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How desperate will Labour get?

Hon Maurice Williamson MP
National Party Transport Spokesman
05 August 2005

How desperate will Labour get?

“The claim today that National will spend less on roading than a Labour/Green government borders on the laughable,” says National Party Transport spokesman Maurice Williamson.

“It has been National that has set the agenda on increased funding for roading. It was National that announced on 1 April we would move all the petrol tax over to the road account. It was National that announced we would complete the planned arterial network in Auckland and the Waikato Expressway within 10 years. It is National that said we would fund the land transport package so desperately needed for Wellington.

“Since these announcements there have been some amazing U-turns from Labour Ministers Cullen and Hodgson. First they found an extra $100 million a year for the next 3 years in the May Budget. Then the one-offs started. $660 million for Wellington’s roads mysteriously appeared in July. Just last week they found hundreds of millions for the Bay of Plenty. In July they found a magical extra $544 million in tax revenue they didn’t know about and decided on the spur of the moment that it would all go to roads. Yeah right!

“The National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) is the right vehicle for funding roads. Had Labour always intended to spend this money it would have made sure the money was in that programme. It wasn’t and it has only magically appeared now that National’s getting traction with its road funding policy.

“Watch out for the next big announcement which will again mirror National and declare that the Waikato Expressway can now be funded in 10 years. And it will come before election day in order to try to prop up the Hamilton Labour candidates.

“Not only will National continue with its announced policy of moving of all the petrol tax over to the road fund, but it will honour all the one-off announcements Labour has already made relating to Auckland, Wellington and Bay of Plenty. These are very valuable projects that are long overdue and have been agreed to after extensive consultation with all the key stakeholders and the general public. Pete Hodgson’s ridiculous claim that National is going to cut the amount of money available for roading should be treated with the derision it deserves. We will fund these projects.

“By moving the petrol tax over to the road fund we give all players certainty of funding for the future and don’t leave the contractor industry in the dark waiting for the next drop of government largesse.

“In addition, National will dramatically reform the RMA and the Building Act to ensure that roads can get built faster, and we will actively invite the private sector in to help fund and build some of our much needed infrastructure.

“If it’s more roads the public want, then National is the only answer,” says Mr Williamson.

ENDS

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