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''Road Prevention'' Bill Bad News for Majority

Media Release 14 October 2003

''Road Prevention'' Bill Bad News for Majority

Touted as the means to get additional funding for roading the Land Transport Management Bill will merely dilute already inadequate road funding the Automobile Association warns.

“While there are some helpful provisions in the Bill around long term planning and more flexible funding sources, the overall effect will be bad news for the majority of New Zealanders”, AA Policy Manager Jayne Gale says.

The Bill opens the way for more petrol taxes to be diverted from roading. Currently of every dollar spent at the pump over half is taken in tax but only 17.7 cents is spent on transport. Of this only 13 cents is spent on roads with the other 4.7 is diverted to other purposes. The Bill opens the floodgates to divert more of these 13 cents to purposes such as rail, coastal shipping and regional development.

The Bill also gives environmental sustainability priority over safety, jobs and helping people get where they want to go. AA Policy Manager Jayne Gale says that while the Bill’s purpose is to assist safety, economic development and access it must ensure environmental sustainability. Environmental sustainability is not defined legally but the New Zealand Transport Strategy refers to alternatives to roading and reducing the use of cars.

“New Zealand’s road planning and consent processes are more prolonged than many other developed countries including our trading partners. Under this Bill transport projects must satisfy much more tortuous conditions than other kinds of construction projects under the Resource Management Act. This Bill will hold up roading projects while lives are lost and businesses fail”.

Ms Gale says the Bill is infested with anti-car ideology.

“Personal transport is fundamentally linked to the way we live our lives. This will have far-reaching consequences to limit the opportunities New Zealanders have to choose where they will live work and play. In many cases the ‘solutions’ the Bill endorses will be worse than the problems.”

Ms Gale says the Government is in danger of losing touch with the public when it comes to transport policy.

“80% of New Zealanders use their cars every day but transport policy is being written to further the interests of a very vocal anti-car minority. The lack of real consultation with any group other than political coalition partners during the development of both this Bill and its forerunner the New Zealand Transport Strategy shows how far removed transport policy is becoming from the realities of everyday New Zealand life”, Ms Gale says.

ENDS

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