6. John Rankin, 2. October 2018, 16:04

    Cecil, the subject is motorway projects within Wellington city, so the comparison with the city of Vancouver is appropriate and relevant. Wellington city will not benefit from the road projects in the LGWM proposals, we’ll just become even more congested and car-dependent.

  7. Cecil Roads, 2. October 2018, 16:51

    Well I’d like a road tunnel under the Basin (preferably tolled) just like Cassiar Tunnel in Vancouver (built 1992) so cars from Transmission Gully, Otaki-Peka and dare I say it, Auckland can drive right to the end of SH1 (te Airport) without bothering me and others in the centre of our wonderful capital. Let’s just get Wellington moving!

  8. luke, 2. October 2018, 18:18

    how is building more roads going to do anything other than encourage more people to drive more often

  9. Dave B, 2. October 2018, 18:44

    Well Cecil, I’d like the train service extended so people in any rail-served part of the region (i.e. most of it) can board a Matangi and be whisked through to the southern CBD, Newtown, Kilbirnie and airport. Currently very few would consider making such a journey by public transport so most do it by car. And the result? More traffic funnelled into and through our wonderful capital.

  10. Cecil Roads, 2. October 2018, 20:46

    Well the good news Dave is the money raised from the toll I propose in my road tunnel can be used for even greater subsidies for rail so you never know – your wish for a rail tunnel to the airport might one day come true.

  11. Gillybee, 3. October 2018, 9:58

    Heavy rail to the airport from the regions is the only long-term answer, but unfortunately with the Ministry of Works a thing of the past, there is no stomach for it in an environment loaded with risk-averse public administrators, who lack practical skills. For those who say there’s no money either, I like to point out the world class infrastructure projects we developed and built as a nation, with a fraction of the population we have now.