PM: Greens in Cabinet the road to ruin

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 08:52 30/06/2014
Northern Motorway traffic jam
Stacy Squires
BUMPER TO BUMPER: Northern Motorway traffic in Christchurch.

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Prime Minister John Key has rejected criticism of National's new roading initiatives with a warning: change the Government, and expect a Greens-influenced Cabinet.

National announced a $212-million regional roading package at its annual conference at the weekend, using cash from the sale of state-owned assets to upgrade 14 roads across the country.

Both Labour and the Greens have criticised the package as an election-year bribe. Two of the projects would benefit Labour-held electorates - Palmerston North and West Coast-Tasman - which National is targeting, but a number also fall in safe National seats, such as Taranaki and Clutha-Southland.

Local Government New Zealand chief executive Lawrence Yule said that while it was a welcome investment, it was not enough given spending on roads had diminished in the past three years.

Key said today a Labour-Greens government would mean little investment in roads.

"The Greens don't want to build roads, and if Labour and the Greens get together - one difference between us and the other political parties is we're really likely to be dominant," he said on Breakfast.

"We've been dominant for six years on the Right, so if we win again we're likely to be dominant. That's not been the case with Labour and the Greens.

"If they can get there, the Greens will be a big force in that Government."

The regional roading package was the latest in a raft of election campaign strategies rolled out at the weekend. Others included a new "social media hub" based on Key's personal popularity using the hashtag #TeamKey, and a series of presidential-style billboards provided Tweeters with fodder for internet memes.

Political opponents tried to hijack the hashtag on Twitter, using it to post derogatory comments and memes, but National Party faithful enthusiastically saturated social media sites with the "Team Key" catch-cry.

Meanwhile, the Opposition also likened dark and brooding shots of the prime minister to material used in US President Barack Obama's last campaign.

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