The mind-boggling prospect of no new major transport projects starting in this term of Government is now very real after Phil Twyford revealed Auckland’s light rail has been delayed even further, National’s Transport spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“You can chalk up another broken promise for the Transport Minister after he told Infrastructure NZ’s Building Nations Symposium that the business case for Auckland’s $6 billion slow tram to the airport won’t be considered by Cabinet until next year.
“That means there won’t be enough time to get it started before the election, leaving Phil Twyford with nothing to show for his term as Transport Minster except broken promises.
“The Twyford era of non-delivery is becoming laughable. He’s already made a hash of Labour’s pledge to build 100,000 KiwiBuild homes, and lost his housing portfolio as a result.
“Light rail was Labour’s other big election promise. They said it could be delivered to Mt Roskill in four years but that won’t be possible now.
“The business case was supposed to be completed by November 2018. The delay suggests the Minister can’t stack up an economic argument for spending that much taxpayer cash.
“Phil Twyford has single-handedly destroyed any credibility the Government had when it came to infrastructure.
“While this news is disappointing for Auckland commuters, it’s also a massive blow to the construction sector, which employs 250,000 people and generates six per cent of our GDP.
“Labour’s decision to stall or cancel a dozen transport infrastructure projects that were ready to go under National, while he mucks around with light rail, has left the sector with nothing new to work on, pushing this country to the brink of an infrastructure crisis.
“If work doesn’t get underway soon on major new projects, we’ll lose our construction workforce to Australia – where the Government just announced a $100 billion roading and rail investment package – and we may not get them back.”