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United Future transport policy announced

Media statement
Friday, April 1, 2005

United Future transport policy announced

Greater transparency in road funding, the ultimate four-laning of State Highway 1 from Kaitaia to Invercargill, the possible splitting-out of traffic functions from the police force, and driver education in schools are all significant features of United Future’s transport policies for the next election.

Transport spokesman, Larry Baldock, announced the policy at today’s annual meeting of the Automobile Association in Napier today.

Mr Baldock said the party was also committed to the continued construction of the strategic roading networks in Auckland, Tauranga and Wellington (including the Transmission Gully project.)

Ends

(Policy details attached)

United Future Transport Policy

United Future New Zealand recognises that an efficient transport sector is an essential component of national infrastructure and well being. We will work towards an integrated national transport system that meets the needs of industry, commerce and the wider community at a reasonable cost.

New Zealand’s inadequate roading infrastructure is inhibiting our nation from achieving its goals. The Allen Infometrics study estimates that an outlay of $2.4 billion on transport infrastructure would lead to a GDP increase of $1 billion per year (including an increase in exports of $158 million per year).

We want a First World roading network to get New Zealand moving again.

United Future is also strongly committed to effective and reliable public transport systems that are innovative, efficient and environmentally friendly.

United Future will:

- Require Treasury to justify the amount of fuel excise duty that it diverts from the National Land Transport Fund to the Crown Account, in terms of additional costs generated by transport activity (e.g. health and social costs not covered by ACC, as well as environmental costs).

- Allow tolling, public private partnerships (PPPs) and other investment options for urgently-needed, high cost highways for which there is significant community support, but continue to treat the National Land Transport Fund as the primary source of funding.

- Ensure that a significant proportion of fuel excise duty collected within a particular region is earmarked for the roads in that region.

- Increase the Financial Assistance Rate (FAR) that is paid by central government to local authorities for the construction and maintenance of local roads up to 80% of their total costs.

- Although significant progress has been made during the current term of government, we will continue to work towards the completion of the strategic roading networks in Auckland, Tauranga and Wellington (including the construction of the Transmission Gully highway).

- Improve road safety through better engineering and design, including the construction of passing lanes every 5km along State Highway 1, and then progressively along every other road that carries more than 4,000 vehicles per day. The ultimate goal is for State Highway 1 to be four-laned from Kaitaia to Invercargill.

- Promote research into alternative energy sources for transport.

- Promote the use of technology to generate a rapid response to accident investigations and to minimise consequent congestion.

- Promote barging and coastal shipping services where economically viable as an alternative to land-based freight movement.

- Investigate the possibility of introducing competition to the rail network.

- Support the continued use and upgrading of commuter buses and rail.

- Improve the school bus system to assist decongesting roads in the major cities.

- Support fair and free competition between air travel providers.

Traffic Safety and Enforcement

- Hold an inquiry to evaluate the effectiveness of the decision to integrate police and traffic enforcement, with a view to deciding whether the traffic police should comprise a separate division.

- Support the labelling of cars for sale to denote their safety ratings.

- Support conditional licensing arrangements for seniors who drive within a limited radius (e.g.10 km from their home) to reduce the burden of frequent re-testing - subject to more frequent medical check-ups.

- Make it a traffic infringement to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving if research confirms that these are the cause of some traffic accidents.

- Institute a zero blood alcohol level for all drivers under the age of 25.

- Institute compulsory testing for drugs of drivers involved in accidents causing injury.

- Legislate for compulsory third party insurance for all car owners, conditional on the issue of a warrant of fitness.

- Toughen penalties for driving while disqualified or without a licence, alcohol or drug-impaired driving, and driving at excessive speeds.

- Implement driver education in schools.

- Require police to test drivers for drug use in the same way that they presently test for alcohol use.

- Reassess open road speed limits for their appropriateness to the condition of the road, environment, and traffic patterns.

- Balance the current focus on speed control with an emphasis on policing basic driving offences to target the worst drivers before they cause accidents.

POLICY ENDS


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