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Business community is seeking a public commitment

25 August 2005

Auckland’s business community is seeking a public commitment by political leaders to complete Auckland’s basic motorway network within 8 years.

“Every political leader knows that Auckland has a transport crisis. If you are coming into government you will have a pledge card list of issues that are absolutes – this is one of those issues,” said Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

This crisis has grown to such a size to now justify “a national emergency” response:

- About 500 people settle in Auckland each week; by 2020 Auckland will be home to another 440,000 people and 220,000 cars – regardless of improvements made to public transport services.

- Economists say Auckland’s roading crisis is acting as “a drag” on the region’s economy – what will it be like with another 440,000 people?

- Economists also confirm that a completed Western Ring Route would generate an additional $838 million GDP growth per annum – “Doing this in 8 years is an opportunity a growth-led government can’t ignore.”

For Auckland to be New Zealand’s internationally competitive city in the future, this network must be built immediately, said Mr Barnett.

“A commitment to action-based leadership, not positioning for the election campaign, is what we are seeking from all political leaders,” he said.

Based on Australian timetables for similar projects, completion of the core network in 6 years is possible. An 8-year timeline is therefore a very credible option, and reinforced by the detail in the Business Forum’s report released today.

This will require Transit NZ to bring forward its current timetable by 3 years and to adopt a best-practice regime that eliminates any possibility of slippage in the timetable, as has occurred in previous years.

ENDS

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