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New Lynn upgrade welcome but not new spending

19 December 2006

New Lynn upgrade welcome but not new spending

The announcement of a multi-million dollar revamp for New Lynn railway station and the double-tracking of the rail line through New Lynn is good news, but should not be mistaken for a new investment, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"These are vital changes which take Auckland's dismal public transport network a step in the right direction, so from that perspective this announcement is very welcome," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"However, it should be noted that it does not represent new Government spending on public transport. The $120 million for the New Lynn upgrades is being taken from a $600 million pool already allocated to Auckland rail infrastructure in the last Budget.

"While this is exactly the kind of project we would like to see more of, the Government still isn't spending enough on public transport to bring Auckland's rail system up to scratch overall.

"To put this decision in context, Budget 2006 allocated $1.3 billion to building new roads, and Finance Minister Michael Cullen has previously told the House that he does not believe Auckland will ever have a metropolitan rail network.

"In reality, it is the Government's refusal to make public transport as much of a spending priority as roading that is holding Auckland back. Other countries have made far more meaningful commitments, for example Sweden, where $2 are spent on rail for every $1 spent on roading.

"Today's announcement needs to be backed up with substantial new investment in public transport, for example electrification of the Auckland rail network and a tunnel connecting the South and West lines," Ms Fitzsimons says.


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