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National commits to extending Waikato Expressway after 'three years of no progress' under Labour

In an bid to boost the economy, create jobs and save lives, the National Party says it is committed to extending the Waikato Expressway if elected in September.

Todd Muller. Source: 1 NEWS

The 16-kilometre road project includes a four-lane expressway between Cambridge and Piarere. It's expected to cost about $570 million.

“This logical extension of the Waikato Expressway will help bring the country’s most important transport corridor between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga up to world-class standard,” Mr Muller said in a statement today.

"The Waikato Expressway drives our economy forward, moving large volumes of freight and commercial activity across the upper North Island."

Construction will begin in National's first term in Government if elected, Muller said.

“This project was progressing under the last National Government only to be cancelled by Labour following its $5 billion cut to the state highway budget in 2018,” Mr Muller said.

“It made no sense to cancel this expressway. National will build it.

“After three years of no progress we need to get on with this expressway as soon as possible to ease congestion, save lives, create jobs and stimulate our economy."

Mr Muller said there were 121 crashes along the Cambridge to Piarere route between 2013 and 2017, with 22 deaths or serious injuries.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) estimates the number of deaths and serious injury crashes will reduce by more than 70 per cent through these improvements, he said.