Two of the most important transport projects in our local area have wrongly had their futures thrown into doubt by the new Government.
We all know that Botany, Howick and Pakuranga suffers from a lack of transport infrastructure. This is unfortunately because of decades of under investment from councils and governments of every political colour — red, blue and black.
In Parliament late last year the new Minister for Transport refused to confirm whether the busway between Panmure, Pakuranga and Botany, as part of the AMETI project, remained a priority for his Government.
Similarly, the Prime Minister and Minister of Transport have regularly dismissed the value of the East-West Link and have now sent the project back to the drawing board.
New governments get to make new decisions. That’s not in question. But consistency and certainty for locals is important when it comes to vital transport infrastructure.
We have all been fighting for many years for these projects, patiently waiting in line as we get closer and closer to it being “our turn”.
In the last five years we accelerated the planning and funding for AMETI and East West Link to bring their start dates forward. We progressed both these projects through the planning stages, saw business cases emerge, allocated funding and, in the case of AMETI, we have seen some of the Panmure elements kicked off.
It is gutting for our community to have the new Minister decline to commit to AMETI and, with East West Link, effectively cancel it entirely.
To add insult to injury, the Transport Minister has also this week signalled that he is looking at redirecting some of the road funding we all pay via petrol tax into providing light rail down Dominion Road.
It has long been agreed that the funds paid for by road users should be invested in improving New Zealand’s roading network. If this goes ahead our taxes paid specifically to improve roads will be redirected to rail.
And we will be left the losers, again.
It’s our turn east Auckland. We’ve waited long enough for these projects. We have paid up front for them too.
MP for Botany