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The Price Of An Auckland Rail User's Vote

10 October 2001

The Price Of An Auckland Rail User's Vote

United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne, has slammed the Government's decision on Auckland's urban rail services as blatant vote-buying.

Speaking in Parliament's General Debate this afternoon, Mr Dunne said that spending $81.5 million on the Auckland urban rail network, used by 718 people a day, amounted to a daily subsidy in excess of $310 per passenger.

"This is outrageous waste, especially when it is remembered that the Government also plans to spend more than a billion dollars upgrading Auckland motorways over the next decade."

Mr Dunne, the MP for Ohariu Belmont, said these decisions were in stark contrast to the Government's lack of interest in the transport needs of the Wellington region.

"If the Auckland rail funding formula was applied to the 35,000 commuters who use our urban rail services each day, we would be looking to an immediate Government contribution of about $4 billion to upgrade our rail services."

"Instead, however, because of the joint venture agreement reached by the Wellington Regional Council, Wellington ratepayers will end up bearing a significant portion of the costs involved in retaining and upgrading our rail services, which Aucklanders will get for free."

"At the same time, the critical need for an early start to the $260 million Transmission Gully highway project remains stalled because of Government funding inaction."

"Our four senior Cabinet Ministers and two local Labour MPs have been spectacularly unsuccessful in standing up for, let alone pushing this region's interests." "It all goes to show that this Government sees the votes of Aucklanders as far more important than those of Wellingtonians, and will stop at nothing to buy the continuing support of Auckland," Mr Dunne said.

Ends

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