Port decision should be based on merit

The New Zealand National Party

Decisions around the future of the Ports of Auckland, rail and light rail need to be made on clear analysis of costs and benefits, not on the basis of rushed coalition deal trade-offs after elections, National’s Transport spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“We’ve seen a pattern of poor decision making by this Government as a result of horse-trading in coalition negotiations, as appears to be driving light rail and Northland rail and port thinking.

“There are huge pressures on the most congested parts of our transport network requiring massive investment. We have to prioritise our spending rationally and carefully and decisions on Ports need to fit in with wider transport plans.

“For example National pledged to build a four lane motorway between Whangarei and Auckland, a vital project for Northland that would unlock the region’s economic growth.

“There is no sense in cancelling projects like this in favour of ill-considered coalition arrangements.

“It is becoming a trend from this Government to forge ahead with coalition agreements in the absence of any real data. These are political decisions and the Government is not being open-minded about what will really benefit the regions.

“Transport Minister Phil Twyford’s determination to build light rail in Auckland is a result of the Labour-Greens confidence and supply negotiations, and moving the Ports of Auckland looks to be the equivalent for NZ First.

“Government needs to stop using transport projects as a political football and seriously re-evaluate how it’s spending taxpayers money on transport. Simply picking and choosing different projects on the basis of negotiations rather than clear analysis isn’t in the best interests of New Zealanders.”

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