News from Generation Zero
Youth climate change organisation Generation Zero says that the Environmental Protection Authority’s draft decision on the MacKays to Peka Peka Expressway does not change the fact that it’s an irresponsible use of valuable transport dollars and a poor investment in the country’s future.
This afternoon the EPA announced it intends to grant resource consent for the motorway, subject to conditions. The final decision will be announced in mid-April.
The $630 million project – commonly known as the Kapiti Expressway – has attracted controversy on many grounds. Last October, a leaked report prepared for the New Zealand Transport Authority found that for every dollar of taxpayer money spent on the motorway, the corresponding benefit would only be 20 cents.
To pay for this and its other motorway projects totalling $12 billion, the Government is raising fuel taxes and amending the Land Transport Management Act to allow the New Zealand Transport Agency unlimited borrowing capacity with only a signoff from the Finance Minister required.
Generation Zero spokesperson Louis Chambers says: “At a time when other countries are investing heavily in low-carbon infrastructure and oil prices are forecast to keep rising, the Government pouring so much of our money into new motorways with terrible economic cases is outrageous.”
“It’s especially hypocritical given that the Government is telling New Zealanders to tighten their belts everywhere else.”
The Government is refusing to fund popular projects like Auckland City Rail Link, and the National Land Transport Programme 2012-15 shows that for every dollar spent on new state highways, just 5 cents will be invested in new infrastructure for rail, buses, walking and cycling.
A recent UMR poll suggests these funding decisions are out of touch with public opinion, as the proportion of New Zealanders who want the Government to prioritise investment in public transport has doubled in the last 20 years to now outnumber those who would prioritise spending on roads.
Mr Chambers says it’s a question of priorities. “The EPA have analysed the legal case but we as a country should decide where our transport money goes.”
“Communities around the country are crying out for more funding for safe cycleways and better public transport systems, but instead the money is going to dinosaur motorway projects like the Kapiti Expressway.”
“As young people, it’s really clear to us that the future can’t just be an extension of the past. We need to grasp the opportunities for a smart, low carbon future.”
“Moving New Zealand beyond fossil fuels is 100% possible, but only if we stop pouring money into dead-end projects like the Kapiti Expressway.”
About Generation Zero and 100% Possible
Generation Zero is an independent youth organisation seeking to catalyse action on climate change and work towards creating a zero carbon Aotearoa. For more information see:
100% Possible is a new joint campaign by Generation Zero and 350 Aotearoa, and supported by WWF, focusing on the realistic options available to start moving New Zealand beyond fossil fuels.