When I was a principal there were children at my school who had never been to the Mount beach with their families, not because they didn’t want to enjoy our beautiful coastline, but because their families couldn’t afford the cost of petrol to cover the 13 kilometre trip.

Transport costs were also a barrier to them going to doctor’s appointments, getting to school, visiting family and friends and many other things that most of us take for granted so I was very pleased with the pre-budget announcement last weekend that the Government will make money available to investigate a scheme to make public transport more affordable for low income households.

Central government is working with local councils to better understand the potential costs of the scheme and how and when it can be rolled out. 

This scheme would benefit about 900,000 Kiwis who hold community services cards, including beneficiaries, refugees, those people living with a disability and students.

Of course the other positive effect of this will be to take cars off our roads and relieve some of the congestion in our city.

Free buses for our Welcome Bay intermediate and college kids has already had an impact in relieving congestion.

I also wanted to acknowledge local Otumoetai Intermediate pupil Samirah Hancock who last week started a petition to ensure that children who bike in our city are safer on our roads.

All too often we hear of children being knocked off their bikes or having near misses. This is not acceptable and we must do better to ensure their safety. Well done Samirah!

Jan Tinetti
Labour MP