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Hughes, Carter & Hawkins: Stop Being So Shifty Bill

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

12 February 2009 - Finance Minister Bill English should be more upfront with the public about why the Government's infrastructure package announced yesterday was so timid, Labour spokespeople on Housing, Transport and Education said today.

"Bill English claimed cynically and dishonestly on Morning Report today that the Government would have announced more projects yesterday if they had been ready to proceed and not blocked," Transport spokesman Darren Hughes said.

Bill English said: " If we could and could have announced more yesterday that was ready we would have, and that's why for instance we have to introduce some of our other programme which is to clear out those obstacles like introducing comprehensive changes to the Resource Management Act and there's a raft of other legislative changes that will need to be made so that we can actually invest in the productive infrastructure the country needs."

"That is just not true. A large project like the $360 million Vic Park Tunnel in Auckland could be brought forward with no hassle whatsoever. That would have been a far bolder initiative than anything announced yesterday. It would have meant far more for the road construction industry, it would have meant far more in terms of jobs, and it would have been a real fillip for Auckland," Darren Hughes said.

"Instead National is opting for a timid approach that will ultimately cost New Zealand and New Zealanders dearly."

Housing spokesman George Hawkins said even the Government's own officials recognise that much more could have been done now, in order to help secure jobs.

"Housing New Zealand general manager of assets, Kevin Mara, told the Herald yesterday that while the building of new state houses still need building consents, the number of building applications to process are down so they are approving new buildings in less than 20 days," George Hawkins said.

Education spokesman Chris Carter said: "Labour's mini-Budget had building projects at Taupo-Nui-A-Tia College, Epsom Girls Grammar, Glen Eden Intermediate, Green Bay Primary School, and Papatoetoe High School ready to go. But all of these were ignored by National."

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