Greens opposed to Waterview Connection PPP

Auckland Green Party MP Keith Locke has criticised the recommendation to build the Waterview Connection via a private-public partnership (PPP).

“The recommendation from the Waterview Connection Procurement Steering Group will be a costly way to build a motorway we don’t need right now,” Mr Locke, the Party’s Spokesperson on Auckland Transport Issues, says.

“There is no way the government can justify giving priority to the Waterview Connection – a mere 4.5 kilometre motorway with a projected cost of $1.9 billion – when there are major rail infrastructure projects to fund, such as extending rail beyond Britomart to create an inner city loop.

“Overseas experience shows that private involvement does not make such projects any cheaper. Private operators always cover themselves contractually – for example against any shortfall of patronage affecting its toll income.

“For example, the private contractor running Melbourne’s CityLink motorway gets compensation if the Government does anything that will reduces the number of cars – which is a disincentive to better public transport services.

“Labour’s attacks on Maurice Williamson for his $50 a week road tolls ring a bit hollow when the $1.9 billion Waterview project may well require a similar level of tolling.

“Today, both the Steering Group and Transport Minister Annette King have dodged the question of whether there will be tolls – perhaps knowing that they are very unpopular in Auckland in the absence of fast and frequent public transport alternatives.

“However, we shouldn’t be fooled. Around the world PPP roads are almost always toll roads. It is hard to see how it will be different here.”