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Public Must Be Part Of Transport Partnership

13 September, 2004

Public must be part of transport partnership

The Green Party has welcomed the central-local government project on Wellington transport, but says any such 'partnership' is doomed to failure unless it pays more than lip service to the notion of public and community involvement in decision-making.

"We need fresh ideas and they will only come by involving more than the 'usual suspects'," said Green Party Wellington Transport spokesperson, Sue Kedgley. "There is more to Wellington than the AA and the Chamber of Commerce."

Ms Kedgley called on the Councils to work with a wider range of groups such as those representing public health interests, walking and cycling and creative sector businesses not represented by the Chamber of Commerce. "The most innovative ideas for transport are often found outside local authorities, especially in Wellington.

"A partnership approach to the region's transport needs is a great idea but past high-handed practice by Councils has made it difficult to build a consensus in Wellington."

"It's a pity that the same councillors who now appear so interested in reconciling regional projects with the Government's land transport strategy were happy to ignore it when they rammed-through the totally unnecessary inner-city bypass project.

"The wishes of the public and the affected community were dismissed in a manner that makes me question the sincerity of Council's support for a partnership approach to transport issues. Even Transit concedes the bypass is a nonsensical exercise in ego-driven road building.

"It will only result in a 90-second saving at peak-hour. It should never have been approved under the Land Transport Management Act, especially a few months before a major study on the region's needs," said Ms Kedgley.

"Wellington City and Regional Council are largely beholden to a small section of the business community and resolutely refuse to involve a broad range of stakeholders in transport planning. It is ironic that they crave a partnership with central government while at the same time excluding their own citizens."

Ms Kedgley said she hoped the partnership would help focus local government on developing Wellington's public transport needs but she reiterated that the process needs to be citizen-based, rather than just government and council making decisions behind closed doors.

ENDS


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