A protest rally will take place on Friday June 21 due to inaction over the Horowhenua Expressway, Otaki MP Nathan Guy says.
“The protest will begin at midday, and start at Levin’s village green. It gives protestors a chance to be heard as the rally walks down Oxford Street.
“I feel for the many residents and local businesses that have been left in limbo since NZTA announced its preferred corridor in December last year. Since then, nothing has happened.
“They feel paralysed by inaction and uncertainty. Some have told me it’s impacted on their mental health. Effectively their lives are on hold for years - especially if NZTA stall the approval process due to a lack of funding and priorities.
“Only a handful of houses have been purchased and the Government has said it won’t purchase any more properties until RMA approvals have been granted. This is hugely disappointing and unfair as I understand the RMA approval process has stalled.
“The process needs up to $20 million to proceed and it's clear this Government isn't interested in roads so I’m hearing NZTA won't allocate the money to do the necessary paperwork.
“The so-called ‘Wellbeing Budget’ has done nothing for these affected residents and Labour has let Levin down. They’ve raided $5b from the state highway budget for trams in Auckland and to make matters worse motorists are getting clobbered by another fuel tax hike of 4 cents/litre next month.
“Making the Horowhenua expressway four lanes should be a priority as the existing SH1 has claimed 11 lives in the past five years and seriously injured another 43, but these horrendous statistics seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
“It makes sense for the heavy machinery currently in Otaki to just move up the road in 2021 and begin construction. Otherwise it’s a massive lost opportunity.
“When Transmission Gully and the Pekapeka to Otaki expressway opens in 2021 Levin will have the worst congestion in the North Island and motorists will be furious.
“I invite the community to join the protest rally this Friday and hopefully hear from NZTA. It’s a good chance to send a strong message to the Government and NZTA that we need funding and approvals confirmed now - not more uncertainty, congestion and fatalities.”