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Government forces Kiwis into cars

May 19, 2009

Government forces Kiwis into cars

The Government’s plan for transport spending shows no vision and leaves New Zealanders with no other choice but to drive, the Green Party said today.

“The Government intends to increase funding for state highway construction by $1 billion while slashing funding for alternatives to roads — like buses and trains, walking, and cycling. It will make New Zealand more oil dependent, increase our carbon emissions, and do nothing in the long-term to solve chronic gridlock in our towns and cities,” Green Party transport spokesperson Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

“The reason 84% of New Zealanders drive to work, as the Minister keeps repeating ad nauseum, is because they have no choice. There has been little investment since the 1940s in any kind of alternative to roads.

“Today, Steven Joyce committed to widen that imbalance by spending at least $7 on roads for every $1 spent on a more sustainable alternative. From an environmental viewpoint, it’s simply immoral.”

The additional money spent on new state highways will also actually reduce the number of jobs in the transport sector. Recent job intensity studies show 40% more jobs can be created by investment in public transport instead of roads.

“This is the logic that underpins our recent announcement of a Green New Deal for New Zealand, Ms Fitzsimons said. “It’s an initiative aiming to tackle the economic and the environmental challenges at the same time. With the right transport spend, we can also solve the long-term congestion problems many regions face.”

“This Government’s plan for transport will tie New Zealanders to their cars. Freight will stay on large trucks on our already congested roads. We’ll see very little mode shift to sustainable forms of transport while funding is stripped from them to pay for new state highways,” said Ms Fitzsimons.


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