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Plugging $685m roading shortfall won’t be enough

Hon Maurice Williamson MP
National Party Transport Spokesman
17 May 2006

Plugging $685m roading shortfall won’t be enough

National Party Transport spokesman Maurice Williamson said today roading would require way more than just the plugging of the $685 million shortfall identified in February’s 10-year state highway plan.

“The February 2006 plan dramatically revised the programme from that which had been released in June 2005 and yet again updated in August 2005.

“In February, within an hour of the funding fiasco breaking, Acting Finance Minister Trevor Mallard said ‘The Government is committed to ensuring vital roading projects proceed as planned, by making up the funding shortfall.’

“The problem is the Government will try to use that correction in tomorrow’s Budget as some form of ‘haven’t we done well’,” says Mr Williamson.

“But the fact is the 10-year State Highway plan released in August last year was itself woefully inadequate, and to have the Budget simply take us back to that point won’t do.

‘We need a commitment tomorrow from Dr Cullen that he will move to dedicate all petrol tax to the Land Transport Fund. That would see an additional $6 billion over the next ten years made available for roading - not the paltry $685 million.

“Moreover, we need a government commitment to dramatically amend the Land Transport Management Act to create an environment conducive to private sector investment in roading.

“New Zealand is one of the only developed nations not to have any private sector road funding.

“We will continue to slip further behind if nothing is done about that. The eastern seaboard states of Australia all have Labour governments and all heavily rely on private sector funding.

“Tony Blair’s Labour government in Britain has overseen massive projects like the M6 Toll Road in Birmingham. Why is New Zealand so different?”

ENDS

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