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Land Transport Reflects Political Priorities

28 June 2002

FFNZ: National Land Transport Programme Reflects Political Priorities

Transfund's National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) reflects political trade-offs rather than focusing on the needs of the economy, says Murray Taggart, Federated Farmers' Meat and Fibre Chairman.

"While the funding allocation framework acknowledges that benefit/cost ratio (BCR) and efficiency remain important evaluation tools for roading and non-roading projects, there is a much stronger emphasis on projects which contribute to the government's funding priorities," said Mr Taggart.

"This raises the bizarre situation of road users contributing significantly more funding to roading alternatives such as public transport and the promotion of walking and cycling which clearly signals a move towards pork barrel politics to buy the urban vote at the expense of the productive sector. Already a considerable amount of revenue from road user charges and fuel excise tax flows into the Government's consolidated account.

"Funding of land transport should reflect the careful consideration of the BCR with an efficient transport sector being critically important. Undermining these important principles through specific funding allocated to promoting walking and cycling, and pet projects in terms of regional development which may not stand up against more efficient roading options, is a backward step and will not deliver a "more balanced range of transport options" as the Government suggests.

The NLTP reflects a move back towards pre-1984 thinking when Government exposed New Zealand taxpayers to the vagaries of picking winners. The NLTP again highlights the Government's dangerous return to a politically driven "we know best" mentality.


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