• Video: Labour, National and ACT Tukituki candidates support four-lane expressway, but Greens says more options needed

Video: Labour, National and ACT Tukituki candidates support four-lane expressway, but Greens says more options needed

There is strong support for the Hawke’s Bay Expressway to become a four-lane motorway by the Labour, National and ACT candidates in Tukituki, but the Green Party believes more transport options should be available.

The issue building more roads or improving public transport like passenger rail, was the subject of discussion at a debate organised by Hawke’s Bay App.

The debate was held at No.5 Café and Larder in Hastings District and produced and broadcast by Engage Video.

The candidates attending the debate were incumbent MP Anna Lorck of Labour, National’s Catherine Wedd,  the Green Party’s Nick Ratcliffe, and Rob Douglas of ACT. There are ten candidates standing in the electorate, but the debate was kept to the four Parliamentary parties with candidates.

The Green Party’s Ratcliffe said that more options needed to be provided rather than just roads.

“There's a fundamental issue here, where all we ever talk about is roads and driving. There's not options. Giving people an option between driving on a public road and a toll road is not giving people options, it's just telling them that they have to drive.”

“We know how public transport works overseas. As a nation, we've been kicking this can down the road for generations.”

“Let's be a modern country. Let's give people options. Let's talk about getting trucks off the road so we don't have to be fixing our roads all the time. Let's talk about coastal shipping. Let's talk about passenger rail so that people can get around.”

“Just go to another OECD country, look how it works. It's amazing. There's trains and buses everywhere and people move around freely, affordably, and often, for free.”

However, Douglas said Hawke’s Bay did not have the population to support that.

He said he would support a four-lane Expressway between Napier and Hastings, as proposed by both Labour and National.

“I think that's a good infrastructure investment and probably should be supported. We will work with National to come up with a practical infrastructure investment package like that, that will be properly researched though.”

“It's got to be properly researched, cost benefit analysis, not done on the campaign trail, but done by proper research, and invest where it's necessary.”

Wedd said that her party had already committed to 13 roads of national significance.

“I think a resilient roading network drives productivity, and it's really important that we have good roads and build good roads,” she said.

Lorck said that Labour was committed to transforming the Expressway into four lanes.

“We are fully funding the four lane expressway, shovel ready and ready to go, and that will get underway.”

 Watch the video to see the full debate on the issue of roads and rail.