The great road divide: Phil Twyford and Judith Collins go head-to-head

  • 20/04/2018

There's a great ideological divide between the Government and its Opposition.


Where National wants to see significant roading projects go ahead, like a four-lane highway to Northland, the Government wants to redirect that money to local and regional roads. 

On The AM Show on Friday morning Transport Minister Phil Twyford said he hasn't necessarily "ditched" the Northland project, but he said it's not the Government's policy to build "incredibly expensive gold-plated expressways".

National's Judith Collins, who joins Mr Twyford for a head-to-head every Friday, said if State Highway 1 isn't widened to four lanes, that could be fatal.

"I think that we will [lose lives if it doesn't go ahead]," she told Duncan Garner.

"That particular highway is absolutely appallingly unsafe. It really does need a major road up there."

But Mr Twyford said safety is the Government's priority, saying that can be achieved through features like passing lanes, pull-over bays and median barriers.

"NZTA [New Zealand Transport Association] advised me if we spend $800m on highly targeted safety improvements save 160 lives every year," he said.

He then accused the previous National-led Government of promising roads to win votes.

"We are spending about the same on roads generally, but we are spending it right across the country. We are not pork barrelling billions of dollars on a few hand-picked projects."

Ms Collins immediately stepped in with "Not like Dominion Road", an Auckland road which the Government has promised to eventually construct light rail along.

Ms Collins said National would have used public-private partnerships to help foot the cost of majoring roading projects.

"We didn't go around offering students one year free tertiary fees when they weren't even asking for it" she said.