INDEPENDENT NEWS

Labour: National's roading agenda undemocratic

Published: Fri 8 Oct 1999 04:07 PM
Labour Leader Helen Clark and transport spokesperson Harry Duynhoven today supported the allegations of the 28 local authority mayors and council chairs who accused the Government of keeping radical and untested roading reform firmly on its agenda.
Helen Clark and Harry Duynhoven said that no amount of weasel words from Mr Williamson could disguise the fact that National’s agenda was to commercialise the roading system and that that would have serious implications for regional New Zealand in particular.
“Labour has been resolute in its determination to keep accountability for roading with elected bodies who are themselves accountable to their communities. We do not want roading commercialised. We want it run efficiently and effectively to maintain a nationwide roading network.
“The statement of the 28 mayors and council chairs is timely in reminding New Zealanders of National’s underlying agenda to remove basic services like roading from local authority control. National’s proposals have always been fundamentally anti-democratic, as they have been anti the regions of New Zealand.
“Labour has publicly stated its willingness to work with local government after the election to identify the real issues in roading – not least of which is the funding issue – and to work to a resolution of those issues.
“We are well aware that there is considerable interest in local government in regional clustering of services like roading. If viable plans can be developed, then the devolution of responsibility for the state highway system to the regional clusters, within the parameters of a national strategy, can be contemplated. There would undoubtedly be efficiencies flowing from such integration of the management of the roading network.
“Labour’s co-operative approach to working with local government on roading issue stands in stark contrast to National’s antagonism to local government’s suggestions for roading.
“Local government is looking forward to a new era with a new central government as much as most New Zealanders,” Helen Clark and Harry Duynhoven said.
Contact: David Lewis, press secretary, 025 409 492

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