Big Holes In National’s Infrastructure Plans
The National Party needs to come clean on what projects they would cut to find their transport wish list, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.
“There are some big holes in today’s announcement that need answers. The plan includes $6.2 billion in reallocation of existing projects from the current National Land Transport Fund, so National needs to say what projects it will cut.
“This is exactly what the last National government left us with when it came to infrastructure – a load of ghost roads, unfunded promises and hopeful press releases.”
“They are cutting Auckland’s transport funding but not identifying which projects will go. The axe is hanging over projects like Skypath that Aucklanders want and that will create jobs in the next year, in order to fund projects that are over a decade away.
“The Government has a fully funded infrastructure pipeline that will create jobs immediately in response to COVID-19. National’s plan puts those projects and jobs at risk while piling billions more debt onto NZTA that will ultimately be paid for by taxpayers.
“National assumes the NZTA will borrow a billion dollars a year – about a quarter of its annual revenue – every year for the next ten years. But at the same time there is no answer as to how they will pay that back.
“We have spent the last three years cleaning up National’s transport mess. They left a $5.9 billion dollar hole in Auckland’s transport budget that we had to fix, and today’s plan creates further funding holes.
“It doesn’t add up. They are saying they will increase NZTA’s debt, while delivering the same number of projects, but keeping its income to repay the extra debt the same. It just doesn’t square.
“National is in a shambles, and that is obvious when it comes to their contradictory position on debt.
“On the one hand, Paul Goldsmith is saying he will cut net debt to 30% of GDP within 10 years while at the same time saying he will spend more and take on more debt to pay for Judith Collins’ wish list.
“It’s also back-to-the-future with National again making empty promises about the RMA. New Zealanders heard them promise this for nine years when they were actually in Government while failing to deliver on one word of it.
“This Government has actually got on with the job. We already have an RMA amendment bill in front of Parliament, and passed the legislation for a streamlined consenting process for a number of projects to get them off the ground faster.
“The Government’s New Zealand Upgrade Programme and the roll out of our $3 billion of shovel-ready projects are underway now. They will create jobs in the coming months and years that New Zealanders desperately need now as part of our COVID-19 rebuild.”