The Green Party is offering free bus, rail and ferry travel across New Zealand for everyone under 18 and over 65 as part of its transport policy announced today.
Green co-leader James Shaw unveiled a 10-year, $13.6 billion transport package in Auckland, calling it the boldest plan to transform how people get around ever seen from a political party.
He said the Greens would create a nationwide Go Anywhere transport card free for those under 18 and over 65, and half-price for tertiary students and apprentices.
For everyone else, they would pay for the first eight rides a week on public transport and intercity trains and the rest would be free.
• Labour-Greens deal: Fewer roads, more trains, cycling and walking
• Green Ministers Julie Anne Genter and Eugenie Sage both donated $30,000 to the Green Party
• Premium - Election 2020: Green Party confidence and supply deal - report card
• Chief Ombudsman to investigate Julie Anne Genter's secret letter
Shaw said as the country recovers from Covid-19, transport was a key pillar to fix the crisis of climate change.
He said the Greens will create a reliable, fast and frequent heavy and light rail network connecting cities to the provinces.
Built over two stages, the Greens will connect Auckland to Hamilton, Tauranga and Whangārei. Christchurch will connect to Rangiora and Ashburton, and eventually link to Timaru and Dunedin.
"This service will provide daily train services to Rotorua, Whangārei, the Bay of Islands, Whakatāne, New Plymouth, Napier, Gisborne and Picton," Shaw said.
The Greens have also recommitted to their 2017 policy to build light rail, or modern trams, from the Auckland CBD to the airport and Westgate in West Auckland at an estimated cost of $7.6b with a 30 per cent contingency.
Wellington would get light rail from the CBD to Newtown, Kilbirnie, and eventually to the airport.
The Green Party has also promised to create a $1.5b "cycle super highway fund" to boost commuter and school cycling routes, and support councils to build high-quality separated paths for people cycling, scooting and walking.
Shaw said there would still be a need for cars in a zero-carbon future.
"We will introduce a target date linked to the date set by the UK, likely to be 2030, at which point only zero-emission light vehicles would be able to be imported into New Zealand.
"And we will set new standards to incentivise heavy freight to transition to zero-emissions vehicles, and be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050," Shaw said.
The $13.6b package will be funded by reallocating $3.3b of projects in the National Land Transport Fund and the NZ Upgrade Programme and from the Green Party's proposed income and wealth tax policy changes.
"Altogether this package means shorter, productive commutes. Drastically lower emissions with thousands fewer cars on the road. And crucially, thousands of jobs to assist our Covid-19 recovery," said Shaw.
Meanwhile, the Automobile Association today published 12 actions it wants the next government to take to make transport better, safer and cleaner.
AA Motoring Affairs General Manager Mike Noon said the actions are realistic and achievable for the next government, regardless of which political parties are in power.
The 12 AA actions for the new government
1 Revive essential road maintenance.
2 More testing and catching of drunk and drugged drivers.
3 Lift the standard of regional highways.
4 Target cellphone use behind the wheel.
5 Give drivers more safe places to pass.
6 More help for young people to become safe and licensed drivers.
7 Get the rapid transit process back on track.
8 Boost the benefits of buying an electric vehicle.
9 No escaping interlocks for high-risk drink drivers.
10 Turn the waste of old tyres around.
11 Quickly develop speed camera signage.
12 A clear road-map for safer, greener vehicles.