News that opposition parties are once again planning to rob the National Land Transport Fund for their pet projects will send shivers up the spines of the road transport industry and other New Zealand motorists, according to Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley.
“Every time the Opposition make a commitment to extend rail or light rail as they have done with the Mt Roskill Line they believe it is perfectly acceptable to just dip into the National Land Transport Fund as if it is some infinite well of cash,” he said.
“The road transport industry has no issue with improving the country’s urban public transport infrastructure, including rail. However, any subsidy from the National Land Transport Fund should be for operating costs and not capital projects as proposed by Labour.”
The National Land Transport Fund is paid by road users through petrol excise and road user charges. It is a ring-fenced fund for roading projects and has operated successfully as such since 2008.
“For Labour to also come out and claim that they would use unallocated money from the fund is a complete nonsense. There is no unallocated money, in fact it is probably fair to say that the fund’s commitments are, if anything, over-allocated.
“If political parties are going to have a great big spend up over the next year or so, then at least they should show New Zealanders enough respect to make the case up front rather than creating the illusion of some untapped slush fund they can just fall back on anytime they like,” said Shirley.