National plots big transport and infrastructure shake-up

National is proposing a shake-up of infrastructure and transportation if it wins the general election in 2020.

The party published its Transport and Infrastructure discussion document[1] on Monday. It contained a series of ideas and promises on the future of transport.

Fuel taxes could eventually be phased out[2], and the party has proposed greenlighting second generation Roads of National Significance (RoNS).

The RoNS are a suite of four-lane expressways, which the current Government has either delayed or cancelled.

"We will get New Zealand moving again by investing in the safe, efficient high-quality highways that motorists deserve in return for all the tax Labour has stung them with," said leader Simon Bridges.

 READ MORE:
* National proposes axing fuel taxes, increasing funding for transport if it wins in 2020
* The £3.5 billion 'brake' on the economy
* Government to invest in road safety and rapid rail at expense of state highway upgrades[3][4][5]

"National is the Party that builds roads. The previous Government spent £12 billion on the first seven Roads of National Significance (RONS) - transformational projects that connected our regions and unlocked the potential of our cities, towns and provinces," said Transport spokesman Chris Bishop.

"We're proposing to complete the original Roads of National Significance and begin a second generation programme," he said.

The party is also looking at rolling out a programme of Roads of Regional Significance, which would help local councils away from main centres pay for roading.

The party also wants to look at local councils being able to levy a congestion charge, and wants feedback on what other local Government funding arrangements could be used to encourage development.

It pointed towards a New Zealand Initiative study which supports incentivising councils be more pro-development by allowing them to keep a share of revenue from things like GST that are collected in their area.

Airlines could also be in for a shake up.

The party said it's important that "aviation services support all of our regions, and that there is competition if possible, across the country".

National is looking at a second generation of its Roads of National Significance programme if it wins in 2020. (File photo).

STUFF National is looking at a second generation of its Roads of National Significance programme if it wins in 2020. (File photo).

The cost of Air New Zealand's regional airfares has been controversial in recent years, promoting the company to cut fares (although flying at peak times remains expensive). Jetstar also announced this year that it would no longer serve regional routes[6].

National is proposing a greater role for the Commerce Commission to assess the way airlines operate, although there is no detail on how this would work in practice.

Public transport is also in the spotlight. National would like to speed-up integrated ticketing, allowing people to use one card across the public transport network, rather than several.

Paywave and mobile payment technology could also be used. NZTA has been working on integrated ticketing[7], but the project has been plagued by delays.

Infrastructure spokesman Paul Goldsmith said the party was looking at ways of streamlining the construction of public infrastructure. This could come through making it easier for important public infrastructure projects to get consented and creating additional government departments dedicated to building infrastructure.

The party has already started a campaign to bring forward the construction of the second Mt Victoria tunnel in Wellington.

ROBERT KITCHIN/STUFF The party has already started a campaign to bring forward the construction of the second Mt Victoria tunnel in Wellington.

These would look something like NZTA, which builds roads and other transport infrastructure, which sits under the Ministry of Transport.

Goldsmith suggested a similar body could be set up under the Ministry of Education to look after the construction of schools.

The party has proposed the following as new Roads of National Significance:

  • Whangarei to Warkworth
  • East-West Link in Auckland
  • Cambridge to Tirau
  • Piarere to the foot of the Kaimai Ranges
  • Tauranga to Katikati, including the Tauranga Northern Link
  • Napier to Hastings
  • Levin to Sanson
  • Manawatu Gorge
  • Christchurch to Ashburton
  • Christchurch Northern Motorway: Belfast to Pegasus

Stuff

References

  1. ^ Transport and Infrastructure discussion document (www.national.org.nz)
  2. ^ Fuel taxes could eventually be phased out (www.stuff.co.nz)
  3. ^ National proposes axing fuel taxes, increasing funding for transport if it wins in 2020 (www.stuff.co.nz)
  4. ^ The £3.5 billion 'brake' on the economy (www.stuff.co.nz)
  5. ^ Government to invest in road safety and rapid rail at expense of state highway upgrades (www.stuff.co.nz)
  6. ^ Jetstar also announced this year that it would no longer serve regional routes (www.stuff.co.nz)
  7. ^ NZTA has been working on integrated ticketing (www.stuff.co.nz)

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