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Labour will trade roads for Green support

Hon Maurice Williamson MP
National Party Transport Spokesman

05 September 2005

Labour will trade roads for Green support

National Party Transport spokesman Maurice Williamson says “if a Labour/Greens government is elected New Zealand will see the end of major road building, not just in Auckland but throughout the country”.

National has a policy to move the petrol excise tax over time from the Crown account to the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF). It would inject about $4.5 billion to the NLTF in the first 10 years.

At the time, Labour attacked the policy.

 ‘National is starting to make very expensive promises, including planned announcements this week that they will put all petrol excise duty into the National Land Transport Fund … National's policies would lead to escalating debt and interest rates over the longer term unless offset by big cuts in expenditure’. Media Statement, Michael Cullen - 30/3/2005.

 ‘Brash has not created a single dollar of new money to cover roading costs. All he’s doing is shifting what’s already collected between accounts’. Media Statement, Pete Hodgson - 1/4/2005.

“But in early August, Pete Hodgson did a complete about face and committed an unexpected tax windfall to roading. A move, which National has since said, it will match provided the money is not tax-in-dispute.

“If it was unaffordable for National, how is it suddenly affordable for Labour? The reality is, that Labour knows the Greens won’t let them spend that much money on our roads.”

Jeanette Fitzsimons said on August 8: ‘we’ll be insisting on prioritising national funding for public transport rather than expensive new urban highways. As a first step, this will mean earmarking all of the $500 million recently announced for new transport projects to new public transport infrastructure. It will also mean postponing the State Highway 20 western extension in favour of developing a state-of-the-art electric rail system’.

Then on 10 August Jeanette Fitzsimons said: ‘this is a lost opportunity. Handed a windfall to spend on transport, Labour has squandered it on big roading projects that will do nothing to mitigate Auckland’s congestion problems … If in a position to do so after the election, the Greens would attempt to renegotiate how the $500 million transport windfall was being spent … We’re opposed to how Labour has decided to spend this money, and will be trying to change their mind after the election. Unfortunately, Labour seems to have been panicked by the pro-roading hysteria whipped up by National’.

“What is clear from this material that if a Labour/Greens government were to be elected - we could kiss goodbye to any major roading projects in Auckland,” said Mr Williamson.

ENDS

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