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The future of the proposed four-lane Napier to Hastings Expressway is in turmoil, MP for Tukituki Lawrence Yule says.

“The previous National Government had committed to upgrading the Napier to Hastings Expressway as part of the next generation of Roads of National Significance, but it is clear now that the new Government doesn’t see the importance of the road.

“The upgrade of the Napier to Hastings Expressway to four lanes would have seen improved safety and travel times, our regions better connected and boosted regional economic growth.

“Instead the Government has only put in a wire barrier down the middle of the two lane road. This has done nothing to ease congestion at peak times, the biggest issue on this road, which would have been eliminated by the planned four lanes.

“Hawke’s Bay is booming. We want to see the Government commit to the infrastructure required to support growth and jobs.

“The thousands of people who travel between Hastings and Napier every day show how integrated the cities are with each other, and the wider region. At the same time freight volumes at Napier Port are expected to grow by 50 per cent by 2026 and at the same time great efforts are being made to take heavy traffic off Marine Parade.

“The proposed upgrade would have built on this.

“The future of the Napier to Hastings Expressway is another example of the Government stripping funding away from regional New Zealand, and feeding it back to Auckland, specifically for Transport Minister Phil Twyford’s pet tram project.

“Regional New Zealand deserves better. National had a carefully balanced plan which prioritised our regions and supported our cities. It wouldn’t have left Hawke’s Bay in the limbo it currently is in.”

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