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Labour's PPP pipedream

Bill English MP
National Party Finance Spokesman

8 February 2008

Labour's PPP pipedream

National Party Finance spokesman Bill English says Labour is poised to buy into a potentially divisive argument with the Greens if it wants to advance Public Private Partnerships to complete key infrastructure projects.

"The Greens don't like PPPs. They managed to rewrite the legislation that puts road blocks in the way of effective co-operation between the public and private sectors when it comes to roading developments."

Mr English says that means any attempt to build the proposed tunnel under Helen Clark's electorate could face further delays.

"At this stage we're only talking about another committee for a project which has been on the drawing board for at least eight years.

"And if a Labour-led Government ends up relying on the Greens for support after the next election, this tunnel will be history. Inevitably other important infrastructure projects will also be put at risk."

Mr English says National would be prepared to consider amending legislation allowing PPPs to go ahead and he says Labour should put it on the table.

"Wellington's Transmission Gully has also been floated as another project which could benefit from a PPP. That project's been around for 20-odd years. The cost keeps rising while the Government keeps dithering.

"A pragmatic partnership between the public and private sector to get important roads built must be part of the mix as we try to grow our economy. These long delays are costing huge money."

Mr English notes that delays have already seen a significant escalation of the cost of the Waterview connection.

"Labour's answer is to set up another committee. More bureaucracy, more talking, more delays."


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