National MPs from all over the country have lined up at Parliament this morning to submit ‘save the highways’ petitions signed by thousands of their constituents.
They are concerned that major roading projects National announced are being canned by this government in favour of more public transport options or “minimal” safety upgrades of existing roads.
Examples include the Auckland east-west link, the Napier to Hastings expressway and the construction of a four-lane state highway one link between Christchurch and Ashburton.
MPs for the electorates north of Auckland hope to save the ‘four-lanes to Whangarei’ project, with Rodney MP Mark Mitchell saying the uncertainty was having a huge impact on people’s well-being.
“The cancellation of these projects not only reduces road safety, do not only take away the economic opportunities they would create, but it’s also creating a lot of stress.
“There’s a human toll to the people who actually live on these designated routes and have a lot of uncertainty created from very poor decisions, I feel, at central government level,” Mr Mitchell said.
Eight petitions have been delivered, with thousands of signatures from the MPs constituents.
Amy Adams, the MP for Selwyn, said the State Highway 1 link between Christchurch and Ashburton must go ahead.
“The volume of traffic on those roads is making them not only more dangerous, but more and more congested, obviously effecting productivity,” she said.
Ms Adams said she had more than a thousand people sign up in a short time.
Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller and Coromandel MP Scott Simpson submitted on the Katikati to Tauranga four-lane link, which it announced in 2017 and said Labour must commit to.
They want a grade separated connection from Omokoroa onto State Highway 2 and a Katikati bypass.
Few questions were asked by the government MPs who sit on the transport committee, however National MP Paul Goldsmith asked a number of questions about the impact of the regional fuel tax on the MPs’ communities.
He said there was little thought for people outside of Auckland who would never benefit from the expensive public transport projects the government was funding in the city.