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Transport Bill fails to go the distance

Hon Roger Sowry MP National Party Transport Spokesman

13 October 2003

Transport Bill fails to go the distance

National Party Transport spokesman Roger Sowry says the much-lauded Land Transport Management Bill is unlikely to provide the magic bullet answer for the country's urgent roading needs.

"Initially welcomed by local government leaders, it's now become obvious that the Land Transport Management Bill will not deliver.

"For the past six months the Minister's been tackled by groups voicing concerns about excessive consultation, highly restrictive practices around public private partnerships, and unrealistic terms and conditions being placed on public private partnerships.

"The Minister reportedly told them to make strong submissions and he was sure the Bill could be changed to meet their needs," Mr Sowry says.

"Local authorities and business groups have held up their end of the bargain, but their concerns appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

"Rather than changing the Bill so it has some hope of solving our roading woes, Labour and the Greens have cooked up a deal to make the legislation 'greener'.

"Now the Government's dangling a carrot in front of Auckland, talking of joint action groups working to find a solution for the gridlock. It will inevitably require special legislation next year," says Mr Sowry.

"So we're being asked to believe that, while the Government won't pass legislation that will solve the problem now - it will pass legislation early next year that does. "It's far-fetched at best."

Mr Sowry's concerned that there's no cap on the amount of funding that can be moved from the land transport account and spent on non-roading projects like cycleways and pedestrian bridges. He says there are also bizarre provisions such as the definition of 'land transport' - which now includes 'coastal shipping'.

"National is disappointed Labour turned down our offer to help shape legislation that would benefit the majority of New Zealanders, rather than allowing the Greens to drive transport policy for the whole country," Mr Sowry says.


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