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Majority of young people back changes to transport

UNICEF NZ (UN Children’s Fund)
Media Release

Majority of young people back changes to public transport - survey

Wellington, 24 November 2009. – A climate change survey of young New Zealanders has found a whopping 96 per cent are in favour of some changes to the country’s current transport system, with the majority voting for substantial change. A delegation of young Kiwis will take the results to Copenhagen this week as part of New Zealand’s contribution to an international climate change forum.

With New Zealand having one of the highest car ownership rates in the world, the joint UNICEF-Enviro-Challenge survey focussed on transport and its impact on climate change. The survey asked young people from around New Zealand to select one of three options for the future of transport – business as usual, improving the current model, or changing the model.

Of the 243 respondents, the youngest who was aged 8, an overwhelming 87 per cent backed changing the way New Zealand approached transport. This included improving public transport, designing towns and cities to make walking and cycling more viable, vehicles to use more sustainable power sources, and the rail network to be extended and electrified.

A further 9 per cent of respondents felt that the current transport model needed to be improved. The survey was carried out through a combination of online responses and face-to-face interviews.

UNICEF NZ Advocacy Manager International, Vicki Soanes, says that the survey results send a strong message about what young New Zealanders see as the future of transportation in this country.

“Transport is an issue that strongly effects young people and is also one where they have the ability to make an impact, especially as many of the delegates are already old enough to drive their own car.”

Ms Soanes says that the Kiwi Climate Ambassadors – a delegation of five young people aged between 15-17 and supported by UNICEF and Enviro-Challenge, will take the results of the survey to the UNICEF Children’s Climate Forum in Copenhagen, 28 November to 4 December. The forum will bring together some 160 young people from 44 developing and industrialised countries.

“As they were preparing to represent NZ at the forum over the past months, the young people realised that it was important to canvas the views of their peers. They want to represent a range of young New Zealanders, not just themselves, and the survey is an important part of this.”

The young Kiwis will contribute to a climate change resolution at the children’s forum that will be presented to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, also in Copenhagen. The resolution will express young people’s concerns and ideas on how the world should deal with climate change and the role children should play in the solution of future climate challenges.

The Kiwi Climate Ambassadors leave NZ for Copenhagen on Wednesday 25 November.

ENDS

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