Youth climate organisation Generation Zero held a tongue-in-cheek bake sale in the Wellington CBD this morning, as part of their campaign to shift the Government's transport spending.
The group used two car parks beside Midland Park to set up a stall selling transport-themed baking, and a furnished "lounge" where passers-by could stop for a cuppa and a chat about the group's 50/50 campaign.
"We thought we'd try to raise some funds for smart transport projects that the Government won't invest in because they're blowing the budget on the Roads of National Significance," said Generation Zero spokesperson, Paul Young.
"We might only raise $100, but hey, at least that's $100 more than the Government has put up for Auckland's City Rail Link."
MPs including Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee were invited to come and discuss the future of New Zealand's transport and Generation Zero's desire for balanced transport spending with more support for walking and cycling, public transport and rail freight.
"We'd obviously prefer it if the Government could just redirect some of the $12B set aside for the RoNS," said Mr Young. "That's about 6 billion cupcakes. We might be here a while."
The stall displayed two large funding thermometers that showed the huge funding imbalance between roads and all other transport options, and suggested initiatives that could be paid for through a reallocation of funds.
As one example, the recent NZTA announcement that the Otaki to Levin Expressway would be abandoned in favour of safety improvements to the existing roads, saving $300M, was applauded by Generation Zero as a smart move.
"With that money alone, we could more than double the national walking and cycling budget, or keep the 200 Kiwirail employees who are currently facing the sack in their jobs for over a decade," said Mr Young.
The group would like to see the same thinking applied to other marginal RoNS projects like the Puhoi to Wellsford highway and the Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway. In both cases there are alternative proposal that deal with safety and congestion issues far more cost effectively and could together free up over $1.5 billion, which could be used to fund projects such as the Auckland City Rail Link.
"It seems like there is plenty of money to go around, it's all a matter of priorities," said Mr Young. "Generation Zero believes that with believes with smart choices and balanced investment we can benefit our economy and improve our cities while we free ourselves from oil and reduce carbon emissions."
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