David Hay kicked off the Auckland mayoral candidate debate on transport tonight, saying to be carbon zero by 2060 is not a goal - it's a deadline.

Hay said the city's transport plan is currently being debated in piecemeal and fragments.

"We have to see the plan as a whole system."

"We need to build the rapid transport network. We need rapid rail everywhere."


The Campaign for Better Transport organised the public meeting for the candidates to put forward their transport policies for Auckland.

Spokesperson Cameron Pitches said they've held similar meetings for the last few local body elections.

"They are a useful way of gauging how well mayoral candidates truly understand Auckland transport issues, what they are planning on doing about them and how they will fund solutions."

Centre-right candidate Vic Crone was absent tonight in lieu of addressing the Howick Rotary Club.

Better Transport committee member John Reeves said she was invited in May but she requested the debate be only between her and Phil Goff.

A few weeks ago she declined.

Phil Goff said its crazy to have a central government and council not working together.

He said over the next 20 years a $4 billion funding shortfall is expected for Auckland transport.

An average Aucklander spends 20 working days a year stuck in traffic.

Goff said the answers lie in getting the City Rail Link completed which will double capacity, bus ways and light rail.

The mayoral candidate said Just three per cent of secondary students bike to school.

"If we got kids back on their bikes we would reduce peak hour traffic by 10 per cent"

Goff admits the plans will call for greater investment. He suggests some could come from central government and some from ourselves, like in a regional petrol tax.

Mark Thomas took the chance to rib Phil Goff. He said even though Goff is mostly likely to become mayor he doesn't have the right ideas.

"I've debated with him 35 times, and I don't think he has the ideas to take it forward.

"Goff talks about sorting out Auckland Transport but actually he hasn't sorted out anything."

Thomas said he would fund transport by swapping 1.3billion worth of Airport shares to fast track plans.

Another idea of his is to restructure Auckland Transport.

"So we can get more effective regional transport."

"I've debated with him (Phil Goff) 35 times, and I don't think he has the ideas to take it forward," says Mark Thomas. Photo / Supplied

John Palino said the Unitary Plan is more of a "zoning map" and is only 10 per cent of what's needed.

He wants the plan to also include schools, police and people's work places.

He said the answer is not intensification of the suburbs but intensification of the CBD and then establishing satellite cities around Auckland so people live closer to their workplaces.

He believes Albany, Manaukau and Henderson could be built up.

"Get people away from using cars and public transport.

"The definition of a livable city is walking out of your house and walking to a job."

Palino also promoted the idea of a connecting train line from Hamilton to Whangarei.