As large parts of Aotearoa recover from two of the worst climate disasters we have ever experienced, it would be a huge mistake for the Government to deprioritise climate action from future transport investments, the Green Party says.
“Now is the time to be building climate-resilient, affordable, inclusive communities with clean and reliable transport connections at their heart,” says Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.
“Earlier today it was reported that the Government would be making emissions reduction a top priority in its transport investment plan. It was a welcome development, especially given that political decisions over the last three decades have led so many of us to be forced to use cars for most trips.
“But those hopes of modest progress were quickly dashed when the Minister for Transport, Michael Wood made a statement suggesting that investments would need to be reprioritised to rebuild roads and bridges in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.
“It is a false trade off. Affected communities need to be re-connected. And when urban roads are renewed and maintained, it is an opportunity to do things better.
“Rural New Zealand needs safe, well-maintained roads as well as viable rail and sea links. That’s all the more reason for urban areas to reduce emissions with frequent buses and safe walking and cycling for local trips. It’s a triple win as it reduces congestion, costs and emissions.
“The decisions Ministers take in the next few years will have a profound impact on the world our children and grandchildren will inherit. We must cut emissions and adapt communities for the effects already here. Only then can we meet everyone’s needs within the boundaries of a safe global climate,” says Julie Anne Genter.