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Hughes: Joyce Reveals His Smoke And Mirrors For Third Time

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Darren Hughes
Darren Hughes

19 May 2009 - Transport Minister Steven Joyce has re-announced his so-called billion dollar plan for state highways so often that he must almost be able to see himself in the mirror despite the smoke, says Labour transport spokesperson Darren Hughes.

"It's real groundhog day for Steven Joyce. He has given us the so-called news at least three times this year, with the latest re-announcement presumably an attempt to divert media attention from how unpopular his decision is to ram a road through 365 houses in Mt Albert."

Darren Hughes said a common feature of all the announcements was that he failed to specify how much the Government was planning to strip from local roads and existing state highways and from road policing and public transport to fund spending on new motorways.

"Steven Joyce has a motorway fixation. Just last week he claimed Aucklanders don't use public transport. Well, people only use it when it is available. Whenever public transport improvements are made, such as the Northern Busway, patronage increases sharply," Darren Hughes said. "Steven Joyce's tarmac vision is limiting Auckland's future. He cannot stop Auckland's rail electrification, but he is selling Auckland short on new railway stations and integrated ticketing.

"We also know, though he doesn't tell us in today's non-announcement, that he plans to make roads less safe by removing $50 million from previously-budgeted spending on road policing, and that he is stripping $75 million from local roads and $122 million from existing state highways," Darren Hughes said.

"What Steven Joyce is doing is robbing the more remote regions to pay for a few big-ticket motorway projects that will please his friends."

Darren Hughes said Steven Joyce's claim that the National Land Transport Fund will provide $10.7 billion over 10 years for investment in state highways needed to be seen in perspective.

"For example, in Budget 2006 Labour announced a five-year $13.4 billion spending programme in New Zealand's largest ever roading programme. But Labour's approach to transport funding was also based on a multi-modal programme involving state highways, local roads, public transport, sea freight and rail. Sadly, Mr Joyce's fixated approach means that balance is now lost."

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