The Green Party has criticised the Government's multi-billion dollar plans for more roads, saying Auckland can become an international city only if it focuses on clean, efficient transport.
Greens co-leader Russel Norman and transport spokesman Gareth Hughes launched their party's Auckland transport policy during a bus tour of the proposed CBD rail loop.
Dr Norman said the Greens would push the next government to pay 60 per cent of the $2.4 billion project, a 3.5km underground network with stops at Newton, Karangahape Rd and Aotea Square.
The bus tour passed the proposed Symonds St station, 50m from the most densely populated block in New Zealand. An Auckland Council feasibility study said 3300 passengers could use the station during rush-hour, with K Rd station taking 5500 passengers and Aotea Square 12,000 passengers.
At the square, Dr Norman stood by a statue of former mayor Sir Dove-Myer Robinson - a champion of light rail for the city - to talk of Auckland's potential.
"Auckland could become the fourth international city of the South Pacific, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. To do that, it needs to become decongested."
The Greens want a compact central city built on efficient transport and cited Auckland Transport's estimate that the CBD's capacity for employees and residents could triple if the rail link were built.
Dr Norman said the project would relieve the bottleneck at Britomart, "which failed so catastrophically at the Rugby World Cup", and form a stepping stone for rail to the airport and North Shore.
The Greens would redirect most of the funding earmarked for the $1.7 billion "holiday highway" between Puhoi and Wellsford and provide more options for Auckland Council to pay its 40 per cent share of the project.
University of Auckland economist Rhema Vaithianathan said the highway funding was equivalent to $1500 for every Northland household each year for the rest of their lives.
The Greens would spend $200 million to $300 million eliminating the highway's black spots and put the rest into developing rail.
The Labour Party has said it would also scrap the "fiscally irresponsible" Puhoi-Wellsford highway in favour of an Auckland rail loop.
National's Auckland Transport policy focused on easing congestion by completing the Victoria Park tunnel, Western ring route and the Waterview connection, and encouraging the electrification of rail by 2013.
* Fast-track the CBD rail link with 60 per cent paid for by Government.
* Invest $500 million in bus network over 10 years and improve ferry services.
* Spend $30 million a year on walking and cycling routes.