National is accusing the Government of turning its back on Northland following Transport Minister Phil Twyford's confirmation that a four-lane highway between Warkworth and Whangārei is off the agenda.
He told RNZ on Thursday the highway, promised by the previous Government, would take up nearly all the transport budget.
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Instead, extensive improvements and safety measures are planned for the existing highway.
"Phil Twyford has washed his hands of the project," said National's transport spokesman Jami-Lee Ross.
"He's saying a few extra passing lanes and some barriers would be enough."
Mr Ross said a four-lane highway had been prioritised by the previous Government because it was a gateway from Auckland to Northland.
"The Government is running a giant confidence trick against regional New Zealand - and people in our regions are rapidly starting to see it," he said.