Election 2014

31 Oct 2011

Road, rail groups debate Labour's Auckland plan

6:29 pm on 31 October 2011

There has been both criticism and praise for the Labour Party's policy of abandoning the Puhoi to Wellsford motorway upgrade and instead using the money to fund half the Auckland City rail link.

Labour leader Phil Goff says cancelling the motorway upgrade would save $1.7 billion that would be better spent on rail.

The party would put $1.2 billion towards the rail project leaving Auckland Council to find the remaining half.

The Automobile Association says Labour has failed to recognise the importance of improving the motorway for the transport of commercial goods between Auckland and Northland.

"Labour's ongoing use of the term 'holiday highway' really does show that they're completely ignoring the importance of that corridor between Northland and Auckland," AA spokesperson Simon Lambourne says.

"The whole point of doing it as a road of national significance is to upgrade it to the safety, the travel time and the capacity that it really should have."

But lobby group Campaign for Better Transport says the rail link is essential because rail patronage is growing more than 10% every year.

Convenor Cameron Pitches says the majority of Aucklanders showed their support for the rail link by voting for Len Brown as mayor.

National Party transport spokesperson Steven Joyce says Auckland road users will lose out under Labour's plan and could face congestion charges as that is part of the rail link proposal.

He says road users have just started to see some benefits from improvements to the road system and he thinks people will be disappointed with Labour's policy.