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National's plan for Akld: gridlock and misery

5 September 2005

National's plan for Akld: gridlock and misery

National's plan for Auckland transport is a recipe for permanent gridlock and misery as more and more Kiwis are pushed out of their homes to make way for unnecessary roads, Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"National is now run by 1950s-style roading extremists," Ms Fitzsimons says. "They want to speed up the consent process to use the Public Works Act to force scores of Aucklanders out of their homes by lunchtime to make room for new motorways.

"By spending all transport money on roads in a time of rising petrol prices, they will leave more and more people to walk, denying them any alternatives to the private car.

"For National, roads are more important than people's right to live unimpeded in their own homes, more important than public safety, and more important than dealing sanely with congestion. National must come clean: how many Aucklanders' homes will be bulldozed in an effort to fill the whole region with tarmac? You cannot both speed up road construction by limiting public participation and protect Aucklanders' homes from the rampaging bulldozer of the state."

National's pledge to spend all petrol tax revenue on roading would kill off Auckland's rail and bus systems once and for all, Ms Fitzsimons said.

"Spending all petrol tax on roads would mean an immediate halt to all government funding for public transport projects. National plans to starve public transport systems of all funding so that they wither and die.

"This is dinosaur thinking. No city in the history of the world has successfully tackled congestion by taking a roads-first approach, yet National seems determined to defy international experience in order to satisfy its warped ideology. The only possible outcome of National's road-only approach to transport is much greater congestion and no affordable public transport alternatives."

Over the past six years, Labour and the Greens have increased spending on roading by 67% and public transport spending by 512%. In that period, the proportion of transport spending going on public transport has increased from less than 5% to around 15%.

"In Auckland, this balanced approach has seen greatly improved public transport services, from bus lanes, to the rail network, to cycling initiatives, and necessary road improvements have still been built. All of these gains are now under threat."

Ms Fitzsimons said National's approach to transport, as with tax cuts, was aimed at helping the very rich to the detriment of everyone else.

"Soaring petrol prices will soon mean that it'll simply be unaffordable for many Aucklanders to commute by car. For such Kiwis, National has nothing to offer, because it is promising to kill Auckland's public transport services. John Key and his rich mates will have roads on which to drive their BMWs, but ordinary Aucklanders who now get the bus and train to work will probably have to walk instead."

ENDS

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