O2NL Confirmed, But What About Melling?
Government confirmation that the four-lane Ōtaki to North of Levin project will go ahead is good news, now the Government must confirm that Melling is fully-funded and due to start on time, National List MP based in Hutt South Chris Bishop says.
“Despite cancelling Ōtaki to North of Levin in 2018, the Government promised to fund the project in 2020.
“But Ōtaki to North of Levin was put at risk again last month when the Government admitted it was reviewing the projects previously announced as part of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme last year, as it had only allowed $47 million as a contingency in a $7 billion programme of work.
“There was speculation at the time that projects like Ōtaki to North of Levin and the new Melling Interchange were at risk of being delayed, re-scoped or cut altogether.
“Having confirmed Ōtaki to North of Levin will go ahead, the Government must now do the same for the Melling Interchange.
“Melling must start on time in 2022 and it must be funded to the tune of $258 million or more. Anything else will be a broken promise by a Government that has become used to not delivering critical projects and critical promises.
“Labour MPs cynically spent all of 2020 trumpeting the fact the Melling Interchange project was ‘fully-funded’ even though it was their Government that delayed the project in the first place and cut $5 billion from the state highway budget. It simply must deliver.
“Melling is a vital project for the future of the Hutt. It will ease congestion, improve flood protection, make cycling and walking easier, and increase safety.”