The State of our City report demonstrates that Auckland urgently needs a CBD rail loop and other green transport priorities because it is the economic engine of the country, said the Green Party today.
The report says that Auckland City contributes a disproportionately large share of the country’s GDP relative to its population, and that the city’s economy is dominated by white collar jobs in the business, financial and property sectors.
It also shows that by far the highest growth in new housing has been in the CBD. Bus and train patronage is way up, while car registrations are declining.
“New Zealand is following the world-wide trend of a knowledge-based economy and urban living. Now we need central government to recognise that transport needs are changing,” said Green Party Transport spokesperson Gareth Hughes.
“To continue to prosper in the future we need to invest in projects that move more people and improve the liveability of our cities, like the CBD Rail Loop.
“Instead, Minister of Transport Steven Joyce is stuck in 1950s motorway madness, building an uneconomic holiday highway while chanting an empty mantra about productivity, as if repetition would make it true.
“The choice is clear: the Puhoi to Wellsford expressway is projected to cost about the same as the CBD rail loop at $1.6b,” said Mr Hughes.
“Puhoi to Wellsford will be paid for by the fuel taxes of Aucklanders sitting on congested roads every day, because they don’t have smart transport options like better trains and buses.
“We can look to Los Angeles to see that regions that spend up big on motorways and ignore rail have the worst traffic congestion, and their households and ratepayers are forced to spend more of their income just to get around,” said Mr Hughes.
“How can that be good for the economy? It’s clear that Steven Joyce doesn’t have a coherent transport plan that will deliver real prosperity to New Zealanders.”
“This report confirms that New Zealand needs Auckland to function at a high level every day, and to achieve this we need transport priorities that will support the growth in economic activity in the heart of Auckland city.
“The CBD rail loop is a win for the economy, the environment, and the future of Auckland. It should come first,” said Mr Hughes.
Link to Auckland State of our City Report: