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Baldock: spend all road taxes on road safety

Baldock: spend all road taxes on road safety

United Future New Zealand MP, Larry Baldock, has welcomed the Government’s announcement of increased spending of $22 million on improving road safety, but says a great deal more needs to be done.

The Party’s transport spokesman said today, “This increase in spending does not alter the fact that revenue that is collected from fuel excise taxes and Road User Charges is still being siphoned off into the Consolidated Fund.

“The increases in the ACC levies we now pay on car registration fully cover all medical expenses related to vehicle accidents.

“With further increases being signaled on the way, there is no longer any justification for the practice of taking hundreds of millions of dollars from the national road fund. Currently 18.475 cents of the 39.185 cents the Government takes at the petrol pump is taken into the Consolidated Fund,” said Mr Baldock.

“If the Government would commit to spending all the revenue raised from road and vehicle-related sources, on road-related expenses, we would make much faster progress in bringing our roads up to international standards.

“In 1999 the Ministry of Transport admitted that at least 15% of road fatalities can be attributed to problems with the roads. We must continue to target driving problems like speed and drink driving, and much can be done to improve vehicle safety, but it is time to invest a lot more in our roads.

“This will be money well spent as it will reduce the huge costs to the nation and its economy though fatalities and serious injuries. No amount of money can ever replace the loss to a family from a fatality or having someone become a tetraplegic for the rest of their lives as a result of head injuries sustained in a car accident.

“However, Gary Wilson, the director of ACC, estimates that one such head injury costs the country $40 million. It makes good sense to spend millions if it can eliminate even ten such accidents.

“This situation may require adjustments in the Government’s budget over a period of several years but United Future believes taking this course of action makes a great deal of sense and we will continue to push for it,” said Mr Baldock.

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