H&P Times Column - Budget 2023 leaves pothole in road maintenance funding

Two weeks ago, Labour announced their sixth Budget and it may have been the most lacking we have seen during their time in charge.

Of particular note to me was the massive funding reduction for State Highway maintenance across New Zealand, with the National Land Transport Fund Budget reduced by a whopping $164 million.

That’s a 25 per cent reduction in funding for maintenance work on our State Highways, at a time when they desperately need greater investment with record numbers of potholes and damage from Cyclone Gabrielle still in need of attention.

Labour have also reduced the budget for local road maintenance by $314 million, a more than 40 per cent reduction from last year, ultimately meaning nearly half a billion dollars less overall to keep our roads safe and fit for purpose.

This is simply unacceptable. National has spent the last 12 months trying to highlight the dire state of our nation’s roads in the desperate hope that the government would do something about it.

Following the damage wrought by Cyclone Gabrielle, they talked a big game about the need to repair and rebuild our roads to a more resilient level, to ensure they could handle future natural disasters.

But as is usual for Labour, what they announce is never what they deliver, to the detriment of Kiwis once again.

They continue to spend money in all the wrong places, and particularly love to spend it on projects that end up cancelled, or on things that make no sense, like speed limit reductions and light rail.

A National Government, if elected later this year, will bring fiscal discipline to transport spending and real investment into the infrastructure that New Zealand needs.