Akl transport plans don't consider emissions - Greens

7:47 am on 7 July 2016

The government is failing to consider the impact of Auckland's road projects on the country's greenhouse gas emissions, the Green Party says.

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Photo: 123rf.com

A month ago, official information showed neither the Ministry of Transport or the Transport Agency had investigated the impact of its multi-billion dollar, countrywide roading project on the country's emissions.

The Green Party said the same is now happening with Auckland's three decade transport plan, and this flies in the face of the country's commitment to reduce emissions.

Julie Anne Genter.

Julie Anne Genter. Photo: GREEN PARTY

Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said Auckland's Transport Alignment Project - a joint effort between the council and government agencies - must be part of a shift to a low carbon city.

"They aren't measuring, they're not going to be looking at which options for future investment are the best in terms of reducing pollution.

"And this is something that we have to be doing now if we want to achieve the targets we agreed to meet in Paris late last year, Ms Genter said.

At a climate change conference in Paris last December, the country promised to reduce its emissions to 30-percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and made this official with a signing in April.

"When we look at what the government's policies actually are, they're taking us backwards,"

"No thought is being put into the long term project of creating low carbon cities," she said.

A week ago, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment said New Zealand must plan and develop its cities so that they are low-carbon as well as affordable.

In written parliamentary questions the Transport Minister Simon Bridges has made it clear the project does not include reducing greenhouse gas emissions as an objective.

Ms Genter said that was not good enough.

Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett said transport makes up a significant part of the country's emissions profile.

Paula Bennett during caucus run 1.03.16

Paula Bennett. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

"Which is why the government is continuing to invest in public transport and promote the uptake of electric vehicles.

"I am focused on what we need to do achieve our fair and ambitious target and, more importantly, see New Zealand transition to a low emissions economy," she said in a statement.

Mr Bridges said emissions reduction was not being looked at formally in Auckland's transport planning documents, but would be considered for individual projects where appropriate.

05072016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. Caucus run. Simon Bridges.

Simon Bridges. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

"What happens in relation to greenhouse gas emissions is that we very much try and factor in climate change at the NZTA planning of particular projects level.

"We don't do it at ... an overall globalised level."

He said the government took environmental concerns seriously.

However, Ms Genter said this was a missed opportunity to kick-start Auckland's transition to a low carbon city.

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