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Walking and the Election

Walking and the Election

The Green Party has topped the polls while National has failed to register according to NZ's pedestrian advocacy organisation Living Streets Aotearoa (LSA).

LSA recently asked each party represented in the current Parliament 7 questions to find out which parties would do things to make life better for pedestrians.

Andy Smith, President of LSA, says the responses were quite revealing with the Green Party clearly out in front while the Maori Party also showed a strong commitment to making walking more convenient, appealing and safer.

Mana was also strong and would have scored more strongly had it had some original ideas for actions to benefit walkers.

Labour seemed to be speaking the right language but was a bit too non-committal, using lots of phrases like 'We'll investigate/review...'.

In contrast, NZ First was definitive but brief in its answers offering no elaboration.

United Future came in next, suffering from too many weasel words and wanting to leave too much up to local authorities, which is the partly the current cause of poor provision for pedestrians and why the standard is so variable around the country.

ACT came in very lowly, saying everything would be according to the market - supply and demand - which really told us nothing.

But at the bottom of the heap was National which declined to even answer our questions.

Andy Smith stressed that even though only 7% of people who left home to go to work on census day used walking as their main mode of transport, many times more would have done so to get to their ferry, train or bus or to or from their motor vehicle. Additionally, large numbers of school children walk to and from school and during the day many other

people walk for all sorts of purposes from shopping to exercise. So nearly everyone who leaves home each day is a pedestrian at some stage on their daily journeys and politicians should allocate adequate resources and implement appropriate laws to make this mode safe, convenient and appealing. Besides all its health and environmental benefits, it would bring added vitality and economic activity to our towns and cities.

Living Streets applauds the recent financial commitments being made to cycling in New Zealand but points out that far more people walk each day than cycle and that resources should be allocated to ensure both these sustainable, active modes are made easy.

See the questions and the parties' responses on our election page



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