14 Feb 2012

Brownlee critical of proposed Auckland transport options

2:16 pm on 14 February 2012

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Auckland Mayor can't expect the Government to change its transport policy to suit the council.

The Auckland Council is looking at ways to fund up to $15 billion of work on major transport projects, but the Government has warned it is unlikely to support tax changes.

Options up for discussion to meet the transport funding shortfall in Auckland include new taxes, such as a regional goods and services tax (GST) or a new fuel levy.

Those sorts of changes would need support from central government, but Mr Brownlee said on Tuesday that Auckland Mayor Len Brown can't expect that.

"They are very, very expensive projects and, clearly, he wants to have a discussion about the funding options. We've made it clear that the Auckland City Council does not make National Government policy."

Labour Party leader David Shearer is critical of the National-led Government's approach.

"What Len Brown has done is put up a number of options and saying we need to move ahead. This government doesn't seem to want to move ahead.

"We believe they should actually get up and make a real plan for Auckland and get in behind Len Brown rather than in a sense proposing everything that he's trying to do for Auckland."

Mr Shearer says Labour has not considered whether it would back new regional taxes for Auckland to help pay for transport costs.