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Bill Won’t Deliver Faster Network Completion

Land Transport Management Bill Won’t Deliver Faster Network Completion.

“Where is the leadership and where is the commitment to solve Auckland’s disgraceful transport problems once and for all?”

It certainly is not to be found in the changes made to the Land Transport Management Bill reported back to Parliament yesterday.

Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, was expressing strong disappointment at the overly cautious changes made to the Bill by the Select Committee.

“A number of key changes sought by Auckland business have been made, but in many cases they are so heavily qualified they will make little difference to achieving faster progress and could make things worse.”

For example, business will welcome moves to make it easier for private/public partnerships to be formed to bring forward projects.

However with Auckland facing a massive funding shortfall to achieve timely network completion, the submissions of the business community have been ignored in this key area, including no inclusion of provisions for providers to borrow to debt fund projects on a “network basis”;

“However, there is a glimmer of hope that not all is lost,” said Mr Barnett. “The Minister Paul Swain makes clear in his media release on the changes made to the Bill that further legislation may be forthcoming next year on proposals now being worked on to provide further funding options for transport.”

In September last year, Mr Swain said that the land transport legislation would have significant benefits for Auckland because “getting transport right in Auckland is critical” to the growth of the New Zealand economy.

In theory, the Minister has delivered – the Bill does allow public/private partnerships and tolling to fund infrastructure, as he promised. “In practice, however, there is too much room left open for interpretation, which at the end of the day will add to the uncertainty rather than help business move Auckland forward with the required sense of speed and urgency,” concluded Mr Barnett.

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