News from Generation Zero
Generation Zero has unveiled two large billboards on Auckland’s Mount Eden Road as part of its campaign to shift the Government’s transport investment towards “smart transport choices”.
“GOT CHOICE BRO?” depicts a hand chained to a steering wheel and asks viewers whether they have real transport choice or if they “feel like a car slave”, while “HEY JOHN KEY” calls on the PM to “un-kcuf Auckland”.
The billboards highlight that only about 2% of the Government’s transport budget, as outlined in the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport Funding 2012-2022, is going towards new public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure.
By contrast, 40% of total spending and 75% of new infrastructure spending will go to new state highways, largely for the Government’s six remaining “Roads of National Significance”.
“These billboards aim to inform Aucklanders about lack of central government investment in public transport, walking and cycling, and get them thinking about whether that seems smart and fair,” said Generation Zero spokesperson Ryan Mearns
The billboards were organised by Generation Zero, a youth organisation that aims to catalyse action on climate change in New Zealand, and the Smart Transport Network, which advocates for smart transport and aims to better inform New Zealanders on transport issues and solutions.
They displays were funded through small donations from the public.
Generation Zero’s 50:50 campaign is calling for a rebalancing of the Government’s transport budget to give a fairer share of funding for public transport, walking and cycling, and rail freight, which would help reduce New Zealand’s oil dependence and CO2 emissions.
The group is gathering support through an Avaaz.org petition to Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee to “stop New Zealand going down the wrong road”, with over 2,000 signatures so far.
Mr Mearns said there is overwhelming support in Auckland for investment in smart transport choices, citing for example surveys that show over 60% of Aucklanders support the City Rail Link.
“Auckland’s transport future lies with smart transport and if the Government continues focusing the bulk of its spending on costly new motorways, the endemic problems of congestion and dependence on volatile fuel prices will continue.”
“Aucklanders will be left with no other choice but to be forced into their cars, with the resulting economic, social, and environmental problems passed on to the next generation to sort out.”
Smart Transport Network Coordinator Silvia Zuur said: “The massive opportunity cost of investing $12.5 billion in the so called Roads of National Significance is set to spike any hope of better everyday, smart transport.”
“Repeated failures to develop smart transport choices that most of the developed world takes for granted means transport has now become a key economic and practical issue for New Zealanders. One that not just the Transport Minister, but the Prime Minister will be answerable for – mostly to the generation who will pay most. “
The billboards follow on from the Generation Zero publicity stunt “Aucklanders are slaves to their cars” on Monday, 6 August 2012.