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Poll shows most Kiwis disagree with big spending on roads

Poll shows most Kiwis disagree with big spending on roads

A national Colmar Brunton public opinion poll released today shows seven out of ten New Zealanders want to see more Government money going to fund public transport improvements in major towns and cities. Only 1 percent of total land transport spending is allocated to new and improved public transport.

In Auckland the rate is even higher with 78 percent of people in agreement that the government should spend a greater percentage of its Land Transport Budget on improved public transport infrastructure in major urban areas or cities over the next decade.

“The Roads of National Significance and other roading projects are currently gobbling the lion’s share of government transport money, when what New Zealanders want is more investment to make public transport in cities better,” says WWF-New Zealand Climate and Energy Advocate Lee Barry.

“The futility of building more roads is not lost on Kiwis – they know fuel prices will rise and new roads will not help them.”

WWF analysis of National, Labour and Green Party election policies on transport shows the Green and Labour Parties are more closely aligned with the wishes New Zealanders have expressed in this poll.

“For example, Aucklanders have made it clear time and time again they want urgent solutions to congestion and better public transport. The Green Party recently committed to funding 60% of Auckland’s proposed city rail loop, and Labour said they would foot half of the bill, while National have promised only to evaluate whether the rail loop is worth it,” said Ms Barry.

The poll showed that even among those who don’t live in cities, the majority - 65 percent – still agree that more money should be spent on pubic transport in cities and major urban areas.

Ms Barry said; “We tend to think of ourselves as a rural country, but three quarters of New Zealand’s population live in urban areas. By investing now to improve low cost, efficient modes of transport for the majority we’ll be in a better position to cut emissions from transport and save on our individual fuel costs. Instead $12 billion is going towards building roads the majority doesn’t want.”

WWF-New Zealand's pre-election policy recommendations on transport call on all parties to increase investment in public transport options compared to investment in new roads, introduce vehicle fuel economy standards to make our car fleet more efficient, and support an expanded scheme to develop homegrown sustainable bio fuels.

Ends

Notes to editors

Party policies on transport can be found here:

• Green Party: http://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/transport2011.pdf

• National Party: http://www.national.org.nz/files/2011/Auckland_Transport_policy.pdf

• Labour Party: http://www.ownourfuture.co.nz/media/files/Transport_Policy_Document.pdf

• Statement from the Green Party about percentage of funding for Auckland City Rail Loop:

http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/greens-would-fund-60-percent-cbd-rail

About the Colmar Brunton Poll
• Question and results were as follows: At the moment new or improved road infrastructure accounts for 59% of total government transport spending over the next decade, while new or improved public transport infrastructure accounts for 1.1% of total planned government transport spending. Bearing this in mind, to what extent do you agree or disagree that the government should spend a greater percentage on new or improved public transport infrastructure in major urban areas or cities in the next decade? Strongly agree 43%, Slightly agree 29% (Total agree 72%) Neither agree nor disagree 16% Slightly disagree 5% Strongly disagree 3% Don’t know 3%

• Interviewing was conducted online using an online omnibus, between 12 and 19 October
• Methodological details as follows: o 1,004 online interviews with New Zealander’s aged 18 and over o Results for a sample size of 1,004 are normally subject to a maximum margin of error of ± 3.1%. o The data is post-weighted to reflect New Zealand population statistics in terms of gender, age and region.

WWF-New Zealand’s Election Briefing can be found here: http://assets.wwf.org.nz/downloads/wwf_2011_election_briefing.pdf

About WWF-New Zealand

WWF-New Zealand is part of the WWF International Network, the world's largest and most experienced independent conservation organisation. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature. This is achieved by working on the ground with local communities, and in partnership with government and industry, using the best possible science to advocate change and effective conservation policy.

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