Green Party to invest $500m in Wellington transport

The Green Party will invest half a billion dollars over five years upgrading Wellington's public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure.

The policy is part of the Green Party's vision for a vibrant, people-friendly Wellington with carbon-free public transport, and part of the Party's broader plan for a cleaner, smarter New Zealand.

The Fast Tracking Wellington plan includes:

  1. A modern light rail network from the railway station to Newtown and Kilbirnie at a cost of $450 million, with extensions to the Wellington Airport, Island Bay and Miramar by 2025.
  2. A phased programme to replace old diesel buses with a brand new electric fleet at an estimated $220 million cost.
  3. Keeping and upgrading the trolley buses at a cost of approximately $70 million.
  4. Investing $94 million over five years in protected cycleways and pedestrian infrastructure so people can walk and cycle safely.
  5. Providing more frequent and affordable bus and train services throughout the region, and retaining the Capital Connection.

This Government investment will be matched by Wellington's local and regional councils as is usual in transport spending. The funding is not more than usually spent but is reprioritised from unnecessary motorways.

"Our plan will make Wellington one of the most liveable cities of its size in the world," said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

"More people use public transport in Wellington than anywhere else in the country and we want to build on that.

"John Key has said Wellington is dying. Wellingtonians disagree, and the Green Party's plan will help to ensure the capital is very much alive.

"National has made it harder for Wellington to thrive by siphoning the bulk of the transport budget for a few pet motorway projects, which do nothing to reduce congestion or the cost of getting around.

"Lonely Planet didn't call Wellington 'the coolest little capital in the world' because of its flyovers and motorways. A big part of what makes Wellington so vibrant is its good public transport and the ability to walk and cycle places.

"We will upgrade Wellington's transport fleet to become all-electric, build an affordable and modern light rail network down the city spine by 2020 (and by 2025 to the airport), upgrade, rather than scrap, the trolley buses and replace diesel buses with electric buses over time.

"We'll make trains and buses frequent, comfortable and affordable and we'll get kids walking and biking to school again by improving cycle and walkways.

"Our Green Card policy will give students and apprentices free off-peak public transport, whichwill improve access to the city's campuses and dramatically cut living costs for students.

"Fast Tracking Wellington is part of the Green Party's plan to invest over $10 billion nationally in new public transport projects and rail over the next decade, transforming how New Zealanders get around our largest cities.

"The Green Party transport plan will cost less than the Government's corresponding ten year transport plan, create more jobs and invest in the transport projects that New Zealanders have said they want.

"We will build a smarter, greener economy that works for all New Zealanders. Smarter transport will help get us there," Dr Norman said.