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Greens welcome coastal shipping into transport mix

14 September 2006

Greens welcome coastal shipping into transport mix

The Green Party is happy to throw its support behind moves to create a comprehensive maritime strategy for New Zealand, and to fully embrace coastal shipping as an essential element in the transport policy mix, Green Party Coastal Shipping Spokesperson Sue Bradford says.

Ms Bradford was commenting on news that the New Zealand Shipping Federation has presented Transport Minister Annette King with a draft Maritime Transport Strategy that urges shipping and ports to be included in Government funding and policy decisions about the transport sector, as an equal player alongside road and rail.

"For far too long, coastal shipping has been the poor cousin in funding decisions and policy planning about transport. Roading has routinely taken centre stage, with rail and - especially - shipping being relegated to the sidelines. Today looks like a turning point, whereby coastal shipping is finally seen and treated as an essential ingredient.

"At a time when fuel costs are rising, this integrated approach makes good economic sense. A comprehensive maritime strategy should now include for instance, the creation of a Maritime Promotions Unit within the Transport department, and the development of a National Ports Policy.

Ordinary New Zealanders stand to benefit from a better integrated transport mix which sees rail, road and the sea lanes all working together more efficiently. More freight carried by sea means far fewer trucks on our roads, less traffic congestion and fewer exhaust fumes undermining the health of New Zealanders and contributing to climate change.

"I welcome the positive way the Federation's draft maritime strategy seems to have been received. We will be keeping a watching brief over the coming months for the follow-through on this positive and long overdue attention to the maritime aspect of our transport triangle."

ENDS

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