AA Welcomes Suggestion Of Debt Funding For Auck.
Media Release 19 June 2003
AA Welcomes Suggestion Of Debt Funding For Auckland Network
The Automobile Association commends the government for reportedly considering debt funding of the Auckland motorway network and encourages the Minister of Finance to take such a decisive step.
“Debt funding the completion of the Auckland network makes perfect sense at this time. The government has a healthy balance sheet, internationally interest rates are low and showing little sign of rising while the one-off costs of completing Auckland’s network under current funding arrangements are problematic,” AA Public Affairs Director George Fairbairn said.
Mr Fairbairn said the costs of completing Auckland’s network were in terms of New Zealand’s normal land transport expenditure an extraordinary investment and should be treated as such. A parallel during the term of the 3rd Labour Government was when the Navy bought two frigates for a similar sum of money.
“Auckland is like a family that has outgrown its house. It needs to raise a mortgage to step up to a larger house,” he said.
Congestion in Auckland is said to cost the country $1 billion a year.
By treating the costs of completing the Auckland network as an extraordinary item using debt funding, the main land transport fund would be able to continue to focus on safety issues around the country.
“It is hard to see a loser under such a proposal. The costs of congestion in Auckland would come down, the costs of traffic accidents would come down and the government’s financial position would not be seriously effected”.
Mr Fairbairn remarked it was encouraging to see the government considering such a sensible approach.