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Joyce can’t get his head around two ideas at once

6 December 2010

Media Statement

Joyce can’t get his head around two ideas at once

Labour is calling on Prime Minister John Key to create a public transport portfolio in his Cabinet reshuffle today because Transport Minister Steven Joyce can’t get his head around two ideas at once.

Labour’s Transport spokesman Darren Hughes said: “It is clear Steven Joyce won’t or can’t turn his mind to any issue other than roading projects such as the Puhoi to Wellsford motorway, now known as National's holiday highway.

"In the meantime New Zealand is missing out on the opportunity to develop our public transport network,” Darren Hughes said. ”This is particularly true in Auckland, where National's dismissive attitude to a CBD rail loop is not only out of touch with the community, but out of touch with time.

"Most major and dynamic cities around the world offer comprehensive public transport to move workers, visitors, seniors and students around in an efficient, affordable and environmentally friendly way.

“The difference between such cities --- including those in Australia, a country we are meant to be catching up with --- and here is central government leadership."

Mr Hughes said National had left Aucklanders staggered with their response to the business case for the CBD rail loop, especially when the cost benefit ratio far exceeds the Puhoi to Wellsford road no matter what way the ratio is calculated.

"It has been painful to watch Steven Joyce contort himself in so many ways to try to make sense of his holiday highway. In rubbishing rail while promoting the holiday highway he has exposed his true agenda --- a personal ambition to become MP for Rodney at the next election.

"I don't think one man's political ambitions should be allowed to jettison a generational opportunity for Auckland to get ahead of the game on rail,” Darren Hughes said.

"The Government has been handed a plan for the future with the Auckland CBD rail loop, but Steven Joyce's response shows why he cannot be relied on to advance it.

”John Key needs to name a minister for public transport today so there is someone sitting around the Cabinet table advocating 21st century solutions for our cities," Darren Hughes said.

ENDS

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