A $300 million cash swap from roads to railways is at the
heart of New Zealand First's transport policy for the
election, including restoring the Gisborne-Napier line, and
looking at extending the Wellington line to Levin and into
Auckland would also be a priority, with electrification of
the rail network south to Pukekohe, and supporting the
construction of the City Rail Link, starting at the earliest
appropriate time - but no later than 2016.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters announced the party's
election transport policy in Gisborne today, the centrepiece
of which was a 10-year Railways of National Importance
"Funding for the Railways of National Importance Programme
will be fiscally neutral and will be met by diverting money
from National's Roads Of National Significance programme – an
initial allocation of $300 million will be made."
Investment in rail would ease road congestion, he said.
"This will apply especially to heavy and bulk freight
services, but also where passenger services can be
redeveloped to attract sufficient demand over time.
"The National Government's agenda is to let rail in New
Zealand die. They are starving rail to death. Our transport
policy will give rail a real and valued role in the total
He said the Gisborne-Napier railway line should never have
been closed "on the flimsy pretext of a washout".
"National was looking for an excuse to close down another bit
of the rail network and jumped on the excuse that the washout
provided. The Napier-Gisborne line will be back in business
with New Zealand First."
He said the existing railway line north of Christchurch could
be used for an express commuter service to the North
Canterbury town of Rangiora, which has had significant
population growth since the earthquakes.
He called National's roading policy "massively extravagant"
and in need of a review.
A 2010 report found that overall every dollar spent on the
Roads Of National Significance programme returned a benefit
He said public transport needed more support, and every major
new urban roading project would be subject to a test to see
if there was a better public transport option.
In aviation, New Zealand First favoured retaining the crown
investment in Air New Zealand, and wanted to impose a pricing
regime on airports to disable monopolies and ensure it
"recovers no more than a fair rate of return".