2023 Election Transport Policies

In News6 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineOctober 13, 2023

The 2023 election is nigh, so if you haven’t headed to the polls yet and want to know a bit more about what the parties are promising for our roads, we’ve provided a recap of the key aspects of their transport policies.

Good transport is vital to a functioning economy and society, which was only proven ten-fold by the Covid-19 pandemic. And with this year’s severe weather events showing the scale and impact of climate change, the next government’s transport policies are more important than ever.

This year’s headlines have seen more talk than ever on potholes, road maintenance, rail and cycleways, as well big road projects like Transmission Gully and the Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway.


The government released a draft of its next Government Policy Statement (GPS) on land transport for consultation last month.

Each GPS sets out the priorities for a 10-year period and is updated every three years.

As part of this GPS, the government plans to spend more than ever on transport, increasing spending by $5.3 billion to $20.8 billion over 2024-2027, a 34% increase on the 2021-2024 GPS.

Labour’s plan looks to boost road maintenance, public transport, cycling, and road improvements along SH1 from Cambridge to Piarere, Wellington CBD to the airport, and the Christchurch northern link. It is also proposing to raise petrol taxes by 12 cents a litre over three years for funding.

It plans to begin a second Auckland Habour crossing by 2029 and pour lots of funding into light rail for Auckland.

Roading projects include SH1 from Cambridge to Piarere, Wellington CBD to the airport, Christchurch Northern Link, Napier to Hasting SH2, Tauranga to Tauriko SH29, and safety improvements on SH1 between Warkworth and Whangārei.

Labour and the Greens introduced the Clear Car Discount, a rebate that charges fees on higher-emission vehicles and offers a discount on electric cars.


National plans to resurrect its Roads of National Significance programme to connect the major upper North Island cities of Whangārei, Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga with four-lane highways.

National has also promised to start construction of a second Mt Victoria tunnel in the first term, and a $500 million pothole repair fund paid, which it will pay for by cutting funding to road safety initiatives.

The party will also scrap light rail and the Auckland regional fuel tax.

National wants to scrap the Clean Car Discount, labelling it a “ute tax”.

National and Act are promising a big road-building programme, and looking to public-private partnerships and domestic and offshore investment. National, ACT, and NZ First all want to increase the speed limit back to 100km/h for these roads and up to 110km/h on newer expressways.

Green Party

The Greens’ big focus is climate change and its transport policy emphasises building and investing in lower-emission options – prioritising investment in public transport, walking and cycling, rail and electric vehicles. Its aim is to avoid building new roads or widening existing roads except where necessary for climate change adaptation, repair after natural disasters, or enhancing safety.

The Greens prefer surface light rail in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and want free public transport over time. It also wants tax incentives for zero-emission heavy vehicles.

The Greens want to ban the import of new and used fossil-fuel vehicles to New Zealand at or before 2030 with limited exceptions.


Act wants to fast-track roads that can be tolled and add tolls to some existing roads. It wants to increase public-private partnerships to build and maintain roads.

ACT’s Transport spokesperson Simon Court said in a statement, “ACT is the only Party proposing a genuine shakeup of how roading infrastructure is funded in New Zealand, ensuring Auckland, and the rest of New Zealand gets access to safe, modern and efficient roads.

“ACT is proposing to introduce a world-class toll roading system. It will use private sector financing and expertise to get new roads built faster and to maintain existing roads more quickly and effectively. Countries like Ireland have successfully made extensive use of tolling.”

NZ First

NZ First wants to build a four-lane highway alternative for the Brynderwyns and incentivise businesses to electrify vehicle fleets and depreciation measures to support the second-hand electric vehicle market.

NZ First is against public-private partnerships and wants to ensure no roads are privatised or corporatised. Instead, they want to start a New Zealand Infrastructure Bank as a way to fund long term publicly owned assets.