5. Twyford backs off Transmission Gully toll

Phil Twyford said he is not leaning one way or the other on tolling Transmission Gully. Photo: Lynn Grieveson.

Phil Twyford has clarified that he remains on the fence about whether to impose a toll road on Transmission Gully.

The $852 million road north of Wellington will open in 2020. A briefing document released under the Official Information Act shows NZTA recommended the minister impose a toll on the road to “shape demand”.

Stuff.co.nz reported that Twyford gave the recommendation “his blessing,” but Twyford today said that he was not leaning one way or the other on whether to act on the recommendation and impose a toll.

“We can’t rule it in, can’t rule it out,” he said.

Twyford said NZTA asked him whether he would like to “look at the options,” which he agreed to, but added he had yet to decide his position on whether to impose a toll.

Twyford did not see tolling as something that should be brought to the electorate.

“Road pricing is something that’s well and truly on the agenda,” he said.

KiwiBuild eligibility to be announced tomorrow

Twyford also cleared up confusion over the announcement about KiwiBuild eligibility criteria, which will be announced at 9.15 on Wednesday at the BuildNZ conference in Auckland.

Twyford had told journalists at a briefing last week that the eligibility criteria would shortly be taken to cabinet, but Winston Peters told yesterday’s post-cabinet press conference that the eligibility criteria had not been discussed.

When asked whether it had come up at all, Peters said that it had not.

But Twyford confirmed that the criteria had been discussed at cabinet committee and approved by the whole cabinet yesterday.

“My understanding is he said it 'wasn’t discussed' at cabinet, the discussion and debate happened at cabinet committee and it went through without a peep,” Twyford said.

It is likely the criteria introduced tomorrow will include income testing and a requirement to live in the home for a certain length of time rather than renting it out.

The policy would be open to first home buyers and “second chancers,” who Twyford described as people who had purchased a home fell off the housing ladder because of personal circumstances, like a divorce.