Harbour crossing should be a priority, not an afterthought

The Government’s lack of urgency with a second harbour crossing for Auckland shows how misguided it is when it comes to the needs of the city and New Zealand’s economy.

“Auckland desperately needs investment in a second harbour crossing but the Government has its priorities all wrong,” National’s Transport spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

While the Government found $360 million for SkyPath and $1.8 billion for light rail, which could cost up to $15 billion, there is little mention of a second crossing in the new ATAP.

“Auckland’s new transport plan only provides miniscule funding for a harbour crossing business case, with any meaningful action on a second road crossing at least 20 years away,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“Last year we saw how important the Auckland Harbour Bridge is to the city’s network. One truck crash caused traffic chaos for weeks. The alternate route took more than two hours, cutting our largest city in half and placing a huge cost on our economy.

“The harbour bridge is structurally weak and there will likely be restrictions on heavy vehicles using it within two decades. The Transport Minister needs to expedite planning for a second harbour crossing now but remains distracted by plans for a slow tram down Dominion Rd.

“Aucklanders have been taxed an extra 10c at the fuel pump for three years now to pay for light rail that was supposed to be delivered this year, yet we still don’t know how much it will cost, how fast it will go, where it will go, or when construction will start. It’s not good enough.  

“Labour’s previous ATAP also had a light rail line to Auckland’s Northwest. This has now been replaced with bus rapid transit – the same plan National had three years ago.

“Auckland drives New Zealand’s economy. It can be a world-class city but it needs world-class transport infrastructure to make that happen.

“Labour’s muddled transport plan is a missed opportunity for our whole country. A National Government would prioritise a second harbour crossing and get Auckland moving again.”