on train
June 5, 2012 | by  |
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Snakes On A Train

Generation Zero bares all in the name of public transport

In an effort to “expose” the Government’s “unbalanced transport budget”, a group of young Wellingtonians stripped down to their undies on board city trains last Tuesday.

Around 40 young people boarded the train from Ngauranga to Wellington station, clad in little more than underwear, socks and scarves. Many passengers were initially confused, with one woman in a Fairfax photo looking decidedly surprised at the baring of young flesh.

However, group spokesperson James Young-Drew pointed out that “Wellingtonians have a pretty good sense of humour. Most people saw the funny side.”

Organised by the youth environmental advocacy group Generation Zero, the stunt formed part of the launch of their ‘50/50 campaign’, which is advocating for a larger portion of the transport budget to be allocated towards “smarter transport options”, such as public transport.

In recent months the group has been involved in preparing a number of submissions to local councils as part of the National Land Transport Programme process, which is responsible for the allocation of funds to transport projects for the next three years. However, the group has been critical of the fact that the National-led government aims to spend around $14 billion on roading and highway projects over the next decade, but not nearly as much on “smart transport”.
“Our local councils are generally trying quite hard to move in the right direction,”  Young-Drew said.

“Unfortunately, the Government’s Roads of National Significance programme is blowing the budget and there’s little left over for the smart transport choices that people want.”

After getting off the train the group spent around an hour at Wellington Station distributing leaflets and speaking to members of the public about their cause. The group even constructed a physical bar graph, made out of cardboard boxes and signs, in order to point out the relatively small amount ($0.5 billion) that has been allocated to new public transport. Amidst the morning chill, they then marched to Parliament for a photo before hail sent them scrambling for cover.
“It wasn’t the nicest weather for stripping down to our undies, but we’re willing to expose ourselves to expose this very important issue,” Young-Drew said.

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