Some more debate over the merits of the Puhoi-Wellsford “holiday highway” in parliament today, this time with Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges answering questions from the Greens’ Julie-Anne Genter:
You can read the transcript of the exchange here.
It’s refreshing to see someone actually try to answer the questions, rather than just throw abuse around, like Brownlee often does. It was also interesting to see that the government is really relying on “non-economic benefits” to justify the road, or as Simon Bridges stated:
Hon SIMON BRIDGES: I have already intimated we are progressing, I think, reasonably well on this road of national significance, and the member, I think, mentions the benefits. Of course, there are economic benefits, but there are also much wider benefits in terms of connecting communities to communities, and with education, health, and so on. I think the people of the north deserve and want this road of national significance.
I really do wonder whether building a new road to save 10 minutes off the trip between Warkworth and Auckland (the section north of Warkworth is less certain in terms of whether it goes ahead) at the cost of $1.7 billion is the best way to connect communities in Northland and to improve health and education in the north. Or perhaps could spending a fraction of the amount of actual health and education programmes and improving Northland’s roads better achieve these benefits?