Sunday, May 19, 2024

Government ramps up taxes, leaves projects in limbo

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

Hard-working taxpayers in our city are already facing the highest fuel prices many of us would have ever seen. A new regional fuel tax is further pushing up our everyday costs and there are three more rounds of fuel taxes yet to come.

These unnecessary taxes are driving up the cost of living.

But not only are we seeing higher taxes — key projects around the region that would’ve moved Auckland forward are now being scaled down.

The East West Link and Mill Road are both seeing cuts to the funding available to them compared to what National wanted to do.

Instead, Labour has reprioritised funding towards Dominion Road trams.

When National was in Government we were able to invest in major new roading projects across New Zealand and through Auckland while also keeping the cost of living down.

Our ambitious transport agenda was one that didn’t require further tax increases either.

We expected the Council to tighten its ever-increasing spending while we kept our own books in order with strong budget surpluses.

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

The current administration doesn’t care much for our Roads of National Significance or major highway projects.

But, without commitment to these projects, we would never have seen major achievements get off the ground like the Victoria Park Tunnel, the Western Ring Route or the improved Waterview Connection.

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.

We need to keep investing in key infrastructure assets like the East-West Link, Mill Road Corridor and the City Rail Link.

These 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 to do it.

  • Jami-Lee Ross, MP for Botany
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