Will he be seeking a one-off, substantial injection of funding into the National Land Transport Fund to ensure that a number of roading projects can be completed within a realistic time frame?
The Government has already made substantial one-off payments as well as significant extra ongoing funding commitments for land transport.
Does the Minister agree with Transit’s assessment of the Mangatawhiri deviation project on State Highway 2 that: “The final cost of the project is likely to exceed the funding allocated by Land Transport New Zealand.”; if so, what does he plan to do about getting this lifesaving project under way?
I agree that Land Transport New Zealand has to make rationing decisions, and I stand by its decisions.
Can the Minister state very clearly and concisely to this House what extra funding the Government has made available to land transport since being elected in the year 1999?
The Government is spending $22.3 billion on land transport over 10 years. This includes substantial one-off payments of $900 million extra for Auckland, $885 million extra for Wellington, as well as substantial increases in provincial areas.
Does the Minister consider that an announcement, prospectively, by the Wellington Regional Council chair that if the current consultation process on northern access ways to Wellington comes up favouring a staged approach to Transmission Gully as the preferred option, the council would then embark upon another round of consultation, being consistent with the realistic time frame provisions of the current legislation?
The Government looks forward to the councils coming to the Government with a unified position, which we will then consider.
Using Land Transport New Zealand’s value of statistical life calculation, what is the economic and non-economic loss to the nation of Māori lives lost to road accidents?
I cannot make that calculation here on the hoof, but suffice it to say it would be substantial.
Will the Minister assure the House that there will be adequate funding made available for roading infrastructure to adequately cope with the increased traffic volumes that will be generated by the Rugby World Cup in 2011?
If the member is, in effect, suggesting that $22.3 billion over 10 years is insufficient then I would say that, of course, the only reason can be substantial underfunding in the prior decade?
Does the Minister accept that roading in New Zealand was considerably underfunded when the National Party was last in power, and has he read the Allen report commissioned by the Automobile Association that clearly indicates there are huge economic and social gains by investing in roading, and will the Minister follow the recommendations of the Allen report?
Yes, I certainly agree that there was substantial underfunding, and perhaps the easiest way to assess that is to compare the level of money that was being spent on highways some 10 years ago and to relate that to the amount that is currently being spent, which is approximately 10 times as much.
I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. During the time my colleague was answering that very sensible question there were groans of admission and guilt from National members and all sorts of comments. I do not suggest that they should be thrown out, but to be fair and even-handed, you surely should have looked at those members and admonished them for their ill manners and bad behaviour.
I thank the member. I do remind members—I had not heard any specific interjections—the level of chatter and giggling that goes on is now reaching an unacceptable level, so would they please keep it down.
In his Budget bilateral meeting early next year with the Minister of Finance, will the Minister be reminding him of the calls by Mr Williamson for a substantial injection of more public spending on roads or reminding him of the calls by the Leader of the Opposition and the Opposition finance spokesperson, for a cut in public spending?
Given that Transit currently estimates the start date of the Newmarket viaduct improvement project as 2008–09, will the Minister commit to accelerated funding and resource mechanisms to ensure that this project will be completed by the time of the Rugby World Cup in 2011?
While the Government is committed to improving roading infrastructure and public transport infrastructure in the run-up to the Rugby World Cup, it would be wrong to say that we would be markedly changing the State highway spending plans in order to deal with an event of some weeks or 1 or 2 months.
Given that Transit currently estimates the completion date of the State Highway 20 Mount Roskill extension as 2010, will the Minister assure the House that the extension will not face the same delays as faced by other roading projects around the country and be completed in time for the Rugby World Cup in 2011?