Thousands sign to save regional roads

Hunua MP Andrew Bayly and Papakura MP Judith Collins presented their Mill Road petition to Parliament yesterday. Photo supplied

A petition pushing for a complete upgrade of South Auckland’s Mill Road has been lodged in Parliament.

Hunua MP Andrew Bayly and Papakura MP Judith Collins presented their petition on June 19.

It shows significant public support for what is a key regional roading project under threat because of the Government’s transport policies, My Bayly says.

The Government and Auckland Council plan to upgrade only the first part of the road, from Redoubt Rd in Manukau to Alfriston School, not the “entire road as we wanted to do”, he says.

“It’s going to be a road to nowhere and it’s certainly not going to help the thousands of people who every morning has to get on the Southern Motorway at Papakura or Drury or Bombay.

“If the Government had agreed to do Mill Road in its entirety, as Judith Collins and I had got the National Party to agree to, we would have been able to have an alternative route to get people up and down this part of the south.”

Bayly says National had agreed to designate Mill Road a state highway and invest $1 billion into the project. It would have four-laned the road from Manukau, around Papakura (taking in Stevenson’s new industrial development at Drury) to rejoin the Southern Motorway between Drury and Ramarama.

Collins says the current Government’s plan “is not going to work for us and we’re going to have to do better”.

Their petition was among eight lodged by the National Party. National’s transport spokesperson Jami-Lee Ross says more than 16,000 New Zealanders signed the petitions supporting eight major projects that Labour is set to abandon.

National is committed to ensuring the regions are connected to the main centres, with better and safer roads, he says.

“However, in spite of having billions to blow on diplomats and free tertiary education the Government has ripped $5 billion out of regional roading projects to fund a tram in Auckland, placing these projects under threat and that’s not good enough.

“The Government must listen to the thousands of people calling for more support for their regional highway projects and pledge more support for the roads that will boost our regions and ensure our regions remain connected.”