Transport Needs Sacrificed For Green's Support On GE Wednesday, Oct 15, 2003
New Zealand should be shocked that the Labour-led Government has sacrificed the country's future transport needs in an effort to get the support of the Greens on GE, says Charlie Pedersen, Vice President, Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).
“This is MMP at its worst.
Mr Pedersen was commenting on the Land Transport Management Bill which seeks to improve the way land transport is managed and funded, and was reported back yesterday by the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee.
“There is universal agreement that New Zealand's roading problems are stifling economic growth. The Select Committee was given a golden opportunity to rectify the deficiencies of the current system when considering the Land Transport Management Bill, but has failed.
“Federated Farmers and other submitters provided the Select Committee with the ideas and information required, but these were largely ignored as the Labour members sought to appease the Green Party. The Select Committee has made matters worse and delivered Parliament a Bill that, as it stands will be a further barrier to the Government's own aim of lifting New Zealand into the top half of the OECD.
“Rather than addressing the problem with under-funding of the roading network, the revised Land Transport Management Bill extends the scope for diverting road users' funds into non-roading projects. Not only will road users' funds continue to be used to subsidise taxpayers, cyclist, pedestrians, bus and train operators – but they will now be used to subsidise coastal shipping.
“Currently only half of the $2.2 billion collected from road users is spent on roads. Under this Bill the motorist will be asked to pay more (via tolls and regional petrol taxes) for less (as their funds line the pockets of Australian owners of Tranz Rail and the New Zealand owners of coastal ships).
“Federated Farmers calls on Transport Minister Paul Swain to make significant changes to the Land Transport Management Bill and stem the theft of motorists' funds that leads to inevitable fatalities on New Zealand' roads. We are keen to work with Government to reach the goal of safe, less congested roads for all New Zealanders. The answer to this lies largely in the expanding the capacity of the roading network,” Mr Pedersen concluded.