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The Issue Is Road Need, Not Road Speed

The issue with road safety is road need not road speed, said ACT Transport spokesman Penny Webster.

Mrs Webster was responding to Mr Gosche’s recommendation that local authorities be given greater powers to reduce speed limits on roads within their jurisdiction. “Transport Minister Mark Gosche should address the problem and not the symptom.”

“Local authorities should not be given arbitrary roading powers, as their decisions may be swayed by emotive or political pleads, rather than logic. The roading issue is not something to be trifled with, it needs action.

“New Zealand spends the least on roading per capita than any other country in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Is it any wonder our road toll is a national shame?

“ACT has repeatedly said current road funding policy is foolish when uncomplicated alternatives are readily available. It would only require a simple change of legislation to allow private companies to build or alter roads.

“This would see the current roading debacle remedied by increased constructions and safety standards. Australia came to this conclusion years ago and have implemented the hugely successful BOOT’s (Build, Own, Operate, Transfer) scheme.

“Labour is aware of the success of this and other road funding schemes. When the issue of Wellingtons Transmission Gully was raised after the election

“Labour promised to let developers build and operate toll roads” (EVP 02/12/99). The Government has failed to seize the initiative in this policy area which has created the uncertainty and debate exhibited at yesterdays Wellington City Council meeting.

“Road construction and policy should be Mr Gosche’s priority. If he wants to address important variables in road deaths then seatbelts and driver training should be targeted, not the point scoring, easy out of speed restrictions.

“Mr Gosche needs to remember only one thing when setting transport policy; the problem is road need not road speed,” said Penny Webster.

ENDS

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