Labour Govt. will back the Western Link RoadBy Alan Tristram
Labour Leader David Cunliffe says if a Labour Government is elected next year it will ditch the Expressway and go back to plans for the Western Link Road.
His statement comes in a special question and answer session for the Kapiti Independent.
Question 1: Work is starting on the Expressway now. Labour has said it would halt things if it has time. But, seriously, what can be done if Labour wins next year?
David Cunliffe: ‘Labour continues to strongly oppose the Expressway and applauds the commitment of the groups who have fought it. We know there is a better transport solution for the Kapiti Coast and if we can implement the two-lane Western Link with minimal disruption, we will.’
Question 2. How can Labour win back the Otaki seat, taking into account the fact that Nathan Guy is a strong electorate man?
David Cunliffe: ‘Labour understands the issues facing the people of Otaki and knows they have not been listened to by the Government.
‘Whether it is the expensive expressway, the cutting of Home Help to elderly or asset sales, the people of Kapiti are simply not getting the representation they deserve. We will ensure our candidate will be a strong advocate and a loud voice for the people of Otaki.
‘Labour continues to have an effective party organisation in the electorate and, as the Christchurch East by-election recently proved, it is important to have a well-oiled local party organisation along with the right candidate.
‘We already have a number of very exciting and talented candidates putting their hands up. It shows Labour is ready to take back Otaki and it’s great that so many people are motivated to become the candidate.
‘Nathan Guy is struggling to manage his portfolios and spends a lot of time overseas. That means he has less time for his electorate. Labour is ready to step in and fill that gap.’
Question 3. The Coast and Horowhenua are home to large numbers of rail commuters. But rail prices keep increasing and the Capital Connection is under threat. Will Labour act to make sure the Capital Connection is safe; and do something about rail fares?
David Cunliffe: ‘Labour will place a higher priority on public transport, including rail.
‘Labour intends to reprioritise public transport funding to make public transport more accessable and that includes keeping rail fares under control. Labour values local communities and people’s right to have a choice of transport options.
‘The business case for funding the Capital Connection is very strong and a Labour government will work with the regional councils to maintain this valuable service.
‘It was fantastic that pressure from your community kept the Capital Connection alive for another two years. What we need now is a government that values public transport.’
Question 4: The Coast has double the national average of senior citizens. These folk are hit by rising rates, rising medical and dental costs, and increased grocery prices. What will you do to help them?
David Cunliffe: ‘One of the key issues that arises when I speak to the elderly is increasing power prices. We hear horror stories of elderly people having to go to bed early because they can’t afford to heat their homes or pay their power bills.
‘We remain opposed to asset sales, especially the sale of our utility assets such as power companies. Selling those assets will force power prices up.
‘A Labour government will bring power prices down by creating a state-owned electricity purchaser called NZ Power. It will create jobs and provide a boost to the economy.’
Question 5: (The Xmas question) : What do you do to relax when the pressure is on?
David Cunliffe: ‘I try to go for a run or to the gym. When I have free time in Auckland I spend all the time I can with my family.
‘I also love fishing but seem to have little time for it these days!’