Documents released by Treasury reveal why vital new roads across the country are being scrapped or stalled – because Labour’s trains have swallowed up the transport budget for the next ten years, National’s Transport spokesman Chris Bishop says.
“The next decade will be tough for Kiwis who drive because they won’t be getting much in the way of new highways from this Government, despite paying billions in new taxes.
“Recently-released Budget documents show Labour, the Greens and NZ First have – in just two years – fully committed the transport budget for the next decade to pay for their extravagant pre-election rail promises.
“In other words, if their investment in a handful of rail projects goes ahead, it will mean no new highways for ten years.”
“Since becoming Transport Minister, Phil Twyford has plundered the fund topped up by motorists’ fuel taxes and road user charges to the point where $3.5 billion less will be spent on state highways over the next six years, according to Treasury.
“Over the next decade, $5 billion less will be available to build the safer, high-quality highways this country desperately needs.
“This explains why a dozen new highways that were progressing under National have either been cancelled or pushed back until the 2030s, including the Mill Road Corridor and Penlink in Auckland, the Tauranga Northern Link, Ōtaki to Levin north of Wellington, and Christchurch to Ashburton.
“This has stalled NZTA’s building programme for up to 18 months, prompting warnings from Treasury that there won’t be any projects ready to go when National’s roads are finished.
“This would be devastating for the economy as the workforce on these projects may leave construction, or move to Australia where they’re spending $100b on transport infrastructure.
“Motorists will feel justifiably angry. This Government has milked $1.7b out of them through fuel tax hikes and extra GST, but they’re getting no new infrastructure in return.
“That’s because the Government can’t make rail stack up economically. Labour thought Auckland’s light rail to Māngere would cost $2b before the last election, now it’s heading towards $7b with no start date in sight.
“National will rebalance the transport budget if elected in 2020, providing a wider variety of transport infrastructure that ensures all Kiwis can get around the country quickly and safely.”
The full Treasury report can be found here