A booming freight industry and increasingly heavy road use in the Bay of Plenty further prove the need for the Government to commit to building a safe and reliable roading network in the region, National’s Transport spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“By holding our annual two day Caucus in Tauranga this year, National MPs have been able to see first-hand what difference the opening of roads like the Tauranga Eastern Link have had on the region,” Ms Collins says.
“While the National Government committed to building the Tauranga to Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway, as well as upgrading the Tauranga to Katikati link, the Labour Government is yet to front up on its plans for the region.
“The road upgrades in Tauranga must go ahead as planned to improve road safety and for the ongoing growth of the local economy. It is one of the most dangerous roads in New Zealand – as acknowledged recently by a local Mayor.
“The Tauranga Northern link had funding approved last year. The Labour-led Government needs to commit to the completion of this important road from Tauranga to Katikati.
“The Waikato expressway’s improvements as one of the first Roads of National Significance is doing immensely well and work must continue for its extension from Cambridge to the foot of the Kaimai Range and from Cambridge to Tirau,” Ms Collins says.
National recently launched petitions to four-lane the motorway from Tauranga to Katikati as well as to fund the extension of the Waikato Expressway from Cambridge to the foot of the Kaimai Range and from Cambridge to Tirau.
“Let’s not rob the regions for a trolley service up Dominion Road, in the Prime Minister’s electorate,” Ms Collins says.
With the Government heading to Waitangi and Northern Mayors calling for answers, the Transport Minister needs to confirm whether or not this Government is committed to four-lanes from Auckland to Whangarei, National’s Transport spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“Transport Minister Phil Twyford continues to obfuscate and fudge but the message is clear – this Government intends to build fewer roads, and to spend more on rail in Auckland.
“Motorists right around the country who pay to register their cars, for fuel taxes and road user charges will be paying for the Government to build a tram line between the Auckland CBD and Mt Albert – and not for new and better roads that grow regional economies, improve our transport links and ensure our transport network is safer.
“The previous Government recognised the importance of better transport links between Northland and Auckland. The four-laned highway between Puhoi and Warkworth is already underway and we had pledged to continue that through to Whangarei.
“This Government however is refusing to say whether or not it will continue with that pledge – and it looks like it won’t.
“This road would make the trip safer, encourage more tourists and visitors to travel north and would better connect the farmers and growers with the country’s largest centre. It would have a huge economic and social benefit and that’s why Northland’s mayors are calling on the Government to make it happen, and why the previous Government committed to it.
“Northland needs a better connection to New Zealand’s largest city and the main gateway to New Zealand for international visitors – this road would have ensured that but this Government doesn’t consider it a priority.
“While it spends the next five days in Waitangi talking about partnership the Government needs to show some intent and assure Northlanders that it will continue the previous Government’s investment in the transport infrastructure it deserves, or explain why it won’t.”
The National Party’s petition to save the Auckland to Whangarei highway can be found here.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford has confirmed the Government is considering diverting taxes paid by motorists who want better roads to rail instead, while insisting to media this won’t happen, National’s Transport Spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“This is an important principle, adhered to by successive governments, ensuring the specific taxes paid by motorists are invested in newer, safer and better roads – helping keep New Zealanders connected and safe. Road users pay taxes which are directly returned to them.
“But this now appears under threat, because of the Labour Party’s obsession with light rail in Auckland.
“Mr Twyford has written to stakeholders saying a number of changes to the Government Policy Statement (GPS) on land transport are being considered. Among the proposals is ‘exploring how rail investment is incorporated within the GPS and the National Land Transport Fund’.
“This is in spite of his office telling media last week that funding for road upgrades would not be redirected to rail.
“In his rush to erroneously claim that a number of roading projects aren’t under threat because of the Government’s obsession with Auckland rail, Mr Twyford has been saying different things to different people.
“This desperate grab for more taxes is the result of this free-spending Government realising how much it’s going to cost to build its pet rail line from Auckland’s CBD to the Airport - so it’s looking to divert funding from regional roads as a result.
“The NLTF is paid for by road users to be invested in improving New Zealand’s roading network and it should remain that way. The Government needs to check its priorities and ensure the taxes paid by road users are invested back in the roads they are using.
“Last week, National launched a series of petitions aimed at saving those regional roads that the Government is looking to slash funding for. Given this duplicity from the Government, I want to again encourage everyone to sign the petitions to save our roads,” Ms Collins says.
The petitions can be found here.
The National Party has today launched a series of petitions aimed at saving regional highway projects at risk because of the Government’s obsession with Auckland trams, National Party Transport Spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“Roads from Northland right through to Ashburton are being ‘reviewed’ while the Government attempts to divert billions of dollars to pet light rail projects.
“The National Government committed to a large number of important regional highway projects right around New Zealand as the next stage in the successful Roads of National Significance programme to build a modern highway network. These would greatly improve safety and travel times, better connect our regions and boost regional economic growth.
“But Transport Minister Phil Twyford now says a number of these projects are under review. That’s not good enough – our regional communities deserve them and the National Party is committed to fighting for them.
“To ensure the voice of each region is heard the National Party is launching a series of petitions so the public can show the Government how important the projects are. Each MP responsible for their road will be taking their online and physical petition to present to the Government later this year.
The affected roads include:
- The upgrade of the Redoubt-Mill Road corridor from Manukau and Flat Bush to Papakura and Drury
- The extension of the Waikato Expressway from Cambridge to the foot of the Kaimai Range, and from Cambridge to Tirau
- The continuous four lane extension of the Northern Motorway from Warkworth to Whangarei.
- An East West Link Road project between the Onehunga-Penrose industrial area and State Highways 1 and 20
- The Tauranga to Katikati Road project as a continuous four lane State Highway with wide lanes and safety measures
- The four laning of the Napier to Hastings Expressway
- The Otaki to north of Levin expressway road project
- The Christchurch Northern Motorway between Belfast and Pegasus
- The construction of the four-lane State Highway 1 link between Christchurch and Ashburton
“These are the most crucial transport linkages in their regions and the Government has wrongly thrown them into doubt. You can’t argue that you support regional New Zealand and then immediately take these key projects away.
“National Party MPs will continue to push the Government to continue these roads and I encourage the public to show their support,” Ms Collins says.
The petition can be found here.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford has thrown the future of more important regional roads into turmoil – all to finance a tram through the Prime Minister’s electorate, National Party Transport Spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“A growing number of vital roading projects right around the country are facing the axe, with Mr Twyford failing to commit to essential new roading projects, under further questioning in Parliament today.
“Yesterday he told the House that ‘all projects are under consideration’. This included the Redoubt Rd to Mill Rd corridor, the extension of the Waikato Expressway from Cambridge to the Kaimai Range and the Christchurch to Ashburton road project.
“Today he refused to commit to the futures of the Otaki to north of Levin expressway, the extension of the Waikato Expressway from Cambridge to Tirau and the four laneing of the Napier to Hastings expressway.
“The single project Mr Twyford has been able to confirm in the past two days is the Manawatu Gorge alternative route but he’s leaving the rest of regional New Zealand in limbo.
“These projects were all well-signalled and needed, with work well underway and regions gearing up around them.
“These projects will promote growth, provide jobs and ensure better and safer transport connections for hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders.
“They will also allow our regions to grow and support the building of much needed housing, but the Transport Minister is undermining confidence by imperilling their futures.
“This is a Government that claimed to stand behind regional New Zealand but it is regional New Zealand that is missing out. It deserves better than this from a Government which is putting politics ahead of progress.”
The Government’s refusal to commit to important roading projects right around New Zealand is undermining regional confidence and jeopardising much-needed housing developments, National Party Transport Spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“His refusal to give communities around New Zealand surety about important roading projects will undermine confidence, slow down or stall housing developments and prevent the building of safer, faster roads.
“Among those the Minister is refusing to commit to is the Redoubt Rd to Mill Rd corridor project from Manukau and Flat Bush to Papakura and Drury.
“NZTA had already committed funding to this project because it is an area of such high growth, with major housing developments in the pipeline.
“The Transport Minister’s failure to provide certainty for important transport projects will have housing developers rightly asking whether they should go ahead and build.
“He’s also refused to commit to the extension of the Waikato Expressway from Cambridge to the Kaimai Range and the Christchurch to Ashburton road project. These are important regional roading projects which would have encouraged growth and ensured safer journeys.
“You’d have thought that since he is also Housing Minister he’d be more aware of the impact his indecision is having.
“That’s not good enough. Strong transport connections are vital to continuing the strong growth in New Zealand’s cities and regions. The Government needs to stop undermining that and support local communities.”
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.
A return to 100 per cent jet fuel allocations at Auckland Airport is a great start to the school holidays for airlines and their customers, Energy and Resource Minister Judith Collins says.
Two weeks ago the fuel allocation was reduced to 30 per cent following the disruption to supply through the Marsden Refinery to Auckland pipeline. Fuel allocations were increased incrementally to 50 per cent then 80 per cent as alternatives to transporting fuel to Auckland Airport were found.
“Getting back to 100 per cent fuel allocation this morning is great news for the start of the school holidays. It is the result of the co-operation between government and industry in managing a complex logistical exercise in moving fuel through alternative routes by land, air and sea,” Ms Collins says.
“It should be noted that the Marsden Refinery to Auckland pipeline while repaired, will be operating at 80 per cent capacity into the New Year. However, the industry is confident that the pipeline will be able to deliver the amounts of jet fuel airlines need to operate normally.
“Trucks will continue transporting the 1.5 million litres of jet fuel stored at Wynyard Wharf until the tank is empty, which is expected to be toward the end of next week.
“It’s also good to hear from the industry that there are no longer any short-term outages at stations in Auckland. The pipeline is increasingly being used to deliver petrol and diesel into Auckland, which is continuing progress to normal supply. The fuel companies are looking at their logistics to ensure use of the pipeline and fuel being trucked in from outside of Auckland is balanced, and continues to ensure demand is met.”
A focus on co-operation and innovation has helped meet the challenge of the Marsden Point pipeline disruption, Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins says.
“While work continues behind the scenes, we have made significant progress,” Ms Collins says.
“The first batch of 91 petrol is expected to flow down the pipeline on Friday. This is a significant milestone on the path back to normal supply.
“Today is also the first day that there are no fuel-related cancellations at Auckland Airport, though there are still some minor disruptions.
“It is important to recognise that it will take time for fuel stocks in Auckland to be replenished, and the increased amount of trucking around the city is expected to remain for at least a week to 10 days.
“The response to the pipeline disruption was a highly complex logistical exercise, which meant unique solutions were needed to ensure fuel could continue to be delivered,” Ms Collins says.
“We have seen some really innovative thinking come out of the response. Over the past 13 days work arounds, such as enabling transfer of jet fuel by truck from Marsden Refinery to Auckland, plane-to-plane-refuelling at Auckland Airport, and converting chemical tanks at Wynyard to receive and store jet fuel have occurred.
“The repair work on the pipeline was achieved within a week of the extent of the seriousness of the leak being confirmed, but not at the expense of safety and quality.
“The fuel supply and aviation industries are to be commended as well for the complex rescheduling, re-routing and technical solutions they have implemented.
“The New Zealand Defence Force also rose to the task helping with the Wynyard Wharf solution and providing sea and land support including the deployment of the HMNZS ENDEAVOUR and supplying 20 drivers.
“While great progress has been made with a return to largely ‘business as usual’, the government continues to be closely involved in monitoring the situation and remains on stand-by to scale up its current assistance if required,” Ms Collins says.
Auckland Airport operations are returning to business as usual as progress continues to be made restoring supply via the fuel pipeline, Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins says.
“The fuel industry remains cautiously optimistic as solid progress is being made. The pipeline will be operating at its current allowable capacity from late today and jet fuel allocations were increased from 50 to 80 per cent effective midnight last night,” Ms Collins says.
“Two million litres of jet fuel has now arrived at Auckland Airport’s JUHI storage facility, and 15 million litres is expected to be available by the end of the week.”
Trucks have begun transporting jet fuel from the 1.5 million litres stored at Wynyard Wharf, and jet fuel continues to be trucked from the Marsden Point refinery to the Airport.
“Stocks of both jet fuel and fuel for Auckland motorists are replenishing. In the coming days the fuel industry will be looking at the sequencing of different types of fuel down the pipeline. This takes us a further step toward normal supply.”
“While the situation is improving day-by-day, there continues to be a lot of work going on behind the scenes. I’m particularly impressed by the way industry has worked together to minimise disruption as much as possible.
“Government continues to be closely involved in monitoring the situation and remains on stand-by to provide further assistance if required,” Ms Collins says.
“It may be another week before the allocation to airlines is back at 100% but they are doing a great job at managing this constraint.
“Flights in and out of Auckland Airport have now largely returned to normal operations, with only three international flight cancellations today. No domestic flights have been cancelled.”