Loss of holiday highway won’t be lamented
Labour Party Media Statement 8 March 2011
Labour’s Transport spokesperson Shane Jones is welcoming reports that the so-called ‘holiday highway’ from Pūhoi to Wellsford may be delayed, with completion of the $1.3 billion highway possibly pushed back to 2024:
There is no way Labour has ever accepted that this stretch of highway is a road of national significance.
It falls into the nice but not necessary category, and there is absolutely no doubt that the $1.3 billion estimated cost of the highway could be put to far better use on other infrastructure projects.
Labour said last week that the holiday highway was one project that would have to take second place to the rebuilding of Canterbury after the quake, and it now seems, according to reports, that the Government accepts it is inevitable that the project is deferred.
When that happens, it should not be reinstated in the form Transport Minister Steven Joyce favours. Everyone who uses the existing road regularly agrees that improvements are needed, but there are ways to create a better road that won’t cost anywhere near $1.3 billion.
Apart from the top priority of rebuilding Christchurch, our urgent priorities around infrastructure projects in the future must be moving freight and people around Auckland. In terms of creating a strong economy that generates jobs, the holiday highway would have negligible long-term impact.
Workable rail freight and public transport solutions in Auckland are vital, however, to getting our major city moving.