Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller says the current Minister of Transport is “washing his hand hands of responsibility when it comes to the fate of key roading projects in NZ”.
Todd, along with National Party Transport Spokesperson Jami-Lee Ross, believes Phil Twyford is “meddling with key regional roading projects, putting them along with the safety and economic benefits they bring at risk”.
“In government, we committed to roads like the Tauranga Northern Link because it was the best way to save lives and to support the growth of our region,” says Todd.
“The Tauranga Northern Link would be a 6.8km stretch of continuous four lane median divided expressway with a grade separated interchange located at Minden Road, with on and off ramps in each direction. It would include a new bridge crossing the Wairoa River and an underpass under both Wairoa Road and Cambridge Road.
“This road won’t just increase capacity and improve journey times. NZTA also say it will reduce death and serious injury by 50 per cent - so why is the Minister sitting on his hands?
“I personally invited the Minister to come and drive the road with me – to see it as our community see’s it – but he didn’t even bother writing back, even though he was in Tauranga last week,” says Todd.
“Phil Twyford must now give certainty to the people of Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty on whether he believes this road is still on the government’s agenda.”
Further north, Jami-Lee says they now have confirmation that Phil Twyford told Northern Mayors that the Whangarei to Wellsford Road of National Significance is no longer on the government’s agenda.
“This follows Tywford’s intervention to scrap the East-West Link and his decision to move funding into a tram set for Auckland.
“This is a Minister who is perfectly happy to involve himself in decisions about regional roads when it happens to be a road he doesn’t like, so he needs to now provide certainty about key regional roads that would help save lives and support the economic growth of our regions.
“Communities up and down the country are now waiting on this Minister to make up his mind about whether his government will continue supporting them or whether he is too focused on trams in Auckland.”
SunLive has approached Phil Twyford’s office for comment and is awaiting the minister’s response.