Nats make regional roading an issue

Simon Bridges
Simon Bridges
The Government will stall, if not completely stop, regional roading projects such as Queenstown's $22 million Kawarau Falls Bridge, Opposition leader Simon Bridges claimed yesterday.

''They are sucking that money into a tram project - they call it 'mass transit' - in Auckland.''

Mr Bridges was speaking ahead of his roadshow next week, which will start in Queenstown on Wednesday, take in Alexandra, Dunedin, Gore and Invercargill, and finish at next Saturday's Bluff Oyster & Food Festival.

''The worry is that you just won't see the investment required.

''You're just going to see, at best, a stalling, at worst, a complete stopping of the things that need to happen like [Queenstown's inner-links project], like a second bridge, like the corridors in and out of Queenstown.''

The new bridge, opened last week after two and a-half years of construction, was commissioned under Mr Bridges' former National-led government.

''The reality of transport projects is they take a long time from go to whoa, and the people of Queenstown know that because they saw it with the Kawarau Bridge.

''I wish I could click my fingers, but with planning, with Resource Management Act issues, with all of these things, to get to construction, let alone to build the thing, takes a while.''

The former transport minister said his government had ''a track record in infrastructure investment''.

''We would have kept on doing it. I think the current Government may well take its eye off the ball in that department.

''For example, I doubt you'll see anything much in that area in relation to hard infrastructure in [today's] Budget.''

- By Philip Chandler


correct me if i am wrong simon, but the kawarau falls bridge is the only real project that National did in Queenstown in 9 years, and it took a year longer to build than it was meant to.

The vast majority of improvements in Queenstown during Nationals reign came from ratepayers & developers.

Secondly you cant blame stalling the inner links project on Labour as it has been around in various forms for over 20 years, and has not been built by anyone.

What would be interesting is to tally up all the road bridges that where widened to two lanes under the previous Labour government, i can recall three, versus nationals 1.

Passing lanes would be another, which under the previous Labour government saw several constructed on the state highways, versus, correct me if im wrong zero with National. We cannot count the two laning through the frankton flats, as just as many two lane sections of road where removed and the congestion has just shifted around a bit.