Shane Jones has been rolled by Labour and the Greens on transport policy and as a result regional New Zealand will miss out on much needed roading developments, National Party Regional Development Spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.
“Regional New Zealanders are being told to suck up a big increase in fuel taxes, coupled with a big decrease in regional highway investment, all to help pay for new trams in Auckland,” Mr Goldsmith says. “How did Shane Jones let this happen?
“Mr Jones cynically pointed to an increase in the regional roading improvements fund as a boost to the regions. Nobody will fall for that.
“The increase amounts to around $35 million a year to local roads, a drop in the bucket compared with the $5 billion being taken away from state highways.
Mr Goldsmith says that the previous Government’s plans to upgrade key provincial highways were critical to improving regional development and road safety on main arterials.
"Transport Minister Phil Twyford dismisses those projects as white elephants and about ‘provincial cities’ not regional New Zealand.
“Shane Jones should point out to him that cities like Whangarei, Tauranga and Napier/Hastings are very much in regional New Zealand. He should take Twyford to places like Katitkati, Whangarei, Levin and Tokoroa and tell them their roading projects are white elephants.
“The Green Party was yesterday trumpeting the transport policy as a big win for them and no wonder. The transport policy renders the Government’s regional economic development policy totally incoherent.
“The reality is Shane Jones has been completely dealt to by the Greens. New Zealand First’s claim to support regional New Zealand has been exposed as a sham.”