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Roading propaganda leads Auckland astray

13 August, 2004

Roading propaganda leads Auckland astray

The Green Party says an AA leaflet distributed free to some 190,000 households across Auckland is just glossy propaganda for the roading lobby.

"Even the leaflet's title, 'Jump Starting Auckland' uses a motor car metaphor to try to perpetuate a motor car city," said Green Co-leader and Transport spokesperson, Jeanette Fitzsimons. "Trains, buses and cycles don't need to be jump started and move smoothly if they have their own rights of way. "At first glance the leaflet is arguing for a balanced development of road and public transport. At second glance it is anything but." Ms Fitzsimons noted that the leaflet's 'roading wish list' put a date on every new roading project, while the public transport proposals are all in the never-never. "It is a repeat of what has always happened to Auckland - the roads have been built and the buses and trains allowed to lag far behind," she said.

"Some of its assertions are just plain ludicrous, while others are highly misleading, such as when it talks of 'sustainable cars'. No where does it mention that world demand for oil is about to exceed supply and that the price - which is already hitting a new historical high every other week - will continue to rise substantially over the next few years.

"In fact, the evidence is overwhelming that our current levels of car dependence are not sustainable. That is manifest in the number of people dieing from air pollution, the children killed and injured simply getting to school, the huge tracts of inner-city land sacrificed to roads and parking and even the increasing levels of obesity in our society as we hop into the car to travel a few hundred metres."

Ms Fitzsimons pointed out that the AA's $10 billion roading plans were diametrically opposed to the recommendations in the report of the Joint Officials Group on Auckland transport options.

"That report stated that starting with a massive roading programme will solve the congestion problem because it will increase traffic volume. The most effective strategy is to work on travel demand management, public transport, better walking and cycling options, and look at new roading in this context."

"Auckland's public transport initiatives are just starting to pay dividends," said Ms Fitzsimons. "North Shore is showing the way to go with highly successful demand management programmes such as walking-school buses and school travel plans.

"The AA's attempt to turn-back the clock to a 1950's fantasy of massive motorway projects is a threat to Auckland's economic and social well-being. It should be seen for what it is - the glossy last testament of yesterday's thinkers."


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