Submit for a healthy transport future for everyone in Aotearoa

I’m making a submission on the Draft Government Policy Statement on land transport 2024-34 (GPS) by the cut off midday on Tuesday 2 April.  The GPS sets the funding priorities for land transport for the next 1o years so is hugely important for delivering an efficient, safe, accessible, healthy and affordable transport system for all.

Unfortunately the draft GPS is not informed by evidence, ignores the fundamental reasons why people travel and will not deliver on the government’s strategic priorities. The GPS starkly deviates from sensible transport policy, value-for-money investment decisions, and best-practice transport planning seen in other countries around the world.  

For Aucklanders the GPS will result in more congestion, higher travels costs, poorer heath outcomes from increased pollution and reduced access to active travel options. 

It completely ignores the needs of the 30% of New Zealanders who cannot or do not drive. More people, especially the most vulnerable road users like children and elderly, will die or be seriously injured on our streets and roads if the GPS is allowed to progress as drafted.  

The GPS will not enhance economic growth and activity in urban centres like Auckland.  Our transport challenges can not be met by building more roads as proposed by the GPS – the Roads of National Significance (RONS) make up only 1% of Auckland’s road network and according to Waka Kotahi’s own studies have Benefit-to-cost ratios of 1 or less. The RONS are not a good use of public money and are inefficient. 

Leveraging every opportunity to get more out of the existing network, providing more efficient ways to move goods and people and encouraging mode shift will have the greatest positive impact for the city. The rapid transit network (and cycling network) can be completed by making use of existing road space. It makes no sense for the GPS to ban the current approach of funding improvements to local roads from a single funding source. Requiring walking and cycling investment from only one activity class will be inefficient and expensive for councils and create additional administrative costs.  It also makes no sense for the GPS to direct that investment is only to be made “where demonstrated volumes of pedestrians and cyclists already exist.”  The Auckland Harbour Bridge would never have been built if the same criteria had been applied. 

As a former Auckland Councillor and Local Board member I know from experience that people want safer streets, want more transport options especially for local trips, and support investment in walking and cycling infrastructure.  This is not based on “ideology” but on the feedback from countless public consultation processes and Waka Kotahi’s own surveying.


It also concerns me that there is no mention of engagement with Māori and improving outcomes for Māori.  Again, from my experience on council I know that when engagement happens properly and respectfully with Māori the outcome is improved and of a higher quality for everyone.  

There are a lot more points to cover about what needs to be ditched and improved in the GPS.  Fortunately,  smart and informed people have put together a submission guide Transport 4 all  to assist with feedback on the main issues.  Auckland Council also gave astute feedback on the GPS

Further reading

The GPS is a disaster for local government 

Submission from a group of academics specialising in transport systems, public health, urban development, and geography

Lawyers for Climate Action NZ submission 

The draft GPS cover reimagined as Transport for Life by Carol Green