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Shades of Think Big in RoNS borrowing

Transport Spokesperson

15 August 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Shades of Think Big in RoNS borrowing

The Government’s plan to start borrowing for state highway projects is setting the country up for Think Big Mk 2, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Back in the 1980s then Prime Minister Rob Muldoon hand-picked a group of poorly-conceived mega projects and saddled taxpayers with paying them off for decades.

“This ‘new’ plan to fund the Roads of National Significance through borrowing sounds eerily similar.

“Certainly there is nothing wrong with borrowing to pay for infrastructure projects that make good economic sense and benefit future generations. But several of the Roads of National Significance just don’t stack up.

“National is already spending a billion dollars a year on new state highways, and most of that is the RoNS. It has blown the budget, and in the process has had to squeeze funding for local roads and public transport. Now Gerry Brownlee wants to put us all into debt to so he and his colleagues can continue their motorway-building binge.

“It really doesn’t make sense to borrow money for a project like the Puhoi-Wellsford holiday highway. The Government’s own figures show it will barely break even. At best it will allow people with baches at Omaha to get there ten minutes earlier, at a cost of $1.7 billion. The Government refuses to consider the more sensible $400 million upgrade which would iron out the safety and congestion black spots.

“Investment in smart, modern transport infrastructure that is affordable and efficient makes good economic sense. Spending on projects that are neither affordable or economically sound is just extravagance,” said Phil Twyford.


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