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Government committed to roading programme

Hon David Parker - Minister of Transport

22 February 2006

Government committed to roading programme

The government will ensure that the largest road building programme in New Zealand’s history proceeds, despite Transit New Zealand's draft State Highway Forecast released today, Transport Minister David Parker said today.

"Annual spending on new state highway projects has more doubled from $248 million in 1999 to $605 million in 2006/07. Total spending on land transport over the next ten years is projected to be $22 billion, of which $12 billion will be spent on state highways. This is the largest road building programme ever seen in New Zealand.

"However, while funding is projected to increase it is $685 million less, over the next decade, than was previously forecast. This is 5 percent of the $12 billion state highway spend. It is due to lower than expected increases in revenue from fuel taxes and road user charges, rising construction costs and more money going into public transport," Mr Parker said.

"We are spending more than ever before and it is not acceptable that important projects are scheduled for deferment in the draft forecast. As acting Finance Minister Trevor Mallard has said today, the government has commissioned work on a range of options to close the funding gap and announcements will be made in due course."

Mr Parker said he had also established an advisory group to consider ways of moderating cost increases in the roading sectors by looking at construction costs, design standards and processes, tendering processes, and the cost of materials and other inputs. The group will also look at procurement processes.

"It is important to remember that Transit New Zealand's forecast is draft, it is subject to change and there is extensive public consultation to take place before it is finalised in the middle of the year. I would urge people to participate in the consultation process on this important issue," Mr Parker said.

ENDS

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