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NZ maps show who oil prices are hitting most

23 September 2008

NZ maps show who oil prices are hitting most


Following a record US$25 spike in the price of a barrel of oil, Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons has released a series of city maps which show how well, or badly, New Zealand's suburban populations are prepared for rising oil prices.

The results were compiled using Census '06 data, and show the proportion of people in suburbs of eight cities who travel to work by car.

"These maps show a sprawling suburban New Zealand - built on the assumption that oil will stay cheap forever. Now with oil costs fluctuating wildly by the day, residents are penalised through lack of public transport and intelligent town planning.

"Yesterday's record US$25 spike in the price of oil shows how urgent it is for city and town planners to get serious about the end of cheap oil. We are fast approaching a time when large proportions of the population simply won't be able to afford to commute by car," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"But these maps show that where reliable and convenient public transport exists, there is a clear will to leave the car at home. For example, the Kapiti region north of Wellington has a relatively high level of independence from petrol. They also have a reasonably accessible train network," Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"However, in Howick and Pakuranga, an alarming 94 percent of trips to work are made by car, making these the most oil-vulnerable workers in the region.

"In Wellington, we see that the residents of Horokiwi, Totara Park, Emerald Hill and other Upper Hutt suburbs are more likely to drive to work.

"Housing which seems at face value to be affordable often penalises people because of limited local job opportunities and poor or non-existent public transport - forcing residents to drive long distances to work.

"Local and regional authorities must start planning now for how their residents can travel in an economic and efficient way, or they risk creating the suburban ghost towns that economists have started warning of. The comprehensive transport policy package the Green Party released on Sunday will help them do that."

Link to the eight city maps here: http://www.greens.org.nz/node/19894 Link to Green Party transport policy here: http://www.greens.org.nz/transport/package

ENDS

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