Labour unlikely to put brakes on Kapiti expressway

JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 16:51 25/10/2012
David Shearer
JOEL MAXWELL / Kapiti Observer

Meet and greet: Labour leader David Shearer talks training on Thursday at a house built by WelTec carpentry certificate students on an Otaki lot. In the foreground is course tutor Richard Carter.

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Labour will not rule out continuing National's Kapiti expressway all the way to Otaki, leader David Shearer said today.

Visiting the National-held Otaki electorate Mr Shearer said if Labour won the next elections any decision would depend on progress on the proposed four-lane road bypassing the town.

''I don't want to make that commitment till I've sat down and taken a really good look at it. Once a project is consented and is on its way, there's a natural justice issue about rolling things back.''

Labour's Otaki and Mana candidates campaigned hard against the expressway in last year's elections under former leader Phil Goff.

However, by the 2014 elections, work will likely be well underway on the $630 million MacKay's to Peka Peka section of the expressway - subject to consent.

The NZ Transport Agency hopes to get consent for the Peka Peka to Otaki section next year but will then continue work on its design in 2014.

Mr Shearer said the cost-to-benefit ratio for some of National's roads of national significance need looking at.

Labour would look at whether the Peka Peka to Otaki section would contribute to the economic development of Kapiti itself before making a decision, he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Shearer said Labour is ''serious'' about winning back the Otaki electorate from National incumbent Nathan Guy.

''We want a red strip all the way down to Wellington.''

He said the party has not yet selected a candidate for Otaki, which was won with a solid majority by Mr Guy over Labour's Peter Foster.

Candidate selection will not take place till after the 2013 census, which could see adjustments to electorate boundaries, Mr Shearer said.

''We're looking at some people that are starting to voice some interest.''

Mr Shearer said Labour missed former Otaki MP and candidate Darren Hughes, who is still a friend of the Labour leader.

Mr Hughes quit before the last election over a police investigation into sexual allegations that concluded without charges being laid.

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