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National can't be trusted on Waikato Expressway

National can't be trusted on the Waikato Expressway, says King


Transport Minister Annette King says National Party leader John Key is now advocating PPPPPs - Private Piggy Banks for Pet Projects - to complete the Waikato Expressway.

"Mr Key wants to use Kiwisaver and the Cullen Fund so his banking mates can fund his pet roading projects," said Ms King.

Ms King also says that the National Party cannot be trusted not to toll the remaining portions of the Waikato Expressway.

"Although John Key says the expressway won't be tolled, the only National MP telling the truth about their tolling plans is transport spokesperson Maurice Williamson.

"Maurice keeps disclosing the real agenda. Every time he says National is going to charge tolls - of between three and five dollars a trip - he is slapped down by his boss," she said.

Ms King said Mr Key's promises on the Waikato Expressway had to be seen in context.

"Their record shows the promises are likely to be hollow. When we became the Government, previous National Governments hadn't started construction on any components of the Waikato Expressway.

Since then, there have been fourteen large state highway project construction starts and/or openings in the Waikato, including key components of the Expressway," said Ms King.

Ms King wants New Zealanders to know that Mr Key told the Road Transport Forum in September that the National Party will "take steps to ensure further infrastructure investment by the private sector". This will, Mr Key said, "include making changes to the Land Transport Management Act 2003".

Ms King said "The National Party's report on that Act said they were particularly concerned with the Minister having "to ensure there is a feasible untolled alternative road available to road users".

Ms King said she believed the National Party's secret agenda "is to change the law so a free alternative route isn't required when a toll road is built".

Ms King noted the National Party had opposed the potential increase in non-roading expenditure, like coastal shipping, and rail freight.

"Mr Key and Maurice Williamson have their heads so far in the concrete mixer they don't realise that at last week's Waikato Freight Summit, attended by private and public sector leaders in the Transport sector, the Government was commended for its $200 million plus funding to improve the rail network in the region, and its commitment to coastal shipping. The National Party, though, is only concerned with helping its banking mates fund their pet projects," said Ms King.

Ms King said Labour was committed to finishing the Waikato Expressway and would be guided by Transport officials and the community in determining which parts to give priority to.

"Earlier this year the National Party was criticising investment in transport infrastructure in terms of value for money. National has made no attempt to determine value for money before making this announcement. Their announcement is pure pork-barrel politics," said Ms King.


The link to the National Party minority report on the Land Transport Management Act 2003 is http://www.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/AAB08159-6A65-46EE-85EF-EABB6E120845/47922/DBSCH_SCR_2561_2826.pdf

Waikato large projects that have had construction starts, and/or openings since 1999 are:

SH1 Mercer to Longswamp
SH1 Longswamp to Rangiriri Safety Improvements
SH1 Rangiriri to South of Ohinewai Bypass
SH1 Huntly Internal Bypass
SH1 Church to Avalon
SH1 Avalon Drive Bypass
SH1 Piarere to Oak Tree Bends
SH2 Mangatawhari Deviation
SH3 Mokau River Bridge
SH3 Awakino Slip Realignment
SH5 Tapapa Realignment
SH5 Mamaku Bluffs Realignment
SH25 Coromandel Whangapoua Seal Extension
SH25 Kuaotunu Hill Seal Extension


ENDS

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