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Couple stuck over 'holiday highway'

Published: 4:45PM Thursday September 13, 2012 Source: ONE News

The Government has been branded "heartless" for allegedly refusing to negotiate with a couple whose home runs through a proposed 'holiday highway'.

Labour say Moirs Hill couple Bob and Jill Scott have an unsaleable property as a planned route for the Puhoi-Wellsford Road, north of Auckland, runs right through the middle of their house.

Labour says the New Zealand Transport Agency has told the Scotts they have no money to purchase the property.

"The Government has spent $14.9 million on consultants for the holiday highway, $1.6 million on public relations, and they have $33 million budgeted for the next three years, but they can't find the decency to sit down with the Scotts and negotiate fair compensation, even though the planned route goes right through their house," Labour's transport spokesperson Phil Twyford said.

The highway is part of a $1.7 billion roading upgrade from Auckland to Northland but critics have already questioned estimated economic benefits.

The firm hired by the Government to plan the motorway had earlier claimed the costs outweighed the economic benefits.

Four years ago a roading consultancy group now working on the upgrade wrote: "The scope for substantial economic limited."

But it said overall the highway would make a "positive contribution".

NZTA say construction of the Puhoi to Warkworth road may be completed by 2019.