Transport workers call for radical transformation to public ownership

As members of the Labour Party get ready for their 2021 Conference, four transport unions – representing 40,000 workers across Aotearoa – have written to the Party leadership, calling for a new level of ambition to match the scale of the climate crisis, with an emphasis on decarbonising transport through public ownership.

“While the UN Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change calls for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of 45% below 2005 levels, the NDC NZ took to COP26 – calculated at 21.8% – has been judged harshly by the international community and by workers across New Zealand, not least of all because of its heavy reliance on offshore mitigation” said FIRST Union’s Transport, Logistics and Manufacturing Secretary Jared Abbott.

“Our members across the transport sector are calling for a radical transformation in how people and goods move, that put decent work and decarbonisation ahead of profit”,

The letter calls for transport to be supported by an energy transition plan, for a modal shift to publicly-owned transport, and for a major investment in zero carbon transport infrastructure and services under democratic control.

“In June 2021 in our submission to the review of the Public Transport Operating Model, we called on the Government to bring public transport back into public ownership and to significantly expand investment to reduce congestion, increase driver wages, reduce fares and promote modal-shift away from private cars” said Abbott.

The letter also calls for funding commitments for zero carbon transport systems in the global south.

“While we disagree with the reliance on offshore mitigation announced as part of NZ’s updated NDC, it is certainly time that this Government increased grants to developing countries – particularly low-income and small island states – to achieve a just transition in their own transport sectors” said Craig Harrison, Maritime Union of New Zealand’s National Secretary.

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