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Minister must untangle roadblocks

Hon. Maurice Williamson MP National Party Transport Spokesman

24 November 2005

Minister must untangle roadblocks

National Party Transport spokesman Maurice Williamson says the new Transport Minister must act urgently to "untangle the roadblocks that are preventing desperately needed roads from being built".

Mr Williamson is responding to the Transit New Zealand Annual report which shows the state highways builder finished just 57 per cent of the 118 projects set down for completion in 2004-2005, well short of its 95 per cent target.

"This follows criticism from roading contractors, concerned that the $500 million roading windfall announced by Labour just before the election is being drip-fed too slowly.

"In recent years, Transit has become well-known across the roading industry for its poor performance. It spends more time stopping development than it does actually building roads.

"For example, take the SH20 Mt Roskill extension. Transit said it would be finished by May 2005, but by then it hadn't even started. This is just one example of Transit's incompetence.

"Transit has only managed to exist, despite its appalling track record, because it faces no competition. New Zealand is one of the only countries in the developed world which has no private sector-funded roading.

"The competition that would come from entrusting the private sector to carry out some of our roading projects would soon put Transit's slack performance in context.

"Surely the new Minister of Transport cannot be satisfied with the slow rate of progress being made by Transit. He should be seeking solutions.

"Transit has become highly politicised by board members like Labour Party President Mike Williams and former Alliance MP John Wright. It desperately needs a major clean out.

"Everyone knows New Zealand faces a marathon effort to get the roading infrastructure up to scratch. This sort of under-performance requires further examination," says Mr Williamson.

ENDS

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