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Is Nelson being kept in the dark by NZTA?

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Is Nelson being kept in the dark by NZTA?

Nelson Green Party candidate Matt Lawrey is taking NZTA and National MP Nick Smith to task for failing to release the findings of the Southern Link Investigation.

The investigation into solving Nelson’s congestion issues was announced by Smith during the 2014 election campaign as part of the Accelerated Regional Roading Package.

“Originally NZTA said the preferred option could be announced by Christmas last year. Then there were reports it would be in February or March this year and now it has simply disappeared,” says Lawrey.

Lawrey says the delay and lack of communication raises a serious question: Is the Government leaning on NZTA to prevent it from releasing its findings until after next month’s election?

“NZTA’s website for the project hasn’t been updated since August last year. Nelson has been left in the dark. It’s not good enough. We deserve to know what they’ve decided and the sooner they tell us the better. The longer we’re kept in the dark, the less confidence people are going to have in the process.”

Lawrey does not accept Smith's claim that the release of the decision has been delayed by the Kaikoura earthquake.

“Obviously the quake will have taken its toll on NZTA but that was nine months ago and, given that the agency thought they were on track to make an announcement by last Christmas, most of the work would have been done by then.”

Lawrey says the best way to reduce congestion is by getting people out of their cars.

“The answer to Nelson’s congestion is a combination of smarter use of our existing infrastructure, better public transport, including free travel for under-19s, and more people living in and close to the CBD."

“The answer also includes more kids walking and cycling to school, and better walking and cycling infrastructure – like the waterfront walkway-cycleway project that ground to a halt three years ago when Smith announced funding for what is turning out to be the defunct Southern Link Investigation”.

ends

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