News release from Wellington City Council
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has welcomed today’s announcement by the Government that it will provide new funding for urban cycleways.
Today the Prime Minister announced $100 million will be made available over the next four years to accelerate cycleways in urban centres.
“This is an exciting announcement and it shows that most parties now realise the importance of improving cycling infrastructure,” said Mayor Wade-Brown.
“This is particularly welcome in Wellington, where we have a number of projects close to being ready and some really significant developments being planned with the potential to transform the cycling network, including the Great Harbour Way, Middleton Road, and our strategic cycling network.
“The announcement will help address the major government underspend on cycling facilities in recent years,” she said.
The Wellington City Council recently opened Ara Tawa, the shared pathway through the suburb of Tawa, connected through to Porirua City.
The Council is also in detailed consultation for sections of the strategic cycling network from the CBD to Island Bay.
News release from NZ National Party
Hutt South National candidate Chris Bishop has promised to be a fierce advocate for the Petone to Wellington cycleway as part of the Government’s commitment into urban cycleways.
“The $100 million investment set aside by the Government will be hotly contested across the country, and the Hutt Valley needs a strong voice in Government to secure funding for its cycleways,” Mr Bishop said. “I’m a proud supporter for the Eastern walkway and cycleway, and the Petone to Wellington cycleway. If elected to Parliament, I’m committed to doing whatever possible to secure funding and get these cycleways built.
“Hutt residents have been crying out for a revamped cycle and pedestrian link between Wellington and the Hutt Valley. It’s taken a National-led Government to get things moving, and I’m committed to getting it built,” he said.
Mr Bishop said that the New Zealand Cycle Trail project has shown that cycleways can generate lasting economic, social, and environmental benefits for local communities.
“A safe and practical cycleway will help better protect cyclists, get more commuters fit and active, and help reduce traffic pollution and congestion,” Mr Bishop said.
News release from ACT Party
“The National party yesterday announced a $100 million cycle-way that just happens to go through the marginal seat of Hutt South” said ACT Leader Dr Jamie Whyte.
“The Greens want to spend many hundreds of millions on cycle-ways. ACT’s contribution to this bidding war for the cyclist vote would double cycle use and cost nothing” said Dr Whyte.
“We need only abolish the law that makes wearing a cycle helmet compulsory. Since 1994, when Parliament established an instant fine of $150 for failing to wear a helmet, cycling has declined by over 50%. Overseas experience also indicates that laws making it compulsory to wear a helmet dramatically reduce cycling. This nanny state law does not even save lives” said Dr Whyte. “On the contrary, it costs lives. Before the legislation, few people died from cycling accidents and, of those who did, only 20% died from head injuries alone.”
” Research reported in the New Zealand Medical Journal (see http://journal.nzma.org.nz/journal/125-1349/5046/) shows that, over a 10 year period, only 20 Aucklanders were killed in cycle accidents and only 4 might have been saved by wearing cycle helmets. This same New Zealand Medical Journal article concluded that life years gained from the health benefits of cycling outweighed life years lost in accidents by 20 times” said Dr Whyte.
“The diminished health resulting from the reduced cycling caused by compulsory helmet-wearing costs 53 premature deaths a year. ACT would simply abolish the $150 fines for not wearing a helmet. That would save $100 million on cycle-ways in marginal seats, double cycle use and save 53 lives a year” said Dr Whyte
News release from Generation Zero
Nationwide youth organisation Generation Zero has welcomed Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee’s announcement of an additional $100 million over four years for urban cycleways, and says local councils should “get building” now that it appears any future government will boost cycleway funding.
Generation Zero spokesperson Dr Sudhvir Singh said: “We applaud the Minister for this much needed funding boost to finally start bringing New Zealand’s cycling infrastructure up to world standards, although we want to see a larger increase to at least triple the current cycling budget.”
Last month Generation Zero joined with local cycling advocacy groups from around the country for the “On Yer Bike” campaign, which helped over 3500 people make a submission on the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport Funding calling for a tripling of the national cycling budget.
The additional funding announced averaging $25 million per year amounts to an approximate doubling of current funding through the National Land Transport Fund. The Green Party’s recently announced transport policy would see this increase to at least $100 million per year.
“We look forward to transport policy announcements from Labour and other parties, but it now appears whoever wins the election we will see a significant boost to cycleway funding. That means it’s time for local councils to get building and implementing cycleway network plans,” said Dr Singh.
“Some councils such as Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch have already majorly boosted council funding for cycleways so it’s time to get building as a top priority.”
“Auckland Council needs to follow suit by at least tripling its current cycling budget in order to meet its target of completing the Auckland Regional Cycleway Network by 2025.”
“We are pleased to see the National Party acknowledging the need to build safe cycleway networks to give ordinary Kiwis the choice of a safe bike commute, and the immense benefits this will bring for New Zealanders.”
“More people riding means less carbon pollution, less congestion, less money leaving the New Zealand economy to pay for oil, and fewer people suffering from avoidable health problems due to inactivity.”