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Greens help forge a new path

Greens help forge a new path

Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says the new Land Transport Strategy and its legislation is the first fruit of the Labour-Green co-operation agreement signed in August.

The parties have been working together for a year on a package that includes the increase in petrol price and road user charges, the new funding for this year for public transport and alternatives to roading, and will eventually include vehicle emissions controls and a review of major projects.

"The result of our year's work is a fundamental sea change in the framework for transport planning," said Ms Fitzsimons. "It is a recognition that the transport sector cannot endlessly build its way out of problems and a commitment to consider a balanced, full range of alternatives and to reduce negative social and environmental impacts."

The Greens are particularly pleased with key changes for Transfund and Transit, including:

* objectives broadened from 'safe and efficient roading system' to 'safe, sustainable, integrated and responsive' transport system;

* a commitment to 'early and full consideration' of land transport alternatives;

* a requirement to minimise adverse effects on the environment;

* a requirement to take into account the views of affected communities.

"Each party has had to concede ground on some issues to get progress," said Jeanette Fitzsimons. "The Greens would not have introduced provisions for PPPs but we are satisfied that we have achieved strong guidelines and conditions on their use.

"There have been major problems with the way PPPs have operated in Australia. Those lessons mean that in New Zealand there will be no privatisation of existing or new roads, PPP projects will have to support the overall objectives of the Strategy and they will be focused more widely on alternative transport projects, such as Auckland's light rail, as well as roads

"Transport in NZ will no longer mean just the car and the motorway. These documents mean that rail, bus, ferry, barges, the bike and the footpath gain equal status

"Most importantly it means integration - transport decisions must advance economic development, social cohesion and environmental improvement at the same time."


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