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Mayor delivers oral submission on transport bill

Mayor delivers oral submission on transport bill

Mayor of Auckland City, Hon John Banks, today delivered Auckland City’s oral submission to the visiting parliamentary select committee examining the Land Transport Management Bill.

At the Copthorne Hotel in downtown Auckland, the Mayor told members of the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee that his council’s recommendations centre around ensuring the bill has the flexibility needed to assist Auckland to solve its transport problems and move forward.

Mr Banks said Aucklanders now want the region’s leaders to pick up the pace and apply themselves with greater urgency to ensure integrated transport network completion by 2010.

“If Auckland is to remain the engine room of the New Zealand economy it needs the appropriate toolbox – especially a flexible funding framework - to make this happen.

“We owe it to future generations to get on and build the ‘must have’ integrated networks that the Auckland Mayoral Forum and regional transport planners have signed off on.”

He said the bill has helped focus a coalition of interest among normally diverse and sometimes divergent Auckland groups.

“We now share the opportunity to ensure the Land Transport Management Bill is a useful vehicle that helps to move Auckland forward instead of becoming another albatross around the region’s neck.”

Mr Banks said Auckland is at a turning point. Without a significant investment in transport infrastructure, the region cannot maintain its position in the New Zealand economy and society. An innovative approach and creative solutions were required.

“Auckland wants to work with central government to develop these solutions. Amongst other things, that means working towards a legislative environment which is conducive to flexible funding and financing arrangements.

“We are keen to see attention focussed on identifying alternative sources of revenue, including the use of regional fuel taxes and network pricing mechanisms.”

Mr Banks said the draft legislation is a key piece of the puzzle. It signals a willingness to explore more flexible funding options, an integrated approach to transport and a more strategic focus.

However, he reminded the select committee that the bill is a “first cut” and that Auckland City requests amending five key areas* – all of which are recommendations that other regional submissions strongly support.

“For years the region’s mayors and elected leaders have looked to Wellington for solutions. It hasn’t worked. Part of the fresh approach mayors are taking is to work strategically together and seek answers closer to home – in Auckland. But Auckland cannot move forward without the support and partnership of Wellington.”

Mr Banks said the region does have the resources, and the private sector is sending strong signals of interest to invest in equipping Auckland with badly needed economic infrastructure.

Ends For further information, please contact: Hon John Banks ph 021 474 474.

For media assistance, please contact: Cameron Brewer ph 0274 514 421.

NOTE: *The Mayor’s full oral submission and additional information on the five key areas of the bill which Auckland City asks the Committee to amend is available on request.

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