Shane Jones appears to have all but given up on supporting the Northland region, National Party Transport Spokesperson Jami-Lee Ross and Northland MP Matt King say.
“The self-proclaimed provincial champion, Shane Jones, has today dismissed the prospect of building the proposed highway between Whangarei to Wellsford, a commitment made by the previous National Government,” Mr Ross says.
“Mr Jones has also labelled vital roading infrastructure a mere pipe dream and claimed that such projects will never see the light of day.
“It beggars belief that the Government claims that there is simply no way to fund transport projects outside of Auckland but is then funding a tram project in Auckland that will cost more than half of the total cost of our ten nationwide roading projects.
“National’s entire next generation Roads of National Significance package of ten major roading projects across New Zealand was planned at a cost of $10 billion.
“It could have been funded from the $32 billion infrastructure package committed to in Budget 2017 or through rolling over the pre-existing funding for current Roads of National Significance projects.”
“This is simply a matter of priorities. This vital project would have extended the Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance which would have reduced the numbers of serious injuries and fatalities on the road and boosted the economic prospects of the Northland region,” says Mr King.
“We knew that the Minister of Transport was happy to scrap major investment in Northland in favour of building a tram in Auckland but it is disappointing to see that Mr Jones has now joined in the plans to gut regional roads.
“This is a clear example of the impact the Government’s $5 billion cut to state highway funding is having on the Northland region.
“The National Party remains committed to ensuring regional New Zealand receives the kind of investment that will ensure their futures as well and I remain committed to advocating for this vital infrastructure for Northland.”