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Roading Policy Discussions Continue

October 8 1999

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hon Maurice Williamson
Minister of Transport

ROADING POLICY DISCUSSIONS CONTINUE

Consultation on the Government's proposals for changing the way our roads are managed is continuing, Transport Minister Maurice Williamson said today.

"I'm pleased we have widespread consensus on the broad principles of our proposal, but there are still issues that require further dialogue with interested parties.

"Ministry of Transport officials are analysing more than 1000 submissions received on our proposal with most key interest groups' recognising that road pricing and management need to be improved."

Mr Williamson said a general consensus had been reached that:

* Roads must not be privatised; * The current roading network must be retained; * Communities must be closely involved and * Safety and environmental problems must be solved.

Officials were working through the huge task of analysing the submissions, and meeting with many of the submitters to discuss their ideas in greater detail, Mr Williamson said.

"This includes local authorities, road users and interest groups. It's important that we understand the thinking behind the submissions, and test some of that thinking. Meeting with submitters gives us the opportunity to do this."

Mr Williamson acknowledged that there were also points on which the submitters differed, particularly around the type and structure of road managers. This included concern that political or community influence on road operators might not be strong enough under the Government's proposals.

"Some disagreement is inevitable. However everyone involved in this debate - Government and submitters alike - appear committed to on-going dialogue. Our road management policy development can only be enriched by the consultation process."

Mr Williamson said the Government recognised that solutions needed to be found without long delay. Some areas like Auckland have problems that needed urgent solutions. The Government was committed to changing the way roads were managed, but no final decisions had been made on the detail of those changes, he said.

"We want to make sure that we get the best system possible for solving our roading problems. We'll continue to consult stakeholders and work on the final package, and I expect that process will run into the new year."

ENDS

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