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Auckland Transport Package Pulls Up Short

Auckland Transport Package Pulls Up Short

"The government's transport package pulls up well short of what is necessary to address Auckland 's woeful transport problems", the executive director of the New Zealand Business Roundtable, Roger Kerr, said today. "It has not addressed them in the context of its goal of seeing the economy expanding by 4 percent a year or more on a sustained basis. The problems can only compound.

"Chronic congestion will continue unless roading capacity is expanded and proper prices are charged for the use of roads. The government needs to make a much stronger commitment to introduce better decision-making structures and more efficient road pricing than presently envisaged.

"The Resource Management Act will remain an obstacle to the construction of new roads and other worthwhile developments. It is disappointing that the government has still not seen fit to subject it to a thorough review.

"Far too much attention is being given to funding issues while insufficient attention is being paid to whether the proposed spending is a good use of resources.

"Exorbitant spending on uneconomic rail projects wastes taxpayer and ratepayer money and will not reduce congestion. More Think Big-type projects like Britomart will retard rather than advance growth in the economy. The projects should be subject to close scrutiny but instead they are to be accelerated.

"The minister of transport's acknowledgement that 'there was a need for better quality decision making' will be welcomed by the business community but it is difficult to envisage this happening under the proposed governance structure.

"The bringing together of transport infrastructure and the assets of Infrastructure Auckland, such as its investment in Ports of Auckland Limited, under the umbrella of the Auckland Regional Council is a backward step.

"There is a real risk that the ARC's planning and funding decisions will favour its infrastructure businesses to the detriment of what is best for the region as a whole.

"The Business Roundtable endorses the decision not to bring state highways under the ARC. A more commercial structure for roading generally is required", Mr Kerr said.

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