Kapiti Motorway Slammed

Labour MP”s launch Parliamentary attack on waste of money on

Phil Twyford, Labour Transport Spokesman

Expressway

By Alan Tristram

Labour MP’s have launched a major attack in Parliament on  Government’s plans for the Kapiti Expressway —  pointing out the waste of money the project entails.

Mana MP Kris Faafoi told Parliament that for every $1 spent the country would get back only 20 cents’ worth of economic benefits.

Labour’s renewed attacks on the Expressway came during a marathon ‘urgency’ session in Parliament to pass the Customs and Excise Amendment Bill  (67 votes for, 26 against).

The Bill raises petrol tax by three cents a litre each July for the next three years – and the

Government says the money’s needed to help fund roading projects like the Kapiti Expressway which were national priorities.

Faafoi quotes leaked report

But Kris Faafoi said a leaked report by the Beca Group showed that the $0.5 billion spent on the Kapiti Expressway was going to have a benefit-cost ratio of 0.2—0.2.

“So for every $1 spent the economic benefit to New Zealand is 20c—20c…that shows just how stupid some of these roads of national significance are., he said.

“If the National Government thinks that spending $1 on a motorway and getting 20c back for it is a good investment, well, I hope that quite a few people at home are watching this debate because that is a complete dog of an investment.

“Going back to that 3 cents a litre increase and back to the Kapiti Expressway, how much money are we talking about? Well, we are talking about $515 million. The return over a 30-year period is just $118 million. In an economic sense that does not make sense.”

Earlier, Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said the increases will allow the Transport Agency to begin work on four major projects in the 2013-14 financial year: the MacKays to Peka Peka section of the Wellington Northern Corridor (Kapiti Expressway); two parts of  the Rangiriri Tamahere-Cambridge sections of the Waikato Expressway ; and the four-laning of a section of the Western Corridor in Christchurch.

‘What about the Expressway?’

But another Labour rebuttal came from MP David Cunliffe who asked:

“What about the Kapiti Expressway?

“I see we have got my colleague Kris Faafoi from Mana here. He has led the charge on that issue. Not even the locals want it.

“The Government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars that it does not need to spend, because it could simply improve the existing arterial road (Western Link Road). It is cheaper, and it is what the locals want.”

And Labour Transport spokesman MP Phil Twyford added: “The Government has chosen one particular way, in this bill, to refill the coffers that have been so depleted by this motorway building programme, but it is not the only way.

We need to be aware that the Government is getting extra money from all over the place in order to frontload the motorway building programme, to get as many of these gold-plated projects up and running, like the Pūhoi to Wellsford holiday highway, like the Kapiti Expressway.

“It is desperate to get all these projects up and running, to rev up the bulldozers, sign the contracts before a Labour-Green Government comes to office at the end of 2014. We are not against all these funding options.

“We are not against the idea of, for instance, long-term borrowing. It makes sense to borrow long term to fund major infrastructure projects that will benefit future generations. But we are utterly opposed to a measure like this bill that is pouring taxpayer tax into a transport programme that is unbalanced and unwise.