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Cyclists welcome transport changes

17 June 2004

Cyclists welcome transport changes

Cyclists welcomed today's announcement of an expanded role for the Ministry of Transport and creation of a new transport programme delivery agency, but called for greater openness and consultation at the Ministry, and for a much stronger focus on cycling.

Jane Dawson, spokersperson for the Cycling Advocates Network (CAN), said that CAN was generally pleased with the changes to Government transport agencies announced by the Minister of Transport though it would have liked to see the changes go further, particularly in the area of integrating state highway management with local transport needs.

CAN particularly welcomed the move to bring the work of safety agencies into the mainstream of transport planning.

"Safety has been considered an end in itself for too long." said Ms Dawson. “The new set-up will help to build policy that encourages people to make better choices about how they travel.”

“It’s been frustrating for everyone having to separate cycle safety programmes from activities that encourage more people to bike more often, merely because the funding comes from different Government panniers!”

CAN has some concerns about the potential for political manipulation of the levels of funding assistance to local authorities. “Used well, this could make a critical difference to the way that local authorities provide for cyclists and pedestrians. But if it is misused in the future, it could undermine the aims of the NZ Transport Strategy,” said Ms Dawson. “We hope that the new legislation creates sufficient controls to ensure a stable outcome.”

"With more staff and a stronger local presence the Ministry should be able to do much more for cyclists, but they have to start taking seriously the Government's desire to promote cycling." Ms Dawson said. “We look forward to working with the new-look agencies, to identify all those small, low-cost things that will make people feel like cycling to work, school or the shops.”

ENDS

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