The Transport Minister’s claim that light rail from Auckland’s CBD to the airport will 'absolutely' be finished by 2030 cannot be trusted, National’s Transport spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“Phil Twyford’s political legacy is one of broken promises, so why should we expect this one to be any different.
“Auckland’s light rail has been a fail from the beginning. Labour promised during the election campaign to have it finished between the CBD and Mt Roskill by 2021, only to quickly abandon that target when it became clear Phil Twyford could not deliver on it.
“Speaking of abandoned targets, remember Labour’s promise to build 100,000 KiwiBuild houses in ten years? Yeah, that was Phil Twyford as well, and that target didn’t last very long either, nor did he in the Housing portfolio.
“The reality is, Phil Twyford’s incompetent oversight is the reason this project is a least a decade away.
“His bizarre decision to entertain a bidding war between his own Transport Agency and NZ Infra has set the project back years, and set progress on Auckland’s transport woes back even further because critical roading projects have been put on ice in the interim.
“After more than two years in Government, there is no exact route, no delivery model, no design work done, no costings, no consents, no designations, no business case – nothing.
“Light rail has become KiwiBuild 2.0 – just another of Labour’s broken promises.”
Revelations that Shane Jones met with representatives from a NZ First-linked forestry company, after point blank denying it the day before, should throw his future as a Minister into question, National’s Regional Development spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“As each day goes by the NZ Future Forrest Products Limited affair gets murkier and murkier, and Shane Jones keeps digging a bigger hole for himself.
“Just yesterday the Regional Economic Development Minister claimed he had no idea about NZFPP’s bid for $15 million of PGF funding until October 2019, when he declared a conflict of interest.
“This is despite the company, which has deep ties to NZ First, saying it had given the minister a presentation about its project months before the conflict was declared.
“But today, Shane Jones’s memory has suddenly returned and he now admits he did in fact meet with David Henry, the NZFFP director who signed the application form.
“This is a significant admission. First, it contradicts the minister’s earlier statements. Second, it makes it even more unlikely the minister had ‘no idea’ about the company until October when he formally recused himself. Third, the meeting does not appear in his Ministerial diary records – why?
“The Prime Minister should be investigating her wayward Regional Development Minister, who has clearly broken the rules by not declaring a conflict of interest immediately.
“Former Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran lost her ministerial role over less.”
Shane Jones has serious questions to answer after newly-released documents suggest he misled Parliament over his knowledge of a suspect Provincial Growth Fund application, National’s Regional Development spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“It’s become clear the Auditor-General needs to investigate Shane Jones’s involvement in the bid by NZ Future Forrest Products Limited for $15 million of PGF funding.
“The company has deep ties to NZ First, and today’s media reports show the Regional Economic Development Minister knew about its funding bid months before he declared a conflict of interest.
“Not declaring a conflict of interest immediately is a clear breach of the rules governing ministers.
“If Shane Jones received a presentation from the company about its project in April 2019 then it’s hard to square that with his claim in Parliament that he had ‘no idea’ about the company’s existence until October 14.
“Shane Jones’s statements are even more dubious given his officials were aware of the conflict of interest in June, and the independent advisory panel wrote to the Minister about the project in July to support the funding bid.
“The Minister obviously knew these documents would expose his lies because he cynically released them on December 23, hoping no one would notice over the Christmas break.
“The process surrounding the Future Forest Products application doesn’t pass the sniff test. The look of it is wrong and that’s why it’s right for the Auditor-General to investigate.
“While no money changed hands, the process is even more important than the substantive outcome because of the close links between those involved and the historical murkiness of Shane Jones’ $3 billion slush fund.”
More than a year after Racing Minister Winston Peters said he’d take action about Police opposing liquor licences for the traditional BYO at the races, he’s done nothing, MP for Hutt South Chris Bishop says.
“Winston Peters has talked a big game on this issue, going as far as calling the people who have tried to stop BYOs ‘bureaucratic shiny bums’.
“Race meetings are important community events held around the country and usually run by volunteer committees. Clubs obtain a special licence (or hold an on-licence) for a designated area and allow the rest of the course to be available for bring-your-own alcohol consumption.
“In recent years Police have been opposing liquor licenses. Many regional racing clubs lack the infrastructure to offer hospitality services and for many years patrons have been bringing their own food and drink to the course on race days, but this summer tradition is under threat.
“Some race meets have allowed BYO for more than 135 years. While we understand Police want to address the harm caused by alcohol, they should concentrate on areas where there is actually a problem and not family-friendly events like race meets.
“Mr Peters has even introduced a new Racing Bill to Parliament, but says BYO areas were not included because they are not supported by government partners, which can only mean the Greens.
“Yet again the National Party stands ready to offer our support for our hard-working racing clubs and come to the Government’s aid. It should adopt my Members’ Bill forthwith. My Bill will make it clear that racing clubs and racing meetings are not the intended target of section 235 of the Sale and Supply of Liquor Act.
“The Bill provides an exemption from section 235 for racing clubs on the days of race meetings when the club holds an on-site special licence that applies to the race meeting.
“This is just a common sense change to the law that will allow the status quo to remain at community run race meets. It will mean the age-old Kiwi tradition of a glass of wine or beer in the sun with some chips and dips can continue.”
Revelations this week Cabinet will decide on a ‘delivery partner’ not a ‘specific solution’ in the near year for the Government’s troubled Auckland light rail project shows staggering Government incompetence, National’s Transport spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“Transport Minister Phil Twyford has another KiwiBuild on his hands. This was a flagship promise from the Labour Government, the Prime Minister said light rail would be built to Mt Roskill by 2021.
“Now we find at the end of 2019, Cabinet won’t even decide on a particularly proposal until early 2020. Instead, Cabinet will pick a ‘partner’, between NZTA and NZ Infra bid by NZ Super Fund, with the details to be sorted out later.
“Matt Lowrie from Greater Auckland is completely right when he says, ‘you don’t go to Fletchers’ and say ‘we want you to build us a road’ and Fletchers go ‘okay where do you want us to build it?’ and [then] go ‘I don’t know we’ll work that out later’.’
“In Parliament today the only thing Phil Twyford was able to say about light rail was that it would be rail on two tracks and it would be in Auckland.
“This is a staggering display of ineptitude by the Government. Two years into its time in Government, there is no exact route, no delivery model, no design work done, no costings, no consents, no designations, no business case – nothing.
“Light rail is a metaphor for this Government – it’s going nowhere.”
National is proposing to improve public transport by overhauling governance in Wellington and Canterbury, providing greater support for ride-sharing, and accelerating the rollout of integrated ticketing, Transport spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“The great modern cities of the world all have multi-modal transport systems where public transport, walking, cycling, and increasingly scootering are valued parts of everyday life.”
“National has a strong record on public transport. We spent $2 billion from 2008 to 2017, helping lift public transport use to record highs. We also invested more than $2.5 billion to electrify the Auckland and Wellington rail networks, and get the City Rail Link underway.
“We believe public transport governance is too fragmented in this country, with opaque accountability and no clear delineation of which agency is responsible for each part of the network. This is diluting the quality of service for commuters.
“The new Wellington bus network has been a disaster with the regional council, city council and NZTA all blaming each other for the fiasco rather than doing something about it.
“National is proposing new regional transport authorities in Wellington and Canterbury that will have sole-charge over public transport, as well as cycling, parking and roading.
“Ride-sharing, particularly carpooling, has a role to play in decongesting cities and solving the first mile/last mile problem of how best to get people to and from bus and rail stops.
“We will encourage public transport authorities to partner with ride-sharing companies to better connect people with public transport in an efficient and affordable way.
“It is unacceptable that people have been using bank cards and phones to pay for London’s Tube since 2004 but train users in Wellington still pay with coins and cardboard tickets. National is proposing to accelerate the rollout of integrated ticketing nationwide.”
Our Discussion Documents can be found HERE
National will remedy Labour’s neglect of New Zealand’s highways by reigniting our Roads of National Significance build programme and introducing a new category of funding for Roads of Regional Significance, Transport spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“National is the Party that builds roads. The previous Government spent $12 billion on the first seven Roads of National Significance (RONS) – transformational projects that connected our regions and unlocked the potential of our cities, towns and provinces.
“Thousands of Kiwis now enjoy safer, faster journeys on the Tauranga Eastern Link, the Waikato and Kāpiti expressways, Christchurch’s new motorways, and through Auckland’s Waterview Tunnel because of National’s record investment.
“But there’s more to be done. National will go bigger and bolder than Labour when it comes to investment in our highways because we know Kiwis are sick of daily gridlock and the rising road toll.
“We’re proposing to complete the original Roads of National Significance and begin a second generation programme.
“More detail will be released in 2020 about which projects we will commit to, but we’re interested in feedback on upgrading the following routes to four-lane expressway standard:
- Whangārei to Warkworth
- East West Link in Auckland
- Cambridge to Tirau
- Piarere to the foot of the Kaimai Ranges
- Tauranga to Katikati, including the Tauranga Northern Link
- Napier to Hastings
- Levin to Sanson
- Manawatū Gorge
- Christchurch to Ashburton
- Christchurch Northern Motorway: Belfast to Pegasus
“Councils sometimes struggle to upgrade local roads under current funding rules. To fix this National is proposing a new funding priority called Roads of Regional Significance (RORS) that will increase the Government contribution towards these vital improvements.
“Road safety is a top priority for National and we’re proposing a comprehensive rollout of median barriers, side barriers, shoulder widening, and rumble strips to upgrade roads and fix dangerous intersections.
National is also proposing to improve our road network by:
- Introducing legislation to implement roadside drug testing
- Decreasing the use of random speed cameras and increasing signposted cameras
- Placing a serious focus on improving safety at level rail crossings
“It is also critical that we deal with congestion in our major cities, which is why National is proposing to introduce revenue-neutral congestion pricing to help unclog their streets.
“Congestion pricing will be a game-changer by encouraging commuters to either travel earlier or later in the day, take a different route, or use public transport.
“National has long had an ambitious programme of transport investment and we are committed to getting New Zealand moving again if elected in 2020.”
Our Discussion Documents can be found HERE
National is proposing a new law to keep cyclists safe by making the use of separated cycleways mandatory, National’s Transport spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“Motorists get frustrated when cyclists continue to use roads and motorways in places where a dedicated, separated cycle path runs parallel to the road.
“There are now hundreds of kilometres of protected cycle paths across New Zealand. Many of these are high-quality, safe and designed to be used by cyclists.
“National proposes that in areas where separated cycleways exist, cyclists must use them or else they will receive a fine.
“Similar rules exist in the cycle-friendly Netherlands, where using a physically separated bike path, or fietspad, is compulsory in most cases.
“By making sure cyclists stay in their lane it will keep them safe and go a long way towards improving the public acceptance of cycling by reducing conflict with motorists.
“National is proud of its investment in cycling infrastructure across New Zealand, including
Ngā Haerenga: The National Cycle Trail and the $100 million urban cycleways fund.
“Cycling is becoming more popular as it becomes easier and people look for a healthy way to get from A to B. A National Government will invest in cycling infrastructure across New Zealand to encourage its uptake.
“National will release a more comprehensive discussion document on transport, including public transport, on Monday.”
The Provincial Growth Fund has only managed to create just over 600 jobs with taxpayers forking out almost $500,000 per job, proving the policy is nothing more than another example of wasteful spending by this Government, National’s Regional Development spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has paid out $297.5 million so far and it has created only 616 full time jobs. That works out to be $482,000 per full time jobs.
“Most New Zealanders would be shocked to hear their hard earned taxpayer money is being sprayed around by a Minister who is just spending cash without making sure business cases stack up.
“Regional Development Minister Shane Jones has publicly stated the main point of the PGF is to create jobs, but he’s only created 616. Shane Jones’ previous response to questions on job creation has been a shrug and vague promises about jobs materialising down the track.
“Well we’re two years in, when will these jobs in the regions materialise Shane?
“To make matters worse, the number of bureaucrats at the Provincial Development Unit has more than doubled in the last year. There were 53 in October last year, now 116, and 70 per cent of those employees are on salaries of $100,000 or more.
“The PGF is a giant waste of money. It’s a great time to be a bureaucrat in Wellington. But if you’re in the regions, where jobs are needed, you’re out of luck.
“From a Government that has become well-known for wasteful spending, this takes things to another level.
“We want our regions to prosper because what’s good for our communities is good for New Zealand’s economic well-being. Jobs aren’t created by political slush funds, but by the private sector responding to sound economic policies.”
The Government is squarely to blame for Kiwis being fleeced at the petrol pump, having milked half a billion dollars out of motorists in just two years through its fuel tax hikes, National’s Transport spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“New Zealanders are being ripped off at the petrol pump and it’s the Government who is picking their pockets through all the fuel tax hikes it has introduced these past two years.
“The extra revenue it has collected from increased fuel excise, road user charges and the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax has already hit $565 million – that’s $319 per household.
“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is the Fleecer-in-Chief. Her Government’s tax grab will hit $1.7 billion once further tax hikes – already passed into law – take effect down the line.
“This stings because motorists are getting nothing in return. The Government cancelled a dozen major roading projects that were ready to go under National and hasn’t started any major new transport infrastructure since it took office.
“In Parliament yesterday, the Prime Minister listed the transport projects it had started, which amounted to a few road repairs, one new passing lane and a roundabout.
“Kiwis don’t need more reports from the Commerce Commission to tell them what they already know; that keeping the car running on their summer road trips this year is going to cost more than it should.
“We welcome suggestions to improve competition in the fuel market. But unlike petrol, talk is cheap and the Government is a big part of the reason why petrol prices are so high.
“If elected in 2020, National will repeal the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax and we won’t increase fuel taxes in our first term.”
Extra Tax Revenue Collected ($m)
1/7/18 to 1/12/19*
Road User Charges
Fuel Excise Tax
Regional Fuel Tax
*Based on expected tax revenue for 2019-20