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Barrier To Rodney Toll Road

Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons will later today move to have the Rodney District Council (Penlink Toll Road) Empowering Bill referred back to the Transport Committee, effectively putting the country's first private toll road on hold.

The bill would allow the Rodney District Council to contract a private company to build, set tolls and police a 7km toll road linking the Whangaparoa Peninsula to Auckland.

"The Government - with Green input - has developed a new transport strategy which includes criteria for private-public toll road partnerships," said Jeanette Fitzsimons. "The Penlink proposal fails to meet those criteria on a number of points and it would be silly to allow it to progress."

Ms Fitzsimons, who chaired consideration of the bill at the Local Government and Environment select committee will put a non-debateable motion to have the bill referred to the Transport and Industrial Relations committee, so that it can be considered in parallel with the Government's new transport legislation.

The new Public / Private Partnership provisions of the transport strategy require:

* The project to assist in achieving the objectives of the Government's transport strategy;

* The assets to be at all times operated under public supervision;

* The project NOT to involve the transfer of the asset into majority private ownership;

* The project to have a high degree of support from the community.

"Penlink fails on all these points," said Jeanette Fitzsimons. "It is an inappropriate transport development which has attracted considerable opposition within Rodney itself.

"As the compliance report commissioned by the Rodney District Council notes, the project's progress so far owes much to the force of 'inertia' - the build-up of preliminary expenses to the point that it becomes too 'costly' to abandon the project.

"This, of itself, is no reason for Penlink to continue."


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