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Labour Ignores Auckland's Real Problem

Labour Ignores Auckland's Real Problem

The only way to fix Auckland's gridlock problems is to radically overhaul the Resource Management Act, ACT New Zealand Transport Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"Prime Minister Helen Clark has announced a `package', which includes raising petrol taxes by five cents a litre, and spending money in Auckland and the regions. Why collect more taxes when Transit has just admitted it can't spend the money it already collects because of resource consent delays holding up major projects?" Miss Coddington said.

"Why talk about money from toll roads when the consultation process means everyone - from iwi to the Historic Places Trust - must have a say on projects and could delay highways for a decade? Furthermore, Ms Clark has avoided stating this money will be spent on building more roads. Instead, `Greenplated' weasel words like `transport projects' are used.

"Under the Land Transport Management Act - recently passed by Labour and written by Green Party staffers - transport is defined as anything that moves.

"While motorists pay, this politically correct Government will spend - on cycleways, walking tracks, rail and buses - in a desperate attempt to herd people away from the ultimate symbol of freedom: the private car.

"Labour also ignores the needs of industrial transport - livestock, cement, logs, fresh and frozen produce - which fuels the economy and must reach its destination quickly and cheaply. Instead, we will spend money on diversions like subsidising public transport, so-called vehicle emissions, and `sustainability'.

"Helen Clark demonstrated Labour's contempt for Auckland today when she called the city a `drain on national transport funds'. She also showed her ignorance of commerce.

"Roading infrastructure is capital development. The money should be invested where the returns are highest. There is much evidence to justify why Auckland needs big investment in roads right now.

"The best way for this to happen is to reform the RMA under urgency or - not as desirable, but acceptable - to establish a fast-track planning procedure for the Auckland roading network," Miss Coddington said.

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