National's infrastructure plan irresponsible, short-sighted

The National Government's infrastructure plan, released today, completely ignores the reality of climate change, the Green Party said.

"I am disappointed at the backwards direction National is taking New Zealand. There is a complete absence of investment into a low-carbon economy in this plan," said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

"We have just ratified the Paris Agreement, which says we will reduce carbon pollution. How can Kiwi families and businesses do that if we don't build modern, clean transport systems?

"The report released today shows that infrastructure spending on rail has declined, while spending on a few expensive stretches of highway has increased over the past three years (see figure 16, page 21).

"Page 29 shows that all central government transport spending between 2016 and 2025 has been ear marked exclusively for highways, including in Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury and Northland. There is nothing for rail infrastructure.

"It's not clear where the funding will come from for the rail projects identified in the Auckland Transport Alignment Project, like electrification to Pukekohe and rail to the airport.

"Now is the time to invest for the future. Pouring billions of dollars into infrastructure that doesn't reduce pollution is billions of dollars wasted.

"The New Climate Economy report out just a few weeks ago talks about the imperative and the opportunity of low-carbon infrastructure to create jobs and reduce dangerous climate pollution.

"National is being reckless. They are not only out of step with the world and private sector here in New Zealand, who are investing in rail and electric vehicles, they are out of step with their own voters.

"Our campaign for North Shore rail has been extremely popular with all residents and businesses we have surveyed. Many of them vote National, so why is this Government failing to grab the opportunity to build projects that are good for the climate and the economy?

"The Green Party has a comprehensive, costed transport plan that will build the clean, modern rail and busway systems New Zealanders need and want. It also looks after the roads we have, and allocates over $1 billion to road safety improvements, all within National's spending plans.

"Building public transport to complement the road network is far more effective at freeing up the roads for those who need to use them. We will also make it much easier for businesses and families to afford electric vehicles," said Ms Genter. 

Link to Government infrastructure report: http://www.infrastructure.govt.nz/plan/evidencebase/2016-capital-intenti...

 

 

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