Greens support light rail at expense of roading projects

The Green Party launches its transport strategy today supporting Auckland's City Rail Link at the expense of some current motorways and roading projects.

Speaking on TVNZ’s Q+A programme Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said even if the government foots 60 per cent of the $2.4 billion dollar bill the CRL is cheaper than funding some of our roads of national significance.

“When we look at our benefit-to-cost ratio, this rail network comes out on the latest study at about five to one.  We get $5 back for every dollar we spend on it, whereas some of those roads that— new motorways, particularly the northern ‘holiday highway’ that the National Party are so keen—“

Russel Norman concedes that cost-benefit ratios can be crunched in many different ways but says a good rail network will free up roads.

“The way we reduce congestion is we take some of the demand off the roading network and put it on to the rail network.  That makes the roading network work, and motorists are the major beneficiaries when the roading network works.  That’s how transport works.”

Norman says the Greens support the Auckland plan and Auckland Council’s vision for the rail network.

“If you think about New Lynn, it means that if you’re in New Lynn, you could get to the CBD in 25 minutes.  There would be a train every 10 minutes.  I think that would make a significant difference to people.”

The CRL starts at Britomart, goes to Aotea Square, and on to Karangahape Road and loops back to Britomart. It links in with the existing rail network.

Responding to Prime Minister John Key’s statement that the Greens were living in la-la-land over the claims we can do without the GCSB and the SIS, Russel Norman said that’s not what he said and he is calling for a review of the agencies.

“We need to have a thorough commission of inquiry to look at what’s going on, but it also needs to look at what do we need out of these agencies going forward. You know, we aren’t comfortable with being spied on by agencies, no question about it.  I think most New Zealanders aren’t, so we need to have a first principles – what do we actually want out of these agencies?  What should be the proper accountability mechanisms around them?”


Watch the full interview here.

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