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Climate change ignored in National’s transport budget

Climate change ignored in National’s transport budget

National’s transport budget for the next decade is a fantasy plan that pretends climate change doesn’t exist and locks New Zealanders into their cars for the next 50 years, said the Green Party today.

Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee released the draft Government Policy Statement on Transport late Sunday afternoon. It outlines $40 billion spending for transport infrastructure over the next decade with just 10 percent allocated to public transport and less than one percent for walking and cycling.

“This is not a smart way forward for transport investment. Fuel prices already mean fewer cars are on the roads and climate change means we will have to cut emissions,” said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

“The draft policy statement shows the National Government is still stuck in the twentieth century, trying to solve congestion by wasting billions on a few extremely expensive duplicate highways.

“New Zealanders are going to be stuck in traffic and paying huge fuel bills for decades to come if the National Government continues this unbalanced approach.

“Around the world, and in New Zealand, research proves that new highways make congestion worse in the medium term, and increases overall transport costs to the economy.

“Instead, we can have more frequent, affordable buses and trains, and safe walking and cycling, as they do in most other developed countries. That is the best way to give families better choices. It also frees up the roads for those that have to drive.

“This budget allows for no new investment in public transport infrastructure, such as the critical Auckland City Rail Link.”

Less than one percent of the budget will be spent on walking and cycling, even though more than 10 percent of people walk and cycle to work now, and many more would if it were safer. The Green Party has announced a $200 million Safe Walking and Cycling to School plan so kids can cycle and walk to school safely and to ease congestion on New Zealand's roads.

“This is a policy that's good for our kids, good for motorists and good for the environment,” said Ms Genter.

Link to draft GPS:
http://www.transport.govt.nz/ourwork/keystrategiesandplans/gpsonlandtransportfunding/gps2015/

Link to Safe Walking and Cycling to School plan:
https://www.greens.org.nz/safetoschool


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