Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard
Question No. 3—Transport
3. JAMI-LEE ROSS (National—Botany) to the Minister of Transport: Do the funding allocations in the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport justify increases in fuel taxes over the next 3 years; if so, how?
Hon SHANE JONES (Associate Minister of Transport) on behalf of the Minister of Transport: Given that Kiwis understand that we need to deliver a modern, multimodal land transport system across the country, to unlock growth and prosperity—
Chris Bishop: You didn’t write this answer.
Hon SHANE JONES: Mr Bishop, you might have got away with sacking one Māori; I’d be very careful if I was you. We will enhance great prosperity.
Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Are you going to allow that comment to stand?
Mr SPEAKER: Well, the answer is yes. If people choose to interject mid-answer with irrelevant interjections, then they’re likely to get it back in spades.
Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. That’s not a reasonable position, at all. Firstly, we’ve had one Minister stand in the House to explain that the debacle over the appointment of Pauline Kīngi has not led to a “sacking”; it’s led, apparently, to a “resignation”. Now, we might, on this side of the House, know how a resignation like that is achieved, but it is not appropriate for a Minister of the Crown to accuse an Opposition member of sacking a Crown official.
Mr SPEAKER: I’m going to do two things now. First of all, I’m not going to take any responsibility for Mr Jones’ answers; I mean, I think no reasonable person would expect me to do that. The second point I’d make is that, actually, the shadow Leader of the House’s point of order had no merit. But, notwithstanding that, seven separate members on the Government side, including Mr Lees-Galloway, at least four times, interjected during the point of order. And, for that reason, there will be an additional seven supplementaries given to the National Party.
Jami-Lee Ross: Why is he continuing with his plan to tax New Zealanders by an extra $1 billion over the next three years while, at the same time, according to Civil Contractors New Zealand. CEO Peter Silcock, transport infrastructure construction expenditure would be reducing over the next two to three years?
Hon SHANE JONES: Over the period at which we’re going to transition this large fund, it is going to pick up the slack in terms of KiwiRail, coastal shipping, as well as enhanced road transport options. I’m not surprised that that person is concerned, but I would say that as he’s the CEO and the chief advocate of the roading lobby, it does not bother me one iota that he shares those anxieties.
Jami-Lee Ross: Which funding allocation in the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport will be assisting with coastal shipping?
Hon SHANE JONES: There are two phases to the overarching transition. We have ticked off one phase, and a key part of that phase is the introduction of an additional 10c, largely driven by increases in petrol excise duty. In phase two, we are going to hold true to our narrative that KiwiRail, coastal shipping, and road transport represent a comprehensive response to logistics, supply chain, and transportation challenges in a growing economy.
Jami-Lee Ross: Given the primary question was asking about funding allocations in the Government policy statement, which specific funding allocation in the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport assists with coastal shipping?
Hon SHANE JONES: Repeating the question, the member himself raised that supplementary question, and if he felt he was straying off the primary reservation, then he’s only got himself to blame that he now knows about what our priority is for phase two of transport reform.
Jami-Lee Ross: Does he agree with Civil Contractors New Zealand when they said, “Any reduction in projects on the ground would come at a critical time when infrastructure work in Australia’s east coast is booming, and New Zealand looked set to lose talent and capabilities across the Tasman if projects were not moved forward to bridge the lull in project work.”?
Hon SHANE JONES: I think Mr Silcock, who formerly was in the orchard industry, is making an important point—that the civil construction sector wants a clear line of sight. They want some confidence so that the high-quality standards of delivery from that sector can continue, unlike the construction sector. I think he should not alarm his members or himself unnecessarily. The Transport Agency and their various planners are working on a whole host of projects. We just cannot guarantee pipe dreams, like a four-lane highway to Whangarei that was never ever going to be funded or see the light of day.
Jami-Lee Ross: Why does he think taxing New Zealanders more, creating a transport construction hole, and seeing Kiwis leave for Australia is a coherent transport plan from his Government?
Hon SHANE JONES: It’s very difficult to accept the view of the National Party that because of a road in Palmerston North, Kiwis from Kaitāia might be going to Australia. Apart from that obvious contradiction, there will be continued investment in roads, there will be an accent on regional roads, and there will be an opportunity, over the full transition, to address the role that coastal and KiwiRail can play in delivering higher productivity, via transport, for all of New Zealand.