In a major infrastructure project, the Government will spend $1.3bn on a rail line that will connect Auckland to the South Island.
The $1bn project, known as PTT, is the first of a series of new rail lines being built across the country.
“This is a key part of our strategy to invest in our country, invest in the infrastructure we need to build our future, and to support jobs, businesses and people that make this country great,” Transport Minister Paula Bennett said.
PTT is a $4.5bn, 3.1km rail link between Southland and Auckland.
This will link the Southland to the rest of New Zealand, connecting Auckland with the South Islands and the Waikato, and the New Zealand mainland.
In the longer term, PTT will be used to link the Port of Auckland with Wellington, Wellington to Dunedin, Dunedin to Nelson, and Nelson to Christchurch.
Mr Bennett said the PTT line would be connected to other regional transport infrastructure, such as roads and ports.
She said the line would also link with the Auckland-Hamilton corridor and the regional highway system.
It would be built under a $1 billion concessional loan from the National Infrastructure Investment Fund, and financed by toll revenue from tolls on the South River.
We’ve got a plan to invest $1,400 per household for those who are eligible, and that is $100 less than the Government’s own plans. “
We are investing in infrastructure that will help us create jobs and support our economy.
We’ve got a plan to invest $1,400 per household for those who are eligible, and that is $100 less than the Government’s own plans.
That means families will save $3,000 a year.
There are some very exciting plans, some very good plans, but we will also invest in jobs, in our economy, in the New South Wales economy.”
The government’s infrastructure package also includes $2.5 billion for a new toll road from Port Kembla to Dunsborough.
And $2 billion to extend the Hutt Valley Parkway, linking the Gold Coast and Dunedin with Southland.
Ms Bennett said that money would go towards building the M3 freeway from Dunedin through to Nelson and Nelson, where it would connect with a new tunnel.
However, she said it would also be built using existing infrastructure, which is the case with the $1-billion tunnel project.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said he would be “totally opposed” to the Government spending $1B to build the Ptt.
“There are no public benefits to the taxpayer,” he said.
“It is a waste of money, a waste to our people, and a waste for the environment.
He said the Government should focus on getting the roads built, the railways up and running, and investing in the other infrastructure.
Labor leader David Seymour said it was a “sham” for the Government to spend $600 million on a tunnel, when they could have invested in infrastructure to make it a reality.
Nga Taonga, a regional road administrator, said the $600M was a waste.
But the Government was not doing a “great job” of investing in rail, he said, with infrastructure projects costing up to $800M a year in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Labor has accused the Government of “slacking” on the rail infrastructure plan.
Key points: The Government has committed $1 Billion to build and extend PTT between Auckland and Southland, connecting it with South Island and the South Country The line will be built on existing rail infrastructure, rather than new lines or tunnelling Ms Benn said the funding was “a big step forward” for New Zealand’s rail infrastructure and she hoped the project would help stimulate the economy.”
That is our biggest priority, is jobs, the economy, we need infrastructure that we can use and that will generate the jobs we need,” she said.
Ms Bennett will have to finalise a final agreement with the Government on the Pt.
On Tuesday, the Opposition Leader Andrew Little said the government had “done the right job” with the Pti project, and said it could create up to 100,000 jobs.
Labour said the cost of the Pts was “insane”, but that it would not be used as a “political football” for political advantage.
Liberal National leader Tim Groser said it had “no economic benefits” for people living in Southland or the South Coast.”
It is just another example of how New Zealand is spending millions on infrastructure that does not make a difference to the communities it’s being built in,” he told the BBC.
He also questioned the Government over the funding of the tunnel.
Mr Groser questioned the “credibility” of the Government, which was still considering whether it should spend money on a new freeway.