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Burton opens monument to political correctness

Hon Nick Smith - National Party Environment Spokesman

4 March 2005

Burton opens monument to political correctness

Spending $5 million on a new road bridge at Tangiwai, when doing $200,000 of earthworks at the crater lake could have eliminated the lahar risk, shows the extent to which Labour will waste public money in the name of political correctness, says National's Environment spokesman, Nick Smith.

Mark Burton, MP for Taupo, today reopened the Tangiwai Bridge, which has been strengthened to withstand the lahar.

But Dr Smith says the practical and commonsense response to the lahar risk was to remove the small amount of ash blocking the outlet of Mt Ruapehu's crater lake.

"The only reason Labour did not proceed with this work is that Ministers lacked the courage to stand up to the politically correct concerns over Maori culture and conservation.

"This bridge shows the Government is planning for a massive lahar when they had the option to prevent it. When the expected million tonnes of rock and water plummet down the mountain, lives and property will be put at unnecessary risk.

"It is no wonder that most of New Zealand's cities are in gridlock and petrol taxes are being hiked up when valuable roading monies are wasted in this way.

"Mark Burton should not be celebrating this new bridge but hanging his head in shame for wasting public money and not taking the most sensible and cost-effective option," says Dr Smith.


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