Twyford wants to improve congestion

Why? It is bad already. Why improve it? Surely it would be better to reduce congestion rather than improve it? In an answer in the house on Thursday Minister of Transport, the Hon Phil Twyford said: quote.

Because actually improving Kiwis’ access to the things they need is fundamentally about improving congestion.

Hansard end quote.

Okay, so maybe that is taking the mickey just a little. I am sure that he did not really mean he wants to ‘improve’ congestion. But, then, maybe he does? Who would ever know with this Minister? 100,000 houses over ten years became 10,000 houses over ten years very easily.

Towards the end of the exchange in the house we heard this. quote.

Hon Paul Goldsmith: So does he think Kiwis stuck in traffic?say on Auckland’s Southern Motorway, or crawling into Tauranga from ?mokoroa, or many other places?would agree that reducing congestion should no longer be a priority, as the chair of his New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) thinks?

Hon PHIL TWYFORD: Reducing congestion is a priority, but it’s a subset of improving access. We had a nine-year experiment in the kind of policy that the member is promoting, and congestion and gridlock in our cities got worse every single year, and we saw a blowout in deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

Hon Paul Goldsmith: So what does he say to the people of Tauranga, whose council has instructed the chief executive of Tauranga City Council to cease awarding any new contracts for transportation upgrade and safety projects because they no longer have agreement with NZTA to part-fund them, because they don’t fit within the Government’s new transport priorities?

Hon PHIL TWYFORD: Well, that’s not at all what the mayor and chief executive of Tauranga City Council have said. They actually have raised with me that they are having trouble getting some decisions made as speedily to see projects rolled out. I’ve asked them for detail on that, because holding up any road projects or transport projects is the last thing that I want to see, and I’ve said I will chase that up for them.

Hansard end quote.

… holding up any road projects or transport projects is the last thing that I want to see …


If ‘improving access‘ is the big thing and ‘reducing congestion‘ is a subset of that why, when he got the Minister of Transport role, did Twyford immediately cancel the work which was due to start in 2018 on improving access along SH2 to Tauranga and New Zealand’s major export port?

Why did Twyford immediately cancel the work which was due to start in 2018 on reducing congestion on SH2 for people of Omokoroa and Katikati?

Did the Minister of Transport confer with the Minister of Housing about the effect that the Minister of Transport’s cancellation of this roading upgrade would have on the Minister of Housing’s desire to reduce the housing crisis by improving access to Omokoroa and the 1,000 or so sections that are available now for houses to be built on?

The Minister and his Associate rattle on about the big priority being safety. SH2 from Tauranga to Omokoroa has one of the highest death and serious injury rates per km in the country. The new road that is designed, that has the land purchased etc would have solved the safety issue, the access issue and the congestion issue.

But Twyford killed it as it is in a blue seat and the road goes straight into the Leader of the Opposition’s electorate.

It is true that National could have built the road, but they probably thought that reconnecting Kaikoura had a slightly higher priority for their spending. Nevertheless the project was scoped and designed and ready to go to tender when Twyford axed it.