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Transport Funds Used For Blatant Pork Barrel Politics

Transport Minister Michael Wood has been caught using hundreds of millions of dollars from the Transport Choices Programme to serve Labour’s political purposes, National Party Transport spokesperson Simeon Brown says.

“The $350m Transport Choices programme announced on Sunday is funded from the Climate Emergency Response Fund and was designed to help support local councils to be able to invest in public transport initiatives and cycle ways.

“Labour has instead used this fund to invest in their own electoral success with Transport Minister Michael Wood designing a process which has allowed him to dish the money out based on political priorities, not transport priorities.

“Not only were projects handpicked by Michael Wood and Finance Minister Grant Robertson, but Mr Wood wrote to Labour MPs asking them to pitch projects directly to him, prior to local councils being able to put in an expression of interest.

“Michael Wood wrote to Labour MPs in June, requesting his colleagues to pitch projects in their electorates to him, prior to Councils being able to put in Expressions of Interest for this project in August.

“The outcome of this process is that of the 46 councils which received funding, 28 are represented by Labour Party MPs, while only 15 are represented by National MPs. Of all the money being spent in Auckland, it is all being spent in areas of Auckland represented by Labour Party Members of Parliament.

“Of the Councils which missed out, 18 are represented by National Party MPs, while 14 are represented by Labour MPs, showing a clear bias in how the funding was allocated.

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“This is blatant pork barrel politics from a Labour Party which is desperate to get re-elected and a deliberate attempt to try and ensure that the funds are appropriated to projects in Labour Party Electorates.

“Instead of creating a transparent process and giving councils a fair shot of being able to apply for the funding, Labour has used this money to advance their own political interest.”

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