Greens back biking to school

Last updated 08:33 13/03/2014

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The Greens are promising a $200 million boost to get children to school by bike and on foot.

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei will launch a Safe Walking and Cycling to School plan in Auckland today that proposes a $50m-a-year investment for four years in cycling and walking infrastructure around schools.

The New Zealand Transport Agency spent $13m from the National Land Transport Programme on walking and cycling in 2012-13, and the Greens propose increasing the spend to $100m a year with half ring-fenced for councils and schools who want to build better active transport infrastructure for children.

"We need to turn around the decline in cycling and walking numbers," Turei said.

"When kids walk, bike or ride their scooters to school, it's good for their health and learning, it eases congestion, and it benefits the environment. We just need to make it safe."

About a third of Wellington's primary school-aged children walk or cycle to work, and the Greens say it used to be about a half in 1989.

In a 2012 Greater Wellington regional council survey more than a third of people felt it was unsafe for children to cycle to school and about 10 per cent thought it was unsafe for them to walk.

The announcement comes after census figures showing numbers of Wellington residents aged over 16 who cycled to work on Census day had increased 73 per cent. 

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