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Holiday highway latest RONS back down

Transport Spokesperson

30 August 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Holiday highway latest RONS back down

The Government has done another u-turn on its Roads of National Significance programme by downgrading a section of the controversial Puhoi-Wellsford holiday highway, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

This follows the recent removal of the Otaki-Levin section from the Wellington Road of National Significance, although only last month Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee told the House there would be no further cancellations.

“NZTA are now describing the Warkworth to Wellsford section of the holiday highway as a “Possible Road of National Significance”.

“The National Land Transport Programme earmarks $33 million for design and property purchase for the Puhoi-Warkworth segment but the Warkworth-Wellsford section now appears to be on the back burner, even though the Minister denied this in the House today.
“That the planned motorway now only runs from Auckland to the Omaha turn off in Warkworth it is clearer than ever that its purpose is to make it faster a faster trip for the Prime Minister to get to his holiday house.

“The Government keeps repeating the line that the highway will grow Northland’s economy but it has never provided any evidence comparing the impact of spending $1.7 billion on the highway with other options such as upgrading the north Auckland rail line, more quickly and cheaply improving safety on SH1, actually upgrading Northland’s roads, or a proper regional development package for the North.

“Even the consultants working on the project said in 2008 that ‘…the scope for substantial economic growth with the upgrading of State Highway 1 is limited’ and ‘…even a significant increase in the contribution (of the project to tourism) would be modest when set against the likely costs of road upgrading’. (Page 66 in attached report)

“The Government should take a hard look at the entire Puhoi-Wellsford highway because it doesn’t stack up as sensible investment of $1.7 billion.

“Labour stands for a smart transport system that invests in projects that stack up. National is pouring money into low-value motorway projects while starving rail, public transport, coastal shipping and local roads.” said Phil Twyford.

© Scoop Media

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