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Call for resignation of Transport Ministry CEO

RAM Media Release 28 April 2006

RAM calls for resignation of Transport Ministry CEO

"RAM, the Resident Action Movement, has called on Government to terminate the official duties of Robin Dunlop as Secretary and CEO of the Ministry of Transport and seek his resignation forthwith" says RAM representative Elaine West.

"Our submission on the Auckland road pricing study states that Dr Dunlop has failed in his duties as the top civil servant in transport related matters and he must be held accountable."

"Auckland's traffic congestion is not the fault of the public using the roads when a viable public transport system barely exists" she said.

"It's got to be the fault of Dr Dunlop who failed to provide appropriate leadership and policy development in land transport."

Dr Dunlop was CEO of Transit for 14 years from 1989 to 2003 then appointed as Chief Executive of the Ministry of Transport.

"Dr Dunlop's background is in road building and he apparently didn't do a good enough job in that area in New Zealand. And, in the recent past he has been a strong advocate for tolls and direct road user charges in New Zealand and abroad."

"Auckland needs an advocate for public transport who stands against introducing tolls, additional parking levies and ambushing the public into toll-road submission."

"RAM's submission on the Auckland study points out that international research backs the public stand for public transport and against tolls."

"For instance, the Auckland road pricing study says that tolls and parking levies will improve congestion only 25%-35% at best. And international studies show that tolls have similar results on traffic reduction in cities."

"But Dr Dunlop is sitting on research from 2004 showing how public transport will effectively reduce congestion. Ottawa in Canada, invested in an efficient bus system to bring people from outlying areas into the city. His research shows that nearly 70% of people working in Ottawa travel to work on commuter buses with the system carrying 71.8million passengers annually."

"The Auckland study says that the primary reason to bring in tolls and parking levies is to reduce congestion on Auckland's roads."

"We say that primary reasons for introducing tolls on Auckland roads - which go so much against the public-grain are -

- to generate further road taxes,

- to make roads into businesses and commuters into customers,

- and to make roads profitable products for private investment."

"If Dr Dunlop advises the Minister of Transport to place tolls and road parking charges on Auckland roads

- knowing that people and businesses will suffer a negative economic impact,

- knowing that people and businesses want a world class public transport system,

- knowing that research shows that an efficient public transport system reduces traffic congestion far more than tolls and parking levies could ever hope to do,

- and knowing that funds are already available in government,

then he is turning his back on the people of Auckland, on the Study findings, and on international research.

Elaine West says "Auckland's land transport system and network is viewed as a national and international failure of governance."

"The people of Auckland are pitied by overseas visitors who come from countries with world class public transport systems and networks."

"International transport planners describe Auckland as a 'basket-case' and conclude that officials have 'foiled' the people by not giving public transport options to alleviate traffic congestion."

"We believe" she says "that the land transport crisis that Auckland has been subjected to for years is the result of

a) incompetent and bungling leadership, and inappropriate strategic

policy development, and

b) appears to be carefully contrived with the intention of gaining

public acceptance for direct road charging, or tolls on existing
roads and parking levies.

New Zealand, and Auckland, needs a Secretary and CEO of the Ministry of Transport who will stand up for the public majority ­ and clearly Dr Dunlop will not. "

"Based on his past experience in road building and promotion of direct road user charges such as tolls, and present experience as chief transport adviser

to Government, we do not have confidence in Dr Dunlop's ability in the nation's top transportjob."

Ms West says

"Robin Dunlop, the Secretary and CEO of the Ministry of Transport must be held accountable and resign from his official transport post forthwith."

Other key items in RAM's submission include:

2. That the Government opposes road tolls and parking charges on Auckland roads ­ the people have paid twice for the same roads ­ through local government taxes and central government taxes.

3. That the Government disregards the Auckland Mayoral Forum.

4. That Auckland local bodies consult with the public about tolls and road pricing.

5. That the Government operates in an open and democratic way by disclosing all information on road reform to the public domain.


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