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Waterview decision shows contempt for Mt Albert

13 May 2009 Media Statement

Waterview decision shows contempt for people in Mt Albert community


The Government’s decision to complete the Waterview Connection apparently with a surface motorway and only minor levels of undergrounding shows a staggering level of contempt for residents in the community, says Labour transport spokesperson Darren Hughes.

Darren Hughes said local residents had told him today that the new plan about to be announced by the New Zealand Transport Agency ruled out a deep tunnel.

“No effort has been made to protect this community. Transport Minister Steven Joyce has ditched Labour’s twin tunnel proposal on the basis of dishonest costings, and in the process is driving hundreds of Mt Albert residents from homes they have lived in for years,” Darren Hughes said.

“This is not just about the homes that will be demolished for the motorway. This is also about nearby streets where residents will lose quality of life that could have been preserved if Labour’s deep tunnels had been built. This is about local schooling and businesses being sacrificed or put at risk because the people of Waterview simply don’t matter as far as this Government is concerned.”

Darren Hughes said that Steven Joyce “represents the old style of Tory Transport Minister who doesn’t give a toss about people who don’t live in a flash area. As far as he and his Government are concerned, it is simply not worth the effort of honouring the commitment made to residents last year to minimise the impact on their lives by building the twin tunnels.

“What makes today’s Government decision on Waterview all the worse is the bodgie and dishonest nature of Mr Joyce’s costings. Labour’s tunnel option was never going to cost more than $3 billion, as he claims. It was going to cost $1.89 billion, and the funding mechanisms were there to pay for it,” Darren Hughes said.

“The Government is cooking the books by adding additional road works and finance costs into the cost of Labour’s option in order to justify bulldozing this road through. Mr Joyce even had to apologise to Parliament last week because he got figures wrong.”

Darren Hughes said Mr Joyce had failed to front the community and listen to residents before making his decision. “Now that’s what I call being really bold. He simply didn’t have the guts. The community made their views known in good faith last year. Mr Joyce has now run roughshod over them. The Government is happy to settle for second-best for this community because it clearly considers the community to be second-best anyway.”

ENDS

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