Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

National evades tough questions over toll roads

Monday October 20

National evades tough questions over toll roads

With less than three weeks till the election, the National Party still hasn’t answered the hard questions on toll roads, says the car buyers’ watchdog, The Dog & Lemon Guide.

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson says: “It seems likely that a National government will hand out toll road contracts to a businessman who’s a former head of the National party and who is also National’s advisor on toll roads. This is a blatant conflict of interest, yet National refuses to answer questions on the subject.”

“National has also failed to explain how much toll roads will cost the consumer. For example, their transport spokesman said recently that some motorists could be paying $50 a week for road tolls. Then National retracted that statement, saying the real tolls would be much lower. Either National hasn’t done its maths, or it’s hiding something from the voters. Taxpayers have a right to know what the real-world costs of these public-private partnerships will be.”

The Dog & Lemon Guide has posed a number of yet-unanswered questions to the National Party.

1) One of National’s advisors is former party leader Jim McLay, who is executive chairman of Macquarie New Zealand, a branch of a major Australian builder of toll roads. Because of the clear conflict of interest in such an arrangement, can National categorically promise that it will not sign a contract with Macquarie or its subsidiary companies?

Matthew-Wilson comments: “During the last National government: Messrs. Fay & Richwhite were advisors to the government and solemnly recommended that NZ Rail should be sold to private investors. Fay & Richwhite then bought NZ Rail, asset-stripped it and fled overseas with several hundred million dollars, leaving NZ Rail on life-support.

Given the Key-McLay link, what's to stop this happening again in a slightly different form?”

2) In 2006, Treasury concluded that funding roads by tolls was less efficient than simply building them from taxes. What is National’s response to this?

3) Many toll road projects in Australia have been an economic disaster. For example, the Brisbane’s newest toll road, EastLink, is currently running at 28% below projections and Sydney’s Cross City Tunnel project went bankrupt.

Can National categorically promise that it will not sign a deal whereby the government has to compensate the private road builders if the road builders make less money than they expected?

4) Metronet, a public-private partnership responsible for maintaining and upgrading two-thirds of London's underground network, went bankrupt, leaving the taxpayer to bail out the project to the tune of billions of pounds.

Can National categorically promise that it will not sign a deal whereby the government has to pay out any part of the road building costs in the event that the project goes bankrupt?

5) National’s transport spokesman Maurice Williamson has stated publicly that National will repeal the ‘Greens amendment’ that requires that whenever a toll road is built, the public must always have an alternative route available for free.

Can National categorically promise that it will not sign a deal whereby existing roads are closed down or restricted in order to force motorists to use a nearby toll road?

6) Will National legislate to control the tolls on private roads, or will the private road operator be free to charge whatever the market will stand?

7) Faced with high fuel bills, many motorists are now looking to take public transport to work.

Can National categorically promise that it will not sign a deal whereby public transport is effectively excluded or restricted from competing with a toll road?

8) John Key is promising that there will be no privatisations of state assets in his first term of office. Building a privately owned road on state land is effectively privatising a public asset, surely?

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Mayor of Auckland: Alert Level Change Welcome News

Mayor Phil Goff says the government’s decision to move Auckland to Level 2 from 6am on Sunday will be welcome news for all Aucklanders.
“Moving strongly and quickly to contain this outbreak has once again proved effective in stopping the spread of community transmission and I thank all the Aucklanders who have followed the rules of Level 3 over the past week,” he says... More>>


 


Earthquakes: Tsunami Activity – Cancelled

The National Advisory issued at 2:48pm following this morning's earthquakes near the KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION is cancelled.
The advice from GNS Science, based on ocean observations, is that the Beach and Marine threat has now passed for all areas... More>>

Joint Press Release: Dirty PR Exposed In Whale Oil Defamation Trial

Three public health advocates are relieved that their long-standing Whale Oil defamation trial against Cameron Slater, Carrick Graham, Katherine Rich and the Food and Grocery Council has finally concluded and they are pleased that the truth has come out... More>>

ALSO:


Government: Next Stage Of COVID-19 Support For Business And Workers

The Government has confirmed details of COVID-19 support for business and workers following the increased alert levels due to a resurgence of the virus over the weekend... More>>

ALSO:


Government: Balanced Economic Approach Reflected In Crown Accounts

New Zealand’s economic recovery has again been reflected in the Government’s books, which are in better shape than expected.
The Crown accounts for the seven months to the end of January 2021 were better than forecast in the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU)... More>>


Covid-19: Auckland Back To Alert Level Three After One New Community Case Revealed

Auckland will move to alert level three for a week at 6am tomorrow morning after two new Covid-19 community cases announced this evening could not be directly linked to earlier cases, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
The rest of the country will move to level two.... More>>

NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

Parliament: Kiwi MPs Among The “Most Educated In The World”

New analysis of MP qualifications reveals New Zealand’s Parliament is one of the most educated and highest qualified in the world, and significantly more educated than Australia’s. The research, by Mark Blackham of BlacklandPR and Geoffrey Miller ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels