New Zealand roads: Twyford and Collins go head-to-head

The AM Show 20/04/2018

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

Their distinctive positions on roading.

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. 

Transport Minister Phil Twford told The AM Show that 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 debate every Friday on the show, said it could be fatal if State Highway 1 isn't widened to four lanes.

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

"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 lands, 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 unrealistic road promises 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.

Watch the video above for the full interview with Phil Twyford and Judith Collins.

The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.