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Source: Green Party

The Green Party is calling on the Government to guarantee that it will complete light rail and improve walking, cycling, and bus journeys across Wellington before digging new high-carbon tunnels.

“We are pleased light rail will finally be made a reality in Wellington. Bus priority routes, and a new dedicated walking and cycling tunnel are also to be welcomed. However, the Government’s preferred option for Let’s Get Wellington Moving is not the best for the climate overall. The tunnels will be high-carbon and high-cost, and could also delay the delivery of safe walking and cycling to the east,” says the Green Party’s transport spokesperson, Julie Anne Genter.

“We have a once in a generation opportunity to address the climate crisis and make Welington more liveable. Our cities can be designed to address the climate and housing crisis. But successive Governments have been stuck in the same old mind-set of trying to reduce congestion by building another expensive bit of road – and it seems this Government is thinking the same way.

“Wellingtonians have consistently said they want sustainable, city-enhancing public transport. The preferred option of light rail is the best way to support climate-friendly urban development and increase affordable housing and transport

“The Government has said that the next step for Let’s Get Wellington Moving is to look at what transport projects could be prioritised. The Green Party is calling on the Government to guarantee that public and active transport will be transformed before the sod is turned on a longer tunnel at the Basin reserve.

“The unnecessary changes the Government wants to make to the Basin will have a tiny effect on travel times for car drivers. Official LGWM modeling shows that it saves about a minute and a half off a trip from Johnsonville to the Airport at peak time compared to no change at the Basin.

“The reason for this is that the congestion just moves along to the next set of lights, the next bottleneck. Increasing capacity for cars will not make it easier to get around Wellington. It will simply move the congestion to another part of the city.

“The Greens preferred option for Let’s Get Wellington Moving would have avoided an unnecessary extension of the tunnel at the Basin. The analysis shows this would have delivered a similar boost to housing as the option chosen by the Government – but better public transport options and climate outcomes. Not only is our preferred option, the most climate friendly, it’s also the most affordable – meaning we can use the moment to improve public and active transport elsewhere in the Wellington region.

“With more Green MPs we will be in a stronger position to shape the Government’s decisions on hugely important infrastructure projects like Let’s Get Wellington Moving so they deliver truly low-carbon transport alternatives for people,” says Julie Anne Genter.