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Big funding injection for regions in Greens transport plan

8 August 2014

Big funding injection for regions in Green Party transport plan

The Green Party will increase transport spending in the regions by 50 percent over the next decade under its new transport plan, the Green Party said today.

“Transport is the life-blood of the regions. They have been starved under National,” Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said today.

“Over the next 10 years, we plan increase regional transport funding by $423 million and we will invest $3 billion on state highways that will hugely improve safety.

“The bulk of the National’s transport budget has gone on motorways as it pursues its obsession with Roads of National Significance (RoNS) while regional transport needs have been ignored. The Green Party plan will change that.

“This plan is about building a smarter greener economy that really works for all New Zealanders.

“Under the Green Party plan, regions will be able to bid for projects that best serve their transport needs, whether road, rail or a port project.

“That contrasts with National, which has indulged in naked pork-barrel politics. It announced 14 regional projects in June, paid for by the sale of state assets, which were selected on the basis of National’s political needs rather than any objective assessment of requirements.

“We will not direct the funding for the regions, as National has done. Regions will be able to bid to fund projects and they will go through Treasury for a rational assessment of the transport priorities and proper cost-benefit analysis – something completely lacking with National’s RoNS programme.

“We also plan to reverse the decades-long under-investment in rail, which remains the transport backbone of the country and is of particular importance for regions like Gisborne and the Hawke’s Bay, where National has mothballed the rail line,” said Ms Genter.

“National has been doing the bare minimum to keep rail alive and in some regions has killed it. It has been dragging its feet on investment to grow capacity.

“Despite this, rail freight has been growing for the past five years, but the infrastructure needs investment to make rail a more reliable and fast option.

“We will invest over $4 billion in the next 10 years on the rail network that will take pressure off roads and improve their safety while helping exporters get their goods to market reliably and efficiently.”

The regional transport plan is part of the Green Party’s overall transport plan that will invest $36.6 billion in the next decade including over $10 billion in new public transport projects and rail.

For a copy of the Green transport policy please see: www.greens.org.nz/transport

ENDS

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