Bridges has doubts over expressway start
National Party leader Simon Bridges doubts the O¯ taki to Levin Expressway will happen anytime soon.
He didn’t think the government would be able to “square it” with other projects, including the expensive tram plan in Auckland.
“I would love to be proven wrong,” he said at a Ka¯ piti Coast Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Southward Car Museum on Thursday.
National would undertake the expressway project, he said, because “it makes sense”.
“It’s what works — basic strong roading standards and infrastructure, like they have in Aussie, the UK, Europe and like we should have in New Zealand.”
Moreover, National would “never regret going Wellington to north of Levin”.
“This is not National Party policy, because it would be $15b more than I’ve got at the moment, but we wouldn’t regret fundamentally doing a four-lane highway to Taupo¯ .
“That’s what good wealthy countries should be doing — they’re safer, more efficient, more productive and it works.
Mr Bridges was heavily critical of the Budget, saying there were more taxes, more borrowing, and “in many cases spending less than we were”.
He said not to believe talk about tight constraints considering the government was “awash in money — $35b more over the next four years than we had”. It was a “tax and borrow Budget and a bit flappy” and didn’t have a business plan for growth.
“Everything we did in government was about making the boat go faster, the economy go faster.
“They [the government] have put sandbags on that boat and it does slow it down.”
An audience member said he’d like to see Mr Bridges “more verbose, louder, front footing it, and being out there saying sensible things of course,” to which the MP replied, “It’s a marathon not a sprint”.
“We’ve got time and I’m very comfortable with how it’s going.
“I’m very confident what you’ll see over time is people getting to know me more, National staying really popular, and us being competitive in 2020.
“Don’t lose heart.”