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Govt All Talk No Action On Auckland Roads

3 May 2002

The Government is incapable of making the decisions necessary to see urgent progress on completing Auckland's motorway network, says National's Transport Spokesperson Belinda Vernon.

"It's a month since the Government's hike in petrol tax and its announcement it would permit tolling and public-private partnerships in limited circumstances. "But without legislation, talk about public private partnerships is nothing more than empty words.

"A month ago the Minister hadn't even given instructions to draft the legislation. Today he refuses to say when the necessary legislation will be introduced. He won't commit to a month; he fudges by saying 'as soon as possible'.

"National will introduce legislation that will get public-private partnerships going. Our legislation will not be shackled with conditions that will render public-private partnerships unattractive. "The Government's action in refusing to support tolling legislation currently before Parliament, the Weiti Penlink Toll Road legislation speaks volumes. The Government wants to amend the Bill in a way that threatens the viability of the project and increases the cost to the road user.

"The Government needed to introduce legislation in April if it was serious about getting Auckland's roads moving faster than already programmed. It's missed that deadline, like so many others before it.

"It's not enough to point to projects that are moving, like Grafton Gully. They're happening because they've finally ground through the planning processes. That's the other area that needs speeding up - and the Government's shown its got even less of an appetite for changes to the Resource Management Act than it has for public-private partnerships," says Belinda Vernon.

Ends

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