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Stop the carnage on SH2 - hand over petrol tax

Hon Maurice Williamson National Party Transport Spokesman

9 December 2005

Stop the carnage on SH2 - hand over petrol tax

Transit's announcement that construction of the 7.2km Mangatawhiri bypass - one of the country's deadliest stretches of highway - has been delayed by at least six months is an absolute disgrace, says National's Transport spokesman, Maurice Williamson.

"Lack of money can never be a credible reason when the Government is siphoning off more than $600 million a year of petrol excise tax paid by motorists," says Mr Williamson.

"The motoring public have long believed this revenue should go to building roads, and National agrees with them."

Mr Williamson says the Mangatawhiri bypass is just a small part of the 35km section of State Highway 2 between Pokeno and the turnoff to Thames that desperately needs attention.

"An unacceptable level of carnage means this road needs to be built now. There have been 40 fatalities in the past five years on this stretch of road, but instead of the Government being shamed into urgent action, we get yet another delay.

"Transit can obfuscate all it wants about 'the contracts being too expensive' and how they're 'going to look to cut costs', but New Zealanders don't want a cut-down, Third World roading alternative and should not have to accept one.

"The Government could fix this matter with the stroke of a pen. Transport Minister David Parker must tell Michael Cullen that this can't wait. Hand over the petrol tax," says Mr Williamson.

ENDS

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