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Greens call on Minister to step into bus row

12 December 2005

Greens call on Minister to step into Wgtn trolley bus row

The Green Party is calling on the Transport Minister to step into the row over Wellington's trolley buses so the future of the energy efficient public transport can be assured.

Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons and Wellington Transport Spokesperson Sue Kedgley have written to David Parker, the new Minister of Transport, to ask him to convene a meeting of all the interested parties - Stagecoach, Vector, the Wellington Regional Council and Land Transport New Zealand - to try to solve the long-running dispute over the future funding of the trolley buses and the upgrade of their infrastructure.

"I believe high-level intervention is now needed to break the deadlock, regain momentum and send a clear signal that a solution must be found," Ms Fitzsimons says.

Last week Stagecoach and the Greater Wellington Regional Council yet again postponed the signing of contracts to buy 60 new trolley buses because of a dispute over a $15 million upgrade of the trolley buses' electricity sub-stations.

"Such an investment in infrastructure is modest if it is paid for over a long time horizon, but this requires a long term commitment on Wellington's part to the trolleys. The most expensive option will be short-term, incremental decision making," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"The dispute over the long-term funding of the trolley bus network has gone on for so long it is putting the future of the entire network at risk," Ms Kedgley says.

"We are calling on the Minister to bring everyone together so they can start to talk to each other, rather than past each other. A clear signal is needed that this issue has dragged on long enough."

Ms Fitzsimons says the various parties needed to make a commitment to the long-term viability of the network, and resolve a way forward. "It is becoming urgent. We can't just sit on our hands while this sustainable transport system's future hangs in the balance."

ENDS

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