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Petrol price goes up, Govt buries head deeper

15 December 2010

Petrol price goes up, Govt buries head deeper

The $2-a-litre petrol price barrier has been broken and shows more than ever the Government needs to plan for a future of high oil prices, said the Green Party today.

“It is irresponsible for the Government to borrow billions to build motorways without even considering the effect of high oil prices,” said Green Party Transport spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

“The New Zealand Transport Agency has its head in the sand, using transport models based on past trends of cheap oil prices, which we know are over.”

In response to Written Questions, Transport Minister Steven Joyce stated that this Government had not conducted any research into the effect of high oil prices on travel patterns.

Mr Joyce also admitted that no explicit analysis has been undertaken of the risk of oil shocks within the business cases for the Roads of National Significance, new motorway projects that will cost at least $11 billion over the next 10 years.

A Parliamentary Library report entitled The Next Oil Shock found that ‘as a country that is reliant on oil imports and heavily dependent on cheap oil for its major sources of income, New Zealand is highly exposed to oil shocks’.

“The Government is ignoring its own advice from 2008, which predicted volatile oil prices increasing over time, and a resulting rise in demand for buses, trains, walking and cycling.

“The last time petrol was $2 a litre, New Zealanders switched to public transport.

“More than ever, the Government needs prepare for an influx of train passengers and invest in transport solutions like the Auckland CBD Rail Loop and the Wellington inner city light rail project.”

Research from Colmar Brunton in August found 72% of New Zealanders think the Government should prepare now for future oil price rises by investing in alternative fuels and in public transport.

“The $11 billion they are spending on motorways is $11 billion we won't have to invest in our rail network and bus services, which are already bursting at the seams due to high demand,” said Mr Hughes.

Link to Written Questions:
http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QWA/0/3/4/QWA_34651_2010-34651-2010-Dr-Russel-Norman-to-the-Minister-of-Transport.htm

http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QWA/b/a/1/QWA_34650_2010-34650-2010-Dr-Russel-Norman-to-the-Minister-of-Transport.htm

ENDS

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