Aug 27, 2008

Fran Also Confused About Road Tolling

Fran O'Sullivan looks today at the furore over Williamson's comments at the weekend

The communist politicians who run the world's most populous nation must look with some bemusement at how New Zealand's "private enterprise" party has twisted itself into knots over road tolls.
China uses public private partnerships (PPPs) to rapidly expand its highway network, and on most new major carriageways motorists are paying tolls to private companies.
It's built up so much expertise in financing and constructing big projects to time that China's free trade deal negotiators suggested that New Zealand should invite Chinese companies to tender for similar projects here, with the added incentive of cheap finance to boot.
But when National's shadow infrastructure minister Maurice Williamson raises the sensible suggestion that Kiwis might be happy to pay a $3 to $5 toll to use major new highways or tunnels, instead of sticking to the alternative slow route, all hell breaks loose.
This is fundamentally surreal stuff.....