Young generation wants say on ‘intergenerational roading projects’
16 August 2012
Youth organisation Generation Zero said today that if the Government is to borrow money for large ‘intergenerational’ transport projects, it should ask young New Zealanders about the transport future they want.
On Tuesday, the Government tabled a Bill in Parliament that would give the New Zealand Transport Agency new powers to borrow large sums of money to fund projects, rather than the current ‘pay as you go’ funding model of the National Land Transport Fund.
Generation Zero spokesperson Paul Young said that the motivation for the Bill is so that the Government can pay for its $12 billion ‘Roads of National Significance’ programme, which is currently putting a squeeze on all other areas of transport funding.
“We don't want to be saddled with debt to pay for costly highways that we don't believe will benefit us in the long run,” said Mr Young. “We want a smart transport system that gives people real choice and doesn't depend on more and more oil to run, because the future needs to be low carbon.”
“That means we want the Government to invest in the likes of Auckland’s City Rail Link, which will double the capacity of Auckland’s train network, and give Kiwirail a fair go against the huge highway spend propping up the trucking industry.”
Citing continued warnings from the International Energy Agency and the OECD that prolonging investment in fossil fuel-dependent infrastructure and delaying low carbon solutions will cost us much more in the long run, Mr Young said the Government’s transport plans are short-sighted.
“Even by their own figures, many components of the RoNS programme show marginal or even negative returns on investment, but the really important thing is that these projections don’t properly account for current and future trends, nor the adverse effects for health, carbon emissions and the economy at large.”
Yesterday also saw an announcement from State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall that Kiwirail is struggling to raise the capital for its $4.6 billion turnaround plan, to which the Government has committed $750 million over three years.
“It’s outrageous that the Government is prepared to go as far as changing the law so it can borrow money for its pet highway projects, at the same time as Kiwirail is crying out for more support and 300 of its skilled workers are facing job cuts,” said Mr Young.
“Investment to build a strong and viable rail network for our future is one intergenerational project that we would support.”
“It’s time the Government put the brake on the RoNS, took a look at where the world is headed, and realised that the smart direction for the New Zealand economy hinges on low carbon transport infrastructure.”
About Generation Zero:
Generation Zero is an independent youth organisation seeking to catalyse action on climate change in New Zealand. For more information see:
Generation Zero's 50/50 campaign is calling for a fair share of funding for smart transport options. See www.generationzero.org.nz/5050
Government wants law change to allow borrowing for transport projects:
Government admits cash not there for Kiwirail turnaround: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10827019