The Prime Minister says nothing has changed about Labour's position on roads, which has gone from a freeze on new highways to ploughing $4.6 billion into seven multi-lane roading projects.

Jacinda Ardern said she made no apology for focusing on transport safety, bringing the hideous road toll down and regional roads when Labour came to power in 2017.

But now debt was down and low-cost borrowing is available, the Government could hasten other projects already on its books, she said.

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"We maintain that focus on safety. We have to get our road toll down. This is an addition," she said.

The "addition" is seven highway projects in the North Island costing $4.63b between now and 2029. The seven projects represent nearly 70 per cent of the $6.8b transport package announced today.

Asked if Labour was now the party of roads, Arden said it was the party of infrastructure.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford said Labour had set out to rebalance the transport budget after National had spent 40 per cent on a handful of urban motorway projects.

In two years, he said the Government had invested $4b in rail, increased public transport spending five fold and increased spending on road maintenance.

"We have rebalanced the whole programme and this package reflects that. It is walking and cycling, it's public transport, it's roads, it's rail and it's all over the country," Twyford said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Labour's position on roads has not changed. Photo / Herald
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Labour's position on roads has not changed. Photo / Herald

Opposition leader Simon Bridges said the Government has seen sense and restarted the previous National government's plan that was put on ice in 2018.

"It's quite flattering, really. It's just a shame that an entire term of Government has been wasted by tearing up these plans and putting them back together again," said Bridges.

Green Party co-leader and Climate Change Minister James Shaw also defended the big spend-up on roads, saying if the Greens were holding the pen on the whole package it would be different.

He said there is $1.8b in the package devoted to rail, public transport, walking and cycling, some of which was attached to highway projects.

"This is a coalition Government and what we have done is influenced the shape of the package overall. We are really delighted there are some significant projects going ahead like the SkyPath," he said.

The SkyPath and SeaPath cycling and walking project over the Auckland Harbour Bridge to Takapuna has been renamed the Northern Pathway. The cost is now an eye-watering $360m, which NZ Transport Agency officials said was due to the complex engineering works of building the structure on the bridge.

Labour committed up to $30m for SkyPath at the 2017 elections and in August 2018 Twyford and Shaw said the Government would fully fund the $67m cost. Since then, the cost has ballooned to $360m.

The $411m Penlink road has been given the green light. Photo / File
The $411m Penlink road has been given the green light. Photo / File