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Government 'not going to turn the dial for congestion' without tackling roading issues - Simon Bridges

Ahead of the Government announcement today on infrastructure spending, National Party leader Simon Bridges says they need to tackle roading issues to combat congestion in Auckland and get motorists moving throughout the country.

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The National Party leader spoke ahead of the Government’s announcement on Infrastructure and spending. Source: Breakfast

Mr Bridges told TVNZ1's Breakfast today roading projects were important because "more than 90 per cent" of people and freight travels by road.

"I started personally CRL (Auckland's City Rail Link), I'm not anti this stuff but I do think if this is basically just pie in the sky, not a whole lot here, not some new real roads starting - they're not going to turn the dial for congestion in Auckland. Actually, they're not going to get New Zealanders moving around this country."

At the Labour Party's conference last month, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said that the Government was fast-tracking an infrastructure package. He described it as "significant" and said it would have a direct impact on growth and would create jobs. 

Mr Robertson saved the announcement, as it was still being finalised, and it's expected to be delivered today.

"I think spray and walkaway is easy," Mr Bridges told Breakfast though. "I suspect they're going to say 'oh we're going to put some money into rail, this, that, and the other'".

"I believe that's fine, but in truth we want projects that you and I, that our freight will actually go on, that gets mum to school, that gets the tradie across town. I can tell you, in Auckland that would be things like Mill Road, that would be things like the North Western busway, things like Penlink."

Mr Bridges comments also follow a 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll out today which asked: "The Government currently has a $7.5 billion surplus. This means it has collected more money than it has spent. Which of these do you think should be the Government’s priority for the surplus?"

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1 NEWS reporter Katie Bradford talks about the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll. Source: Breakfast

A large majority of people - at 77 per cent - wanted the surplus spent on things like infrastructure, health, or education. Another 14 per cent of people surveyed wanted tax cuts for New Zealanders, seven per cent wanted the money saved for the future and two per cent didn't know or refused to answer.

Mr Bridges said the Government had been taxing more but not spending it. He also said they had stopped projects National started.

"I'm saying actually, if you really stick to your knitting of what really matters to people and spending people's money on them and their families - health, education, infrastructure and money back in the pocket - I don't think we're in a situation we need to be borrowing lots of money.

"Ultimately you and your family have to pay it back, and I say right now there's the headroom there."