The truth behind the slogan

November 14th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Labour and the Greens refer to the the proposed Puhoi to Wellsford SH1 upgrade as the Holiday Highway. They would have people think it is a little used road, that only gets a bit crowded on Friday nights. In fact it is far more than that.

The road between Puhoi and Wellsford is part of SH1. As a two lane road, motorists will know that traffic flows at the speed of the slowest vehicle on it. We must be one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t have at least two lanes each way on our major highway.

That road actually has more people use it every day, than use the entire train network in Auckland. Around 28,000 people a day use that highway, and 27,000 use Auckland trains (UPDATE: In recent months this has increased to 33,000). Is Labour really claiming 28,000 people a day are off on holiday? Also, let us look at where the road is.

Now I am not sure about you, but I don’t think many people go to Wellsford for their holidays. Those driving north to holiday have generally left SH1 well before Wellsford. So why is the Govt looking to make it two lanes each way, instead of single lane? Three reasons.

  1. Better connectivity between the main producing activities in Northland, particularly dairying, forestry and mining, and the major markets for these activities in areas lying to the south of the region and overseas accessed by the ports at Auckland and Tauranga.
  2. Reducing the costs of commodities transported to Northland from the south for consumption or for input to the manufacturing industries in the area, so making Northland a more attractive place to live and to develop employment activities.
  3. Making tourist destinations in Northland more accessible to the large market and population in the Auckland region.

This is all about economic growth for Northland. Northland is one of the poorest areas of New Zealand, despite having significant resources. One of the reasons for that is the woeful links.

The projected economic benefits from the road are:

  • Journey Time Reliability $8m
  • Time travel benefits $352m
  • Vehicle operating costs $35m
  • Accident cost savings $133m
  • Wider economic benefits $159m

That’s $688m in net present value. The business case said:

“Taking these two components tourism and forestry into account, an indicative estimate of the value of increased economic activity that might result from the improvement of SH1 between Puhoi and Wellsford would be of the order of $30-35 million per annum and possibly doubling by 2031.”

Scrapping the highway upgrade to fund the Auckland CBD loop will be robbing (poorer) Paul to benefit (richer) Peter. Auckland (including their metro funding) already gets 45.7% of the National Land Transport fund and metro funding.  If Aucklanders want a CBD loop, then they should fund it from Aucklanders through rates and user charges, not from the rest of the country that already subsidises their system.

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60 Responses to “The truth behind the slogan”

  1. dog_eat_dog (776 comments) says:

    Two things, DPF. Firstly, Auckland received much less in infrastructure spending proportional to its population and contribution up until relatively recently. Aucklanders have been subsidising projects in other parts of the country at great expense to their own area’s infrastructure.

    Secondly, the Council won’t levy charges on rail users – every time they write a report, they mention congestion charging and parking surcharges. They don’t care if you don’t have access to rail or adequate public transport, they’ll still find a way to punish you for driving into the city.

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  2. voice of reason (490 comments) says:

    The reason its called the Holiday Highway is because the times that is does get congested are on the weekends, public holidays and xmas Holiday season. I use part of that road 1- 2 times weekly and for the most part during weekdays the traffic flow is more than adequate. There is an underused alternative called SH16 which I am sure could take more commercial traffic.

    [DPF: My understanding is that it does now get congested during other times. The other key thing is the Rodney part of Auckland has by far the highest population growth, and that by the time the road is completed, there will be many more AUcklanders living in the affected area]

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  3. CJPhoto (219 comments) says:

    I do wonder if Labour play those “holiday highway” adverts in far north or just Auckland.

    The truth is that it is needed much like the express way to Hamilton was needed.

    As a person living on the shore, I am less concerned about the rail loop but it probably does need to go ahead as well. I just question whether it has been properly costed and whether the bus tunnel idea was properly considered.

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  4. Black with a Vengeance (1,787 comments) says:

    and to think…

    if the last round of asset sales hadn’t gutted and stripped the rail service before Cullen had the foresight to buy it back and as much as investment is planned for holiday highways as it were for rail you wouldn’t want for better connectivity.

    More short sighted, lack of vision, blinkered planning from the National party.

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  5. George Patton (348 comments) says:

    Interesting that the central govt Labour Party have abdicated their policy framework in favour of their local government Labour wallahs.

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  6. somewhatthoughtful (462 comments) says:

    Good point DPF, Wellington should pay for transmission gully. Also, nice work on trying to justify a CBR of less than 1 without calling it a CBR.

    [DPF: I agree Wgtn should pay for Transmission Gully]

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  7. ben (2,374 comments) says:

    Only 352M for time travel benefits? You could double this by going back 10 years and investing $10 in Apple. Whoever has access to the Delorean plainly needs to get a bit more imaginative in their economic benefits analysis.

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  8. voice of reason (490 comments) says:

    “[DPF: My understanding is that it does now get congested during other times. ”

    There is often congestion at 2 points – 1st The puhoi tunnel south side which only is single lane each side – why did they ever built a new tunnel with only a single lane each side??
    2nd – 2 sets of Traffic lights as you enter Warkworth from the south – these cause congestion which could be alleviated just with the bypass option.

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  9. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    DPF your own post shows what a stupid idea the holiday highway is.

    It generates $688m in NPV and thinks that over 20 years a further $900m of economic activity will be generated. We spend $1.7b over a few years to get this. That is still $112 millon less in benefits that what is spent.

    Traditionally motorway projects used to need a benefit cost ratio of 2 or more to get off the ground. Funding something whose benefit cost ratio is less than one is extraordinarily stupid.

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  10. ben (2,374 comments) says:

    If Aucklanders want a CBD rail loop, then they should fund it from Aucklanders through rates and user charges

    Exactly. Right.

    Same for the Christchurch tram nonsense.

    Same for Wellington trains.

    Same for all within-city public transport.

    National funding needlessly reduces accountability.

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  11. voice of reason (490 comments) says:

    http://transportblog.co.nz/tag/puhoi-wellsford-motorway/

    Makes some interesting reading on the subject

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  12. Nick R (505 comments) says:

    A bit disingenuous, DPF. It is being called the holiday highway because of the perception that this road is all about getting wealthy Aucklanders out to their baches at Matakana and Omaha a bit quicker on a Friday night. That isn’t fair (as you say, far more traffic goes between Northland and Auckland), but it plays nicely for Labour’s “rich pricks” narrative. Obviously that has started to worry National, or you wouldn’t be posting such a lengthy and well researched post on the subject :-)

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  13. unaha-closp (1,157 comments) says:

    The central city of Auckland is the 1%.

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  14. graham (2,332 comments) says:

    SH 16 from Wellsford to Helensville is okay in some places, not that great in others. It does get used by commercial transport, but possibly could be used more. However, this depends on where you want to go. From Auckland to Wellsford adds on an extra 30 km or so to the journey – plus the commercial transport would have to travel through quite a few areas with speed restrictions, such as Kumeu, Huapai, Waimauku, Helensville, and Kaukapakapa.

    Yes, SH1 gets congested on the weekends and public holidays. It also gets congested when people ignore the 80km/h speed limit through Dome Valley and end up in one of the frequent accidents.

    And, as I think has been pointed out, there are more people now living at Wellsford, Warkworth, Matakana, and even Kaiwaka and Te Hana, who commute south to work in Auckland or on the North Shore or at Albany.

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  15. Simon Lyall (60 comments) says:

    The most interesting numbers are here:

    http://transportblog.co.nz/2011/11/02/looking-closer-at-operation-lifesaver/

    The two cheaper options of $160m and $320m get you almost all the advantages of the 1700m proposal for a fraction of the price.

    The Gold-plated options however seems to be the one that the government is insisting on.

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  16. wreck1080 (3,858 comments) says:

    There should be a 4 lane highway linking our major cities.

    I’m not sure why they are concentrating on 4 laning to northland, when, we still have 2 lanes from Hamilton/ Tauranga, and Auckland / Tauranga. These roads have not really changed a great deal in the last 40 years.

    Although, the problem with Northland there is only one road.And, even Santa won’t visit northland anymore. Too dangerous.

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  17. graham (2,332 comments) says:

    Oh, and public transport from anywhere north of Albany is rubbish – I know, I’ve tried.

    Using my car is expensive, but catching a bus from Silverdale was almost as expensive as the petrol, and using my car gives me far more convenience. Until public transport improves to a far far better state than it’s in now, there’s no way you’re persuading me out of my car.

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  18. gump (1,620 comments) says:

    voice of reason said:

    There is an underused alternative called SH16 which I am sure could take more commercial traffic.

    ————————–

    The reason commercial traffic avoids SH16 is because it has a large number of steep hills & grades.

    It’s a splendid road for cars and motorbikes, but it’s not a good road for trucks and large commercials.

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  19. davidp (3,576 comments) says:

    Simon L>The Gold-plated options however seems to be the one that the government is insisting on.

    They’re actually going to do the job properly. The norm in NZ is to produce some half baked infrastructure on the cheap, then spend years doing upgrades while people suffer. Those of us in Wellington have seen all the Mickey Mouse upgrades the government has made to SH1 to avoid building Transmission Gully. A dual carriageway thru a residential street in Plimmerton, an expressway to Pukerua Bay that suddenly peters out and features frequent tailbacks, and a tremendously dangerous at-grade junction at Whenua Tapu. And the sad thing is that everyone knows that they’re still going to have to build Transmission Gully. All they’ve done is spend a few hundred million making life a misery for the residents of Plimmerton and Pukerua Bay, and motorists.

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  20. KevinH (1,205 comments) says:

    Apart from the projected economic benefits of upgrading this section of state highway as listed in DPF’s financial data, the primary reason for upgrading this highway is that it is possibly one of the most dangerous sections of road in New Zealand’s state highway infrastructure.
    i.e:http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/one-dead-in-north-auckland-crash-3979449
    http://nzta.govt.nz/about/media/releases/1257/news.html
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10738554
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/5355555/Dome-Valley-driver-in-serious-condition

    Failure to upgrade this section of highway in the immediate future will place more lives at risk, from travellers returning from the Far North, to transport operators negotiating a hazardous section of road, to emergency services whom are constantly frustrated by a section of road that is at times impassable.

    Upgrading this section of road is a priority, it is more than a holiday highway, it is a road of national significance.

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  21. alex Masterley (1,507 comments) says:

    davidp,
    Good point.
    Niggardly has been the way infrastructural projects have been addressed in the past. A prime example is the Auckland Harbour bridge when planned 8 lanes were cut to 4 by the mayor at the time of the bridges construction.

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  22. Inventory2 (10,267 comments) says:

    After speaking to friends from Whangarei the other week, all I know is that if there is one thing that Labour and the Greens can do to kill their party vote in the north, it’s keep hollering “holiday highway, holiday highway”. The good folk of the North are sick and tired of being patronised by Labour and the Greens who are merely using this as a means of reminding people that John Key has a holiday home at Omaha.

    Kevin H and davidp are right on the money; do the job properly the first time.

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  23. OTGO (538 comments) says:

    I have no problem with building more roads but why build them and put a 100k strictly enforced speed limit on them? If you are trying to achieve more traffic over a road then why not increase the speed to 120k or even higher? Most cars do 100k in 2nd or 3rd gear gear these days so why are we building roads for Vauxhall Wyverns when they should be for Audi A6’s?

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  24. david (2,552 comments) says:

    Based on Labour’s reasoning they should never have spent any money on SH2 from Bombay to the Kopu Bridge. There is far more economic activity north of Wellsford than has existed on the Coromandel for a hundred years, not to mention the possibility of Marsden becoming a secondary (if not the main) port for freight in and out of the whole region.

    But then a lot of the holiday houses on teh Coromandel are owned by people whoo are not (by Labour’s definitions) “rich pricks” so the cheap shopts and envy politics were kept in the bag at that time.

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  25. Mark1 (90 comments) says:

    I live in Kaitaia and no one I know refers to it as a “holiday highway”. It’s actually our community’s lifeline. National takes us for granted up here (we seem to get bugger all in return for our support – save the “holiday highway”) but if Labour wants to change the Northland seat to a red seat then I suggest they stop insulting Northlanders with their tired little phrase.

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  26. Evadne (88 comments) says:

    Voice of Reason: The Puhoi tunnel builders were not stupid: each tunnel is two lanes wide, not one. At the moment, the highway north of the tunnel is single carriageway. (Which is what this “holiday highway” upgrade is all about fixing). Two lanes does not go into one easily: it requires a few km of merging. For safety, they can’t do that in the tunnel. There’s no room north of the tunnel, so it happens on the south side. Build the Wellsford highway – which has always been the plan, and which why the Puhoi tunnels were built), and there’ll no congestion there.

    A bypass would solve some of Warkworth’s problems, but not all.

    Anyway, the proposed highway is not just about relieving congestion. It’s about improving safety (Dome Valley is one the region’s worst roads for accidents) and providing decent roads for freight haulage & other heavy vehicles, all essential for any economic development in the north. Labour’s sneering comments about Auckland holiday makers misses the mark entirely – it’s saying the communities in the North are irrelevant to the country: what really matters is a train set for Auckland bankers.

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  27. thedavincimode (6,627 comments) says:

    david

    They had to build that to get Jeanette’s macrame, pots and sustainable wooden teeth to market.

    Just like the Waikato expressway was necessary to cut Winston’s travel time to his mates running the Waikato racing studs. He couldn’t count on the helicopter being available 24/7.

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  28. MarkF (100 comments) says:

    After driving Auckland to Wellington on Friday ( to collect my daughter from Victoria Uni) and return on Saturday. SWMBO and I were discussing that we really need to stop all these piecemeal roading projects in NZ such as the ” Holiday Highway” and “Transmission Gully” and I am sure many others and come up with a long term plan to properly connect all major NZ towns. Firstly a project to connect Whangarei to Wellington with a four lane highway (preferably a divided highway) with links to Tauranga, possibly Napier. Then start looking at the South Island, and before all of the “Mainlanders” get up in arms you already have good roads and little traffic, by comparison.
    This should be an ongoing long term project not a staccato one as now happens. Compare the delay in completing the second half of the Albany to Puhoi road and the Auckland to Cambridge expressway. As we finish one section, then on with the next and so on until it is finished. Funding, dare I say it, put a non purloin-able (by politicians) levy on gas specifically for this. People probably won’t mind this provided they can see on going progress on the project.
    As to the Green argument “No more cars”, well news to them even if we have reached peak oil or what ever, human inventiveness will solve the fuel issue so get over it! People will use cars, so lets make that transport option as efficient as possible not wasting fuel in traffic jams etc.
    Lets start looking at a long term plan as we are told by 2050 there will be 7m people here and the glorified goat tracks we have as the No1 highway will not cope.

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  29. swan (659 comments) says:

    The reality is both projects will provide significant benifits, but both projects are very very expensive. Both projects would be the biggest transport infrastructure projects certainly since Muldoon. When Mercer Longswamp was built in the late 90’s early 2000’s, it was about $100m, was considered a big project, and was drip fed funding throughout.

    Then we had motorway building in Auckland, where projects like Alpurt B2, Manukau Harbour crossing and more recently Vic Park Tunnel got built. These projects were considered very large projects, up to around $350 million.

    Now we have Waterview about to start construction, at $1.4b is eye-watering to an engineer, and has been on major NZ construction companies radar for the last 5 years or more. Waterview, remember, is the last piece in Aucklands ~50km western ring route, and is undoubtably a project with regionally, if not nationally significant benefits.

    Which brings us to now, where 10 figure transport projects have apparently become old hat.

    The truth about Puhoi to Wellsford is it passes through what would be classified as mountainous terrain and also has some of the most technically difficult ground in NZ (Northland Allochthan). Noone had done any work on this project before National announced as being a RONs out of the blue (bear in mind that NZTA considers major projects to have pre-construction lives in the order of 20 years, where construction is just the last part of the process). So noone knew how much it would cost when National announced, although a few wise old Geologists might have guessed at ALOT.

    When it comes to the rail tunnel, that project is more advanced and better understood, but it is just plain expensive, as tunnels and deep excavations tend to be.

    Both these projects are in the order of $2b. Do we really need them?

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  30. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    This road helps open up economically poorer Northland. But the white-girl Jacinda Ardern is more concerned about her white Lefty pals in Grey Lynn.

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  31. voice of reason (490 comments) says:

    “Evadne (7) Says:
    November 14th, 2011 at 10:47 am
    Voice of Reason: The Puhoi tunnel builders were not stupid: each tunnel is two lanes wide, not one. At the moment, the highway north of the tunnel is single carriageway”

    Yes I know that they are provisioned for 2 lanes each way – I question why they didnt extend the north-bound road into 2 lanes immediately north of the tunnel for 1- 2kms seeing at they are going to have to do that anyway. surely would have been cost effective to do that during the construction of the tunnels .

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  32. George Patton (348 comments) says:

    I wonder if the Maori Party used this they could kill Labour in Te Tai Tokerau?

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  33. Other_Andy (2,576 comments) says:

    There are a few problems with the so called ‘holiday road.

    Traffic has been growing over the last 5 years.
    In the past, say 5 years ago, this road only clogged up during the holidays and long weekends.
    Now, during the summer months, it clogs up every weekend.

    The road is dangerous.
    There have been a lot of fatal accidents on this road, even though some improvements have been made most of the improvements have not been improvements at all. Overtaking lanes have been removed and speed restrictions have been put in place. This means that on several kilometres of this ‘Highway’ the speed limit is now 80 KM an hour. Slowing the traffic has not helped reducing the amount of accidents. It is a dangerous road with hairpins and steep gradients.

    The road is a bottleneck.
    Over the last few years accidents have cut off the North from the rest of the country. When ‘State Highway’ 1 is blocked because of an accident all traffic is being redirected over SH16. This road was never designed for this amount of traffic and at times when SH1 was blocked and traffic was diverted accidents on SH16 blocked this road as well, stopping all traffic and cutting off the North from the rest of New Zealand.

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  34. swan (659 comments) says:

    @Voiceofreason

    “Yes I know that they are provisioned for 2 lanes each way – I question why they didnt extend the north-bound road into 2 lanes immediately north of the tunnel for 1- 2kms seeing at they are going to have to do that anyway. surely would have been cost effective to do that during the construction of the tunnels .”

    Maybe cost effective, but at the time noone had done any work on Puhoi to Wellsford. So no alignment studies had been undertaken. If you shoot a road off in one direction for 1-2km you had better hope it ends up in a good place for extension in the future. Also the road was always going to go down to one lane at some point, so there was always going to be a bottleneck. Puhoi is not a big catchment, if you are thinking that getting it past Puhoi would have made a difference.

    The reason it merges before, not after the tunnels, is for safety reasons.

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  35. dime (9,796 comments) says:

    Im all for anything that can help Northland out.

    What a depressed, backward place. I feel sorry for the people up there. Totally neglected area.

    As normal, the lefty trolls on here are against it. these dues would be against blow jobs if national said they were for them!

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  36. Black with a Vengeance (1,787 comments) says:

    >4.3.8 Alternative Modes

    The potential for a significant shift of freight to rail is limited for a number of reasons including the capacity of the track, reflecting the limitations caused by physical constraints, the nature of the products transported and the origins and destinations of the commodity movements. The physical constraints on the North Auckland Line have been recognised by KiwiRail, but given the pressures for investment elsewhere in busier parts of the network there are no firm and funded proposals to upgrade the route within KiwiRail’s current planning horizon. Work is proceeding on gaining a designation for a rail link to Marsden Point, but again there are no firm proposals or timetable for undertaking the construction of this route. While growth in rail traffic is forecast, this is mainly associated with expansion of the types of flows currently carried and without substantial interventions not currently anticipated it is not expected to extend to any substantial degree into markets currently served by road.

    as iwas saying, short sighted, lack of vision blinkered planning by the National party.

    and in the cost’s, do they account for peak oil and the potential rise of fuel prices to over 5-10 dollars a litre in say the next 2 to 5 years promoting an inevitable decrease in the use of private vehicles ?

    how does that impact the benefits ?

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  37. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    In terms of great5est benefit for the greatest number of people this is the line that stuck out to me:

    “Around 28,000 people a day use that highway, and 27,000 use Auckland trains”

    Auckland Rail has had double digit growth rates for the last few years, there is further growth expected as a result of the recent double tracking on the network and the future installation of the electric carriages. In addition to two completely new stops and servicing a whole new area of the central city the ‘loop’ element of the rail also greatly increases the growth potential of Auckland rail (how many world class cities do you know where the main rail transport hub of the network is a dead end the trains have to back in and out of?).

    I’m sure that Puhoi to Wellsford has potential to increase tourism a little, improve logging truck capacity and safety – my parents live up that way, if you’ve never tried passing a logging truck on one of those narrow winding northland roads, I can tell you it’s a terrifying experience!

    Even the most optimistic projections on the road won’t come close to the growth potential of Auckland rail. If we are assessing which project is worth central government subsidy (as opposed to 100% user charges) then the rail wins hands down in number of NZers it will serve.

    I am still supportive of the highway – just introduce user charges to pay for it. I am a regular user of the Northern Gateway and don’t begrudge the $2 toll (in fact it’s so good that since it came in I have never once used the free alternative route). My regular trips to northland cost me at least $40 return in petrol so in that context even a $5 toll is quite reasonable and acceptable to me. If there are tens or hundreds of millions in benefit for logging industry etc then presumably they would not be opposed to paying a resonable toll either. Has anybody estimated the tolling cost of the Highway being paid for completely through user charges?

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  38. swan (659 comments) says:

    “As normal, the lefty trolls on here are against it.”

    Yes, Dime, it is so left wing to be against the socialist system for provision of transport infrastructure in New Zealand.

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  39. simonway (381 comments) says:

    EWS: While the central suburbs would see benefits, the biggest beneficiaries of the rail link would be people in Waitakere/West Auckland.

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  40. kiwi in america (2,428 comments) says:

    To the left rail = good, cars/motorways = bad. Its really that simple.

    Name one city in the world with a population the size of Auckland whose rail transit system was constructed on or under budget, whose projected ridership came anywhere near close to the projections its train loving/car hating protagonists predicted AND (most importantly) whose long suffering tax/rate payers aren’t on the hook for millions/billions in subsidies. These are the acid questions that politicians rarely ask – except thankfully people like Steven Joyce.

    Most kiwis have visited Sydney and ridden on its rail network. When I lived in Sydney in the 80’s I was a regular user and I still often when visiting Sydney, I park my rental car near a North Shore station for free and ride the train into the city. Sydney’s airport rail link was built for a cost of $760 million for 10km of track and yet only 10% of people travelling to and from Sydney airport use that link – less than 50% of the budgetted ridership. Sydney has 3 times Auckland’s population and Sydney’s airport has 3 times the passenger numbers of Auckland airport. If Sydney can’t make a new inner city transit rail link work with its much larger population and its more deeply ingrained public transport culture, what makes the proponents of the Auckland CBD loop think that Auckland will fare any better.

    What is with the left and trains that causes them to only listen to the consultants that support their world view of transport and then inflict the cost of the train obsession on the taxpayers?

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  41. swan (659 comments) says:

    “To the left rail = good, cars/motorways = bad. Its really that simple”

    To the conservative right – socialism = bad, except when it comes to roads.

    I would agree with you about Steven Joyce if he had applied the same scrutiny to Puhoi-Wellsford. The reality is quite different. He commited to the project before the 2008 election without having a clue about how much it would cost.

    Colonising mars sounds like a great idea to me, why wont any of the politicians commit to it!!

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  42. flipper (3,950 comments) says:

    Good stuff Kiwi.
    Talking to swan et al is like trying to talk to Klingons – or, worse, the flat earth society!

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  43. Farmerpete (47 comments) says:

    Roading is a ‘national good’ and an investment. To add my two cents worth to this discussion, Warkworth is designated as a major hub in the new Auckland plan and has planned future growth of up to 20,000. The road between Johnson’s tunnel is just plain inadequate. Schedwys Hill is one to the most dangerous stretches of road in the country, and when there is an accident on this road, then the detour through the back roads to Puhoi is a nightmare.
    Safety apart, if the road is bad now then it will be a nightmare under the predicted growth. This road serves all points north of Orewa. Dubbing it the holiday highway is offensive, and belittles the daily grind that motorists face on this segment of SH1. This road will bring benefits to all points north of Johnsons Tunnel.
    Yes, the engineering might be tricky, but the hold ups and the costs on ALPURT were more to do with environmental issues than engineering.

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  44. thedavincimode (6,627 comments) says:

    Richard29

    Based on those stats, the current tolled section of the northern gateway is only raising about $20m pa. So tolls would need to be higher to make any significant difference.

    I’m all for tolling, but at rates that actually achieve a meaningful level of recovery. $2 is SFA. Those who don’t want the advantages of the tolled road can stick with the current roads and still enjoy the travel and safety benefits associated with lower traffic volumes on those roads.

    Who wouldn’t want to pay a few bucks to get from Wellsford to Cambridge in one hit or to/from points in between at lesser cost? What would you for that? $10, $20+?

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  45. voice of reason (490 comments) says:

    “So why is the Govt looking to make it two lanes each way, instead of single lane?”

    ” if the road is bad now then it will be a nightmare under the predicted growth”

    Isn’t the proposal for a completely new road? Theoretically that could be a Toll road with the existing one left as the non-toll option.

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  46. DarrenG (5 comments) says:

    It is clear that Liarbour and the Greens care more for the latte left in Grey Lynn, the wealthy Auckland commuters who could take a bus, far more than the unemployed Maori in Northland who need a job that better transport links would bring.
    SH1 is not the Holiday Highway but rather the Northland Development Route.

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  47. emmess (1,422 comments) says:

    To the conservative right – socialism = bad, except when it comes to roads.

    Ok lets privatize the roading network.
    Whats that? Your not in favour, we should own our future. Family silver blah bah blah.

    It always amused me how the left sneered about the holiday highway when they were promoting rail to the airport.
    Remind me again why most people go to the airport.

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  48. swan (659 comments) says:

    @emmess

    “Ok lets privatize the roading network.
    Whats that? Your not in favour, we should own our future.”

    Well I am certainly not a Labour supporter if thats what you’re thinking. Why does everyone have to be so tribal round here?

    If I was voting on transport issues I would probably vote Act, who are endorsing road pricing.

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  49. kiwi in america (2,428 comments) says:

    swan
    Answer the question: “Name one city in the world with a population the size of Auckland whose rail transit system was constructed on or under budget, whose projected ridership came anywhere near close to the projections its train loving/car hating protagonists predicted AND (most importantly) whose long suffering tax/rate payers aren’t on the hook for millions/billions in subsidies.”

    What is stupid about the Labour/Greens policy is the obsession with the Auckland CBD loop at the expense of roading projects. Brown, Goff, Norman et al need to answer this question about the true viability of what they propose. The sneering about the “Holiday Highway” is just their politics of envy as usual.

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  50. swan (659 comments) says:

    kiwi in america,

    I dont disagree with you about rail projects. The telling fact about the proposed rail tunnel is that even after $2b of capital investment, operating costs (i.e. ignoring the cost of capital) will have to be subsidised. Its like building a power station, and not making enough money from the power to pay the guy who maintains the turbines. But I digress.

    The unfortunate thing is that National are being hypocritical. They ignore any calls for road pricing as a demand management tool. And with Puhoi to Wellsford they are buying a lemon. It will be their Clyde Dam if they go through with it. Actually it looks now like National are quietly dropping the Warkworth to Wellsford part, by delaying it for a decade.

    The two projects (rail and road) are very similar in that they were election promises by politicians who didnt have their ducks in a row. In the case of Puhoi to Wellsford, it was little more than a concept in Joyces head and he had no idea how much it would cost. In the case of the rail tunnel, Len had a pretty good idea it was going to be a pricey meatball, but had no idea how it was going to be paid for.

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  51. Black with a Vengeance (1,787 comments) says:

    “politics of envy”…the truth behind the slogan ?

    I would imagine Goff, Norman and Brown aren’t poor men who would be envious of money, dunno eh.

    Remind me what are they supposed to be envious of again k.i.a?

    so you also reckon the Nat’s will bring these ‘holiday highways’ in on budget should they go ahead ?

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  52. kiwi in america (2,428 comments) says:

    Black
    If you actually read what I said – its the folly of using this funding to fund their trainset fantasy. The onus is Labour and the Greens to show us a city in the world the size of Auckland that can made a project like this work without massive government ongoing subsidies due to huge cost overruns and massive overstatement of ridership. Perhaps with your encyclopedic knowledge of global rail transit system cost benefits YOU could help your political heroes.

    The politics of envy? Are you thick? Dismissing the Puhoi road as nothing more than a play thing of the Auckland elites – a dog whistle to the left akin to Goff’s snide sniping about Key’s Hawaii home.

    The money spent on the Victoria Park tunnel will return more in efficiency to the Auckland economy than any billions spent on Len Brown’s pet train project.

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  53. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance said:

    the potential rise of fuel prices to over 5-10 dollars a litre in say the next 2 to 5 years promoting an inevitable decrease in the use of private vehicles ?

    Would you be prepared to wager a tank of gas on that statement? If the price of petrol is over $5/l for ULP91 on 14 November 2016 I will buy you a tank of gas, but if it’s under you will buy me one?

    Kiwi in America said:

    If Sydney can’t make a new inner city transit rail link work with its much larger population and its more deeply ingrained public transport culture, what makes the proponents of the Auckland CBD loop think that Auckland will fare any better.

    Brisbane has a rail link to the airport that is privately funded (OK partially owned by Brisbane Airport Corporation which is owned by the state government, but it is an SOE that makes money and was essentially a private not government funded project). It makes money, it has won medium sized business awards and is really convenient (unless you need to get to the airport at stupid o’clock). Granted, it does effectively have a subsidy because it joins to a subsidised city rail network, but it does work and it does work well. Brisbane is also roughly the size of Auckland, and the SE Queensland region would be a similar size and probably demographic to the Waikato-Auckland-Rodney-Whangarei region.
    Part of the problem with Sydney is that it is cheaper to take a cab from the last public railway station to the airport than it is to use the train – that’s not the case at Brisbane since it’s a fair distance.

    I do like the idea of an underground busway for Auckland – it seems sensible, cheaper and more flexible than a rail network (and works very well in Brisbane for the areas that don’t have rail, including “downtown”). The reason rail networks work in other cities is that the core infrastructure already exists. That is not the case in Auckland, so look to see what the best option for core infrastructure is in Auckland.

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  54. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Oh yeah, forgot to mention that the motorway link isn’t just for people in Auckland. Again, using the Brisbane example, the Pacific Highway through the Gold Coast isn’t mainly used by people living in Brisbane to travel to Byron Bay for a holiday, it is used by people on the Gold Coast to travel from one part of the Coast to another and to a lesser extent by trucks heading to and from New South Wales. The users from Brisbane are pretty irrelevant, really.

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  55. kiwi in america (2,428 comments) says:

    gazz
    Agreed – I feel the underground busway is by far the way to go. The existing rail network in Brisbane is way more extensive than Auckland. And for every Brisbane that works there’s 10 Portlands, Salt Lake Cities, Sydneys etc. The planners in NSW knew all along that taxis are the preferred method of transport to/from Sydney airport – they listened to the same “we need this to look like a world city” line that Brown spouts all the time.

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  56. kiwi in america (2,428 comments) says:

    swan
    The Puhoi road project can be improved. Its really hard to see the CBD loop ever paying for itself without massive new taxes. Len Brown at least realises this hence all his recent talk about congestion charging. At least it will go to a referendum and then the folly of the costings can be put before the ratepayers.

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  57. Black with a Vengeance (1,787 comments) says:

    Would you be prepared to wager a tank of gas on that statement? If the price of petrol is over $5/l for ULP91 on 14 November 2016

    yup

    Black
    If you actually read what I said – its the folly of using this funding to fund their trainset fantasy.

    If you’d actually read what i said about…

    if the last round of asset sales hadn’t gutted and stripped the rail service before Cullen had the foresight to buy it back as much as investment planned for holiday highways as it were for rail you wouldn’t want for better connectivity.

    …and read the report, particularly the bits i highlighted.

    While growth in rail traffic is forecast…

    …there are no firm and funded proposals to upgrade the route within KiwiRail’s current planning horizon.

    you’d arrive at he conclusion that its…

    More short sighted, lack of vision, blinkered planning from the National party.

    …and nothing to do with the disingenuous slogan “politics of envy” nor the disingenuous notion that we have to sell state assets to create an infrastructure fund to build these ‘holiday highways’.

    and you still havent answered what it is they’re supposed to be envious of ?

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  58. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Black – if DPF is happy to he can be the broker for the bet. Then there is no need to publish email addresses on the public forum, or even for me to find out who you really are if you don’t want.

    Gary.

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  59. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    The problem with the CBD rail loop is it will be paid for by ratepayers who for the most part will never use it. Not only that, there’s no way it will actually get people out of their cars. I lived in Washington DC for a few years. That was a city with a metro population of over 6 million (and over 8 million when it included Baltimore, 60km to the north). It had a comprehensive subway and light-rail network built in the 1970s-80s. People also had every reason to use this network since DC had the second worst traffic in the US, after Los Angeles. Yet a study showed that 85% of Washington-area commuters drove to work by themselves. In summer time the smog got so bad there were ‘red’ days when public transport ran free and people were advised not to do outdoor activity because of the air quality.

    Building a single train loop in a much smaller city with very little traffic (Aucklanders complain but the traffic here is nothing compared to many US cities) and no major car parks at the train stations will do nothing and cost a lot. It’s like the northern busway on the Shore. Nice idea but since there is no car parking at the Smales Farm of Akoranga stations there’s no way I can ever use it. I have to drive fifteen minutes away from the city to park and get a bus into the city.

    Congestion charging is just as crazy. Most Aucklanders no longer work in the CBD and the actual congestion there is nothing compared to most major world cities. All it will do is further drive out business and prevent customers from going to downtown shops, driving more development in the suburbs, the thing the Greens and their anti-sprawl campaign decry most.

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  60. dantheperson (1 comment) says:

    “Those driving north to holiday have generally left SH1 well before Wellsford.”

    Please explain how you get to northland without staying on SH1 and going through wellsford?

    “Name one city in the world with a population the size of Auckland whose rail transit system was constructed on or under budget, whose projected ridership came anywhere near close to the projections ”

    @kiwi in america
    Firstly, can you name one city the population the size of auckland whose MOTORWAY system was constructed on or under budget and whose projects ridership came anywhere near close to the projections AND (most importantly) whose long suffering tax/rate payers aren’t on the hook for millions/billions in subsidies?

    Secondly, St Louis MetroLink was built on time, on budget and ridership exceeded expectations. Like all government transportation projects however, it was funded with tax/rate payers money.

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