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Greens launch Safe Walking and Cycling to School policy

Greens launch Safe Walking and Cycling to School policy

The Green Party has announced $200 million of new investment in infrastructure so kids can cycle and walk to school safely and to ease congestion on New Zealand’s roads.

Launching the policy at Auckland’s Belmont Intermediate School this morning, Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said the Safe Walking and Cycling to School plan would make our roads safer for everyone – cyclists, walkers and drivers - and improve the health and wellbeing of our kids.

“We will invest $50 million a year over four years to ensure kids can walk and cycle to school safe from traffic. This is a policy that’s good for our kids, good for motorists and good for the environment,” Mrs Turei said.

In 1989 half of New Zealand’s kids cycled or walked to school and only a third came by car. Today, these numbers have reversed. Each morning, Kiwis make a quarter of a million car trips just dropping kids at school.

“In a survey of parents that we conducted, 93% of parents who drive their kids to school said they would prefer for them to walk or cycle, but only if they knew it was safe. Our plan will help make walking and cycling to school safe by protecting kids from traffic,” Mrs Turei said.

“We need to turn around the decline in cycling and walking numbers. When kids walk, bike or ride their scooters to school, it’s good for their health and learning, it eases congestion, and it benefits the environment. We just need to make it safe.”

According to the New Zealand Transport Agency, safety is the main reason people have stopped walking and cycling to school.

Local authorities, in conjunction with schools, will be able to draw upon the $50 million a year ring-fenced fund for walking and cycling infrastructure to protect kids from traffic so they can travel safely to school.

This funding will be drawn from a total of $100 million a year in the National Land Transport Fund that the Green Party will ring-fence for walking and cycling.

Funding for walking and cycling is currently only about $15 million a year.

“The latest research shows that we can get up to $20 of gains for every dollar spent on walking and cycling. That’s a billion dollars of gains for each year’s $50 million investment,” Mrs Turei said.

“Our Safe Walking and Cycling to School plan is a smart way to get kids to school safely, and is a smarter spend than wasting money on low benefit projects.”


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