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Rapid Rail in the Golden Triangle


The ‘Golden Triangle’, comprising Auckland, Hamilton, and Tauranga and their surrounding regions, is home to two and a half million people, our two largest ports, and our largest airport. The regions within the Golden Triangle account for half of the economy.

The Golden Triangle’s growth is set to continue with a further 800,000 people projected to be living in the area by 2043 – accounting for three-quarters of  New Zealand’s population growth in the next 25 years and lifting the Golden Triangle’s population to three and a quarter million. 

To make the most of this growth, we need the cities and towns to be connected with a fast, reliable transport system to move commuters, tourists, and freight.


Labour will:

  • create a passenger rail service linking Auckland, Hamilton, and Tauranga and, if justified by demand, upgrade it in stages to a rapid rail network throughout the Golden Triangle.

The Regional Rapid Rail report lays out a plan to create a regional rail network based around the existing lines with fast passenger and freight services that will take pressure off the roads, re-vitalise small towns on the routes, and super-charge economic growth in the region.

The plan lays out three stages, starting with a passenger service that will offer a journey time of three and a half hours from Tauranga once per day, and just over two hours from Hamilton four times per day. Trains will go through to Auckland’s Ōtāhuhu station, where passengers will connect to the Auckland commuter network. 

To support the first stage of the Regional Rapid Rail plan, Labour is committing $10m of capital funding. An additional $10m of operational funding will be allocated over five years.

Following proof-of-concept in the first stage, and if demand justifies it after an independent business case, Labour will look to invest in the second and third stages.

The second stage would see new tilt-trains, and upgrades of stations, signals, and crossings to allow greater speeds. In the third stage, new lines would be opened extending the network to Rotorua and regional towns, and a new tunnel would be constructed through the Bombay Hills. Ultimately, a network with speeds of up to 160km/h for passengers and freight, connecting Tauranga to Auckland’s Britomart station in two and a quarter hours, would be achieved.

Our rapid rail solution for the Golden Triangle underlines Labour’s commitment to funding 21st century transport solutions to cater for population growth and economic development in New Zealand.

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