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Start your engines and wreck your city

20 May, 2004

Start your engines and wreck your city

The Green Party is questioning the sanity of Auckland City Council in staging the V8 Supercar race around the central city at a time of chronic congestion, rocketing fuel prices and increasing evidence of global warming.

"Having listened in one week to Auckland Mayor John Banks pleading for billions of dollars in special funding for his pet motorway, we now see his council prepared to provide millions in interest free loans to create three weeks of traffic chaos," said Green Co-leader and Transport spokesperson, Jeanette Fitzsimons.

"What sort of a message are councils sending to the people of Auckland by pouring rate-payers' money into hosting an event that will exacerbate the city's congestion problems? Transit's warning that the risks to the region's transport network were so great that the event should not proceed appear to have been completely ignored.

"The forecast gridlock will bring a massive increase in air pollution and fuel consumption. At a time of global warning, diminishing oil supplies and worsening air quality in Auckland, the message this race sends is almost beyond belief.

"Auckland is about to get over a billion dollars to provide serious opportunities for public transport use, walking and cycling and improved quality of life. Do we really want to glorify an event that manages to use a maximum amount of fossil fuel to travel a minimum amount of distance, at speeds well beyond the acceptable safety limit for ordinary motorists?"

"There is a wry irony in the fact that many Aucklanders will be forced to leave their vehicles at home because of an event that glorifies cars, speed and the conspicuous consumption of fuel. While the Greens might applaud the reduction of traffic on Auckland's roads over the race period, we know there are saner and more sustainable ways to achieve it.

"Surely, Auckland's civic leaders are not so bereft of imagination that they can't plan more suitable events or lure more worthy attractions to their city," said Ms Fitzsimons.


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