Friday, January 4, 2013
Road Funding Not Rational
A number of letters to the Southland Times have highlighted the frustration in the lack of regional balance in road funding and I decided to throw in my thoughts on the matter. This is something I have posted on before but is an ongoing issue. Considering that the Minister for Finance and the Assistant Speaker are our local MPs one would expect a greater level of advocacy on our behalf.
I share the frustration of the many writers to this paper about the appalling lack of research and planning that is behind the current expenditure on New Zealand Roads.
This Government has committed to spending around $12 billion on 'Roads of National Significance' based on little more than the belief that they are a good idea. Most of these mainly North Island motorways do not even pass basic cost benefit analysis and are being pushed ahead despite traffic volumes stagnating (and will obviously continue to do so after the proposed increase in petrol tax).
Southland earns about 11% of our nation's export income despite having only 2% of the population. Surely it is commonsense to ensure that money spent on road infrastructure supports our economy rather than just keeping traffic flowing in major cities where public transport has been underfunded for decades.
When we have milk tankers rolling on poorly maintained roads and traffic held up for over an hour near our preeminent tourist resort there are serious economic consequences.
I would hope our local MPs are advocating strongly on our behalf to ensure that these issues are addressed in a timely fashion, however I do question their commitment to our region when there was no National Party representation at the economic debate held last month.
Let's make 2013 the year that Southland gets a fairer share of the economic pie that we generously contribute to.