Wellington Scoop

Greens transport policy includes light rail for Wellington, and daily trains to the provinces

greens light rail

The Green Party announced its transport policy today. For Wellington, this includes light rail from the railway station to Newtown (first), then through the hill by the Zoo, to Kilbirnie, and out to the airport. And also:

Bus priority routes across the region
A new walking and cycling tunnel through Mt Victoria
Continuation of Lets Get Wellington Moving

“A second car tunnel through Mt Victoria should remain the last cab of the rank as it is expected to shave just 30 to 60 seconds off the drive to the airport and cost close to a billion dollars,” said co-leader James Shaw said.

The Greens also want to extend the rail network to the provinces.

Stage one would run from 2022 and stage two will run from 2027 until 2035.

Routes include:

Auckland to Hamilton, Tauranga, and eventually Whangārei
Wellington to Masterton, Palmerston North (via Ōtaki), and eventually Whanganui.
Christchurch north to Rangiora and south to Ashburton, and eventually Timaru and Dunedin
Daily train services to towns and cities like Rotorua, Whangārei, the Bay of Islands, Whakatāne, New Plymouth, Napier, Gisborne, and Picton

News from RNZ
The Greens transport policy will cost $13 billion over the next decade including $5 billion on regional rapid rail with total spending on the project expected to amount to $9.2 billion by 2035.

As part of the policy, the Greens want a large scale investment in rapid, intercity passenger rail, connecting provincial centres with major cities.

James Shaw said its boldest plan is to transform how the country gets around.

“Right now, those commuting to our major centres have little choice but to take a car, the major routes out of our big cities are clogged in peak times, and this, in turn, is driving up emissions.”

To address this, the party wants large scale investment in rapid, intercity passenger rail, connecting provincial centres with major cities.

The $9.2 billion inter-city rail investment would be done in two stages – with stage one enabling more train services running up to 110km/hr and stage two to enable services up to 160km/hr.

Shaw said once built, the intercity rail network would slash the emissions caused by only being able to commute by car, as well as create thousands of jobs during construction.

“It is exactly the kind of smart investment we should be making in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis,” he said.

The party also wants to establish a $1.5b Cycle Super Highway fund, which would build separated school and commuter cycling routes around the country.

The party also plans to make public transport cheaper by setting up a Go Anywhere Transport card, which could be used in every city in New Zealand. It would provide free public transport for people over the age of 65, under the age of 18, and community service card holders. Tertiary students and apprentices would have half-price fares.

In addition, all new imported light vehicles would be required to be zero emissions by 2030.

“We chose this date because other countries are also doing this, and we don’t want New Zealand to become a dumping ground for other countries’ dirty discards,” Shaw said.


  1. Patrick Morgan, Cycling Action Network, 29. September 2020, 13:21

    This is a good plan. It addresses climate change, it provides congestion-free networks, and it sensibly invests in popular cycling routes.
    But can the Greens deliver?

  2. John Rankin, 30. September 2020, 14:20

    Under the LGWM timetable, which the Green policy appears to endorse, rapid transit is not scheduled to reach the airport until 2036. A policy of building rapid transit to Newtown, with an eastern extension later, will do nothing for those travelling to and from the eastern suburbs. On the other hand, the National party promises to start building a second Mt Victoria road tunnel in 2023/24.

    If we accept, as National claims, that eastern suburbs traffic congestion is a problem needing urgent action, and, as Green claims, rapid transit via Newtown is a better solution than a second Mt Victoria road tunnel, why isn’t rapid transit to the airport a higher priority? If I were an eastern suburbs voter, I might choose National’s bird in the hand over Green’s two in the bush. I might bet that if National leads a government after the 2023, 2026 or 2029 elections, extending light rail from Newtown to the eastern suburbs is dead in the water until 2040 at the earliest.

    So why wouldn’t the Green rapid transit policy promise to build rapid transit from the station to the eastern suburbs? The Green policy instead states the following.

    We expect the city to Newtown section, where the most housing growth is expected in the next few years, could be completed by 2027. Light rail would then be extended to Kilbirnie and the airport and/or Miramar (subject to further analysis).

    Could we not let a single contract to build rapid transit from the station to the eastern suburbs, with stage 1 to Newtown opening first? Perhaps a representative of the Green party could clarify.

  3. mw, 1. October 2020, 20:08

    James. It is not all about the airport…don’t forget the wellingtonians who live past the airport.

  4. John Lawes, 4. October 2020, 2:31

    Daily train services to Gisborne sounds ambitious when one considers the line is still closed between Wairoa and Gisborne. Oh yes, along with Labour and New Zealand First, three years ago the Greens promised that the line would be reopened to Gisborne but recently when the Kiwirail CEO said the cost of reopening the line would not be economic and recommended it not be proceeded with, NZ First’s Shane Jones agreed with him. So where does that leave the promise to run daily trains to and from Gisborne?


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