Baldock hails Swain direction to Transfund
United Future MP, Larry Baldock, today congratulated Transport Minister, Paul Swain, for his bold initiative in
directing Transfund to contribute 100% funding to the development of regional roads in Northland and the East Coast.
Mr Swain’s directive, the first by a Transport Minister to Transfund, is intended to help those regions deal with the
‘wall of wood’ – forestry plantings that are due to be harvested in the near future.
United Future’s transport spokesman, Mr Baldock said, “Such groundbreaking action gives us all hope that we will see
the Government also respond to the economic needs of other transport-affected regions such as Tauranga in the Western
Bay of Plenty.
According to Derek Dumbar, Director of the Land Transport Forum, “the freight congestion in the two approaches to the
Port of Tauranga is costing the transport industry $5.15 million a year already. This is increasing at the rate of 10%
per annum and unless funding is committed very soon to provide for the second harbour bridge crossing it is estimated to
cost the economy of the region at least $100 million per annum.”
“Argument for investment in the regions faced with the wall of wood harvest is easy to make. However the economic cost
of congestion affecting access to the country's largest export port also provides a compelling argument for direct
action there also,” said Mr Baldock.