During a heated debate in Parliament this week, Transport Minister Phil Twyford was asked to commit to driving the beleaguered State Highway 2 road near Tauranga himself.
State Highway 2 between Katikati and Tauranga has been a hotspot for crashes of all shapes and sizes, involving both cars and trucks.
In the last six years dating until March this year, 21 people have been killed on the 37-kilometre stretch of road between Katikati and Tauranga.
In Question Time yesterday, National’s transport spokesperson Jami-Lee Ross posed the question to Twyford: "Why did he make the funding decision to reduce the State highway improvement budget... a project that would have saved lives on a stretch of road that has seen 86 serious and deadly crashes in recent years?"
Twyford rejected that it was his decision to make and said that he agreed with the Tauranga community: "with the people of Tauranga that we need to fix the bloody road, the number of crashes is unacceptable".
"We are investing $65 million right now on State Highway 2 between Waihi and Omokoroa to make this stretch of road safer."
The debate comes after protesters from the Tauranga area blocked the highway to call for major safety updates to be made to the deadly stretch of road.
Busy weekend traffic came to a halt as hundreds marched across Wairoa Bridge, which has claimed dozens of lives.
Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller asked the Minister to commit to driving from Omokoroa to Tauranga, "to experience first-hand that road, like my constituents, do every day?"
"I can't commit to that," Twyford said. "Because I am busy making sure that the Transport Agency... gets on with re-evaluating that project so that we can make the safety improvements on that highway that that Government failed to do over nine years and has spent the last nine months scaremongering about."$100 million will be spent on safety between Waihi and Omokoroa, but protesters say a four-lane highway must be built.