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Transport Policy Taking Us Down A Dead End Street

Media Release – 8 August 2008
The Social Justice Commissioner of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

Transport Policy Taking Us Down A Dead End Street

“The Government’s Policy Statement on Land Transport Funding, released earlier this week, is taking us down a dead end street,” says Dr Anthony Dancer, Social Justice Commissioner.

“This document is a big disappointment. It demonstrates a real lack of regard and concern for the average kiwi, and steers away from the important decisions that will create a more sustainable future.” says Dr Dancer.

The policy statement seems to contain significant anomalies. “On the one hand, our decision-makers continue to justify high road spending through LTNZ calculations based upon an unrealistically low price for petrol. However, this policy statement also relies on high petrol prices to encourage more public transport use”.

“Investment bankers are clear that the short term dip in petrol prices cannot be sustained. They believe oil may soon top US$200. If this is so, according to government logic we seem embarked upon a road building programme that will end up being largely unnecessary.”

“The policy statement seems both inconsistent and short-sighted. It also implies that cars are set to become the transport preference of the rich. Not only does this fail to reflect the true demographic of public transport, but it also stigmatises it.”

“I acknowledge the government has increased spending on public transport over the last ten years. But my question is, why should we settle for a transport policy with such low expectations?

“Studies indicate that removing traffic from the street is consistently more economical than building new roads to accommodate it. The economic and environmental importance of public transport is not being given sufficient priority and I challenge parties to specifically spell out their public transport plans to the public”.

Dr Dancer says having policy put before us that is ‘too little’ and ‘too late’ is a sad situation.

“We can’t afford to be duped by huge amounts of money being poured into infrastructure if those plans don’t give enough attention to public transport. We shouldn’t keep taking wrong turns – it’s time we got into step with reality and research and time we put our money where our future really is”.


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