Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says neglected regional roads are more worthy of taxpayer money than the nine nationwide highways that the National Party wants and have begun online petitions to support.

The highways were announced by National on the election campaign last August and were expected to cost about $10.5 billion.

"These would greatly improve safety and travel times, better connect our regions and boost regional economic growth," National's transport spokeswoman Judith Collins said.

The road proposals are:


• The upgrade of the Redoubt-Mill Road corridor from Manukau and Flat Bush to Papakura and Drury
• The extension of the Waikato Expressway from Cambridge to the foot of the Kaimai Range, and from Cambridge to Tirau
• The continuous four lane extension of the Northern Motorway from Warkworth to Whangarei.
• An East-West Link Road project between the Onehunga-Penrose industrial area and State Highways 1 and 20
• The Tauranga to Katikati Road project as a continuous four lane State Highway with wide lanes and safety measures
• The four laning of the Napier to Hastings Expressway
• The Otaki to north of Levin expressway road project
• The Christchurch Northern Motorway between Belfast and Pegasus
• The construction of the four-lane State Highway 1 link between Christchurch and Ashburton

But Ardern told Newstalk ZB this morning that neglected regional roads were more worthy of funding.

"What National have put up petitions on are these roads ... [They] actually don't exist, they are proposals, there was no money set aside for them, no plans around what they would look like. They're proposals they put forward during the election."

The Government has already axed the East-West Link in Auckland - a $1.85 billion project the previous government supported.

"We'd be much better off investing in some of those neglected regional roads, and in urban areas some alternatives to roading as well," Ardern said.

"If you ask a local mayor, they will say, 'Can you please help us with our regional roads, particularly some of the safety issues we have?' "

Ardern said Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter would be meeting with local mayors to discuss which regional roads would be prioritised.

National's regional MPs have been drumming up support for their online petitions, which they hope to present to the Government later this year.

"Our regional communities deserve them and the National Party is committed to fighting for them," Collins said.