Labour welcomes abandonment of road policies
"This amounts to an abandonment of the policy and I applaud that wholeheartedly," Harry Duynhoven said.
Both Jenny Shipley and Sir William Birch admitted today that the Government had run out of time to get the road reforms through.
"Yet Jenny Shipley originally promised that final decision would be made by October 1997 and Sir William saw the reforms as so crucial to National's policy platform that he linked them to calling an election," Harry Duynhoven said.
"Their backdown is proof that National could not convince the country that Mrs Shipley's far right commercial model was good for our roading system. A Labour government would not proceed with the changes.
"We reject the establishment of competitive companies to run the country's roads. Recognising the strategic and social importance of roads will be a key part of a Labour transport policy.
"We believe the companies the Government proposes will be too profit-driven therefore will encourage as many cars on the road as possible. They will have scant regard for the upkeep of rural roads which will fall into a state of disrepair."
Harry Duynhoven today re-issued a position paper which would be incorporated into Labour's transport policy for the general election.
ROADING - BRIEF POSITION PAPER
New Zealanders deserve roads that are safe, competent and well maintained in both rural and urban areas
Road reform has been an important item on National's agenda for years. As Minister of Transport, Jenny Shipley promised final decisions on road reform would be made before Christmas 1997. In August 1998, Bill Birch said in relation to roading and ACC reforms, "if we can't get these reforms through, it does raise the question of should we go to the country."
Labour's policy is that the roads are a public good.
Labour policy is to:
Reject the extreme right wing agenda of commercialisation and privatisation
Ensure roads are managed by bodies which are accountable to local communities
Ensure that the network of safe public highways, urban and rural roads is maintained
Not run roads for profit
Ensure that public transport is properly supported.
Labour promoted a roading petition last May, calling on the government to "abandon the commercialisation of roads and ensure that communities control road management so that New Zealand roads are safe and well maintained in both rural and urban areas".
Labour's key goals in roading are to:
1 Ensure that the
network of safe public highways, urban and rural roads is
maintained, and that it remains in public ownership
2 Ensure roads continue to be managed by bodies which are accountable to local communities, and run in an efficient manner
3 Improve road safety, quality and driveability
4 Reduce congestion
5 Ensure access to good public transport
Adequate roading infrastructure is vital to maintain economic growth. Roads must be efficiently managed in a way that is economically sound in the long term.
Labour believes that all public roads (roads other than private and toll roads) should be managed by bodies which are accountable to local communities to ensure that roads within each region meet adequate and locally coherent standards, and state highways meet high national standards.
For sometime now Labour has been receiving information and submissions from a wide variety of local body and roading interest groups. Our policy development is almost complete and policy is likely to be announced soon.
I would welcome your views. Please feel free to communicate them to me.
MP for New Plymouth
Labour Spokesperson for Transport
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