The Transport Minister’s release of a KiwiRail report to justify his axing of the vital East-West Link and other important roading projects just doesn’t stack up, National Party Transport Spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“Of course there should be continued investment in rail but that should not be at the expense of new and better roads which would have real congestion and economic benefits.
“Mr Twyford obviously knows that so he’s released an old KiwiRail report which he claims justifies his bad ideas.
“But the report ultimately doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know – better transport networks make it easier to get around, and reduce congestion and lost productivity, whether it’s road or rail. The previous National-led Government recognised that through record investment in both.
“We funded half of the $3.4 billion CRL for example and invested $1.8 billion to upgrade and electrify the Auckland metro rail network. This was part of a total of around $5 billion invested in rail in our time on government and we campaigned on doing more because of its benefits as part of national transport network, alongside road and marine.
“But while rail will reduce congestion so will better roads like the new Waterview Tunnel and the planned East-West Link which Mr Twyford has canned. He has also shelved other major and important roading projects which would also reduce congestion and provide significant economic benefits.
“Axing those projects will have real costs and he’s simply doing it to satisfy the Labour-Greens-NZ First love of rail – one of the few areas the three parties can actually agree.
“Mr Twyford is obviously starting to realise his arguments don’t stack up so he is desperately looking for justification for them. He needs to continue with the record infrastructure investment of the previous Government and get on with the job of building the transport infrastructure New Zealand needs to continue to get ahead,” Ms Collins says.