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Budget takes NZ transport down the wrong road

Budget takes New Zealand transport down the wrong road

Maritime Union of New Zealand media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday 28 May 2009

The Maritime Union says the budget announced today is a step backward for transport infrastructure.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the lack of support for the maritime industry is a glaring omission.

Mr Hanson says the abandonment of the SeaChange strategy to build up New Zealand shipping in favour of building more roads is a bad mistake.

"The Government has poured money into roading as the world hits peak oil and climate change. They are moving in exactly the wrong direction. Shipping is the transport mode of the future that is low-impact, environmentally responsible and cost effective in the long term, but has been sidelined."

Mr Hanson says New Zealand is dependent on maritime trade, but has allowed its coastal fleet to be decimated by opening the coast to foreign vessels.

He says building roads is putting good money after bad and is only prolonging crunch time by relocating traffic jams around badly designed cities.

Mr Hanson says the Maritime Union has several key goals for a secure and stable New Zealand economy.

These include the public ownership of key assets such as ports, the development of a national ports strategy "KiwiPort" to get ports working together, the strengthening of job security by reducing casualization of jobs, and support for the development of New Zealand shipping.

He says it appears working class people will be paying for the instability of the global economic system, which served a minority rather than the majority.

"The simple fact is that the world is in the grip of a deepening economic crisis brought about by unregulated global capitalism. The National Party supports more of the same."

ENDS

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