Wellington Scoop

NZTA plans to spend $3.1billion on transport projects in Wellington (including LGWM)

Billions of dollars

News from NZTA
The NZ Transport Agency/Waka Kotahi announced today a record $3.1 billion “forecast total investment” in Wellington to get more people using sustainable travel options to move around the region and improving the safety, reliability and resilience of the region’s roads.

The planned investments are detailed in the 2021–24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP), published today.

The $3.1 billion investment planned for Wellington is part of a wider $24.3 billion investment in land transport system across Aotearoa during the next three years. This investment in Wellington is a 63 per cent increase compared to the previous 2018–21 NLTP.

“Our investment during the next three years will support an integrated and well-designed land transport system to get people using different ways to move around for many of their journeys,” Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight says.

“This investment will help to reduce regional transport emissions and increase the number of people using alternative travel options to private vehicles.

“Significant investment will be made on Let’s Get Wellington Moving projects, including making it safer and easier for people to walk, cycle or travel by bus through the busiest places in the central city, on the redevelopment of Lambton Quay and Willis Street, to begin investing in mass rapid transit and a range of SH1 improvements, including to the Basin Reserve and a second tunnel through Mt Victoria.

“Wellington is a fantastic capital city and it needs a fantastic transport system that is safe and efficient for the city to continue to thrive as it grows,” Ms Speight says.

“To ease congestion, help reduce carbon emissions and make Wellington a healthier place to live, $1.2 billion will be invested in public transport and $261 million in walking and cycling. This will include building two sections of Te Ara Tupua, the long-awaited walking and cycling link between Wellington and the Hutt Valley, and a range of other projects across the region.”

Ms Speight says Wellington city’s compact position in an active earthquake zone makes improving resilience a critical part of the NLTP investment programme.

“Geographic constraints mean any disruption to the transport system will have significant social and economic impacts for the nation’s capital, the wider region and beyond.

“We’re improving the safety and reliability of all travel options to help keep communities connected and keep roads open for people and freight. This includes strengthening SH1 and SH2, replacing two rail bridges north of Waikanae and investing $490 million on maintaining local roads and state highways to help keep people and goods moving safely and smoothly in and out of the capital.”

Full details of the investments being made through the National Land Transport Programme, including detailed regional breakdowns, can be found at https://nzta.govt.nz/planning-and-investment/national-land-transport-programme/

Investment highlights for 2021–24

$28.4 million is being invested to improve the safety of 22.5kms of SH2 through the Remutaka Hill corridor, $15.6 million on 3.7kms of SH2 along the Hutt Valley corridor, and a further $22.6 million along 8.7kms of SH2 from Masterton to Carterton on both new infrastructure and speed reviews

Central City Pedestrian safety improvements to make it safer, quicker and easier for pedestrians to cross
Cobham Drive crossing and speed review to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists to cross and connect with the Evans Bay cycleway
Golden Mile improvements making bus travel through the central city faster and more reliable, and improving safety for pedestrians along this corridor
Thorndon Quay and Hutt Road improvements that make this corridor safer and more attractive for bus users, pedestrians and cyclists

Detailed business case through to implementation for the development of mass rapid transit and State Highway 1 improvements, including to the Basin Reserve, and construction of a second tunnel through Mt Victoria.

$2m is being invested in travel demand management at Wellington Hospital for a public transport pilot initiative to help safer and more efficient travel to the hospital

$43 million to investigate and implement access improvements and support better travel options in the Hutt Valley and Porirua’s Eastern regeneration and Kenepuru areas.

Summary of achievements from 2018–21

Completion of the $7m northern and central sections of Lower Hutt’s Beltway cycleway, from Waterloo Station to the Hutt River, at Taita; and the $14.8m Te Hikoi Arawera separated pathway between Lower Hutt and Wainuiomata, in partnership with Hutt City Council.

Work was completed on the $6.8m Hutt Road cycling improvements, including Kaiwharawhara Bridge and the Cobham Drive section of the Tahitai pathway; and work is now underway on the $10m Oriental Parade to Evans Bay section of the Tahitai bike path. These projects are being delivered in partnership with Wellington City Council.

Completed a significant programme of maintenance work on SH2 through the Wairarapa, including on the Remutaka Hill to improve safety.

Good progress was made on the $1.25 billion Transmission Gully motorway which is expected to open to traffic late 2021, and the $405 million Peka Peka to Ōtaki (PP2Ō) section of the Kāpiti Expressway which is expected to open to traffic in late 2022.


  1. Traveller, 7. September 2021, 11:52

    So much repetition in this announcement, masquerading as something new. They’ll “begin investing in mass rapid transit” yet after five years they haven’t yet decided what the MRT will be. They’ll “build two sections of the walking and cycling link between Wellington and the Hutt Valley…” this is nothing new, it has already been announced, and plans (surely necessary before anything can be built) do not yet exist for the path between Ngauranga and Petone. As for the long-discussed “redevelopment of Lambton Quay,” it is bogged down in more consultation.

  2. Patrick Morgan, 7. September 2021, 12:12

    Despite the lovely cover image, cycling and walking gets just 4 percent of the $24.3B total. Is that enough to make up for decades of under-investment? Yes. It’s an increase – but not enough to address climate, safety, health, equity etc. And still less than new highways. WTH?

  3. Claire, 7. September 2021, 12:41

    Patrick: sounds about right as only 4% of people cycle.

  4. Lindsay, 7. September 2021, 12:50

    The spending on mass rapid transit seems to be nothing more than another business case … All the previous work failed to decide on what mass rapid transit would be. Can they write a business case without knowing what they want to have?

  5. Peter Steven, 7. September 2021, 13:42

    Claire – evidence from other countries, and our own country in places where cycleways have already been built, suggests that modeshift is real – people are more likely to choose to ride a bike when there is safe infrastructure to protect them from heavy vehicle traffic. In my opinion, this fact alone justifies spending a lot more than we currently do on safe cycling infrastructure. People deserve healthy, low carbon transport options!

    It boggles the mind that there’s not even as much as a painted cycle lane between Newtown and the CBD. I think we will start seeing real cultural change when there is a connected network of protected cycleways in the city that actually go where people want to go on a daily basis. I hope we get there sooner rather than later.

  6. Groggy, 7. September 2021, 14:09

    The split between modes is irrelevant, LGWM are “delivering” this so nothing will actually happen; it will disappear in consultants and consultation, and 5 years from now there will be another scathing report into their ineptitude and another “reset”. Probably involving appointing some additional directors, cos having more chiefs always helps spend money, even if it doesn’t deliver any results

  7. greenwelly, 7. September 2021, 14:22

    $261 million in walking and cycling. This will include building two sections of Te Ara Tupua, the long-awaited walking and cycling link between Wellington and the Hutt Valley, and a range of other projects across the region.”

    The Ngauranga-Petone path had an upper cost estimate of $205 million six months ago. I suspect it is even higher now, and when combined with the delay of the completion of the $30 million Petone-Melling section until 2023, I suspect that the “range of other projects” will be very small indeed…

  8. Ian, 7. September 2021, 14:36

    Completely underwhelming. Far too little far too late. Business cases galore!

    “Almost $94 million will be invested in developing the detailed business case through to implementation for mass rapid transit that will connect the railway station with the hospital, Newtown, Miramar and the Wellington Airport. Mass rapid transit will improve travel choice and help shape a compact, sustainable city.”

    “A further $81 million will be provided for the detailed business case through to implementation phases for proposed investments in State Highway 1, including improvements to the Basin Reserve, and the construction of a second tunnel through Mt Victoria. Both projects will provide improvements for all transport modes, including pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.”

    What is happening – Labour will be slammed at the next election for such a timid approach to action on public transport and climate change mitigation.

  9. Claire1, 7. September 2021, 14:36

    Peter: Adelaide Road is wide enough – not much would have to be done to create a cycleway. And as the % of cycle users goes up, then that’s the % of extra money for the cycleway. Makes sense.

  10. Yimby Jim, 7. September 2021, 17:39

    Claire. Besides having missed Peter’s point completely – why not build it right the first time rather then doing lots of small low-cost upgrades? It’s never going to be cheaper than now – put some proper money towards PT and cycleways and create a sustainable and efficient system that entices people out of their cars and has the capacity to expand to allow for the increasing population of our inner suburbs.

  11. Lindsay, 7. September 2021, 17:41

    LGWM was writing the business case for mass rapid transit last year, with a deadline – which wasn’t met – of October. Is NZTA starting afresh, or will they use the uncompleted LGWM business case as a first draft for the new one that they’ve announced today?

  12. Claire1, 7. September 2021, 18:17

    Yimby Jim: The point is let’s build cycleways with the growth of use in mind, whatever that is %, and match the funds to that. Let’s not over spend and over engineer. Use is not sky high and let’s be realistic about it.

  13. Mike Mellor, 7. September 2021, 19:56

    Claire & Claire1: it may be that 4% of people cycle, but 100% of people walk, so clearly 4% covering both is far, far too low. Add to this the fact that every additional person walking or cycling is a net benefit to the community and every additional person driving is a net cost – being realistic this should pretty obviously mean spending more on the former than on the latter.

  14. John Lawes, 7. September 2021, 23:08

    I don’t see any funding for the proposed hybrid trains for the Wairarapa Line and Manawatu Line services. I suppose the refurbished British Rail carriages being done up at the Hutt Workshops for the Capital Connection service will be run into the ground before the new hybrid trains are approved, let alone built and ready for service.

  15. Andrew, 8. September 2021, 9:17

    I was also disappointed to see little information regarding funding for new regional multiple units. This is crucial infrastructure as many of us look towards the Wairarapa and Kapiti Coast/Horowhenua for affordable housing. Better frequency will be key if we want to see more people using PT from these regions. Perhaps it’s funded from a different pot?

  16. D'Esterre, 8. September 2021, 12:36

    My recollection is that LGWM was established around 2015, as a result of the fallout from the rejection of the proposed Basin flyover. It hasn’t managed to produce anything substantive in all the years since. I think Groggy is right: nothing will eventuate from this, either.

  17. Alex Macmillan, 10. September 2021, 10:10

    I think the whole NLTP needs judicial review as much of it is a climate crime – at least all the new highway spending we know will increase emissions and is therefore inconsistent with the CCRA. [via twitter]