Wellington Welcomes Christchurch Light-rail Plan

12 August 2011

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has welcomed the fact that Christchurch has embraced the idea of introducing light-rail public transport as part of the draft-plan for the rebuild of the quake-hit central city.

"It is good to see that the mayors of Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington are united in the view that rail has an essential role to play in terms of mass passenger transport in coming years," Mayor Wade-Brown said.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker yesterday announced a proposal for a light rail public transport system to link a rebuilt central Christchurch with outlying suburbs.

The first stage would connect the city centre to Canterbury University, while future links are proposed for the airport and suburban areas, including Hornby, Northlands and New Brighton.

Mayor Wade-Brown said she continues to advocate for a light-rail link from the Wellington central business district to Newtown and Wellington Airport. "Mayor Parker said today that if they can't physically move the University into the Christchurch CBD then they can at least 'hard-wire' it in," she said. "We can do the same in Wellington with our airport.

"There is a groundswell of public opinion in favour of good choices for transport like light rail."

Yesterday, Mayor Wade-Brown met for the first time with AECOM, the consultants contracted earlier this month to carry out the Wellington Public Transport Spine Study.

The 18-month study will identify and assess the most feasible long-term options for a high-quality public transport route through Wellington, from the railway station to the regional hospital in Newtown, and connections with the wider public transport network.

The $1 million study, being carried out by Greater Wellington - in partnership with Wellington City Council and the NZ Transport Agency, is part of the Ngauranga-to-Wellington Airport Corridor Plan.

Mayor Wade-Brown said Auckland Mayor Len Brown's proposal for a rail loop around central Auckland confirms that the mayors of New Zealand's three largest cities share the view that the time for high-quality public transport has come.