Kelvin Davis backs the highway his party wants to scrap

July 15th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

MP said:

The Government needs to step up and help local councils fix infrastructure problems highlighted by the recent storms, Labour MP Kelvin Davis says.

The Government needs to step up and help local councils fix infrastructure problems highlighted by the recent Northland storms, Labour MP Kelvin Davis says.

“The bad weather has amplified how susceptible the North really is at times like this.

“Our roading infrastructure is a major source of concern. This weather event has shown that when the main road in and out of the north fails, the side are just not able to cope as detour routes.

Kelvin then went on Radio Live and said three things of interest.

  • That both Labour and National had not invested enough on infrastructure in Northland
  • That he was unaware of the announcement by the Government two weeks ago to invest in improvements for two local roads in Northland
  • That he supports the Puhoi to Wellsford Highway, which Labour have vowed to scrap. He calls it a lifeline, and says everyone up here supports it

Gerry Brownlee points out:

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says Labour list MP Kelvin Davis’s call today for the Government to “step up” and invest in Northland roading following this week’s damaging storms shows what a conflict-ridden shambles Labour is just 68 days out from the general election.

“Up to $1.66 billion worth of Government funding is currently committed to Northland roading projects, and the vast majority of it would be cut by a Labour-led government,” Mr Brownlee says.

“Only two weeks ago the Government announced up to $33.5 million worth of extra investment in upgrading two roading projects Northland councils told us were urgent – one of them on the very stretch of State Highway 1 south of Kawakawa which has been washed out by this week’s storm.

“National identified years ago that Northland’s roading infrastructure was vulnerable through underinvestment and has committed over $1.38 billion as part of the Roads of National Significance programme, and $255 million in the most recent National Land Transport Plan.

“We know that if Labour is in a position to form a Government later this year it would axe the Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance and re-direct the funding to an immediate start on Auckland’s City Rail Loop, a project the Government has already committed to co-funding the construction of from 2020.

“You don’t have to convince the Government that Northland needs better roading, Mr Davis, convincing your caucus colleagues and the Green Party will be a much tougher task,” Mr Brownlee says.

There is a pattern emerging here of local provincial Labour MPs disagreeing with Labour on regional development. O’Connor and Tirikatene both voted against Labour on West Coast logging, and now Davis is saying his party is wrong on the Puhoi to Wellsford Highway. He even calls it a lifeline that everyone in Northland supports.

What this points to is a party totally out of touch with regional New Zealand. Urban liberals in Auckland who hate logging and roading, set the policy for the regions.

Incidentally who is the Regional Development Spokesperson for Labour? I’ll leave it to you to look it up.

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43 Responses to “Kelvin Davis backs the highway his party wants to scrap”

  1. redqueen (597 comments) says:

    Well, I guess he’s going toe-to-toe with ‘the boss’. Good on ‘em.

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  2. fernglas (198 comments) says:

    I applaud local MPs who put their people ahead of party interests. Cheap political points scoring when it happens just makes it less likely to happen. The North needs good roads or it will become an economic basket case. The derision of the Puhoi to Wellsford bypass as a “holiday highway” is a real indication of Labour’s urban based mentality and policies. Anyone who has driven north on the appalling goat track called SH1 and has the perspective to compare it with main highways in other countries will understand that the benfit of a proper upgrading is not just for holidaymakers. It is a vital link to a largely economically overlooked part of the country and any suggestion that it be axed is rightly seen by most in the North as an insult to their participation in this country’s life.

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  3. tvb (4,556 comments) says:

    It is Cunliffe but Cunliffe wants policies that will block Regional Development. So Davis will get squashed. So Davis wants the holiday highway but Cunliffe wants a rail project in central Auckland instead. Who will win that battle. Not Davis.

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  4. Manolo (14,173 comments) says:

    Panem et circenses, bread and circuses, for the ignorant Labour masses.

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  5. Tarquin North (400 comments) says:

    kelvin is a good bloke who has always put Northland first. If he can win his seat in the election not only will he make the north a better place, he will also rid us of the vile Harawira family and with bit of luck the fat German as well.

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  6. PaulP (156 comments) says:

    tvb it’s actually Grant Robertson.

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  7. m@tt (636 comments) says:

    conflict-ridden shambles

    How any hive mind would describe independent thinking.

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  8. Colville (2,318 comments) says:

    PaulP
    Yeah its Grant and the associate is Kelvin! Ha!

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  9. James Stephenson (2,268 comments) says:

    How any hive mind would describe independent thinking.

    Do you feel like you can trust a bunch of “independent thinkers” like the Labour party to deliver anything other than a conflict-ridden shambles of a government? I pretty sure over half the electorate would answer “no” to that question.

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  10. Pete George (23,830 comments) says:

    It’s good to see Davis speaking up for his region even if it’s at odds with his party policies. he’s a list and not an electorate MP but has a record of strongly speaking up for Northland.

    This is a sign of good politics. Far better to have strong MPs who are willing to advocate for their constituency rather than a flock of caucus sheep.

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  11. mikenmild (12,402 comments) says:

    I’m sure that if it were a National MP arguing against party policy, DPF would be applauding it as a sign of maturity, independence, etc, etc.

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  12. Keeping Stock (9,381 comments) says:

    There’s also an element of defiance in this. Labour has as yet refused to confirm that it will throw its resources behind Kelvin Davis’ campaign for Te Tai Tokerau so it can keep its options open with regard to MegaMana. So Davis is scratching a local itch, knowing he’ll get headlines for standing up to the party. As Pete says above, this is good politics on Kelvin Davis’ behalf.

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  13. Pete George (23,830 comments) says:

    In contrast to Mallard’s moa madness. An energetic politician on the rise versus a sulky sidelined old sod.

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  14. Linda Reid (341 comments) says:

    How could Kelvin Davis be ignorant of the budget announcement of funding for Northland’s roads? How could he have possibly missed that? Good on him for standing up to his party, but for heaven’s sake get fully informed Kelvin!

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  15. OneTrack (3,372 comments) says:

    mike – “I’m sure that if it were a National MP arguing …”

    At the moment it’s about the Labour Party which is bereft of leadership and coherent policies. Davis is just a footsoldier who has decided, screw what the beltway wonks come up with in their Wellington echo chamber and he is going to promote what he thinks is best.

    What is Cunliffe going to do about it anyway? Give him a stern look? Tell Davis he is too much of a man for the modern Labour party?

    The problem is, without those wonks, Davis can’t stop the Northland expenditure being cancelled if Labour get in.

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  16. burt (7,428 comments) says:

    Anyone uninsured in Northland will be pleased when the government buy their property from them.

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  17. Than (514 comments) says:

    Another example of Labour MPs saying things to their electorate that don’t follow party policy – compulsory Te Reo in schools;

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11293404

    Chris Hipkins is downplaying this, and it’s easy to see why. Making Maori compulsory in schools wouldn’t go down at all well with non-Maori. Support is marginal enough for spending money on maintaining Te Reo fluency in Maoridom. But if you tell Kiwi parents that their kids will have to waste significant amounts of their education time learning a language with virtually zero practical utility, most would tell you where to go using colourful Anglo-Saxon phrases.

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  18. David Farrar (1,437 comments) says:

    Mikenmild: To the contrary Nikki Kaye disagreeing with the Government over mining on Great Barrier Island was a stance I supported. However Nikki did it the proper way, by letting the Ministers know she wasn’t supportive. With this issue you have Kelvin revealing his true stance by chance during a radio interview.

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  19. Igotta Numbum (467 comments) says:

    Kelvin would actually be a better Nat MP than a Labour MP.

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  20. shoreboy57 (141 comments) says:

    Yeah nah (again)

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  21. itstricky (2,025 comments) says:

    Mikenmild: To the contrary Nikki Kaye disagreeing with the Government over mining on Great Barrier Island was a stance I supported

    How about Jonathan Coleman supporting a supposed criminal that his party wants to scrap?

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  22. tvb (4,556 comments) says:

    PaulP it is Cunliffe. I checked the Labour.org.nz website. Cunliffe is Regional Development spokesperson. Strange considering some of their policies especially on the holiday highway which is a lifeline for the North. And to cancel that in favour of a rail project in central Auckland. Very odd.

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  23. itstricky (2,025 comments) says:

    Chris Hipkins is downplaying this, and it’s easy to see why. Making Maori compulsory in schools wouldn’t go down at all well with non-Maori. Support is marginal enough for spending money on maintaining Te Reo fluency in Maoridom. But if you tell Kiwi parents that their kids will have to waste significant amounts of their education time learning a language with virtually zero practical utility, most would tell you where to go using colourful Anglo-Saxon phrases.

    Disagree. You’re talking about yourself, rather than “most parents”. There are plenty of non-Maori who would have no beef sending their kids to Maori classes and plenty would recognise the benefit in learning any language, not just those that ” earn my kid money” or “get him a headstart in Japan, or whatever”. Otherwise, why would they teach Latin at Auckland Grammar? That’s more decomposed than Maori will ever be. You’ll also find most kids with an affinity for languages study two or three at a time. Why not Maori?

    I digress off topic. Sorry.

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  24. Odakyu-sen (871 comments) says:

    I don’t see any point in learning a language that has no functionality in the modern world.

    At least Latin gives you a good foundation for studies of the Romance languages, many of which are spoken in countries that are New Zealand’s agri/horti competitors, such as Chile and Argentina.

    As for Japanese, it could be useful in tourism as the Japanese government wants to double its tourism levels to 20 million per year soon, plus the Olympic games will be in Tokyo in 2020. Maybe you can get a low-paying job herding Ozzies around the ski fields in Hokkaido…

    I’d put my money on Southeast Asian languages (although the ethnic Chinese have this area largely sewn up)

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  25. Phil (126 comments) says:

    Otherwise, why would they teach Latin at Auckland Grammar?

    Because Latin is, and probably always will be, the language that the vast majority of our human body parts are named by. Most of biology and significant parts of chemistry are named and described by Latin terminology.

    There is also a significant difference between an elective course in Latin and compulsory Maori.

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  26. Nigel Kearney (1,097 comments) says:

    This is not surprising at all. It’s very common in packs of wild animals. If the leader is strong, the others fall in line. If the leader is weak, the others start to cause trouble until a fight starts. Usually it ends with the leader’s throat ripped out and another animal in charge.

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  27. dime (10,215 comments) says:

    Labours message to the regions – we will keep you poor and you will depend on us for your bene. Now shut up and smoke some dope.

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  28. anonymouse (705 comments) says:

    Perhaps someone would also like to put Mr Twyford and Mr Faafoi in the same room and ask them both about Transmission Gully,

    I know Mr Faafoi supports it, I’m just not sure what the rest of the party’s policy is

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  29. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    David is gone, so it doesn’t really matter what he supports. Harawira will be spending millions, Cunliffe wants Harawira and Harre as coalition partners, and Davis is too far down the list to return in September. He is the in-out-in-out shake it all about politician, unfortunately since he seems to be better than most Labour MPs.

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  30. JC (951 comments) says:

    davidp, I agree.

    It looks like Davis knows he’s lost and he’s off the reservation. The War Room will be breathing a sigh of relief that they now have the excuse to stop funding him and can cut him loose.

    JC

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  31. Barnsley Bill (848 comments) says:

    Politically Kelvin is a dead man walking. Not a single electoral sign up for him in the north. They are clearly laying down for the Harawiras.
    By contrast, first term councillor Willow Jean Prime who campaigned on being a councillor was her dream is standing for Labour in the northland electorate and was so keen she had the signs up a month before it was allowed. No surprises, she was a scofflaw with regard to signage in the council elections as well.

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  32. campit (467 comments) says:

    If Kelvin and other Far North leaders bothered doing any research, they would realise the effect of the Puhoi to Warkworth toll road is to divert money from where it is actually needed.

    NZTA have not provided any economic evidence in support of the toll road to the Board of Inquiry which is considering the project. Project traffic volumes have been overstated because the effect of the toll was not modelled.

    For trips to and from the north, travel time savings are projected to be just three minutes faster than they are currently. For trips to Warkworth and the eastern beaches, travel times will be about the same via the new route, since the northern junction of the toll road is 2km to the the north of Warkworth and the Hill St intersection leading to the Eastern Beaches.

    There is no evidence that getting oranges from Kerikeri three minutes faster to a warehouse in Auckland will bring economic benefits to Northland. Northland labour is unlikely to be used in the toll road’s construction.

    When the Northern Gateway Toll Road opened in 2009, it offered a 7 minute travel time saving on trips to the north. The following year the GDP of Northland dropped and has remained flat ever since. There is no correlation between travel time savings and economic growth.

    It is highly likely that a billion dollars could be better spent elsewhere for the benefit of Northland, but we’ll never know because there has been no cost benefit done on alternatives – even the toll road itself has not been subject to one.

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  33. Auberon (779 comments) says:

    Hi campit, it’s all kind of moot now that Labour’s come out and says they support it, eh?

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  34. campit (467 comments) says:

    @Auberon Labour don’t support it.

    Labour’s transport spokesman Phil Twyford said the party’s stance was the road should be postponed. Instead Labour would spend a fraction of the more than $1 billion earmarked for the project to fix the worst accident black spots and congestion pinch points on the existing route.

    He said the Government was grossly overstating the importance to Northland of the project.

    “It’s a spurious claim to suggest that knocking a few minutes off the journey time between Puhoi and Wellsford will somehow transform the economy of Northland and I think they do people a grave disservice to say that.”

    Sounds like a better plan than tax and spend on a project that hasn’t been through a cost benefit analysis.

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  35. Alan Wilkinson (1,938 comments) says:

    @campit, what Northland needs is a proper SH1 to Whangarei initially and then further. You can’t get that without building every link. It makes no sense to try to cost/benefit every segment in isolation, particularly when the benefit predictions are anyway uncertain and dependent on other factors like the GFC and drought – both of which affected the stats you cite.

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  36. mister nui (1,030 comments) says:

    It is highly likely that a billion dollars could be better spent elsewhere for the benefit of Northland

    There is loads of oil and gas and mineral deposits in the North, perhaps the gummint should open a few mines and poke a few holes in the sea floor. That will be guaranteed to create employment and an economic benefit.

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  37. campit (467 comments) says:

    what Northland needs is a proper SH1 to Whangarei initially and then further. You can’t get that without building every link. It makes no sense to try to cost/benefit every segment in isolation

    I fully support an economic evaluation to achieve this, but for the expenditure of $20bn ($30bn? $40bn? – what is a “proper SH1″?) to achieve this then I’m pretty sure you’ll find it won’t stack up. Traffic volumes to Northland are amongst the lowest in the country, and aren’t likely to increase to a level justifying a four lane motorway any time soon. Far better to focus on improving the safety of the existing road and improving the roading within the Northland region itself.

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  38. Alan Wilkinson (1,938 comments) says:

    @campit, look what happened in Queensland when the Government built decent roads north of Brisbane while NSW and Victoria spent big on welfare. Queensland boomed while the others went backwards.

    A proper highway is 4 lane divided so fast traffic is not blocked by slow traffic and we don’t have head on crashes due to tourists on the wrong side of the road. Simple.

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  39. Alan Wilkinson (1,938 comments) says:

    “Traffic volumes to Northland are amongst the lowest in the country”

    There is a large number of heavy vehicles on this road as shown by the counts north of Wellsford and a lot of tourists in campervans. Many of the higher counts are urban or existing motorways. The terrain is also hilly with windy roads which leads to long bottlenecks behind slow vehicles.

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  40. gump (1,685 comments) says:

    @itstricky

    Only the top handful of streams at Grammar study Latin. And even then, most students only study it to the fourth form level (after that it becomes an elective subject).

    It’s intended as a challenge for the brightest students. The middle stream kids and potatoes are given different subjects.

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  41. lilman (973 comments) says:

    My kids speak Maori,taught by my wife,ive picked up bits and pieces listening to them.I definately DONT agree with compulsory Maori lessons.Its up to the families to learn and pass on Maori,not fostered on them by the state.

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  42. noskire (835 comments) says:

    As a more than casual observer, this is another indicator that Labour is a party hurtling towards implosion. The factions are really starting to splinter now and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a breakaway Labour party spin-off formed after September.

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  43. itstricky (2,025 comments) says:

    Phil, gump,

    I did not distinguish between elective and compulsory. I replied to the posters assertion that Maori had zero practical use and no parents in their right minds would send their kids.

    Latin is the same. Small subset of the population might use it as Phil notes but to the layman it’s not helping with everyday life. Interesting that it is, in some way, compulsory at Grammar. Does every single class member become a physio, doctor, or surgeon and do any of the parents complain about their kids wasting significant amounts of their education on a language with zero practical use? I guess not, right?

    Nonetheless Odaky-sen is almost there, and you gump with the note that Latin is a challenge for bright kids. – yes Latin is useful for The Romance languages, just as any learning any language does – it opens your mind to other ways of thinking, keeps your brain fresh and active, and keeps you in touch with other people and their culture. And that’s not just the languages that you think might be okay to make a bob or two.

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