Transmission Gully may be tolled to discourage use

Another change of mind by Labour – they are now considering tolling the Transmission Gully motorwaywhen it opens – to discourage use.

Stuff: Transmission Gully motorway looks likely to be user-pays after Labour shifts gears on tolling

A briefing document from the New Zealand Transport Agency to Transport Minister Phil Twyford, released to Stuff under the Official Information Act, recommended he green-light investigation of a Transmission Gully toll to “shape demand” for the new four-lane expressway, which will connect northern Wellington to the Kāpiti Coast when it opens in 2020.

Twyford has since confirmed he gave the recommendation his blessing. This signals a significant lane-change for the Labour Party, which did not publicly support the idea of a toll when it was in Opposition.

The Transport Agency briefing document says tolling the 27-kilometre gully motorway would help make the main commuter route between Wellington and Kāpiti more “mode neutral”, meaning everyone does not simply drive.

When open, the motorway was expected to reduce the cost of road travel, which would encourage more people to get into their cars at the expense of public transport, primarily rail, the document said.

Tolls could counter the perceived cost reductions of travelling by road.”

Twyford told Stuff he was not opposed to tolling roads if it was the right option for a particular project.

But Twyford’s position appears somewhat at odds with what Labour was saying during negotiations to form the current Government back in October, when he said the party did not support tolling the motorway.

“My understanding is that past modelling has shown that a toll on Transmission Gully risks making the road so poorly used that it defeats the purpose of building it in the first place,” he said at the time.

Now he supports tolling the road so it is poorly used?

Automobile Association spokesman Mike Noon said he wanted to see the “maximum amount” of traffic using the new, safer motorway, and the idea of discouraging drivers from using it would be like “a safety own-goal”.

“It’s pretty dumb when you’ve put the infrastructure in.”



Peter Dunne: UnitedFuture role in parliament

From Peter Dunne’s speech to the United Future AGM: United Future – your Liberal Democrat party

All of which leads me to the role UnitedFuture plays in the current Parliament. Let me give you three examples.

Transmission Gully

First, for years UnitedFuture was a lonely and sometimes sole campaigner for the development of the Transmission Gully Highway north of Wellington.

We included support for Transmission Gully in both our 2002 and 2005 confidence and supply agreements with Labour, and got Labour to agree to set aside funding for the construction of the Highway, provided there was a matching contribution from the region’s local authorities.

Similarly, we included support for Transmission Gully in our 2008 and 2011 agreements with National, and it was a moment of special delight a couple of months ago when Transmission Gully was finally signed off by the Environment Court, and the government confirmed it will proceed as one of the Roads of National Significance.

National Medicines Formulary

Second, last month I launched New Zealand’s first National Medicines Formulary.

This is an initiative I have been pursuing as Associate Minister of Health since 2007 that will have real benefits to patients and doctors alike, and is an important adjunct to the National Medicines Strategy that we promoted and introduced under the previous government, which this government has now embraced as the overarching approach for its approach to the availability of medicines in New Zealand.

Over a quarter of a million more New Zealanders are now getting access to the medicines they need than was the case four or five years ago.

Game Animal Council

Third, the Game Animal Council which arose out of the pest management strategy we developed with Labour, and which was given life under National should be in place around the end of the year.

It has been a particular delight for me as Associate Minister of Conservation to be steering the legislation through Parliament, to establish the Council to give recreational hunting and the outdoors community generally, a greater say in the management of recreational opportunities in this country.


These are just three illustrative but by no means exclusive examples of our influence at work in this Parliament alone – I could give a separate speech on our achievements in the tax field over many years, from charitable donations, to business and personal tax cuts, income-sharing and child support changes, but that would take many hours.