Generation Zero, a youth-led organisation promoting greener living solutions, put its weight behind Labour's plans.

Auckland director Leroy Beckett labelled the announcement as a "relief".

"It deserves to be an election issue.

"Auckland needs light rail. It needs electrification to Pukekohe. It needs planned and sustained investment in a public transport network that will allow Aucklanders to travel free from congestion. What we don't need or want are more motorways."

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Light rail from the airport would provide a "dedicated rapid public transport route" that was currently being ignored.

"It helps to reduce the number of cars on our motorways, buses clogging up our city streets, and will provide a reliable public transport option for locals and visitors arriving at the airport."

The Green Party said a new rail and rapid bus lines would be a "game changer" and allow Aucklanders to escape motorway gridlock and bypass traffic delays.

"It's fantastic to have Labour join the Greens in committing to light rail to the airport. Only a Labour Green Government will deliver Auckland's most urgently needed transport projects," said Green Party transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter.

"It makes sense to build light rail out west. We should do it once, do it right and build rail.

The Green Party has committed to fast-tracking light rail to the airport by 2021 and to the North Shore by 2030, she said.

The plan has even got the support from the Auckland Chamber of Commerce - with there being a few "points of detail" that need to be worked through.

Chamber boss Michael Barnett was pleased that Labour was planning on building infrastructure that the city needed now.

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"They have obviously recognised that what's holding Auckland back is that we don't yet have a world-class transport system. In recognising this they are offering competition of thought and innovation to the programme that the Government has started to unveil."

However, as with the Government's transport programme, there were points of detail that would working through, including upgrading the SH20B corridor between the Airport and Puhinui Railway Station - a project that is about to get under way, and building light rail down the already heavily congested Dominion Rd would "need a conversation".

"Overall, however, Labour's clear promise to invest in high quality modern public transport and set firm time lines to make things happen is exactly what Auckland needs."