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Invest In State Of The Art Public Transport

Tue, 23 Jul 2002
Invest In State Of The Art Public Transport Say Greens

Green MPs Sue Kedgley, Jeanette Fitzsimons and Keith Locke today launched the Green Party's transport policy with a commitment to buying back the national rail track and investing an additional $100 million per year on public transport, and other sustainable solutions.

Launching the policy at the Newmarket railway station today the Greens called for a rapid rail system along the western, south-western, southern and south-eastern corridors as part of the solution to Auckland's congestion problems, and rapid rail access to Auckland airport with guaranteed connections.

Today some of New Zealand's major exporters including Fonterra, Carter Holt Harvey and Fletcher Challenge Forests warned that if rail freight services are allowed to collapse there would be thousands of extra trucks on the roads each day and the international competitiveness of New Zealand's key export industries would be at risk.

"The rail system is literally falling to pieces under private ownership and it is becoming daily more urgent that this strategic asset is returned to public ownership," said Ms Kedgley.

Key points of the Green policy:
* Negotiate the return of the national rail track back into public ownership, upgrade the rail network and encourage the diversion of freight off roads and onto rail and coastal shipping, where possible
* Invest $100 million a year into state of the art, fast, efficient and affordable public transport services such as light rail
* Set emission standards for all ages and classes of vehicles and make emission testing a requirement for a Warrant of Fitness; invest in CNG, LPG and cleaner fuels
* Require central and local government to adopt timetables, targets and policies for reducing road traffic, pass Jeanette's Road Traffic Reduction Bill
* Stop the proposed Wellington 'bypass', the proposed Auckland Eastern Motorway and the proposed Avondale extension of State Highway 20, and make equal funding available for alternatives instead
* Keep a strategic public stake in Air New Zealand so we have an airline acting in the national interest
* Require fuels to meet international standards for compounds, like sulphur, that degrade air quality
* Promote and fund walking and cycleways

"We want to follow the example of other thriving modern cities and introduce state of the art public transport to move people quickly and cheaply around our cities and our regions without the high levels of air pollution which currently kills hundreds of New Zealanders per year," said Ms Kedgley.

"The rail networks in Auckland, Wellington, the Hawkes Bay and other areas are crying out for urgent investment," Ms Kedgley said. "Without it, the future of our rail network is grim."

Full policy at http://www.greens.org.nz/searchdocs/policy4763.html

Smart moves Bullet points on Green Party Transport Policy

* Negotiate the return of New Zealand's rail track to public ownership and allow different service provides to run on the tracks

* Oppose increases in the maximum length and load of trucks and encourage freight off road and onto rail and coastal shipping, where possible

* Reform our transport planning and funding system to make it more integrated and more responsive, with a greater focus on finding solutions that meet economic, social and environmental needs.

* Invest an additional $100 million in sustainable travel and public transport initiatives including:

* A modern light rail system along the main Auckland corridors

* Rapid rail access from downtown Auckland to the airport, and a central city rail system that services the university

* More frequent commuter services and bus priority on all main roads including right of ways and traffic light pre-emption

* Investment in facilities that encourage safe cycling and walking such as cycle lanes and more pedestrian crossings
* A two-way bus lane over the Auckland Harbour Bridge

* Permanently stop the proposed Wellington Inner City 'Bypass', the proposed Auckland Eastern Motorway and the Avondale extension of State Highway 20, and make equivalent money available for sustainable alternatives.

* Require all existing roading projects to be assessed against new criteria including the impact on communities and the environment and alternatives

* Clean up our air by introducing emission standards for all classes and ages of vehicles as part of the Warrant of Fitness check

* Require petrol and diesel to meet international standards for compounds that degrade air quality, like sulphur and benzine

* Make cleaner and more efficient vehicles cheaper to register

* Support the transition to low emission and zero emission vehicles such as electric buses and ensure that public transport funding encourages the use of low or zero emission vehicles

* Support the transition to cleaner fuels such as LPG and CNG both for private vehicles and for those in the public fleet

* End the current tax exemption on diesel, whereby petrol users pay for the social and environmental costs but diesel users do not

* Introduce a carbon tax with compensating income tax reduction

* Retain a strategic public stake in Air New Zealand so that we have a national carrier acting in the national interest

* Promote cycling and walking and give them a high priority in transport planning

* Make streets safer for kids with measures like lower maximum vehicle speeds in areas of significant pedestrian traffic such as outside schools and promotion of 'walking school buses'

* Pass Jeanette Fitzsimons' Road Traffic Reduction Bill which will require both central and local government to adopt timetables, targets and policies for reducing road traffic.

For our full policy see www.votegreen.org.nz

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