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Finicky Transport Bill Will Goad Motorists: EMA

Media statement
Monday, October 13th,2003

Finicky transport Bill will goad motorists: EMA

The new law promised over a year ago to fix our roads has returned from the Select Committee six months late not with a bang but a whimper, says the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).

"The transport Bill is almost hopeless," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"We needed a major springboard from which to launch new roading infrastructure projects but we're getting a small, timid step instead.

"Our transport deficit is strangling the country's prospects for growth and the better education and health that come with it.

"Auckland and other places can't afford to wait another year or two for empowering legislation to sort out the funding mechanisms that will de-bottleneck opportunities for higher standards of living.

"The Bill is already six months late, and there's no urgency about the situation, so we had hoped its serious defects would have been eliminated.

"Instead we're being promised another law will be looked at next year to fix the things Government found too hard this time around, like tolls and congestion pricing on the existing network in Auckland.

"Some of the original Bill's finicky and onerous consultation provisions have been deleted but its provisions would still require more consultation than under the present law.

"Mainly the Bill has fixed things that should never have been included in the first place. It adds costs without adding benefits.

"Building roads under the prescription of economic efficiency makes an ambiguous appearance in Clause 20 (3) (d); it needed to be stated unequivocally in the Bill's purpose.

"It will divert more road user taxes away from roads into public transport, rail and even subsidising foreign and local coastal shippers.

"In no way can it be considered anything like a serious 'major step' to getting Auckland's long planned roads network built."

ENDS


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