The revelation that National has spent $216 million on investigation and design work for its so-called Roads of National Significance raises questions around how much was wasted on planning the now cancelled Otaki to Levin expressway, Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said today.
New Zealand Transport Agency figures show that $216 million has been spent so far on five of the seven RoNS. $200 million of that went on employing consultants.
$97 million was spent on planning the Wellington Northern Corridor projects. This included the Otaki to Levin expressway, described by former transport Minister Steven Joyce as "integral" to the project, which the Government announced last week it was cancelling.
In answer to oral questions on 23 May, Bill English admitted the RoNS were selected for political purposes without proper business cases and without comparison against other transport options.
"National has wasted a fortune on planning motorways that don't make economic sense and which won't be built," said Ms Genter.
"National decided to build these projects for political reasons.
"It ignored the benefit cost ratios that show many of these projects are not worth the money they would cost and it didn't do due diligence in investigating other, more productive uses for the transport budget.
"Now, having spent $216m on planning, it is working out what the rest of New Zealand has known all along: these projects don't make sense and they're not worth what they cost.
"The Minister needs to front up about how much the National government spent on planning the Otaki to Levin expressway, which it unceremoniously dumped last week.
"Gerry Brownlee also needs to tell New Zealanders what other RoNS will be quietly dropped to plug the shortfall in transport funding, or if he plans to raise road taxes to fill the gap.
"The Government has spent $216m on planning roads that aren't needed and will probably never be built.
"This is a jaw-dropping waste of taxpayers' money by the National Government and the only winners are the high-price transport consultants," said Ms Genter.
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