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Puhoi highway won't help Northland roads

25 July 2014

Puhoi highway won't help Northland roads

The draft decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to grant resource consent to the proposed $1.65 billion Puhoi motorway doesn’t stop it being a waste of money, the Green Party said today.

“The Puhoi motorway is an unnecessary waste of taxpayer money that does nothing to improve Northland's roads or reduce the cost of transporting people and goods,” Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said.

“The project is actually in the Auckland Region and will only encourage more long distance commuting by car, worsening congestion. It's been named the Holiday Highway because the Government's own reports show it only carries significant numbers of vehicles on a few holiday weekends a year.

“There are far more pressing priorities that will improve road safety and make a real difference to Northland - like urgent maintenance and safety upgrades to SH1 north of Puhoi, improvements to Northland's regional roads, and the Marsden Point rail link.

“National are mismanaging the transport budget by cherry picking projects for political reasons, rather than taking an objective approach to what makes the most economic sense.

“They are ignoring the data showing vehicle use is in decline, while people look for more convenient bus and rail options and increasingly want to move freight by rail or sea to reduce petrol costs.

“People have turned against motorway spending.

“A poll this week showing people favoured public spending over roads by a four-to-one margin sent a clear message to the Government over its transport priorities - give us better public transport rather than more roads.

“The Puhoi to Wellsford route carries relatively few vehicles, less than 20,000 per day. In contrast, there are more than 40,000 passenger trips on Auckland rail each working day and the City Rail Link will double the network's capacity. The Holiday Highway will also be tolled.

“The Government should aim for best value for money from the transport budget. That means investing in Auckland's public transport system to decrease congestion, fixing SH1 now, and putting meaningful investment into Northland,” Ms Genter said.

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