The Government's failure to fund the Cambridge to Piarere extension of the Waikato Expressway has angered National MP for Hamilton East David Bennett, who said the Governments Infrastructure announcement this week was a failure for the Waikato.
The Labour-led Government announced several four-lane highway projects, including State Highway 1 from Whangārei to Port Marsden, Mill Rd in South Auckland, widening SH1 from Papakura to Drury, the Tauranga Northern Link and SH1 from Ōtaki to north of Levin.
The package also includes $1.1b for rail, including $371 million for rail electrification from Papakura to Pukekohe.
The glaring omissions from the announcement was the Cambridge to Piarere extension, with the project put on hold in 2017 when Labour took office.
Instead, a $58 million roundabout has been signed off for the notorious SH1 and SH29 intersection, which Mr Bennett said was a "stop-gap measure."
"The announced roundabout is a stop-gap measure to relieve safety concerns but does nothing regarding congestion and promoting economic growth.
"The infrastructure announcements were the opportunity to promote economic growth in the Waikato with the extension of the Cambridge to Piarere road being the highest priority project in our region," Mr Bennett said.
"The failure to invest in this road could delay its eventual completion due to NZTA believing it has solved the problem. In fact, the Government's announcements today further delay the vital infrastructure needed in the Waikato."
Mr Bennett also took aim at the Government's investment in rail which will see the Papakura to Pukekohe section of the track electrified.
"The investment in rail in the Auckland region from Papakura to Pukekohe raises real doubts over the viability of the Hamilton to Papakura train service."
"We are again duplicating spending with the Waikato getting token expenditure to appease our region when we should be having our projects fully funded.
"The Waikato is nine percent of New Zealand's population and could've expected over $600 million, for example, the $450 million expected for the Cambridge to Piarere extension, from today's announcements; instead all we got was a roundabout that would delay the vital infrastructure that is needed to grow our region."
"The Waikato has been forgotten by this Government when as a fast growing region we need the infrastructure to enable us to achieve our potential.
Labour List MP Jamie Strange said the Waikato has not been forgotten by the Government, and that building a new roundabout at the deadly SH1 and SH29 intersection shows the Government's priority on road safety.
"Having regularly travelled to the Bay of Plenty with my family, I have witnessed a number of crashes at this site. I am very pleased that a large roundabout will be built to improve safety outcomes," Mr Strange said.
Mr Strange said that the new roundabout would be built slightly further back on SH29 to allow for it to align with the Cambridge to Piarere expressway extension if it goes ahead in the future.
"This is an important step in future proofing the route for the extension of the Waikato Expressway from Cambridge to Piarere."
The electrification of the track from Papakura to Pukekohe could also have an effect on the Waikato, with the Hamilton to Auckland rail service, which will stop in Papakura starting this year.
The electrification means in the future there is a possibility the rail service could allow for Hamiltonians to swap on to the Auckland rail network in Pukekohe, rather than Papakura.