15 Mar 2023

Improving transport sector a big part in dealing with country's climate challenges - National MP

9:33 am on 15 March 2023
Simeon Brown

National Party transport spokesman Simeon Brown. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Policies on how the National Party will deal with climate change are coming "very soon", its transport spokesperson says.

It comes as the government rolls back on a number of policies, aimed at helping tackle the cost of living.

Combined with the first round of "reprioritisations", it was expected to save the government $1 billion.

Simeon Brown told Morning Report the government was winding back many of the things it said were important to New Zealanders, including some in the emissions reduction space.

"They just talked a big game about how they are going to do stuff, now they are walking it all back."

Other plans scrapped were in the transport sector, which Brown said was important to deal with climate challenges the country had.

If National came into power, Brown said the Auckland Light Rail project, which the government said was still on the cards, would be scrapped.

Building roads New Zealand needed would be the focus, he said, particularly the ones that had been destroyed by recent weather events linked to climate change.

Part of SH25A to Coromandel collapses

State Highway 25A was badly damaged during flood events. Photo: Waka Kotahi

Brown said the National Land Transport Fund needed to be used to build and maintain the roading network.

"What we've seen in recent years is that hasn't been happening.

"Firstly, maintenance has become a real challenge, and also in terms of the new projects, or the roads New Zealand needs, have been cancelled, restarted, cancelled again so we need to get that pipeline back up and running.

"We need to have a roading network which allows us to get around, helps us decongest our cities, and also, buses run on roads so we need to have a roading system that can work."

Brown said building critical infrastructure was a "critical part" in dealing with climate challenges and whilst no policy had been announced by the party as yet, it would be "very soon".

"The reality is we will be announcing more policy in this area as we get closer to the election, including how we need to continue to invest in the infrastructure, how we're going to make sure we are investing in technology, all of those are the solutions which are going to help us deal with these problems."

Better roads needed to be built, and what was driving on those roads needed to lower emissions, Brown said.

He said technology would play an important role, whether it was electric vehicles, hydrogen-based transportation or using public transport.

National would look to work with the car industry to make sure there was a clean car standard and look to invest in EV charging stations, he said.

A "range" of policies would be announced in the coming weeks and months, he said.

"It will answer many of these questions and give New Zealanders, I think, confidence that we are heading in the right direction."

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