Wellington Scoop

LGWM: Phil Twyford prioritises mass transit over motorways

News from NZ Government
The Government has endorsed the Let’s Get Wellington Moving indicative package to ease congestion in our capital city, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said the Government is tackling the long-term issues and this 20-year plan is a step change for transport in Wellington.

“We’ll reduce congestion by integrating modern rapid transit, walking and cycling upgrades, and better public transport with the city’s motorways and roads.

“Better public transport infrastructure and more services will encourage people out of their cars – freeing up the roads for those that have to drive.

“By unlocking the Basin Reserve and making streets more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, we’ll have a more liveable city that’s safer to get around.

“LGWM will help boost growth and encourage more housing, especially along the rapid transit corridor.

“The capital’s waterfront CBD is a national treasure. It is a job rich high-productivity economic powerhouse for the region. LGWM will unleash its potential and make it a magnet for investment after years of underinvestment.

“We can’t do everything at once and my expectation is that congestion-busting projects like rapid transit will be prioritised over motorway projects.

“We know that only by taking a joined-up regional approach will we unlock Wellington’s potential. That’s why we have allowed an estimated $4 billion for other regional transport projects.

“The next step is for the Wellington City Council and regional councils to endorse and commit to funding their share of the $6.4 billion plan. The total cost of the LGWM indicative package is split 60:40 between central government and local government to reflect the wider local benefits of the package,” Phil Twyford said.

The components of the LGWM indicative package:

A walkable city
Accessibility and amenity improvements, setting safer speeds for vehicles, with further walking improvements included in major components below.

Connected cycleways
Cycleways on Featherston St, Thorndon Quay, Courtenay place – Dixon St, Taranaki St, Willis St, Victoria St, Kent and Cambridge Terrace and Bowen St.

Public transport to and through the city
Dual public transport spine through the central city on the Golden Mile and Waterfront Quays; rail network improvements; and bus priority on Thorndon Quay and Hutt Rd

Smarter transport network
Full integrated ticketing; transition to integrated transport network operating systems; travel demand management measures including Mobility as a Service, parking policy improvements and education and engagement

Rapid transit
Provide rapid transit as part of the wider public transport network from the railway station to Newtown and to the airport. The design and preferred mode of rapid transit will be determined by the business case.

Unblocking the Basin Reserve
At-grade changes to improve reliable access for all modes; and grade separation between north-south movements, east-west movements and any rapid transit corridors.

Extra Mount Victoria Tunnel
Extra Mount Victoria Tunnel and widening Ruahine St and Wellington Rd to improve access for public transport and enable dedicated walking and cycling routes.

If endorsed and funded by the relevant Councils, the components of the package will go through the normal NZ Transport Agency project business case process. More details of the individual components will be announced in the future and the particulars of the components may change from the above.

Link to video of the rapid transit here.


RNZ: LGWM announcement went against advice from Treasury


  1. TrevorH, 16. May 2019, 16:48

    Will our shops be replenished by tram? Will tradesmen travel to jobs by tram? Will patients be rushed to hospital by tram? Get the second Mt Victoria tunnel done now!

  2. Dr Barnaby Bennett, 16. May 2019, 17:14

    These announcements were largely agreed on about a year ago. How long does Treasury take to do its work? and do they take account of the massive opportunity cost for endless delay. This obsession with business cases killed Chch CBD. [via twitter]

  3. Brendan, 16. May 2019, 18:51

    Hmmm – I wait in trepidation for my rates bill to triple and my petrol price to double with these plans to cram in 80,000 more people.

  4. Russell Tregonning, 16. May 2019, 21:14

    Minister Twyford is onto it – – “my expectation is that congestion-busting projects like rapid transit will be prioritised over motorway projects”. So that means to me that he sees the way we must act now. For capacity and speed, light rail from railway station to the airport should be done first before any consideration of more motorways, more cars, & more greenhouse gas emissions. It’s not rocket surgery.

  5. mason, 17. May 2019, 0:39

    Building more roads will encourage more driving. It’s actually that simple.

  6. Jamie, 17. May 2019, 7:24

    Council and Govt partnership – give me a break. They haven’t managed to get the buses working which were already in place. Time to take transport away from GW although giving it to a COO will make it harder to vote displeasure every three years.
    CBD economic powerhouse – most is govt departments and business scoffing in the govt trough.
    Melling on hold, single lane dangerous SH58, 2 hours a day in traffic, public transport system that has cancellations and delays due to hot tracks and trains breaking down. Yep sounds really livable to me.

  7. Kara Lipski, 17. May 2019, 9:06

    Could someone please tell the Minister and the Wellington Mayor that unless the present bus muckup in Wellington city is fixed there is no point touting mass rapid transit. The use of cars has increased because the public transport service is lousy!

  8. Russel Norman, 17. May 2019, 10:44

    The democratically-elected Govt is trying to get sustainable transport initiatives advanced, while NZTA is trying to stop them. Maybe Phil Twyford thought one way to make it harder for NZTA is just to announce it is proceeding? [via twitter]

  9. RR, 17. May 2019, 13:37

    Kara is right. The mess with the buses is pulling is in the opposite direction to this proposal. The traffic around the airport is terrible since the changes and the diesel buses stink. It seems like GWRC but also WCC and even our local MPs are going quiet on it all.

  10. Harry M, 17. May 2019, 13:53

    They’ve already prioritized motorways – now once almost finished they are prioritizing their other costly transit projects with no regards to their approach.