“Labour’s transport priorities are clear for all to see. Despite highlighting hundreds of resilience risks in New Zealand’s roading network almost three years ago they have only started to address ten of them, meanwhile they’ve spent five times the amount on cycleways,” says ACT’s Transport spokesperson Simon Court.
“In May 2020 Waka Kotahi endorsed a comprehensive assessment of resilience risks across land transport - the National Resilience Programme Business Case. It identified 380 risks to the roading network, including 40 extreme and 143 major risks.
“Apparently this didn’t raise any concerns in the Minister’s office. Written Parliamentary Questions answered by Transport Minister Michael Wood state that only ten of these risks are being addressed, only three of them are having actions being implemented.
“At a cost of $42.8m so far, the Government has spent five times this amount ($220m) on cycleways in the same timeframe.
“This says it all about Michael Wood’s priorities. He should be directing his department to provide safe and efficient ways for Kiwis to live their lives, however they choose to do so. Instead he is ignoring extreme risks in the roading network in favour of cycleways.
“Recent weather events have shown exactly how important a resilient roading network is. Goods and services can’t get to and from on a bike, there needs to be safe roads to ensure people’s safety and strength in emergencies.
“This means nothing to Wood, you only have to look at the evidence. He has overseen a record number of complaints to NZTA regarding damage from poorly maintained roads. ACT has also revealed the Government has reduced the amount of structural asphalt resurfacing by more than half, replacing it with thin asphalt coverings.
“Someone should not be demonised for needing to go places and do things, if they need to pick the kids up from Hockey practice, go to the doctors and pick up some milk from the dairy on the way home then public transport isn’t going to help them. Taking away parking and funding for road maintenance makes life harder.
“The Government’s sole focus for the roading network should be getting people from A to B as safely and efficiently as possible. That’s what ACT stands for.”
Note to editors: The amount spent on cycleways for 20/21 can be found here, 21/22 is here.