“The Government will have missed a trick if it doesn’t continue its public transport subsidy,” says LGNZ President Stuart Crosby.
“Broad behaviour change doesn’t happen in three months but councils around the country have been reporting an increase in people using public transport since half-price fares were introduced.
“We know reduced fares backed by a more reliable public transport network will incentivise people to do things differently.
“The subsidy ends this next month, and we think there’s a real opportunity to make a difference and reach our target of net-zero emissions by 2050 if catching the bus, train or ferry was considerably cheaper than driving.
“We want to see an extension of half-price fares at least until the end of the year when the full Budget is announced on Thursday.
“Longer term, an essential component to cheaper public transport fares will be 'who pays' for the change.
“LGNZ welcomes a conversation with central government on this, either as a part of, or separate to, the Future for Local Government review.
“It is important to think about the connections between reform programmes and the Emissions Reduction Plan, so we are making sure that we are tackling climate change in the most cost effective and efficient way possible.
“It’s good to see investment in transport infrastructure being central to the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan.
"But investing in good public transport infrastructure and networks will only get us so far. The most important thing is to get people using it, and affordable fares is crucial to that.
“New Zealanders can’t continue to weather the shocks of climate change on an ad hoc basis so it’s important that councils and central Government work more closely as we transition to a low carbon economy,” says Stuart Crosby.