The National Government's $212 million plan to put a series of hand-picked regional roading projects in the fastlane using asset sales cash is not backed by a strong economic case, documents released under the Official Information Act show.
The regional road and bridge projects, many of them in Cabinet ministers' electorates, were announced at the National Party conference in late June.
Documents released to Labour strategist and blogger Rob Salmond by Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee's office show most of the 14 projects have a benefit to cost ratio of less than four with five in the range of 0 to 2.
The benefit to cost ratio measures the value for money of a given project, with a higher number indicating better value. They are used by the New Zealand Transport Agency to prioritise competing roading projects.
Green Party transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said the Government was promoting road projects "on the basis of where they'll get the most votes rather than an objective assessment of what's going to be best for the economy and for the transport system".
Labour transport spokesman Phil Twyford said the Government had starved regional New Zealand of funding for roading projects over the past six years.
"This $212 million package of projects is basically an election-year lolly scramble and I would say that it's cynical in the extreme.
"These projects should be funded on the basis of their economic value and their regional priority not as an exercise in vote buying."
Mr Twyford said some of the projects were good but others, such as the Nelson Southern Link, which had already been rejected by the Environment Court, were not.
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said the projects had been identified by communities and the Government believed they were worth doing.
"They don't fit inside the big plan and that's why we've funded them separately, so if people want them, we're there to deliver them.
"If they don't want them, vote Labour."