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New plan reduces AK congestion, air pollution

7 June 2009

New plan reduces AK congestion, air pollution & builds healthy kids

Green Party Co-Leader Dr Russel Norman has today unveiled a bold plan to cut traffic congestion, reduce air pollution and help the economy.

“Our new Green Party policy will provide free public transport for all school students during school times and a 50 percent discount at other times. We would introduce the policy for a one-year trial, then review it.

“Our policy is particularly relevant to our biggest city Auckland. Any Aucklander will tell you that road congestion dramatically reduces during school holidays, when children aren’t being driven to school.”

Dr Norman said the policy would cost between $25m to $50m a year to roll out across New Zealand.

“This trial would supplement our efforts to encourage walking and cycling to school. Most trips to school are less then 3km, so walking and cycling is usually the best option for children who live close to their school.

Dr Norman said 56 percent of Auckland’s 250,000 schoolchildren get to school by car. Getting them walking or cycling or even walking to the bus stop or train station would help combat childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles and a greater sense of community.

“The Greens estimate this policy could take up to one in five cars off Auckland roads at peak times. That’s about 140,000 less cars.

“Taking vehicles off the road would lessen air pollution and cleaner air is better for the one in four Auckland children who suffer from asthma.

“Plus increased walking, cycling and public transport use means children will get more exercise, which is great because eight percent of New Zealand children are obese, while a further 20 percent are overweight.

“So our policy works on four fronts. It frees up gridlocked roads, cuts air pollution and helps our young people get more exercise, while saving some of the estimated $900 million a year Auckland congestion costs the economy.”

ENDS

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