Sustainable transportation

Moving goods and people safely, affordably and responsively is a core responsibility of the Council - with inter-agency support. Without sustainable transport links our economy and well-being will suffer.
Shaping our transportation network wisely will underpin success in Tairāwhiti.

 The evidence - what do we already know?

Road network

» Largest local road network in New Zealand relative to its population (48,000) and ratepayer base.

» Local urban roads - 229 km

» Local rural roads - 1,624 km » State Highways - 331 km (SH 2 and SH 35) » The road network is susceptible to surface flooding, landslides and weather degradation.

» We have two main roads into the region: SH2 from Wairoa; and SH35 to Bay of Plenty via Waioeka Gorge. Both are vulnerable to road closure from slips.

» In 2016 there were 40 road closures due to flooding and landslides.

» Following the Queens Birthday storms in 2018, 630km of local roads and 29km of State Highway were closed.

» Road maintenance costs have increased in line with the intensification of heavy vehicles on the roads due to the surge in regional forestry activities.

» Coastal roads vulnerable to erosion and flooding include:

      > Makorori Road

      > the access to Waihau Bay

      > Kaiaua Beach

      > the access to Nuhiti Beach from Anaura Bay

      > Waima, Tokomaru Bay

      > beach roads at Waipiro Bay

      > the East Cape Road

» Central Government has approved a total investment of $369 million for the Tairāwhiti roading network.

log tonnage

vulnerable roads

Public transport

» Gizzy Bus service: two buses operating over six routes.

» Steady decline in Gizzy Bus patronage since 2012/13 and a steady increase in school bus patronage.

Active transport

» Cycling within the Gisborne District represents 3.3% of total commuter share.

» Council’s Urban Cycleways Programme (UCP) will build a spine of protected cycleway routes designed to separate riders from motor vehicles.

» Fourteen schools have implemented the Bikes in Schools programme (the highest number in New Zealand)

cycling commuter share



» The Palmerston North-Gisborne Line provides a railway connection between Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay region and the North Island Main Trunk railway in Palmerston North.

» The line was closed in 2012 following several large washouts north of Wairoa resulting in significant damage to rail infrastructure.

» In early 2018 KiwiRail announced the reopening of the line between Wairoa and Napier following support from the Regional Infrastructure Growth fund.

» Up to $600k is currently available to undertake a feasibility study for re-opening the Gisborne to Wairoa section.

Sea and air

» Gisborne Airport is located 4.2 km from the city centre. The runway is night capable and 1,300m long.

» 20,066 take-offs and landings at Gisborne airport during the year to March 2018, up from 15,494 the year before.

» 170,993 passenger movements during the year to March 2018, up from 156,146 the year before.

» The Government committed $5.5 million in the redevelopment of Gisborne Airport. Total development cost: $12.5m. Remainder to be co-funded by Eastland Group Ltd and the Eastland Community Trust. 

» Eastland Port is located 800m from the city centre. It is New Zealand’s second largest log exporter and the most easterly commercial shipping port in New Zealand.

» Forestry is the main user of the Port. Raw logs represent 99% of trade out of the port by volume.

» Eastland Port exported over 3,000,000 tons of logs, kiwifruit and squash during the 2017/18 financial year, equating to over 100,000 full truck movements. With growing volumes of logs, kiwifruit and apples from the region this volume will top between 4.5 and 5 million tons by 2025.

» Eastland Port is committing $70m to a port expansion to increase berthing capacity.

» 11 cruise ship visits to Gisborne in 2016-17 added $3million to gross domestic product.

The challenges and opportunities

Challenges - if we do nothing

» The roading network will become increasingly degraded and costly to repair and maintain.

» Road closures and maintenance costs will increase for both local roads and State Highways.

» The safety of the road network will decline – leading to more likelihood of accidents.

» Heavy vehicles will continue to dominate our roads, rather than seeing an increase in other forms of transport. 

» The airport may be hemmed in by the City and unable to grow.

» Uncertainty around the future and role of rail.

» The effects of climate change will continue to impact on our transportation network.


Cycling and walking

> the Poverty Bay Flats 

> the Waipaoa Flood Control Scheme 

> pathway from Midway Surf Club to Waipaoa River mouth

> a regional cycle and walking trail network

> improved access across the CBD 

Road network

» Restore and maintain the condition of State Highway 35 to support safe and efficient travel along the East Coast.

» Promote an East Coast journey that expands upon the Tairāwhiti Navigations Programme to boost regional tourism. This includes enhancing key destinations, township development, signage and other design elements to form a coherent regional experience that will enhance the visitor experience and increase visitor numbers.

Sea and rail

> northern barge berth to reduce road freight in favour of coastal transport

> a northern port to support coastal shipping

> rail to take a proportion of logging freight

> rail tourism 

The questions

» Investigate and build alternative routes for sections of the road network that are more vulnerable to coastal hazards and erosion.

» We know that the movement of logging trucks through our communities to the Port is a major challenge. How can this be made more sustainable/less impactful on our roads?

» Should we consider:

      > an alternative Port location?

      > use of rail?

      > a northern port ?

      > a heavy vehicle bypass for Gisborne city?

» Should Tairawhiti consider a wider regional walking / cycle trail network?

» Where could new walking and cycling trails be located?

» How can we increase walking and cycling access through the CBD?

rail bridge

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Latest Submission
I would like to see all future projects roading projects led with walking and cycling (W&C) first - rather than building for cars - and all other projects (civil, cultural etc.) at least considering it. All business cases should have W&C thinking considered before funding is approved. Gisborne has the 2nd highest rates of obesity in NZ yet it is the perfect city for getting around by foot or bike. It would be great to do something radical to make it NZ's top city for cycling. This would improve health and the environment and ease congestion.

I am also supportive of investigating all options for reducing conflict between logging trucks, safety and lifestyle.
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