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The Mapp Report 10 June 2005

The Mapp Report 10 June 2005

Auckland Transport Projects Still On Road To Nowhere

Just like this Labour Government, the major transport projects for the Auckland Region are still going nowhere.

That was effectively the confession by the Minister of Transport to the Transport Select Committee yesterday. Under severe questioning from Maurice Williamson and myself, he had to admit to massive delays in the construction programme for Auckland roads.

The latest announcement that SH20 will start in August can only be proved by bulldozers actually starting in August. After all, last year in August Transit stated it was going by end of 2004. But nothing has happened. The same had happened in 2001 and 2003. Each time Transit announced the project was about to start, within weeks each time they were proved wrong, and nothing happened.

This has been a consistent pattern; projects are announced, start dates are given, often just a few weeks past the announcement, and then nothing actually happens.

Last year in September, every household in the region received a 4-page newspaper insert setting out all the Transit plans. SH20 was to start within 12 weeks, the same with SH18, and also further planning for the Second Harbour Crossing. This was all to be commenced by December 2004. Not one of these events actually occurred.

The distrust that has arisen from these continually misleading statements boiled over this week at meetings with the Employers & Manufacturers Association and the Chamber of Commerce in Dr. Cullen's office. So the government cannot be surprised if they are not believed. Now the only proof that counts is bulldozers actually starting work.

The same pattern of delay has happened with the North Shore Busway. It was originally going to be started in 2000, has only just got under way (September 2004).

There are multiple reasons for all these delays:

a) The RMA processes are too complicated,

b) There is not enough money,

c) There are too many conflicting agendas, and too many entities involved (Transit, ARTA, ARC, seven TLA's, ARH),

d) Transit has been ludicrously optimistic.

National will solve these problems by reforming the RMA, and streamlining the number of organisations with their fingers in the roading pie. Most importantly, we will put more money into building the roads. National has committed to putting all the petrol tax towards the roads. Over a ten-year period there will be $1.5 billion more for roading in the Auckland region than Labour has committed. That will be enough to complete the motorway network that was planned more than 40 years ago.

Elections are about choices. One of the critical choices National has made is to put more money into roads. In contrast, Labour is spending a lot more on paper shuffling bureaucrats, social engineering programmes and wasteful wananga.

Voters have to work out which will drive our country ahead. An infrastructure programme for the 21st century, or more social workers and bureaucrats. National stands for progress, not bureaucratic stagnation.

ENDS

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