There’s an interesting transport discussion, led by European Union member of parliament Michael Cramer on Tuesday evening. The event is being organised by Green MP Gareth Hughes, though Labour MP David Shearer and myself will also be speaking about the topic of key transport initiatives for Auckland and the way forward. Here are the details:

When: Tue, 01/03/2011 – 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Where: Ellen Melville and Pioneer Women’s Hall, corner Freyberg Place & High Street, Auckland CBD

Michael Cramer is a Member of the European Parliament and sits on their Transport and Tourism committee for the entire EU. He also has had many years of experience as a councillor in Berlin, promoting sustainable transport modes. He is a keen cyclist and has published guides to cycling in San Francisco and Berlin.

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  1. I won’t be able to make it. But I’d be interested in hearing his opinion on the transport and environmental costs of maintaining two European houses of parliament and moving MEPs, staff, and support services backward and forward between the two. The European Greens say this costs 20,000 tonnes of extra CO2 each year. Promoting cycling is a good thing, but his colleagues could help the environment a lot more by sorting out their own arrangements.

    1. I don’t want to defend European politics, and its concessions to all sorts of interest groups, but I’m sure consolidating 2 parliaments is not the most pressing environmental issue.

      To put the 20,000 tonnes of CO2 in perspective, I calculate that amount could be saved by getting all of the EU’s citizens to bicycle instead of driving an average of 200 meters per year.

        1. Not sure I’d call it an “easy win” when it means either moving the seats entirely to or entirely from France, given European and UK politics… Don’t get me wrong, I would love it if they could work it out as every bit counts. In the context of Europe (rather than Niue, not sure how that is relevant to a 500,000,000 person continent?) it is a small problem though at ~0.001% of emissions and I’d rather they focus on the significant issues first.

          A good compromise would be to subject themselves to the European ETS and then they can pay someone else to offset it if the politics is difficult to sort out directly.

        2. “rather than Niue, not sure how that is relevant to a 500,000,000 person continent”

          The relevance is that the European Parliament has purposely organised itself to maximise energy use, transport requirements, and environmental impact. And has succeeded to the extent that they generate five times as much carbon dioxide as an entire country JUST moving themselves un-necessarily. Michael Cramer’s views on transport and the environment should be viewed in this context.

          Or, to use an analogy… a tobacco company CEO might have interesting views on health care and have worked on some health care campaigns. But you just can’t ignore the whole gives-people-cancer issue.

  2. I’m not going to defend that two parliament sillyness however positive actions from the EU could easily make that 20,000 tonnes look microscopic. This also does not mean we should attack visiting politicians for something like that, when they could easily make a positive contribution to transport discussions in NZ.

  3. Excellent work on the panel tonight Josh. Inspiring to see how your solo (but heroic) effort analysing and writing this blog has made such an impact. I’d say you’ve earned the title of the Allan Matson of Auckland’s transport.

    A few things I noted:
    1. Gareth Hughes is an excellent and energising speaker and knew the transport issues and subject. Nice to see there is someone talented campaigning for us in Wellington

    2. I was impressed with most of what David Shearer said, but he really shot himself in the foot with the “we should sell public transport on the fact ‘other’ people will use it” comment. Love that aspiration! I don’t want to pay for a 2nd class service for the underprivileged, I want a system that gives me a better option than being stuck in a traffic jam

    3. Obviously the most inspiring thing was hearing Michael talk about how Berlin is changing and how they’ve passed that critical mass with cycling, light rail, etc. We may be 30 years behind Europe here in New Zealand, but there is hope we may one day reach that point

    Now I’m off in search of secret airports on google…

    1. Cheers. I think the point David was trying to make is that when you’re selling PT improvements to the general public you need to be aware that most of the people you’re talking to are drivers, so you need to sell the improvements in such a way that they can see “what’s in it for them”. When you’re a politician you need to keep those things in mind – although perhaps not quite so openly in front of that sort of audience.

      So… if Pike Point is the answer, what is the question?

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