Simon Bridges is embroiled in another bridges-for-votes controversy after admitting funding for a replacement bridge in Queenstown is “very much about… the 2017 election”, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.
“The Transport Minister is today reported as telling Queenstown locals who are unhappy with the location of the new Kawarau bridge the $25 million funding was about ‘runs on the board now prior to – if we can be very blunt about it – the 2017 election’.
The replacement bridge was promised as part of the National’s 2014 election campaign but the Kawarau Bridge Relocation Group asserts the replacement bridge – which will be built later in the year – is in the wrong location and will actually increase congestion.
Simon Bridges also advised the group: ‘If you're getting a roading solution to something, even if it's not your first best one, I reckon you're better to take it, and then keep asking for the one that you want.’
“The Minister went on to warn the group that if the bridge wasn’t built at the proposed site, ‘the funding would be reallocated to another project somewhere else in the country that is ready to go’.
“Simon Bridges has effectively told these concerned residents to be quiet and take the money.
“This is the same Minister that promised Northland residents 10 new bridges it hadn’t asked for during this year’s by-election.
“Instead of travelling the country handing out taxpayer-funded bridges as election bribes, Simon Bridges should take his ministerial warrant seriously and make sure the transport budget is spent as wisely as possible,” Phil Twyford says.