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LTNZ amasses cash while roading neglected

Maurice Williamson MP
National Party Transport Spokesman

27 November 2007

LTNZ amasses cash while roading neglected

It is an absolute disgrace that Land Transport New Zealand has been busy amassing a cash mountain while roading projects up and down the country are being put on the back-burner, says National’s Transport spokesman, Maurice Williamson.

Mr Williamson says LTNZ’s annual report makes for interesting reading, revealing that it had a budgeted net surplus of $20 million, but in reality it has ended up running a surplus of a whopping $224 million for the 2006/07 financial year.

“Despite the Labour Government’s rhetoric, the report shows that instead of building roads, LTNZ is accumulating cash. There can be no excuse for this massive underspend given the huge backlog of desperately needed infrastructure projects across the country.”

The report reveals that:

  • Regional land transport is underspent by $41 million.

  • Auckland land transport is underspent by $12.5 million.

  • Wellington land transport is underspent by $11 million.

  • Bay of Plenty transport is underspent by $26 million.

  • New and improved infrastructure for state highways is underspent by $12 million.

  • New and improved infrastructure for local roads is underspent by $138 million.

The total land transport programme excluding operating costs is down $212 million from what was budgeted.

Mr Williamson says LTNZ is clearly failing to manage and effectively use its funds to best advantage.

“In addition the introduction of a regional fuel tax will presumably build up cash reserves.

“LTNZ is crippled by a lack of urgency to address the nation’s roading needs which are getting progressively worse, not better.

“Frighteningly, many of the board members responsible for this mismanagement have been appointed to the just-formed New Zealand Transport Agency Establishment Board.

“Íf this was the first time LTNZ had run such a surplus it may be partially acceptable. But it’s not. It has run surpluses of this magnitude before and it smacks of gross mismanagement.

“Transport Minister Annette King needs to explain whether she’s been condoning this pattern of underspending at LTNZ.”

ENDS

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