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New Zealand children to beat the world to school

Media Release from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA)

Friday 3 October 2003

New Zealand children to beat the world to school

Footpaths will be invaded with feet on Wednesday 8 October as New Zealand children become the first in the world to mark International Walk to School Day. Some three million children worldwide will walk to school on Wednesday to celebrate the many benefits of walking.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) Chief Executive Heather Staley says that International Walk to School Day is the perfect opportunity to recognise the number of New Zealand children who regularly walk to school in walking school buses.

On International Walk to School Day, EECA will be acknowledging the efforts of the many parents who co-ordinate walking school buses in their community. EECA is also providing assistance to schools so that they can thank their parent volunteers who pound the footpaths throughout the year.

"EECA promotes walking school buses in an effort to reduce the number of car trips to and from schools. Over half of New Zealand's primary school children are driven to and from school. That's nearly double the number from ten years ago and contributes to the increased use of transport fuels", Ms Staley said.

To help mark the day, a number of MPs, celebrities, and local identities will be showing their support and joining a walking school bus in their community. To find out what events are planned in your area contact:

Auckland City Council, Sue Kendall, 09 815 2546 Wellington City Council, Kate Brockett, 04 801 3717 Christchurch City Council, Joy Kingsbury-Aitken, 03 941 8299.

Ms Staley says EECA is implementing the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy through improving energy choices. For more information on walking school buses visit www.eeca.govt.nz/streetwise.asp or call the walking school bus co-ordinator in your area (above).

ENDS

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