Bridges derailed by runaway spokesperson

National Leader Simon Bridges has been derailed by his transport spokesperson Jami-Lee Ross who wants to can light rail for Auckland, Transport Minister Phil Twyford says.

“Last March Simon Bridges started route protection for light rail saying it was ‘a significant step for Auckland’ and would ‘secure better transport options for both Aucklanders and visitors to the city’.

“The then transport minister also advocated a staged, integrated transition to light rail along the preferred ‘Airport to City’ route.

“Despite this, Jami-Lee Ross today says he’d axe light rail to make up funding for vital transport infrastructure that would be lost under National’s promise to scrap the regional fuel tax.

“If Simon Bridges was hopelessly confused yesterday, he’ll be even more confused today with his transport spokesperson making plans that don’t add up.

“Jami-Lee Ross’ plan to scrap light rail and make regional New Zealand pay for Mill Road would leave them with a $2 billion hole in the Auckland transport budget.

“National left the new Government a massive funding gap for Auckland transport. Now, days after we’ve closed it, they want to open it up again.

“This is not the first time Simon Bridges has been rolled by his MPs engaging in opposition for opposition’s sake. He’s been undermined by his spokespeople on everything from public transport to value capture to petrol excise.

“National has lost all credibility on transport issues.

“Simon Bridges should be honest about his convictions rather than play petty – and confusing – party politics on an issue so important to Auckland,” Phil Twyford says.