‘Weak’ is the word Phil Twyford has used to described a petition delivered to parliament calling on the Government to commit a continuous four-lane highway stretching from Tauranga to Katikati.
“National spent nine years neglecting regional roads and throwing money into low-value big city motorway projects. Meanwhile, deaths on local and regional roads were increasing.”
The Transport Minister is responding to a petition Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller and Coromandel MP Scott Simpson delivered to Parliament with close to 3500 signatures - the petition calls on the Government to commit a continuous four-lane highway stretching from Tauranga to Katikati.
“This road is absolutely vital for our community. It will help improve road safety, travel times and boost regional economic growth,” says Todd.
“Close to 3500 locals signing a petition gives a fair indication of the huge level of support the project has in our community – and its being put under threat as a direct result of the Government’s bad transport policies.”
Todd says the Government expect the Bay to pay more at the pump and see less for it.
“Our community isn’t crying out for a tram in Auckland – what we need is this expressway including a grade separated connection from Omokoroa onto SH2 and the Katikati bypass.
“The Government have also failed to give our community certainty on the TNL. National signed off on it and construction was due to start this year but it has been put on ice until they can work out if it fits with their new transport strategy.”
Phil says National will “be disappointed in the weak response to their petition”.
He told SunLive the public know this is a political stunt.
Phil says National used last year’s election campaign to promise billions of dollars of roading projects that they hadn’t funded and were years away from being built.
“Todd Muller is being deliberately misleading to suggest the former government funded a 36km four-lane motorway from Tauranga to Katikati.
“Only 6km of that road is a funded project, which is still under consideration by the New Zealand Transport Agency.
“The coalition Government has made road safety its number one transport priority. We have doubled the investment in regional roads and road safety.
“It’s not good enough that this dangerous road has been neglected for years. The Transport Agency is urgently working on the best option to make this road safer and ease congestion.”