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Green traffic reduction bill to go before Parliament

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today had her Road Traffic Reduction Bill drawn from the private members ballot.

The bill requires national and regional governments to set binding targets for the reduction of motorised road traffic and also amends the principal objective of Transfund from simply building roads to instead providing a safe and sustainable land transport system.

"I am delighted that this bill has been drawn because New Zealand cannot simply go on using more cars and building more and more roads," said Ms Fitzsimons. "We have to turn this unsustainable trend around.

"The transport sector is New Zealand's largest single producer of climate-changing CO2 emissions and we have one of the highest rates of child pedestrian injuries and child pedestrian deaths in the OECD. Research shows the only effective way of dealing with this problem is slowing down and reducing traffic," she said.

"New Zealand's three main cities all have air pollution problems as a result of motor vehicle use and communites are often threatened by massive roading projects which are justified on the basis that they save motoristsa few seconds."

Ms Fitzsimons said this bill was an attempt to break the cycle of more roads equalling more cars equalling more congestion and accidents.

"This bill is about getting a transport system that works for everyone. It recognises that what might work for an individual can wreck havoc with a city."

Ms Fitzsimons said her bill would require the Minister of Transport to develop targets, timetables and measures for traffic reduction on state highways and require councils to reduce traffic in their regions.

"Congestion and urban sprawl are both growing very fast in New Zealand and both of these phenomena impose huge economic costs, divide communites and break down essential human interactions.

"New Zealand urgently needs to shift towards a model of access and mobility based around localisation, with increased public transport services, cycling and walking and greater use of rail and coastal shipping for freight movement," said Ms Fitzsimons.

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