With the news that new vehicle sales reached a record in August, major cuts to state highway funding could not have come at a worse time, National’s Transport spokesperson, Jami-Lee Ross says.
“Cuts to roading projects alongside a record level of car sales and an increasing use of state highways is a recipe for regional economic downturns and gridlock.
“The Government’s Transport policy has seen a $5 billion cut in funding for state highway projects meaning some of our most travelled routes will not get the investment they need to ensure the economic benefits to their regions.
“New vehicle registrations are continuing to tick up to record levels and the volume of traffic on our state highways is rapidly increasing with Kiwi’s travelling up to one billion kilometres in the last year – an increase of 5 per cent according to Infrastructure New Zealand.
“The Government is axing state highway improvements when more and more people are going to be using them, a recipe for gridlock.
“In regions like the Bay of Plenty the single most needed project is an upgrade of State Highway 2 between Tauranga and Katikati. This is New Zealand’s deadliest stretch of road and needs the level of investment National was promising.
“The same can be said about major projects between Cambridge and Tirau, Whangarei to Wellsford and Ashburton to Christchurch as well as many other plans now stalled under this Government.
“National’s transport plan would have seen a halt to rising fuel taxes and the progression of our ambitious next generation of Roads of National Significance, with ten major regional highways being constructed across New Zealand.
“Instead, the Minister of Transport Phil Twyford is ripping billions of dollars from the regions, raising taxes and channelling it into his Auckland tram project.
“We don’t need a cherry picked tram project in Auckland when other more cost-effective and flexible options exist.
“Mr Twyford’s ideological attachment is coming at the expense of the rest of New Zealand.”