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Nats roll out 'pork barrel' in Tauranga

Nats roll out 'pork barrel' in Tauranga in desperate bid to boost Bridges

National's deliberately misleading pledge to build the Tauranga Central Corridor within five to six years has no more substance than its earlier pledge to complete the Waikato Expressway within 10 years at a cost of an extra $790 million, says Transport Minister Annette King.

National leader John Key made his announcement today when visiting Tauranga to support National candidate Simon Bridges.

"Mr Key was so keen to promote his half-baked Waikato Expressway promise that he forgot to add in the Ngaruawahia and Cambridge bypasses and the Te Rapa bypass. The extra funds actually needed to complete the expressway will certainly be more than a billion dollars, not $790 million, and may be even more than $1.4 billion," she said.

"Now Mr Key is doing the same thing in Tauranga. The investigation and design phases of the Tauranga Central Corridor has not yet been completed, so there is no accurate costing for the project, yet Mr 'Pork Barrel" Key is telling the independent New Zealand Transport Agency what it has to do.

"Talk abour political interference. Last week he promised to interfere with the Police Commissioner's deployment of new staff, and now he is telling the roading authority what it can and cannot do."

Ms King said Mr Key's political interference went even further. "The investigation and design phases don't include a tunnel. Mr Key has decided to put one in. It's amazing that a money trader has suddenly developed such engineering skills. A tunnel option hasn't even been scoped, let alone costed."

"The reality is that the Tauranga Central Corridor improvements project is well on the way to being constructed in an orderly and sensible way to ensure value for money for taxpayers, not votes for Mr Bridges. Clearly National is not as confident about the election outcome in Tauranga as it claims to be."

Ms King said Mr Key's "engineering and roadcentric skills are apparent yet again in his project 'design' including no provision for public transport. How typical."


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