Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Follow-through needed on Eastern Busway

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Botany MP Christopher Luxon says six months of potential progress on the Eastern Busway and the Reeves Road flyover has been lost.
  • By Christopher Luxon, MP for Botany

News that the Government backed down on their unfathomable $785 million cycle bridge, and instead chose to reprioritise the delayed Eastern Busway, was an overdue win for our community, for taxpayers and for common sense.

The back down just shows that people power does work and when we band together, our voices do make an impact.

Labour ditched their cycle bridge after just four short months, in which they inconceivably managed to spend $51 million on the doomed project. What’s even more flabbergasting is that final design work is still ongoing.

We don’t know what the ultimate end cost will be but I’ll be keeping a close eye out for the bill because it’s bound to be bad news for taxpayers.

A cycle bridge serving 3000 people on a nice day never stood up against the Eastern Busway, which will connect 30,000 people a day to education and employment.

Botany and Pakuranga residents should be delighted their advocacy has paid off but we can’t afford to let our guard down.

Because of Labour’s lack of prioritisation and their dogged pursuit of the cycle bridge, we’ve already lost six months of potential progress on the Eastern Busway and the Reeves Road flyover.

Simeon Brown and I will be relentlessly keeping the pressure on the Busway’s delivery. Our communities can’t afford any further delays, or any more pointless diversions into vanity projects like costly cycle bridges.

The bottom line must be an Eastern Busway and Reeves Road Flyover delivered on time and in full by 2025, as was funded by the last National Government.

In my role as the National Party’s Local Government spokesperson, I’ve been busy keeping the pressure on the Government around their proposed Three Waters reforms, which would see local water assets taken away from council control and centralised into one of four mega-entities.

Under Labour’s plan, your drinking water, wastewater and stormwater would be controlled by a bureaucratic morass of appointed officials and unelected decision-makers, at arm’s length from your community.

For Auckland, it would potentially see Watercare swallowed into an entity that would reach as far north as Cape Reinga and include three other Northland councils. Aucklanders would pay their water bills into what would effectively be one big pot for entity ‘A’ – which might then be spent on fixing up water infrastructure in Kaipara.

The Far North and Whangārei district councils have already withdrawn, but the Government is determined to ram their plans through and it’s almost inevitable they will shortly announce an ‘all-in’ approach that forces the reforms on every council and removes their ability to opt-out.

We can’t afford to lose the ‘local’ from local government and National will fight the Three Waters asset grab every step of the way. The next National Government will repeal the Three Waters entities and return any seized assets to council control.

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