MAYORAL ROADING STATEMENTS NEED CORRECTION

  • Maurice Williamson
Transport

Recent statements made by various New Zealand Mayors about the Government's roading proposal need correcting, Transport Minister Maurice Williamson said today.

"They keep referring to our roading policy, despite our continued and exhaustive stance that it is still a proposal and won't be finalised until our consultation process, which includes their own councils, is complete.

"Christchurch Mayor Gary Moore referred to my comment that the roading issue is the most important reform New Zealand has faced in 50 years.

"This is why we've been consulting for the last two years and will continue to do so. Because of this importance, we're keeping an open mind on areas of dispute, such as those mentioned by Mr Moore.

Mr Williamson said it was important the Mayors explained the proposal accurately to their ratepayers.

"I know they have concerns about community control, but they must explain that Local Authorities would own the proposed roading entities and appoint the directors. So, saying there would be no community control is not an accurate statement."

Kaikoura Mayor Jim Abernethy's statement that his district's roads would be the first to fall into disrepair, also needs correcting.

"No roads would be closed as a result of the proposal. Roading entities would be obligated to keep all the roads within their area. This is not to say roads can't close. They can at the moment but strict public consultation procedures have to be followed. These would be retained under the proposal," said Mr Williamson.

"Although a number of Mayors seem to have already made up their minds, I think the people of New Zealand would prefer we kept an open mind until we have completed our consultation process, and can offer the best solution.

"I can't emphasise enough the need for the Mayors to explain the proposal, not policy, accurately to their rate-payers, as it is rate-payer money funding their campaign."