The RoNS programme represents one of New Zealand’s biggest ever infrastructure investments and is a key part of the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan (external link) and Government’s Policy Statement (external link) for transport. This policy direction is the basis of the investment priorities outlined in NZTA’s National Land Transport Programme (NLTP).
The seven RoNS projects are based around New Zealand's five largest population centres. The focus is on moving people and freight between and within these centres more safely and efficiently. The RoNS are ‘lead infrastructure’ projects – that is, they enable economic growth rather than simply responding to it. Other RoNS may be added in future but currently from north to south the seven projects are:
- Puhoi to Wellsford – SH1
- Completing the Western Ring Route - SH16 and SH20
- Victoria Park Tunnel, Auckland - SH1
- Waikato Expressway - SH1
- Tauranga Eastern Link - SH2
- Wellington Northern Corridor - SH1
- Christchurch Motorways
As a small, sparsely populated country distant from world markets, New Zealand relies on a robust transport network to move people, goods and services safely and efficiently.
Infrastructure development is one of the Government’s key planks for economic growth. A key departure from road planning in the past is that the RoNS projects represent a ‘lead infrastructure’ approach. This means the Government is investing in infrastructure now to encourage future economic growth rather than wait until the strain on the network becomes a handbrake on progress.
Around 92 per cent (by weight) of all freight within New Zealand is moved by road. An efficient freight industry with access to cost effective transport is vital to the competitiveness of New Zealand businesses.
Industries that are critical to New Zealand’s economy such as dairy processing, forestry and tourism are the key beneficiaries of better roads. With less time and money spent transporting goods, more investment can be made in productive assets and increasing wages which continue to fuel economic expansion.
The RoNS projects deliver much more than faster, safer, lower cost freight links. Perhaps to an even greater degree these roading improvements will deliver agglomeration benefits to businesses. Agglomeration refers to the benefits businesses gain when they are located near each other or when the costs of interaction between them is reduced resulting in increased productivity. For example, through improved transport links businesses will gain access to a wider talent pool, specialist suppliers, knowledge and skills.
July 2010 - RoNS economic assessments review
This report contains the findings of an economic assessment that included consideration of the total economic benefits and costs for the seven RoNS projects taking into account traditional road user benefits, externalities, and potentially broader productivity and economic growth associated with the implementation of the RoNS.
The NZTA is working hard to complete or substantially complete all seven roads of national significance by 2020. We acknowledge that this is an ambitious programme that will challenge both NZTA and the roading industry.
The RoNS projects are all underway with completion dates within or close to 10 years. The focus in the next three years is on the design, consultation and planning for most of the roads, with the bulk of construction scheduled to start in 2012/13. The exceptions are Victoria Park Tunnel, the Tauranga Eastern Link and some segments within other RoNS projects that are already in construction.
Scheduling for the RoNS projects is being considered as a whole. This approach means that if any of the segments within the RoNS are subject to delays, others can be accelerated in their place. Most of the RoNS comprise several segments and the progress of each of the segments will be determined by the order in which they become construction ready.
In order to become construction ready, each RoNS project must first gain a resource consent. Due to the size and complexity of the RoNS projects, the NZTA may seek consent via the new Environmental Protection Agency process.
The faster the projects are completed the earlier the economy and New Zealanders will benefit.