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City transport Plan built on fantasy, not fact

Media release 4th May 2008

City transport Plan built on fantasy, not fact

The just released draft transport Plan for Wellington City is based on fantasy, not fact says Wellington City Councillor and Greens' spokesperson Iona Pannett.

The draft Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan has been released ahead of deliberation this week by Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council. The Plan can be found on the City Council's website (link below).

"The Plan ignores Wellingtonians' huge support for more public transport, their opposition to new tunnels and Wellington City's commitment to carbon neutrality," said Cr Pannett. "Instead, it includes a commitment to two new tunnels in the long term, a flyover by the Basin Reserve in the short term and it dismisses the possibility of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through better public transport.

"Furthermore, the Plan promotes the fantasy that an alternative source of energy to petrol will be found in the future and that we can and should continue to provide ever more road space for drivers. It also misses the opportunity to respond meaningfully to the threat of climate change now. The approach is to 'wait and see'", said Cr Pannett.

Over 4,500 people made submissions on the study the Plan is based on, with 3,750 people supporting light rail, more buses and walking and cycling options whilst opposing the two tunnels and flyover. In contrast only 480 people submitted that the tunnels should be built. So, by a ratio of nearly 8 to 1 there was huge support for public transport and opposition to roads, but this has been ignored in this Plan said Cr Pannett.

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"The public are likely to be somewhat cynical about this process given that they indicated what they wanted. Instead planners have listened to the minority that submitted asking for more roads. It seems curious to ask people what they want and then ignore it," said Cr Pannett.

"There are some positives in the Plan. They include bus priority lanes throughout the city and initiatives to encourage more people to walk and cycle, but these were planned anyway and are not new initiatives.

"Despite acknowledging public concerns about climate change and peak oil it's 'business as usual' for the traditional transport planners, who are fixated with ever more cars needing ever more road space," said Cr Pannett.

"There is overwhelming evidence that we are facing serious environmental problems that we face - not just higher oil prices and climate change, but pressure for arable land, water and clean air. It is a tragedy that this is a Plan for the 20th century, not the 21st."

The report can be found at: Policy/2008/06May0915/pdf/02_NGA_to_Airport_report_appendix_part_1.pdf

Iona Pannett Wellington City Councillor (Lambton Ward)

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