Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller has traded more blows with the Minister of Transport Phil Twyford over the campaign to fix the controversial stretch of State Highway 2 between Waihi and Tauranga.
A petition to fix the road was presented to Parliament and Todd Muller demanded to know from the Minister exactly when re-development work on the road would begin.
The opposition MP also posted a video of the petition presentation in Parliament on Facebook, and it fired up a lot of support from Facebook users in the Bay of Plenty.
“But the Minister wouldn’t give me a straight answer. That was very disappointing.”
However, the Transport Minister responded to Todd’s video today telling SunLive that Todd Muller and Scott Simpson were wrong to suggest that the former government has committed to start building four-lanes of highway from Omokoroa to Katikati.
“It was only a National Party election campaign pledge, it was not a funded policy. We are not cherry-picking gold-plated highways at the expense of neglecting the rest of our roads like the former government did,” says Phil Twyford.
“Operational decisions about the Waihi to Tauranga corridor, including Katikati, are made at arms’ length by the New Zealand Transport Agency Board based on our Government’s priorities of making transport safer, accessible and affordable, ensuring value for money and reducing emission.
“I am advised the Katikati bypass remains a future option. However, NZTA is prioritising urgent safety work to save lives and reduce serious injuries. This work has already started on the corridor with safety improvements like flexible median and side barriers, and wide centrelines already underway.
“The Transport Agency has advised me they will pursue other options to improve liveability and manage state highway traffic through the township.”
The 3350 signature petition gathered by the Fix the Bloody Road campaign will given to officials of the Ministry of Transport. And Todd Muller says the Ministry’s required to give them a response, probably within the next month.
“We just need to keep the pressure on. Public advocacy from the Fix the Bloody Road team and the work I can do to keep it in front of the ministers mind as much as possible.
“The short answer is that the road needs to be started now, it was supposed to have started last month. But they have pulled that. So I think we just need to keep at them.”