Cycle Wellington submission on Transport GPS 2024



Cycle Wellington (CW) is grateful for the opportunity to provide feedback to the draft 2024 Government Policy Statement for Transport (GPS). We trust that our input will help direct the Government's ambitions for a safe and sustainable transportation system for Aotearoa.

The draft GPS heralds a significant deterioration in the approach to improving the transport system for New Zealand. For decades now, Aotearoa New Zealand has needed to take progressive action on land transport because too few people have safe, affordable and efficient options for how they get around. Prioritising private car travel over everything else means we all lose, including drivers who will experience more traffic.

Submission responses to questions

CW strongly disagrees with the strategic priorities and direction outlined in the GPS 2024.

The draft GPS signals a dramatic shift back to neglecting the need to provide and support transport choice, with a strong focus on driving heavy trucks and private cars. Recent efforts to rebalance the needs of public transport, walking and cycling have been gutted. This ill-fated direction will force people back into greater levels of unsustainable car dependency. CW is deeply worried by this and disagrees with this direction in the strongest possible terms.

CW is dismayed that there is minimal reference to climate action in the strategic priorities of the GPS, given how significantly land transport contributes to our greenhouse gas emissions profile.

The GPS is a missed, and critical, opportunity to lift our game in mitigating climate breakdown. Relying on the Emissions Trading Scheme signals that this Government is not taking climate action seriously. We have strong concerns as to the future costs and consequences of international obligations we will likely fail to meet.

CW strongly disagrees with the overarching priority of economic growth and productivity.

CW would like to draw attention to broader societal goals behind stated economic outcomes like ‘growth and productivity’; which we perceive as lifting everyone’s prosperity, improving the well-being and mental health of all people, restoring sustainable and regenerative environmental quality, and reducing inequity and harm.

Economic growth and productivity are not the only outcomes that need to be supported to achieve such goals. Many of these goals are compromised by focusing too heavily on the narrow goal of economic growth.

We reject the implied premise that economic growth and productivity can be best achieved by reinforcing a roads-only paradigm. We can achieve growth and productivity while also realising broader positive outcomes through transport policy. Car dependency and a roads-heavy freight system are very inefficient and expensive choices that actually hurt productivity and leave our country in a weaker, more precarious economic position.

We know that more and bigger roads don’t necessarily mean shorter commute times or less traffic. The principle of induced demand means more people driving more often - spending more time in an unproductive way.

Enabling people and businesses to access and choose transport options other than private vehicles is a much healthier and productive strategy to grow our economy in a sustainable way.

CW strongly disagrees that the 15 “Roads of National Significance”, and the “Roads of Regional Significance”, will boost economic growth and productivity.

The implication that our nation will be better off by building more and bigger roads is highly questionable.

CW is opposed to an expensive roads-centric Mt. Victoria tunnel project. Investing in a billion dollar + roading tunnel while failing to improve the current active travel situation will be beyond irresponsible in our view.

CW calls for any work specifically undertaken on the Mt Victoria tunnel to incorporate comfortable, accessible, safe, and clean space for people to walk and cycle before any expansion of the general traffic road space is undertaken.

Regarding the Lower North Island Rail Integrated Mobility project, and acceleration of Wellington’s North-South, East-West, and Harbour Quays bus corridors:

We welcome continued investment in new rolling stock and improvements to rail infrastructure in the Lower North Island.

Government funding for passenger rail and rail freight should be increased across the country, including connections between regions. Increasing use of rail for more journeys and logistics means less traffic and less damage on the roads. We would encourage the Government to take a 30+ year view to reinvigorating passenger rail across the country instead of wasting public funds on building more inefficient roads and only creating greater car dependency and even higher ongoing maintenance problems.

CW specifically calls for support for our ‘Quays Please’ campaign. We want to see well accommodated, separated cycling facilities also provided on the Wellington Harbourside Quays.

CW strongly disagrees with the outcomes expected to be achieved through the draft GPS 2024.

CW is deeply concerned that the Draft GPS will lead to higher amounts of disease, injury and death.

CW strongly disagrees with the proposed Activity Class descriptions and funding ranges.

We are alarmed at the decrease in funding for walking and cycling and advise that levels for those activity classes at minimum stay unchanged from present. Recent years of transport investment have demonstrated that the funds for these activities should actually be increased further.

Where footpaths, shared paths, and cycleways are a core part of the transport network, their maintenance costs should be integrated with that of the road network.

CW strongly disagrees with ministerial expectations.

We are dismayed at the statements of the Minister and his apparent lack of understanding of, and the importance of, delivering a diversified and complementary transport system. Roads everywhere do not comprise a performant transport system. We are left with the impression that he only values roading, driving and making more of the expensive, inefficient transport conditions the country is already suffering from.

Further recommendations

  • Funding for projects that have multiple objectives, such as Te Ara Tupua (the Wellington–Petone seawall transport corridor protection and shared path), should be
    split proportionately and not exhaust funding levels from the walking and cycling activity classes.
  • Plan for the transport outcomes we need, and avoid perpetuating what unbridled car dependency has forced on us.
  • Take a longer-term view and adopt a broader perspective of societal outcomes when it comes to transport. “Growth” and “productivity” are not sufficient goals in their own right.
  • Expand passenger rail and rail freight across the country, as this is crucial to minimising total transport system costs.
  • Reverse the ill-advised return to under-investing in walking and cycling, and instead increase the funding pool for these activity classes.
    Tackle transport funding properly to establish a sustainable, equitable, and transparent investment and cost recovery model that the people of New Zealand can trust and feel confident in.
  • Retain Inclusive Access as people of all ages and abilities need to be comfortable and accommodated in a well functioning transport system.
  • Retain the ability for Councils to invest in walking and cycling as part of subsidised local road improvements, at their discretion


CW has serious objections and concerns about the direction of the draft GPS. We strongly disagree with most aspects, in fact. We recommend that it is significantly altered as communicated above.

Thank you for receiving our submission.

Linda Beatson and Alex Dyer