Prioritising roads over climate is simply irresponsible

The Government’s decision today to prioritise new roads is the exact opposite of what Aotearoa needs right now and needs a rethink.

“Aotearoa deserves a balanced transport network with rapid transit connecting more people where they want to go, not more urban motorways,” said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

“We’re pleased to see some rail, and recognition of necessary safety improvements but the focus is still too much on new roads, and not low carbon alternatives.

“Funnelling billions into building more roads, instead of investing in low carbon transport options like regional rail, shows Labour are not serious about climate change.

“We hope this has had a full climate assessment that is required in line with meeting our emissions budget.

“If not, there are serious questions to be asked about how climate change is being considered when decisions about the future of transport in Aotearoa are being made. The advice from the Climate Commission is very clear that to meet our targets, we need to prioritise low emissions alternatives to private vehicle use.

“Labour and National seem to be in a road race this election to come up with the most expensive waste of money on new roads. People want better, and they deserve better.

“Recent polling shows that doing the right thing for the climate is popular. Nearly 3 in 4 New Zealanders think public transport, rail and coastal shipping should be the priority for investment, not new roads.

“It’s so obvious that most people want greener options. These options are better for the climate and also do more to free up our existing roads for those who use them.

“Investing in rail to get more freight and private vehicles off our state highway network is absolutely essential - and must be scaled up as quickly as possible to meet the challenge of climate change.

“Having more Green Ministers in Cabinet to speak up for people and our climate in every decision has never been more essential.

“The Green Party would transform public transport networks, build light rail in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and provide comprehensive bus lanes in all cities.

“We will make it possible for more safe walking and cycling to school and in our communities. We will invest in nationwide rapid rail for passengers, and rail and coastal shipping for freight, to connect regions and major cities.

“Our message is clear: if people want real action on climate change and long-term transformational investment in public transport, the only option this year is the Green Party. More Green MPs in government will mean we can finally direct decision-making towards fast, reliable and affordable buses and trains,” says Julie Anne Genter.

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