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Oil dependency takes its toll

28 July 2008

Oil dependency takes its toll

Today's new trade deficit figures showing a massive increase in the cost of importing petrol and other oil products dramatically illustrate why the Government must reduce New Zealand's dependence on oil, the Green Party says.

The cost of imports of petroleum and products have increased 22 percent in the last 12 months - from $5.8 billion in the year to June 2007 to $7.1 billion in the year to June 2008.

"We have built our transport system based on cheap oil, which means as the price of oil has risen rapidly so has our oil import bill. We have to sell $7 billion worth of exports a year just to break even," Co-Leader Russel Norman says.

"We are oil junkies who can't kick the habit as the cost increases because successive governments have invested in roads and motorways that keep us addicted. This Government still invests six times more in roads than public transport.

"If we are to break our dependence we need to make it easy for people to give up the habit - we need fast, safe, clean public transport and safe cycle routes and easy walking routes. We need a decent rail system between our cities and towns and a state of the art rail and coastal shipping freight system.

"The choice is ours. We can reduce our oil dependence - but we need to act now," Dr Norman says.

ENDS

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