A project pledged to expand the Hawke's Bay expressway is "at risk of not going ahead", Tukituki MP Lawrence Yule says.

However the Government says National's concerns are "unfounded".

This week former Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule launched a petition aimed at saving the project which would see the Napier to Hastings Expressway expanded into four lanes, and to "ensure the voice of the region is heard".

This project was "promised" in August by then Prime Minister Bill English as part of a $10.5 billion roading improvement plan. It proposed a million-dollar upgrade of the expressway from the current two-lane highway to four.


"However, Transport Minister Phil Twyford now says that a number of these projects are under review and in question time confirmed a safety review was being done on the Napier to Hastings Expressway," Mr Yule said.

Mr Yule said the biggest safety issue on this road is the congestion at peak times which would have been eliminated by the planned four laning.

"This is one of the roads in New Zealand that is actually fully designated, has all the land available and just needs the decision to get on and four lane it.

"If you look at what's projected with the Napier Port's growth projected to grow by 50 per cent to 2026, and the renewed efforts to be made by Napier to get trucks off Marine Parade, and the growth of the airport then actually there is a looming problem if there isn't a problem already."

"Hawke's Bay is booming and we want the Government to commit to the infrastructure required to support growth and jobs."

Mr Yule said he had spoken to all the region's mayors so far except Wairoa's Mayor Craig Little, "and they're all supportive of doing this".

Mr Twyford was unavailable for comment. A spokesperson for the Minister said National's concerns were "unfounded" as the Transport Agency had advised funding for road upgrades cannot be redirected into rail.

The Labour-led Government has not altered any existing roading projects except Auckland's East-West link and officials are working to identify a lower-cost, better-value option.

"It important to note that the other "highway projects" referred to in National's petition do not exist. They were election campaign promises made by National in August and never costed or funded."

"To suggest the Government isn't going ahead with projects that don't exist is misleading. And to suggest non-existing funding be diverted into rail is nonsensical."

Mr Yule said regardless of politics, he thought this was a key piece of infrastructure for the region.

Napier Labour MP Stuart Nash did not respond to requests for comment.

This was one of a series of petitions launched by the National Party this week aimed at saving regional highway projects. Mr Yule would be presenting the online, and physical petition to the Government later this year.