Government 'less than honest' about roading plans, says expert

A transport expert says the Government is being 'less than honest' with the public over its plans to work on seven roads which it says are of national significance.

The Dog & Lemon Guide editor Clive Matthew-Wilson says the Government's transport strategy is being driven by lobbyists such as the Road Transport Forum, which he says would stand to profit from the new roads.

"The government has announced seven major roads, offering them as a cure for the country's transport needs", he says.

"In fact, the new roads will probably benefit the National Party's friends in big business more than the average motorist."

Mr Matthew-Wilson says that the Road Transport Forum represents trucking companies, and accuses the Government of ignoring its own figures which he says have shown that transporting goods by rail is more than five times more efficient than transporting goods by truck.

"The Government's roading policies start to make sense when you remember that Road Transport Forum chief executive Tony Friedlander is a former National Party cabinet minister," he says.

Mr Matthew-Wilson says he also questions the Government's suggestion that some roads could be funded through tolls.

"Transport Minister Steven Joyce has announced that some roads could be funded through tolls. This sounds nice on paper, but you have to question who really profits from this.

"One of National's advisors on roading was former party leader Jim McLay, who until recently was the executive chairman of Macquarie New Zealand, a branch of a major Australian builder of toll roads."

Mr Matthew-Wilson says the Government needs to rethink their transportation strategy rather than "trying to patch a sinking ship."

- HERALD ONLINE

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