Rural Roads OK - Mayor Misses the Point

  • Maurice Williamson

"Rural New Zealand will not be disadvantaged by road reform, Mr Chaffey has missed the point," Minister of Transport Hon Maurice Williamson said today.

Mr Williamson was commenting on remarks made by the Mayor of Hurunui District Council John Chaffey on road reform.

"If we decided to go they way of increased road user charges, they would not be steep and all communities including farmers will benefit from the rate reductions that go with them," the Minister said.

"Roads are not being dealt with in isolation, already New Zealanders have benefited from the reforms in other transport areas including better air services and ports.

"Retaining the road network in both rural and urban areas. Roads will not be privatised and continued access to our roads for New Zealanders, are clear commitments the Government has consistently stated.

"As we approach the new millennium our roads need to be made safer and more efficient.

"Central Government has worked closely with Local Government New Zealand to ensure their views are considered in proposed road policies.

"Local Government - responsible to local communities - will continue to own local roads.

"Look at the successful transport reforms of the past decade. New Zealand has a transport system that is delivering substantive gains from the changes. Road reform is just another step toward making the industry as productive as possible.

"I can assure New Zealanders that any changes to roads will be gradual and will result in fairer and safer roads and a better environment.

"The Government is still making decisions about road reform. We are working hard to ensure our transport system will work to the best advantage for New Zealand in the next century," Mr Williamson said.