The Government’s announcement today that it will boost bus driver wages once again adopts a long held Green Party commitment on public transport.
“Good public transport is crucial for reducing climate pollution, connecting our communities and making our cities more liveable. We are pleased the Government is finally listening to what bus drivers, unions, and the Green Party have been saying, and boosting the wages of bus drivers,” says the Green Party spokesperson for transport, Julie Anne Genter.
“Fairer wages and better working conditions aren’t just good for bus drivers and their families, they will also help attract new drivers leading to better services and fewer cancellations for people who use the bus to get around.
“This is the second time in recent months that the Government has taken up one of our recommendations on public transport. The first was the commitment to roll out a new public transport model, which will give communities a greater say over how their local transport services are run.
“One of the reasons bus driver wages have been held back for so long is because we’ve been stuck with the National Government’s model for contracting public transport services. Unsurprisingly, National designed a system that mainly benefited private companies - and did not deliver the public transport outcomes or wages our communities deserve.
“We were delighted that the Government finally took note and agreed with us that we needed greater public control. Following that today with the announcement that bus driver pay rates will be boosted shows the benefits of publicly owned transport.
“After years of political pressure from the Greens, we are pleased that the Government is finally rebalancing our public transport system towards the needs of local communities, as well as for people who work on public transport.
“But the need for change doesn’t stop here. We also need the Government to urgently boost funding for regional rail and provide free public transport for everyone.
“Faced with a climate crisis, we must act now to provide frequent and reliable low-carbon alternatives to road transport, to meet a growing population and ensure the safety of those on board.
“With today’s announcement, the Green Party has once again shown that bringing people together to demand change works. With more Green MPs we can build the affordable, clean public transport network New Zealanders deserve,” says Julie Anne Genter.