New Zealand Labour Party

National admits spending $70m on by-election whim

Transport Minister Simon Bridges has admitted he didn't ask for or receive any advice from his transport officials on 10 Northland bridges before committing $70 million to their upgrading as part of the Northland by-election campaign, Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“This shows just how far National has embraced pork barrel politics. After one opinion poll showed they were in trouble, National panicked and threw $70 million of taxpayers’ money at these bridges – most of which aren't even listed as priorities in the local Council's transport plan.

“Written answers from Simon Bridges show he didn't ask for any reports from transport officials. He probably knew they'd tell him the bridges don’t stack up as value for money.

“No doubt the decision was made on the advice of that well-known ‘transport expert’ Steven Joyce who is managing National's by-election campaign train-wreck.

“This week National has been exposed bullying and lying to local critics of their policies, and now they’ve been forced to admit their bridges bribe was made without even asking transport officials for advice.

“National’s story about these bridges keeps changing – it’s got more skid marks that an unsealed road,” Phil Twyford says.