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Government’s Infrastructure Plans Pass the Buck to Youth

[Scoop Editor's note - This release was first wrongly published under the byline of the Council for Infrastructure Development. It originated with Generation Zero and has no relation to the NZCID.]

Government’s Infrastructure Plans Pass the Buck to Young People

A symposium on infrastructure development held in Auckland earlier this week demonstrates that the Government is ignoring opportunities to build a low carbon future that combats climate change and dependence on fossil fuels.

The Building Nations symposium, organised by the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development, was held in Auckland on Tuesday and Wednesday. The speakers at the symposium included Minister of Transport Stephen Joyce and Auckland Mayor Len Brown.

Generation Zero is a group of young New Zealanders calling on political parties to front up with credible plans to cut fossil fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions. Spokesperson Sudhvir Singh said that “The most recent greenhouse inventory shows that New Zealand’s emissions from energy use, which includes transport and electricity generation, are up over 30 per cent above 1990 levels. This symposium was a clear opportunity for the Government and industry to discuss options for building infrastructure that promotes emission reductions, such as renewable electricity generation and quality public transport. However, the symposium agenda indicates that such opportunities were not a topic of concern to the symposium speakers.”

Singh also noted that the Government’s recently released National Infrastructure Plan mentions climate change only in the context of resilience. “The role of infrastructure in combating climate change is not discussed. This approach ignores economic advice such as the Stern Review, which demonstrates that the cost of coping with climate change will be more expensive than emission reduction efforts. The Plan will lock us further into a high-carbon development path, when the only future scenario giving hope for young people is a low-carbon one.”

In the Transport section of the National Infrastructure Plan, the word “emissions” is not mentioned at all. “There’s no evidence that Minister of Transport Stephen Joyce has considered the clear link between the type of infrastructure planned, such as roads, and resulting greenhouse emissions from cars and trucks,” said Singh. “This lack of foresight is detrimental to the future of New Zealand. Young New Zealanders are looking to the leaders of today to make the right decisions to secure a thriving future. The National Infrastructure Plan fails to deliver any hope.”


Information about Generation Zero can be found at http://www.generationzero.org.nz

New Zealand’s greenhouse gas inventory can be found at http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/climate/greenhouse-gas-inventory-2011/greehouse-gas-inventory-2011.pdf

The NZCID Building Nations symposium agenda can be found at http://www.financialpublications.com.au/events/nzcid-building-nations-symposium-2011-agenda/

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