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Wrong Mr Davis, we’re backing Northland

Wrong Mr Davis, we’re backing Northland

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says Labour list MP Kelvin Davis’s call today for the Government to “step up” and invest in Northland roading following this week’s damaging storms shows what a conflict-ridden shambles Labour is just 68 days out from the general election.

“Up to $1.66 billion worth of Government funding is currently committed to Northland roading projects, and the vast majority of it would be cut by a Labour-led government,” Mr Brownlee says.

“Only two weeks ago the Government announced up to $33.5 million worth of extra investment in upgrading two roading projects Northland councils told us were urgent – one of them on the very stretch of State Highway 1 south of Kawakawa which has been washed out by this week’s storm.

“National identified years ago that Northland’s roading infrastructure was vulnerable through underinvestment and has committed over $1.38 billion as part of the Roads of National Significance programme, and $255 million in the most recent National Land Transport Plan.

“We know that if Labour is in a position to form a Government later this year it would axe the Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance and re-direct the funding to an immediate start on Auckland’s City Rail Loop, a project the Government has already committed to co-funding the construction of from 2020.

“You don’t have to convince the Government that Northland needs better roading, Mr Davis, convincing your caucus colleagues and the Green Party will be a much tougher task,” Mr Brownlee says.

All identified damage to Northland’s roading network from this week’s storms is on the State highway network, meaning the cost of repairs will come from the National Land Transport Fund.

NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) contractors will be working 24 hours a day at State Highway 1 south of Kawakawa to open an alternative route as soon as possible; a permanent fix will take some time.

“I know NZTA is working closely with the Whangarei District Council and Far North District Council on a daily basis to identify damage to the network and assess any detour routes that may be available,” Mr Brownlee says.

ends

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