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Delay in Kopu Bridge upgrade unacceptable

Maurice Williamson MP
National Party Transport Spokesman

8 May 2008

Delay in Kopu Bridge upgrade unacceptable

Annette King’s blind refusal to address safety concerns surrounding the Kopu Bridge is a slap in the face for the people of Thames-Coromandel, says National’s Transport spokesman, Maurice Williamson.

Mr Williamson says further delays in the bridge’s upgrade illustrate just how muddled the Government’s priorities are.

“On the one hand, Labour gifts an Australian corporate a quarter of a billion dollar profit but in the same breath, refuses to re-build the 80-year-old Kopu Bridge immediately.

“This is yet another example of Labour’s refusal to address the nation’s very serious infrastructure deficit.

“There has been delay after delay. Annette King said originally that construction of a new bridge would begin in 2009. Now that’s been pushed out to 2011/12. Labour’s track record shows that even this will turn out to be an empty promise.”

Mr Williamson says even Transit’s chief executive, Rick van Barneveld, admits the bridge is ‘not up to today’s standard, we know that.’

“Transit’s own website says the bridge has ‘a number of significant limitations’ and that ‘parts of the bridge or even the entire structure could potentially collapse in a relatively moderate earthquake. This is unacceptable by international standards, given that the bridge is the main link to Thames and the wider Coromandel region’.

“How much more evidence does Annette King need to prove this project is an urgent priority?

“Continued delays will further compromise public safety. It must never get to the stage where the Minister only acts when a tragedy occurs.”

Coromandel MP Sandra Goudie says there is no excuse to put off reconstruction any longer.

“The bridge has got designation, it’s got the design.

“Bridges don’t last forever and the Kopu Bridge is fast deteriorating. Annette King should bite the bullet and just get on with it.”


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