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Olive Branch Offered To Fix Auckland Transport

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

10 December 2003

Olive Branch Offered To Fix Auckland Transport

National Party Leader Don Brash is offering to work with the Government to get Friday's roading package for Auckland on the fast track.

"This is a very serious issue that National's taking very seriously. It's bigger than petty party politics," said Dr Brash after a meeting with major transport stakeholders in Auckland this morning.

"It's clear from this morning's meeting that there are still real reservations about the Government's approach, an approach which National says is too little too late.

"The National Party is opposed to further petrol tax increases, when a significant part of the money raised from the last tax increase was not spent on fixing our roads. Transfund has been left holding $225 million," said Dr Brash.

"We now know that it hasn't been possible to build new roads because of the problems gaining resource consents. That makes the redrafting of the Resource Management Act a critical first step.

"National is offering to help the Government pass legislation to reform the RMA to help fix Auckland's roads and facilitate other major developments," Dr Brash said.

"Getting approval to build a new road is one of the biggest hurdles. The ball should have been set rolling three years ago. If that had happened, Auckland wouldn't be in this mess.

"There's now the potential for the Government to make matters worse. Labour's sacrificed real progress on land transport in a bid to secure Green support. They've been bought off with taxpayer money for pet projects and it's little wonder we're being warned to expect cost overruns.

"National is adamant that we need to find the right solution without further delay to resolve a problem in Auckland which costs our economy more than $1 billion a year," said Dr Brash.

"The Government should be honest and admit this is an $8 billion problem over 10 years and unless we fix the RMA we cannot fix transport.

"The National Party also refuses to accept increased rating as a solution. Auckland homeowners have been savaged enough. Many are elderly, on fixed incomes and already unable to meet increased rates demands," Dr Brash said.

Ends

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