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The Key Government's under-funding of rail to pay for grandiose motorway projects is to blame for the loss of 158 jobs at Kiwirail, Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said today.
158 job losses have been announced at Kiwirail, as the company struggles to meet a $200 million spending reduction caused by inadequate government support of rail.
"These 158 job losses are the result of the Key Government wasting billions on extravagant highway projects, while rail is being starved of funding," said Ms Genter.
"New Zealand businesses benefit from rail. Exporters benefit from rail. Road users benefit from rail.
"The country could also be using the revitalisation of rail to create valuable green jobs.
"Most countries are now investing substantially in their rail networks because of the obvious economic benefits, especially as oil prices are expected to double in the next decade.
"Last year, the Green Party prepared an alternative transport budget to the Government's, one that will save $3.5 billion overall but still include an additional $1 billion investment into Kiwirail.
"Not only can we afford to invest in rail; we can't afford not to.
"We need smart, green transport investment now so all New Zealanders can benefit from a resilient transport network in the future. Unfortunately, this Key Government is going in the wrong direction," said Ms Genter.