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Roading crisis requires more than spin

Hon Maurice Williamson MP

National Party Transport Spokesman

13 July 2004

Roading crisis requires more than spin

National Party Transport spokesman Maurice Williamson is urging Pete Hodgson to be honest with New Zealanders about the level of spending on our roads.

"Mr Hodgson should stop being economical with the truth."

Mr Williamson is referring to repeated statements by the Transport Minister who claims to have announced 'the largest ever expenditure on roading that the country has seen by a country mile - it's a total of $1.9 billion over the next 10 years'.

"Obviously we understand that he's got the numbers horribly wrong today with his figure of '$1.9 billion over the next ten years'. He's a factor of ten out.

"But even so the truth is that, in real terms, Labour is failing to keep pace with historic spending patterns - despite the fanfare," says Mr Williamson.

"According to figures supplied by the Parliamentary Library, the average annual increase on roading over the past ten years has been 6.9%. If you remove the two disastrous years under Labour (where there was only growth of 1.1%) the average climbs to 8.6% annual growth in road spending.

"If you then applied that average growth rate (removing those two disastrous years under Labour) the increase in road spending should be something like $19 billion - just using the historic norms.

"Mr Hodgson may as well announce the Government's grand $190 billion transport plan for the next century. It is utter nonsense to claim it's the 'biggest state transport-spending programme ever'.

"New Zealanders should not be deceived. Labour is barely keeping pace with the spending patterns of previous governments when it comes to roading," says Mr Williamson.

ENDS

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