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$200 million to be stripped from existing roads

24 March 2009 Media Statement

$200 million to be stripped from existing roads

The Government is stripping almost $200 million out of local roads and existing state highways over three years at the same time as it plans to charge people an extra 6c a litre for 91 octane petrol to help pay for Auckland’s transport needs, says Labour transport spokesperson Darren Hughes.

“I am staggered to read the fine print of Transport Minister Steven Joyce’s transport announcement last week,” Darren Hughes said. “The Government plans to reduce spending on local road renewal, maintenance and operation by $75 million over three years, and spending on renewal and maintenance of existing state highways by $122 million over the same period.

“The more you get into the detail, the more obvious it becomes just how scandalous and unfair the Government’s plans are.

“In his announcement the Minister used smoke and mirrors to tell us the Government would spend an additional $1 billion on state highways over the next three years, and said Auckland’s regional fuel tax would be scrapped and be replaced by what he called a fairer system of taxing petrol by 6c a litre extra for all New Zealanders and increasing road user charges,” Darren Hughes said.

“Since then we have been finding out what Steven Joyce didn’t tell us. He didn’t tell Aucklanders that they would miss out on planned new railway stations and the benefits of integrated ticketing. He didn’t tell us our roads would become less safe because he was removing $50 million from budgeted spending on road policing.

“And now we find out that he is stripping $75 million from local roads and $122 million from existing state highways,” Darren Hughes said.

“That is inexcusable. People in more remote parts of New Zealand will have far less spent on maintaining their local roads at the same time as the users of these roads are being taxed by National to pay for Auckland’s rail electrification and to honour National’s election bribe to fund the Waikato Expressway.”

Darren Hughes said the more the scale of the Government’s deception became known, the more resentful regions outside the main centres would become. “Talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul! This is all about Steven Joyce and his Government robbing regions all round New Zealand to pay for the reckless promises they made before the last election.”


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