Green MP to put ‘case for rail’ outside ‘case for roads’ seminar

Auckland Greens will be passing out a ‘Case for Rail’ leaflet outside the Case for Roads seminar at the Waipuna Conference Centre tomorrow morning [8.30am].

“The organisers of this seminar have made outrageous claims against rail passenger transport,” said Auckland Green MP Keith Locke.

“They say in a promotional brochure that one of the ‘specific objectives of the seminar’ is to ‘demonstrate that public transportation will have no significant effect on energy consumption or emissions’.

“It’s absurd to think that a train carrying dozens of people uses more energy than a pile of cars carrying the same number of people,” he said.

“Most greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand come from road transport. We have got to reduce car use if we are going to counter global warming.

“The Case for Roads seminar is ideologically driven by the New Right wing of the roads lobby.

“The two keynote speakers at the seminar reflect this stance. Randal O’Toole and Wendell Cox are leading American opponents of public transport, and strong advocates of more motorway construction. The last thing we should imitate is the urban decay in American cities caused by the lack of an effective public transport system,” said Mr Locke.

“The New Zealand road lobby is using these American ‘experts’ to try to turn the clock back. They’re directly challenging Auckland’s Growth Strategy, whereby new development is to be around the public transport network,” he said.

“A promotional brochure boasts that the seminar will ‘hit both growth strategists and national politicians full-on with a tour de force economic and commercial justification for proceeding with road rather than rail’.

“The ‘Case for Roads’ is a case for vested interests, not something which meets the needs of modern Auckland. We need more public transport, not more tarseal, more cars and more pollution,” said Mr Locke.

Auckland Greens will be holding a picket outside the pro-roading conference at the Waipuna Conference Centre at 8.30am

Keith Locke MP: 09 630 0789

Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719