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Greens say "No way" to multi-lane highway

Greens say "No way" to multi-lane highway

The Greens are saying "no way" to National's call for a multi-lane highway between Auckland and Wellington.

The Government's overwhelming priority must instead be to get a fully functioning and efficient public rail network up and running, first by buying back the national rail track, Green Party Associate Transport Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

National's Transport Spokesman Roger Sowry said yesterday that if the Government was serious about easing traffic chaos into our largest centres it would build a multi-lane highway between the two cities.

Ms Kedgley said Mr Sowry had clearly had too much sun over the Christmas break, and it had gone to his head. "The multi-lane highway is a silly proposal, which flies in the face of modern transport thinking and should be consigned to the rubbish bin," Ms Kedgley said.

Improving public transport, particularly rail, was the correct approach. The rail network was a national disgrace, Ms Kedgley said.

"We are being reminded on a daily basis of Tranz Rail's complete melt-down, including heat-buckled rails, and a crumbling infrastructure. People can't even rely on catching a train anymore. Tranz Rail is clearly incapable of running the rail network, and the Government must take over."

Mr Sowry's proposal to expand the roading system would involve massive expenditure, and would only create further problems of car dependency, environmental degradation and problems complying with the Kyoto Protocol - which requires New Zealand to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Ms Kedgley said.

It would also put New Zealand in a vulnerable position in the event of future oil supply problems likely to result from any conflict in Iraq, she said.

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