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Roads will pay for themselves

Maurice Williamson National Party Transport Spokesperson

5 May 2005

Roads will pay for themselves

National's Transport spokesman, Maurice Williamson, says no area of government spending will suffer in any way as a result of National's roading plans for Waikato.

He is commenting on claims by Transport Minister Pete Hodgson after National Party Leader Don Brash announced that the Waikato Expressway would be put on the fast track under National. Waikato roads would get an additional $540 million.

"Labour is running a $7 billion surplus, and in the first few years of our policy we are talking of moving only $100 million extra each year into roading," Mr Williamson says. "That is a very small percentage of the surplus.

"National will not need to slash spending on any areas, as claimed by Mr Hodgson. Spending in areas such as health and education, and indeed any other area you care to name, will not be affected. The extra money will come from diverting every cent raised in petrol tax into roading projects.

"And anyway, if moving petrol tax from the Consolidated Fund is such a bad principle, why, in 1995, did Mr Hodgson, Michael Cullen and Helen Clark vote for an even more extreme measure which was to move it all in one hit at a time when the government accounts were barely in balance.

"I note that Mr Hodgson is indicating he may soon have a plan for Waikato and that it may involve more money. Well, that sounds to me like he knows he's backing a loser and that sooner or later he will have to come around to National's way of thinking. Criticising National for spending more while proposing to spend more himself is a bit rich.

"It would be better for us all if he stopped talking rubbish and got on with doing what he was appointed to do - getting this country's transport moving again," Mr Williamson says.

ENDS

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