News release – Green Party
The release of the Sandhills Expressway route on a Saturday just one week after the Mana by-election is yet more evidence the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is at the political beck and call of the Minister of Transport, said the Green Party today.
Green Party Wellington transport spokesperson Sue Kedgley said: “It was a cynical manipulation of the process to delay the release of the details of the Government’s unpopular, controversial, and costly Sandhills expressway plan until after the Mana by-election.
“Dozens of properties will be directly affected by the proposed expressway in Raumiti and Parparaumu, which are well in the Mana electorate.
“I am deeply suspicious that the route only became available on a Saturday, one day before consultation began,” said Ms Kedgley.
“Clearly the Government is trying to downplay the whole controversial motorway, in the hope that public opposition to it will not continue to build.
“It is equally cynical that the entire consultation will be taking place over the Christmas period when people are busy and away.”
Last week a column by Rod Oram in the Sunday Star Times exposed the business cases for the Roads of National Significance, including the Wellington Northern Corridor, to be very poor and suggested that NZTA had not published consultants’ advice to that effect for political reasons.
“We are concerned that the NZTA appears to have lost any independence. The Minister of Transport admitted in the House several weeks ago that he regularly phones officials at the NZTA, even on weekends.
“The Government is pushing forward these motorway projects at any cost, and it seems more and more clear that the NZTA, which is supposed to have statutory independence, is at the bidding of the Minister of Transport,” said Ms Kedgley.