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Labour’s latest dead end street

Hon Gerry Brownlee
Minister of Transport

15 April 2014

Labour’s latest dead end street

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says today’s Labour policy announcements of cutting revenue currently being invested in safer, more productive transport infrastructure should worry the public on a number of levels.

“Putting to one side the barmy proposal of banning trucks from the right hand lane, what this signals is Labour, hand in hand with the Greens, would be appalling economic managers in government.

“This government has delivered jobs, saved lives, and improved economic competitiveness by investing heavily in bringing our transport networks up to the standard we should all expect of a country reliant on material exports for much of its wellbeing.

“And more investment is coming, with a further $10.2 billion already budgeted over the next three years.

“Labour on the other hand, having ignored the parlous state of this infrastructure for much of its nine years in government, is signalling that again New Zealand’s roading network would go on the back burner.

“Road User Charges for each vehicle class reflect the damage they do to the roads over time, and the revenue collected goes into maintaining roads and building new ones. Changes to those charges get made from time to time based on updated and refined information, not on the hoof as Labour appears to have done today.

“Also, in some cases, such as with large caravans, ACC is collected within Road User Charges.

“But Labour would axe that, despite the government only just getting ACC’s books back in shape after they blew out under Labour.

“When you cut a levy from somewhere you have to pay for it from somewhere else, and this policy asks some motorists to subsidise others who choose to use trailers and caravans.

“What’s clear is Labour and the Greens would bring much needed roading investment to a halt, despite the National Freight Demand Study I released last month showing New Zealand’s freight task is projected to increase by around 50 per cent over the next 30 years.

“This includes increases in the Auckland and Canterbury regions of 78 per cent and 73 per cent respectively – so what does Labour’s policy say to the workers, commuters and exporters of those regions?

“Quite simply it signals transport productivity would plateau and then rapidly decline under Labour – the freight demand couldn’t adequately be met through stalled investment.

“And the same thing would occur with road safety, as Labour would spend less money on maintaining and improving the transport networks most of us rely on every day.

“David Cunliffe’s announcements today do a lot to differentiate National as a sensible, pro-growth manager of the economy from the anti-growth hard left bloc of Labour, the Green Party and Mana,” Mr Brownlee says.

ENDS

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