New Zealand Labour Party

Bridges of Northland on backburner

Transport Minister Simon Bridges today admitted no progress has been made towards his Northland by-election bribe of 10 new bridges and could only say they would be funded sometime in the next six years, Labour's transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“This is yet more proof – if any was needed – that the Bridges of Northland were an act of pure electoral cynicism by the National Party. 

“Three months after the by-election, Simon Bridges appears to have moved on and his Northland bridges have been put on the back burner.

“The 10 bridges, totalling $70 million, were promised to the people of Northland in the heat of the campaign. The Prime Minister and the Transport Minister both assured Northlanders that the bridges would be built regardless of whether their candidate won.  Now Simon Bridges nonchalantly tells a select committee the bridges will be built sometime in the next six years.

“This was a National Party boondoggle, typical of the cynical pork-barrelling that passes for transport policy under this Government.

“During the by-election the Transport Agency pointed out the bridges would have to be assessed according to its cost-benefit and funding criteria. Only four of the ten bridges were already included in the Northland Regional Council’s draft 2015 transport plan.

“This shows despite National’s promises the chronic underfunding of regional roading by this Government continues,” Phil Twyford says.