The Green Party have publicly backed certain rail projects such as the Ruahine Runner and light rail to the airport in both Auckland and Wellington. This makes us a bit queasy because we want to get politicians out of the transport decision making process. Transport is too expensive, too long term and too important to have politicians playing Sim City.
TOP wants to see NZTA given the independence to make investment decisions across all modes of transport; road, rail, public transport, shipping and cycling projects. They would make their decisions based on what gives the best return on investment - a threshold that most of National's Roads of National Significance failed to meet. Importantly this calculation of return needs to include the goals of improving human health, reducing carbon emissions and reducing accidents.
The Green Party have made the same commitment. So how does this square with their promises of specific rail projects? They are all subject to an analysis of return on investment, which their Transport spokesperson reckons they will pass with flying colours.
Let's hope they have the integrity to pull the plug on those projects if they don't pass the test.