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Transport Strategy Claims Outrageous

4 July 2002

Acting Transport Minister Judith Tizard tonight rejected claims that petrol tax may increase as a result of the government's draft New Zealand Transport Strategy.

"This is politicking, led by former National Party Minister Tony Friedlander. The claims are nonsense. There is not one suggestion of any tax increase in the entire draft document.

"The AA and the Road Transport Forum say we are trying to 'slip through' a radical change while people are focussed on the election. That is ridiculous.

"Since we became the government we have repeatedly said that we want to take a more strategic look at transport, and particularly that we wanted to widen the focus of land transport funding.

"A huge amount of consultation has taken place around transport issues in the last two years, including the most extensive consultation ever undertaken with local government on land transport policy, and a survey of wider transport users.

"The vision and objectives of the NZTS were publicly released nearly six months ago. Our vision is that by 2010 New Zealand will have an affordable, integrated, safe, responsive and sustainable transport system.

"Our objectives to meet that vision, also released at that time, are · assisting economic development · ensuring safety and personal security · improving access and mobility · protecting and promoting public health, and · ensuring environmental sustainability.

"Those objectives are only 'radical' if they are compared to the previous government's policy of doing nothing. We are simply looking for a more integrated, strategic approach that links the government's social, economic and environmental goals."

"It is particularly galling that the suggestion that this government "wants to drive cars and trucks off the roads" comes the very week after we have seen the largest ever annual injection into land transport funding. We will be spending $1.1 billion this year on land transport, including $348.6 million for new roading construction projects, up $34 million on last year's allocation."

Ms Tizard said the strategy would be released later this year.

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