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East Coast gets safe, reliable roading alignment

14th October 2008 Media Statement
East Coast gets safe, reliable roading alignment

Labour’s commitment to ensure remote communities are provided with reliable roading infrastructure has been further strengthened by today’s announcement of a $2.5m SH35 alignment for the East Coast, says Transport Minister Annette King and Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP and Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia.

The Ministers say August’s three-day closure of the highway near Ruatoria due to subsidence had demonstrated just how vulnerable a remote community could be.

“We understand how tough this isolation was for the community, for business, for the whole lifeblood of the region,” the Ministers said.

“While New Zealand’s weather and topography will always put some areas at risk, this Labour Government aims to ensure people and goods can move around New Zealand safely and reliably, which is what we are seeing with this realignment.”

About 5ha of Maori land is included in the alignment, and Mr Horomia says it was due to the co-operation and generosity of the trustees that the project was able to proceed.

Ms King says since 1999, total Government investment in transport has increased by more than 180 percent from just over $1 billion in 1999/2000 to a forecast $3.1 billion in 2008/09.

Central government spending on roading has more than doubled from $850 million in 1999/00 to an allocation of over $1.9 billion in 2008/09. This includes both capital and maintenance expenditure on State Highways and central government funding for local roads. Transport investment as a percentage of GDP has grown from just under 1 percent in 1999 to 1.6 percent in 2008.

Total central government public transport investment in 2008/09 is more than 15 times higher than in 1999/00. Including capital investment in rail infrastructure, public transport spending is forecast to be around $640 million in 2008/09, compared with investment of $41 million in 1999/00.


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