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National wastes $1.5 billion on low value motorways

National wastes $1.5 billion on low value motorways

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee has admitted that $1.5 billion of National’s spending on its so-called ‘Roads of National Significance’ has been ‘low’ value and not one dollar spent on the those projects has been ‘high’ value, Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said today.

In answer to written questions, Minister Brownlee stated that between 2009 and 2014 National has spent $3.4 billion on the Roads of National Significance (RoNS). Of that spending, $1.5 billion was on projects that the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) classifies as ‘low’ value with a Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) of less than 2. $1.9 billion of the RoNS spending had a ‘medium’ value with a BCR of 2 to 4, and none of the spending was ‘high’ value with a BCR of over 4.

“National has wasted $1.5 billion of public money on transport projects that the Government’s own officials class as low value,” said Ms Genter.

“Prior to the current Government coming to power, very little money was spent on low value transport projects. National has insisted on building a handful of costly, low-patronage motorways that have cost billions.

“In contrast, 45% of NZTA’s investment on walking and cycling last year was high value but it received only a tiny fraction of the money that went to National’s pet motorway projects.

“The money that National is wasting on its low value pet projects could have been better spent on high value projects that de-congest our roads and make our cities more liveable. The Greens’ Safe Walking and Cycling to School policy would reallocate $200 million from National’s low value projects to high value walking and cycling infrastructure around schools.

"Our Safe Walking and Cycling to School policy will improve kids health and learning while de-congesting the roads and reducing pollution. That’s the kind of high value transport investment New Zealand needs," said Ms Genter.

Minister Brownlee’s reply to Julie Anne Genter’s written question:
813 (2014). Julie Anne Genter to the Minister of Transport: In dollar terms, how much spending on Road of National Significance projects in each of the fiscal years 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, and 2013/14 falls in each benefit cost ratio category - high, medium and low - using the methodology used for Figure 10 on page 22 of the Ministry of Transport’s Briefing to the Incoming Minister 2011?

Hon Gerry Brownlee (Minister of Transport) replied: I refer the member to the attached table.


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