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Be bolder on transport, Helen

30 August 2005

Be bolder on transport, Helen

The Greens have welcomed key commitments contained within Labour's transport policy, but are urging them to be bolder.

"Labour is moving in the right direction on transport, but we want them to move more quickly and with greater boldness," Green Co-Leader and Transport Spokesperson Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"Labour's adoption of the Greens' policy of a mandatory target for bio-fuels is gratifying, but three percent is totally inadequate. Even the Government's own documents released today show that five percent bio-diesel and at least five percent bio-ethanol are achievable right now.

"New Zealand already produces enough tallow for bio-diesel, ethanol for petrol and other agricultural waste to get to five percent easily, before we even have to consider purpose-grown crops.

"Most developed countries and many developing countries use bio-fuels. Just like vehicle emissions standards, New Zealand is well back in the field on bio-fuels and we need to get going quickly to catch up.

"Bio-diesel is economic at today's prices: they're exempt from the carbon tax and, under Green policy, would also be exempt from the consolidated fund excise on fuel."

Ms Fitzsimons also welcomed Labour's plans to 'fast-track' the upgrade of Auckland's Western Rail Line upgrade, but warned the real issue was ensuring adequate funding was available to do the work.

"The Greens will make sure public transport upgrades are funded on the same basis as state highways, rather than burdening ratepayers unfairly. We look forward to giving real substance to Labour's offers of increased funding of public transport and better public transport information systems."

She said that while Labour and the Greens had differing views on the merits of the State Highway 20 extension, she was confident these could be worked through.

"Labour is cautiously taking positive steps in the direction of giving people a real choice in the face of rising fuel costs. The Greens have already released detailed plans to give Auckland and Wellington modern, effective transport systems. We look forward to working with Labour to put them into place."


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