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Public transport the poor cousin, again

Public transport the poor cousin, again

The Government's Policy Statement on Land Transport Funding, released this afternoon, fails to meet goals for sustainable transport, severely underfunds alternatives to cars and will keep New Zealanders shackled to petrol for many more decades, Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman says.

"The Green Party has looked closely at the statement and, in what I consider the most likely scenario, for every $1 spent on public transport, cycle ways and walking facilities, $8 will be spent on roads.

"This policy statement is devoid of ambition or awareness of the realities facing New Zealanders. Even where is says people need to use more public transport, it contradictions itself by failing to meet that need. Ultimately it is a roadmap for failure.

"The statement says the Government will not encourage people to use public transport, because rising oil prices will do that for them. But the Government needs to provide the transport alternatives, so people can respond to higher oil prices," Dr Norman says.

"Instead, month after month, I see people waiting in the cold and rain as bus after bus sails by because they are all full, and others who have no option at all, but to drive. "Remarkably, this policy statement does not meet the objectives for walking, cycling and public transport set out by the New Zealand Transport Strategy, also released today.

"It throws into doubt the Government's ability to meet their own Transport Strategy objectives for 2040. Successive Governments and a whole new generation will inherit a very large shortfall in sustainable transport, thanks to this Government's obsession with the private car.

"The Labour Government has consistently spent as much on roads as possible, and under National, who have recently outlined plans to change the RMA to make road building even easier, we can only expect worse.

"The end of cheap oil is upon us; people are struggling to meet the rising costs of transport and related food and living costs. Yet still we see no ambition from the Government to help New Zealanders step out of our total vulnerability to oil prices."


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