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Webster: Government Must Act Now To Save Lives

The Queens Birthday frustrations experienced by thousands of New Zealand motorists, could be avoided if the Government honoured its word on roading policy, said ACT Transport spokesman Penny Webster.

This Queens Birthday motorists around the country have been frustrated and impeded by the inability of New Zealand roads to meet traffic demands. The ensuing mayhem has seen five motorists lose their lives so far.

"It is a widely discussed topic amongst motorists that New Zealand's road conditions and capability are worsening every year. These failures, and their effect on the road toll, are especially felt during holiday periods. However, under current legislation, most New Zealand roads will continue to deteriorate unless tragedy occurs.

"Currently we have a bizarre cost/benefit road funding criteria that collates and awards central Government funding, to dangerous pieces of road at any real extent, only after people have repeatedly crashed there.

"This means that it is 'good' for a local council to have motorists die on it's roads as they will then be fixed for the next holiday season. Given the bottle-neck hazards of SH1 near Mana, Wellington City Councillors may have Transmission Gully funding quicker than they thought.

"ACT has repeatedly said this scheme is foolish when an uncomplicated alternative is readily available. It would only require a simple change of legislation by the Government to allow private companies to build or alter roads. These companies would be able to carry out construction work when New Zealand roads need it, instead of the current "ten years and twelve deaths down the track" mentality we have know.

"Australia came to this conclusion years ago and have implemented the hugely successful BOOT's (Build, Own, Operate, Transfer) scheme. Labour is aware of the success of this and other road funding schemes as when the issue of Transmission Gully was raised after the election "Labour promised to let developers build and operate toll roads" (EVP 02/12/99).

"I call on Helen Clark and her Government to honour their word and pass toll road enabling legislation immediately. New Zealand motorists should not have to die on treacherous holiday roads solely because of Government flip-flopping," said Penny Webster.

ENDS

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