Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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Emissions plan won’t work for regions

  Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air

More “one size fits all” legislation.
Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown says the government’s emissions reduction plan announced last week just isn’t feasible in the regions.
“They want to put more money into public transport and get people out of cars, but I would like to see practically how that is going to work in a district like Mid Canterbury where we have no public transport.
“Some things are just not practical for the smaller areas.
“One size doesn’t fit all.”
The Government released its Emissions Reduction Plan recently and wants at least 30 per cent of vehicles to be zero emissions by 2035, and people to drive 20 per cent less and instead walking, cycling, or using public transport.
Something that isn’t practical in Mid Canterbury.
The only public transport available is the Community Connector, running an on demand service from Monday to Friday, between 9am and 4.30pm from rural locations to and from Ashburton.
Brown said for a public transport system to be introduced it would currently be implemented by Environment Canterbury and funded by ratepayers if it was feasible.
Funding cycleways to the likes of Rakaia, Methven, and Hinds would be an expensive exercise and Brown couldn’t envisage many commuters opting to get on a bike in the middle of winter to get to work.
The plan raises issues of housing availability and affordability to cut down on the number of commuters, but with concerns about urban sprawl it would require Ashburton development to go up instead of out.
Another key feature of the plan is looking to cut freight transport emissions by 35 per cent by 2035, but Brown said most freight companies already maximise their driving time using logistics technology, while the planned Fairton Rail Hub will help to reduce the number of trucks on our roads.
Brown said he sees the intent in the plan, just not the practical applications for the Ashburton District.