Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Govt plans borrowing and tax hikes to fund unneeded highways

16 November 2012

Govt plans borrowing and tax hikes to fund unneeded highways

The National Government’s reckless plan to build unneeded highways has created a huge budget hole that taxpayers will be forced to pay for with higher taxes, Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said today.

The Green Party has obtained an internal New Zealand Transport Agency document which states there is a $1.7 billion shortfall between the cost of the Government’s transport plans and the projected revenue as a result of the huge cost of National’s pet highway projects and stagnant traffic volumes resulting in lower than projected fuel tax revenue.

The briefing outlines three options to close the gap: delaying the so-called ‘Roads of National Significance’ by up to five years (which is marked as “not acceptable”); borrowing the money and using Public-Private Partnerships as a form of borrowing, which would only shift the cost to the taxpayer into the future and constrain future transport budgets; or increasing petrol tax by nine cents a litre.

“Kiwis will be paying more to fund National’s unneeded and uneconomic highways, and they will have few options to avoid rising fuel prices.

“The mammoth $1.7 billion funding gap in the transport budget has been created by uneconomic projects like the Kapiti Expressway that will cost over half a billion dollars for $120m worth of value. Lower than expected traffic volumes just further prove these expensive highways should not be the priority.

“National has created a fiscal timebomb and its plan is to either foist the cost on to future taxpayers by borrowing the money or increase petrol tax by nine cents a litre.

“We have an opportunity right now to invest in better buses and trains, and safer walking and cycling – this frees up the roads for those who are driving and gives Kiwis more options to avoid rising fuel prices. But the Government is planning to spend 85% of the money available for new capital projects over the next decade on a few state highways, and less than 5% on smart, green alternatives.

“The best option is to defer indefinitely the Holiday Highway and the other low value highway projects and, instead, direct the transport budget to passenger transport, walking, and cycling as suggested by the latest Pure Advantage report.

“This would reduce our $8 billion a year bill for imported oil, lower our greenhouse gas emissions, and create more jobs,” said Ms Genter.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news