19 MARCH 2015
Northland Port Doesn't Want Winston's Rail Link
The Taxpayers' Union can reveal that Winston Peters has never visited, nor spoken to the management of the port company his key Northland by-election promise is framed around. Mr Peters announced soon after his Northland campaign launch that his party would champion an extension of the Northland railway line to the Port Whangarei and channel growth there, rather than allow expansion at the Port of Auckland.
The Taxpayers' Union is releasing a letter sent to Mr Peters last week seeking clarification of the cost to taxpayers of the policy and confirmation that he has never visited the port. The letter also outlines Mr Peters' apparent confusion between Northport (operating near Marsden Point) and the now defunct Port Whangarei (which for legal and technical reasons is unable to be reopened).
Taxpayers' Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says, "Mr Peters wants to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a NorthPort rail link, but hasn't even spoken to the Port's management."
"Northport's CEO has told the Taxpayers' Union that the Port does not want the rail link and that it does not feature in the Port's 30 year plan."
"This is just the sort of expensive political promise our Northland Bribe-O-Meter is designed to expose. Mr Peters appears to consider New Zealand's hard earned tax dollar so expendable that to win a by-election he's willing to throw nearly $200 million at a Port, despite having never visited or spoken to those in charge."
The Northland Bribe-O-Meter shows that the cost per New Zealand Household of the Northland by-election promises so far is $165.96 for Winston Peters and $35.67 for Mark Osborne.
The correspondence is available for download here. No response has been received from Mr Peters or his staff.