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Minto proposes free public transport for Auckland

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Mana Movement Co-Vice President John Minto launched his campaign for the Auckland mayoralty today with a policy to give Aucklanders an extra hour at home with their family every work day by unclogging Auckland roads with free public transport.

This is a bold solution for Aucklanders who are frustrated sitting in bumper to bumper traffic every day. It will get Aucklanders out of their cars like for the benefit of everyone.

Even Aucklanders who never ride a bus or set foot on a train will benefit through being able to drive on unclogged roads.

Government plans are to spend billions on new roads without reducing traffic gridlock - Mana’s plans are to spend half that amount AND unclog our roads.

John Key’s transport announcement for Auckland 10 days ago of roads, roads and more roads with some funding for public transport in seven years time is stupid. It’s the policy equivalent of "ice-road truckers" - reckless, brainless and damaging to the environment.

Mana’s policy on the other hand would mean comfortable, modern, low-emission trains and buses, fitted with free wifi, providing free and frequent travel along transport corridors to all parts of the city. To get the best from the rail network we would need to complete the Auckland inner city rail link as currently agreed but in a much shorter timeframe.

This policy will get Auckland moving like never before. People will get out of their cars and enjoy the trip to work - checking their emails and the news on the internet as they go. No cash, no cards - just jump on and go as far as you need.

It’s about being in the 21st century - Invercargill has free wifi on its buses - if Shadbolt can do it for Invercargill then Minto can do it for Auckland.

One of the best things about this policy is that it will save Auckland ratepayers and taxpayers hundreds of millions every year because it would mean the big roading projects planned for the city can be deferred indefinitely.

And the problem with the government’s big roads policy is that they will not reduce congestion in any case and even if they did it would be at least12 years before anyone noticed. In contrast this Minto for Mayor policy would take just 12 months to implement because just two things need to happen. Firstly we will need time to bring together the nine contracts the council has with bus operators and create a coherent, unfragmented transport system and secondly we will also need time to purchase more buses to cope as Aucklanders abandon their cars and flock to buses and trains.

In summary the benefits of the policy are:

1. EVERY Aucklander will get an extra hour at home every work day. Even those who never use a bus or train will be able to travel a gridlock-free roading network.

2. It’s cheaper than tarseal addiction - saving hundreds of millions every year.

3. No extra charges for anyone - no rates increases, no extra fuel taxes, no congestion charges, no network charges, no toll roads, no PPPs. Those are Len Brown’s policies - not Mana’s.

4. Improved productivity - as I mentioned a government-commissioned report released in March this year estimated lost productivity at $1.25 billion every year from clogged Auckland roads. This policy will release that lost productivity and enable better pay for workers. Note here that Business New Zealand tells us we need higher productivity to get higher wage increases. Here’s a golden opportunity to pass on these big productivity increases to workers in wages.

5. Faster bus travel on unclogged roads and no time wasted collecting fares.

6. Revitalisation of Auckland’s inner city as more people travel to enjoy Queen Street and the Auckland waterfront - some kids for the first time in their lives.

7. Cleaner and greener - this will be the single greenest policy in the history of New Zealand! - less pollution, smaller carbon footprint - big ups to the environment.

8. Savings for workers - the Mayor of Tallinn calls it the "13th monthly salary" because of estimates the policy saves a month’s pay for workers using the free transport service.

9. Economic stimulation as workers have significantly more to spend in the real economy.

10. Tourism boost as tourists use the system to see all parts of Auckland as we sell the city as an eco-friendly city - released from the grip of dull ideas from the middle of last century.

This policy will be vigorously opposed by the big oil companies, car manufacturers, road builders and their corporate mates. However the policy will be a boon for small and medium sized businesses and Aucklanders as a whole.

We look forward to engaging in a robust discussion of this policy with the people of Auckland.

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