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Govt Cuts Take Further Toll On Waka Kotahi’s Road Safety And Climate Change Work

More cuts are proposed at Waka Kotahi with experts focused on providing the analysis and advice to help save lives on roads and shift to lower emission, climate resilient transport under threat.

"The Government’s lukewarm commitment to road safety and climate change has again been laid bare by the latest cuts proposed at Waka Kotahi," said Duane Leo Secretary for Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

A restructure announced today for the Systems Leadership Group, proposes a net loss of 51 roles. This includes 16 roles providing advice and subject matter expertise on environment and sustainability, and 20 roles in road safety, including roles focused on road safety initiatives for Māori. Specialist roles in behavioural science and data science areas are also proposed to go.

Waka Kotahi said the changes reflect the new priorities in the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport.

"The Government says road safety is still a priority, so considering letting go the very people involved in modelling and providing the evidence on how we can reduce road deaths doesn’t make sense.

"At the same time the Government wants bigger, faster roads despite the overwhelming need for New Zealanders to shift out of cars to other modes such as public transport and cycling if we are to tackle climate change effectively.

"There is a trend here where we have a government promising to make evidence-based decisions but prefers to ignore the evidence when it suits because of a misguided political imperative to build roads.

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"This comes on top of another proposal out today to cut seven roles in Waka Kotahi’s business support function. And last week Waka Kotahi proposed downsizing the team working with local councils on road safety and earlier, the team doing the critical data collection work which feeds into road safety improvements. How does this make any sense?

"These are not ‘dumb programmes’ the Government talks about in its cuts campaign."

Recent Waka Kotahi proposals:

Govt plans to cut staff making roads safer during Road Safety Week

Safer roads at risk as Govt spending cuts force Waka Kotahi to downgrade car crash analysis

"What we are seeing day after day are reckless cuts which will damage the public services New Zealanders rely on, and all to fund tax cuts for landlords and others. It’s just wrong that dedicated public servants are paying a price for this today," said Duane Leo.

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