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Shane Jones 'almost got run off the road' to Tauranga to make funding announcement

A Government Minister has discovered first-hand just how dangerous one of the country's deadliest roads can be.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones was in Tauranga to announce the region would receive nearly $1 million from the Provincial Growth Fund for a new cruise hub and visitor welcome centre.

Speaking to media following the announcement he said he nearly didn't make it while travelling on a "very dubious stretch of road near Katikati".

Mr Jones said he and his wife drove down on the road, "and we almost got run off the road". 

He said it was because of a "bad Tauranga driver" or the "hopeless nature of the road".

When asked if the Provincial Growth Fund could help, Mr Jones said it would not be available to “fix up the road” as that comes under the New Zealand Transport Agency. 

But he agreed it should be one of the projects that is upgraded in the next Government Policy Statement, and said the Government needs to work harder when bringing safety improvements to market.

Last month the Government announced a further 2430 kilometres of road would be made safer, as part of a $1.4 billion programme.

Work is underway on State Highway Two between Waihi and Omokoroa, with 22.7 kilometres of barriers to be installed, clearer signage and road widening.

NZTA says between 2009 and 2018, 25 people lost their lives on that stretch of road and 66 were seriously injured.

Last October the agency announced plans to add another lane, in each direction, to the Tauranga Northern Link, meaning four lanes of capacity on the route between Te Puna and Tauranga.

Source: 1 NEWS