16 Jun 2014

Roading plans for decade revealed

1:03 pm on 16 June 2014

The Government plans to invest $38.7 billion in the country's roads over the next decade

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said the spending would boost economic growth in both the regions and main centres.

The draft policy statement outlines continued funding for Roads of National Significance and a $375 million interest-free loan for Auckland motorways, and focuses on making roads safer, and maintaining regional roads.

The draft plan includes a $375 million interest-free loan for Auckland motorways.

The draft plan includes a $375 million interest-free loan for Auckland motorways. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Labour and the Greens both say the Government needs to look more towards public transport and rail freight.

Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said the Government needs to step into the 21st century when it comes to transport policy.

She said the number one priority must be safer walking and cycling, and then improved public transport, which would ease congestion by having fewer people using cars.

Mr Brownlee told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme cycleways get local as well as central government funding.

"Cycleways and cycleway strategies inside the transport network are primarily going to be on local roads which are not part of the Government's direct responsibility. I'm not trying to shirk it - we put money into it and we'll continue to do that."

Labour's transport spokesperson Phil Twyford said mega-motorway projects are very poor value for money and a Labour-led government would review and probably postpone them, and significantly increase spending on urban public transport.

The AA and the Road Transport Forum for the most part support the proposals.

AA general manager of motoring affairs Mike Noon said with $270 million going to roads in the regions, those areas will prosper. Mr Noon says it was aimed at unlocking the potential of the regions whether through freight or through tourism.

The public have until 11 August to make submissions on the policy, which comes into effect from July next year.