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Central and local government hail historic agmnt.

17 February 2004 Media Statement

Central and local government hail historic agreement

The Transport Minister Paul Swain says central and local government leaders are now in a position to make real progress on Auckland transport issues, with today's acceptance of the December "Investing for Growth" package.

The Chair of the Auckland Mayoral Forum John Law and the Chair of the Auckland Regional Council Gwen Bull have today met Mr Swain, the Finance Minister Michael Cullen, and the Auckland Issues Minister Judith Tizard to present the region's formal acceptance of the package.

Mr Law says a joint response given to the government contains "overwhelming support from the Auckland region, the Regional Council, all the territorial local authorities for the transport package."

"We are pleased with the $1.6 billion, which is on top of what has already been allocated. We are not asking for more money, we are very happy with the package."

"The challenge for Auckland now is to spend the money."

The ARC Chair Gwen Bull says "today is historic. For the first time the region is working together. We are united in what we want, we're delighted with the response from the government."

Mr Swain says he is "very pleased with the response from Auckland. This is groundbreaking, a green light day. We are now in a position to make progress."

"We need to now get on with the legislation quickly, and details about the governance side of the package are now being worked on by officials, with issues raised by the mayors to be addressed in a paper that will go to Cabinet in early March."

Judith Tizard says "I am delighted with the region's response. Auckland and New Zealand can now move forward. A huge amount of planning has gone into Auckland's transport projects, the money will be there as soon as the projects are ready to go."

Mr Swain says "building world-class infrastructure is a key element of the government’s growth and innovation framework. Our growing economy and population requires increased investment. The transport package is an important investment in New Zealand’s economic infrastructure."

ENDS

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