Jami-Lee Ross: Government ramps up taxes, cancels new projects

The Government’s new plan for transport is bad news for Auckland.

Hard-working taxpayers in our city are about to be whacked by an increase in petrol taxes of up to 25 cents a litre – or $15 every time we fill up our cars. About half of this will be from a nationwide tax increase on fuel and the other half from a new regional tax for Auckland.

At the same time, key projects around our region that would have moved Auckland forward are now at risk. Labour has instead reprioritised funding towards Dominion Road trams.

When National was in government, we were able to invest in major new roading projects across New Zealand. We also delivered a record investment in public transport and we started the move towards new transport technologies.

The current administration doesn’t care much for our Roads of National Significance policy. But without it we would never have seen projects get off the ground like the Victoria Park Tunnel, the Western Ring Route or the improved Waterview Connection.

We also saw significant progress made to widening lanes on the southern motorway, delivering urban cycleways, and starting the Puhoi to Warkworth project.

Auckland’s future requires a mixture of roads and public transport improvements that include buses, rail and ferries. We also need to make sure transport plans and policies are affordable for Aucklanders.

Our last election’s ambitious transport agenda was one that didn’t require further tax increases. We expected the Council to tighten its ever increasing spending, as well as keeping our own books in order with strong budget surpluses.

I will keep fighting for local projects like East-West Link that have now been thrown into doubt by this new government.

We must also keep investing in key infrastructure assets like the AMETI busway, Mill Road Corridor and the City Rail Link. These key projects sit alongside the need to accelerate construction on the Northwestern Busway, the State Highway 16 and 18 interchange, and Penlink.

It can be done. Auckland deserves better than what this government has put forward. And we don’t need any new taxes.

Jami-Lee Ross – MP for Botany