The National Government needs to rethink its multibillion-dollar motorway expansion projects and prioritise investment in public transport and cycling, with new figures showing that young New Zealanders are falling out of love with the car, the Green Party said.
Statistics New Zealand figures show there are now fewer teens on the road than those aged over 75, while Ministry of Transport numbers show the number of licences issued each year had been increasing until 2010, before dropping back to levels of more than a decade ago.
“If National was thinking about the next generation of Aucklanders they’d be prioritising cost-effective projects like light rail to Mt Roskill and a rail connection to the North Shore, rather than spending billions more on a few motorway expansions,” said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.
“The vast majority of National’s transport budget goes on a few expensive motorways, which ignores the huge numbers of people who want to be free to move about their city without a car and without getting stuck in traffic.
“The Green Party is campaigning for rail to the North Shore and it's been hugely popular. A recent UMR poll also found that 79 percent of Aucklanders favoured a rail line to the North Shore, with just 18 percent against it.
“Designing a transport system that requires every citizen to own and maintain their own car is not only outdated, it's making Auckland an even more expensive city to live in.
“Young people recognise there’s a significant financial burden to owning a car, and for many it’s simply not worth it. There is a real freedom to jumping on the train and not having to deal with the hassle of traffic and cost of parking.
“Unfortunately, we have a government that’s stuck in the 1950s, believing Auckland should build its way out of traffic congestion with ever expanding motorways rather than modern, efficient, low-polluting public transport,” said Ms Genter.