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Turning first sod for Manukau SH Extension

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister
Hon Annette King
Minister of Transport

30 June 2006 Media Statement

Turning first sod for Manukau SH Extension

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Transport Minister Annette King today turned the first sod in the construction of a key section of Auckland’s Western Ring Route.

Helen Clark said the $210 million Manukau motorway extension was a notable example of the Labour-led government’s commitment to New Zealand's largest ever land transport programme.

"State highway spending will rise to a total of $6.5 billion over the next five years. This, along with investments in public transport, will provide a world-class transport network, which is critical for New Zealand’s economic transformation.

"I am pleased to see work on this key part of the Western Ring Route underway. The Manukau Extension will improve traffic flows in Manukau and the region as a whole, including giving better access to and from Auckland Airport. ”

The Manukau Extension Project is a 4.5km four-lane motorway, which connects the existing State Highway 20 (SH20) at Puhinui and State Highway 1 (SH1) motorways south of the Manukau City centre. When completed, the Western Ring Route will provide a strategic alternative to SH1 between Manukau City and Albany via SH20, SH18, and SH16.

Helen Clark and Annette King said the government will invest a record $2.3 billion in 2006/07 in the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP), which is set to top $24 billion over the next 10 years.

"While improving New Zealand's roading network is essential, the NLTP allocations to public transport are also a key part of the overall land transport network. Spending on public transport is eight-and-a-half times higher than in 1999 and will continue to be given priority by the Labour-led government."

Helen Clark said the government had moved quickly to provide funding certainty when it became evident that forecast revenue for state highways was not as high as anticipated, and that the costs of adding to the land transport network were higher than predicted.

"In response to Transit's state highway forecast earlier this year, the government said that the deferral of important projects was not acceptable. That’s why Budget 2006 provided an additional $1.3 billion for land transport, bringing total spending over the next five years to $13.4 billion. This not only meets the projected shortfall, but also speeds up major projects around New Zealand,” Helen Clark said.

Transport Minister Annette King said the government is serious about getting value for land transport spending.

“The Advisory Group on Roading Costs and the Review of Value for Money in the Land Transport Sector have both been formed to do just that, and will be reporting back to the government late this year,” Annette King said.

ENDS

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