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Transport Minister Phil Twyford has confirmed the Government is considering diverting taxes paid by motorists who want better roads to rail instead, while insisting to media this won’t happen, National’s Transport Spokesperson Judith Collins says.

“This is an important principle, adhered to by successive governments, ensuring the specific taxes paid by motorists are invested in newer, safer and better roads – helping keep New Zealanders connected and safe. Road users pay taxes which are directly returned to them.

“But this now appears under threat, because of the Labour Party’s obsession with light rail in Auckland.

“Mr Twyford has written to stakeholders saying a number of changes to the Government Policy Statement (GPS) on land transport are being considered. Among the proposals is ‘exploring how rail investment is incorporated within the GPS and the National Land Transport Fund’.

“This is in spite of his office telling media last week that funding for road upgrades would not be redirected to rail.

“In his rush to erroneously claim that a number of roading projects aren’t under threat because of the Government’s obsession with Auckland rail, Mr Twyford has been saying different things to different people.

“This desperate grab for more taxes is the result of this free-spending Government realising how much it’s going to cost to build its pet rail line from Auckland’s CBD to the Airport - so it’s looking to divert funding from regional roads as a result.

“The NLTF is paid for by road users to be invested in improving New Zealand’s roading network and it should remain that way. The Government needs to check its priorities and ensure the taxes paid by road users are invested back in the roads they are using.

“Last week, National launched a series of petitions aimed at saving those regional roads that the Government is looking to slash funding for. Given this duplicity from the Government, I want to again encourage everyone to sign the petitions to save our roads,” Ms Collins says.

The petitions can be found here.

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