Winston wants to spend $200M on a port that doesn’t exist

While Winston?s got his eyes clearly on the prize, the Taxpayers Union have snuck up behind him and pushed the old fox from his pedestal.

Winston?s key policy for the North has been to wheel out his tired old idea of upgrading railways to Whangarei and getting the track down to the port.

While crunching the numbers for their Northland Bribe-o-meter, the TU have uncovered a few problems with the policy from the seasoned veteran and lobbed a political hand-grenade in his direction.

The Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that Winston Peters has never visited, nor spoken to the management of the port company his key Northland by-election promise is framed around.? Mr Peters announced soon after his Northland campaign launch that his party would champion an extension of the Northland railway line to the Port Whangarei?and channel growth there, rather than allow expansion at the Port of Auckland.

The Taxpayers’?Union is releasing a letter sent to Mr Peters last week seeking clarification of?the cost to taxpayers of the policy?and confirmation that he has never visited the port. The letter also outlines Mr Peters’ apparent confusion between Northport (operating near Marsden Point) and the now defunct Port Whangarei?(which for legal and technical reasons is unable to be reopened).

When Mark Osborne couldn?t come up with names for Joyce’s ten-bridge-bribe, Paddy Gower rightfully slapped him around. ??

But how a man that claims to be from the North can get one of two ports confused for his flagship policy is beyond sloppy. Port Whangarei hasn?t been open for years ? is the old pensioners age beginning to show?

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says, “Mr Peters wants to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a NorthPort rail link, but hasn’t even spoken to the Port’s management.”

“Northport’s CEO has told the Taxpayers’ Union?that the Port does not want the rail link and that it does not feature?in the Port’s 30 year plan.”

“This is just the sort of expensive political promise our Northland Bribe-O-Meter is designed to expose. Mr Peters appears to consider New Zealand’s hard earned tax dollar so expendable that to win a by-election he’s willing to throw nearly $200 million?at a Port, despite having never visited?or spoken to those in charge.”

The Northland Bribe-O-Meter shows that the cost per New Zealand Household?of?the Northland?by-election?promises so far?is?$165.96 for?Winston Peters and?$35.67?for Mark Osborne.

The correspondence is available for download here. No response has been received from Mr Peters or his staff.

Winston wants to sell the electorate a policy he hasn?t scoped out and that the port company don?t even want.

When there?s a tight by-election we expect a bit of a lolly scramble, but if he?s going to make a policy like this over a whisky with his mates the least he can do is invite the company it supposedly benefits.