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National pledge drug driving tests, cancelling KiwiBuild and fuel tax alternatives

National has released its plan for New Zealand's housing, infrastructure and transport - pledging to bring in roadside drug-driving tests, cancelling KiwiBuild and proposing alternatives to fuel taxes if it wins next year's election. 

Simon Bridges. Source: 1 NEWS

RMA overhaul

In its latest discussion documents, National say it will "stop the distraction of KiwiBuild and bring about regulatory reform to planning and Resource Management Act (RMA) rules in order to make housing more affordable and quicker to build". 

The RMA is the law that sets out how the country's resources are managed.

"National will repeal and replace the RMA and will reform New Zealand’s planning rules... the dream of home ownership is drifting further away as regulations and red tape replace building homes with filling out forms," leader Simon Bridges said. 

National's housing and urban development spokesperson Judith Collins said it would replace the RMA with "efficient and predictable" legislation. 

"There is now broad consensus that the RMA is problematic. It does not deliver for the environment or development.  It is simply past its use-by date," she said.

The party has been attempting to change the RMA since it was last in Government, with Ms Collins previously saying "real change" would come from cutting red tape to pull prices down.

The Government launched the overhaul of the RMA in July, saying its environmental outcomes were "disappointing" and it had contributed to the housing crisis.

KiwiBuild and housing

"National will cancel KiwiBuild, save New Zealand taxpayers wasted money, stop the distraction of KiwiBuild and bring about regulatory reform to planning and RMA rules in order to make housing more affordable and quicker to build," Ms Collins said. 

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The party is also looking at allowing state tenants to buy their homes on a rent-to-buy or a deferred payment basis.

During the KiwiBuild reset in September, the Government announced progressive ownership schemes, which would see shared equity or ownership and rent-to-buy. 

At the time, Ms Collins said there "may be some merit in this approach, but the devil is always in the detail".

Today, the detail National provided was limited to that it will "explore ways to bring about home ownership to people who would otherwise spend their lives paying rent with nothing to show for it other than a roof over their heads".

"Many Housing New Zealand tenants have proven themselves to be responsible, stable tenants who have sufficient income to rent, buy or enter into a deferred payment scheme to purchase their state house," the document states.

Homelessness

National want to look into a dollar-for-dollar scheme for homeless shelters so it can improve facilities and services. 

Water

National are looking at bringing in a water infrastructure fund to improve water quality. 

It says it will assist city and rural councils and will help with sustainable agriculture and being resilient to climate change. 

Proposals to replace fuel tax

National says it will repeal the Auckland's regional fuel tax and is proposing not increase fuel taxes in its first term. It accused the Government of having the approach of hitting "Kiwis in the back pocket with fuel tax increases".

Mr Bishop said the party is considering three alternatives which include road user charges, increasing Crown contributions and putting more private capital into transport projects. 

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Mr Robertson spoke on TVNZ1’s Q+A about making sure there are alternatives to driving around cities. Source: Q+A

He said road user charges "could instead be levied on all vehicles so everyone using our roads makes a contribution to their upkeep", but it would need to be phased in over medium-to-long term. It would mean the amount of kilometres travelled would be measured and paid for. 

National are also looking at increasing direct government funding into transport - instead of paying for it by fuel tax and road user charges.

They also proposed "aggressively working with the private sector" to finance some major transport projects. 

Level crossings

They want to put a "serious focus" on railway level crossings due to high high death and injury rate, however there was little detail as to how to combat this. 

Drug driving tests

National said the Government has "dragged its feet on introducing oral fluid roadside drug testing" and want to bring in new laws for a roadside drug testing regime.

The Government asked in May for public feedback on oral fluid testing, with National leader Simon Bridges saying at the time the technology was "more than reliable" for drug driving tests.

"We don't want to wait. I don't mind, whether it's the Government's bill, whether it's our bill, but we do just want action," he said. 

Cyclists

Last night, the party told 1 NEWS it wants cyclists to stay in their lane, by making the use of separated cycleways compulsory and slapping a fine on cyclists who use roads or motorways instead. 

National’s Transport spokesperson Mr Bishop said the proposal would make cycling safer and reduce conflict between cyclists and motorists.

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National Party wants to impose fines on cyclists who refuse to use cycleways

"Motorists get frustrated when cyclists continue to use roads and motorways where a dedicated, separated cycle path runs parallel to the road," he said.

"There are now hundreds of kilometres of protected cycle paths and shared paths across New Zealand. Many of these are high-quality, safe and designed to be used by cyclists."

Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard tweeted in response to the proposal that it was "pretty clear Chris Bishop doesn’t regularly use Petone - Ngauranga cycle lane riding to Parliament".

"Often covered in sharp rubbish. Shells glass etc. Any cyclist on a road bike uses SH2 not the path. Last time I tried it i got three punctures. Only two tubes. Long walk."