This is a guest post from Green Party MP, Julie Anne Genter

You are invited to the launch of Reconnect Auckland: a transport campaign led by the Green Party.

Reconnect Auckland invite

A smarter approach to transport and planning offers us huge opportunities to get better outcomes for everyone.

I find the posts on this blog incredibly useful and informative, particularly because of the detail of analysis and soundness of the logic.

However, as recent years have shown, information and logic is not enough to get political support for changing the status quo.

One of the reasons I am so passionate about transport is because it seems like an easy win for people, the economy, and the environment. New Zealand doesn’t have a car manufacturing industry and we export all of the oil we produce, so no one really benefits from the status quo approach that results in high car dependence. We just foolishly followed the car-oriented central planning by traffic engineers and town planners because Los Angeles and everywhere else was doing it.

Of course, some people and businesses believe they are benefiting from the status quo, because they like to drive, they believe it gives them status, or their business involves using roads, or they are contractors who build motorways.

But a different approach to policy and spending would still require contractors to build rail, bus and bicycle infrastructure. It would require better maintenance of our existing roads. It would create more semi-skilled jobs in operation of passenger transport services. It would be way better for those who really want or need to drive, and trucks, because it would reduce congestion and demand for car-parking.

Unfortunately, many politicians assume that high car use is a reflection of what everyone wants, rather than the consequence of policy that isn’t economically sound. And there aren’t many powerful groups out there loudly demanding a change from the status quo – although that is changing somewhat.

We’ve got the facts on our side, we can persuade many that they will actually benefit from a different approach, all we need now is the political will. That is why the Green Party is running a strategic campaign on transport in Auckland – designed to engage, inform, and activate people power.

We chose Reconnect-Auckland to symbolise more than just a return to the great transport connections Auckland had in the 40s and 50s. It’s also about connecting people to the communities that have been severed or lost through car-oriented design.

Our campaign has a few dimensions. Firstly, we are have the big launch and a big phone calling operation for people to register their support for the CRL.

Secondly, I am doing a speaking tour to anyone and everyone we can line up – Rotary, Lions clubs, high schools, university lectures, business associations, you name it. The goal is to give a short presentation on smart transport, so people know exactly what the opportunities are and that public transport, walking and cycling can happen in Auckland.

Finally, we will be holding a series of mini-events around Auckland (ideas please!) to get local media attention and get volunteers active in their communities.

We’d love you to join us at the launch, and be a volunteer in the campaign if you’re keen to see smart, green transport transform our city.

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  1. What is smart, green transport? Please don’t tell me trains or buses. They are only smart if fully laden and that is not possible all the time. This problem is global and it is a pity no one is prepared to really think about the mechanical principle of the whole thing, and how it works. No point jumping out of the pan into the fire, there is a solution but not this.

    1. “Please don’t tell me trains or buses. They are only smart if fully laden and that is not possible all the time.”

      Patrick you are clearly obsessed with operational efficiency, that is important but only part of the story. How vehicles are powered has a huge bearing on how green they are. Clearly electric trains powered by our mostly renewable electricity will be greener than also those [often single occupant] fossil fuel driven private cars.

      Furthermore better is almost always not perfect; so improving the Transit service so that more people use it will improve that operational efficiency but not eliminate some waste. Also to understand the appeal, effectiveness, and efficiency of a system means looking at the whole network. There may be some underutiliised services at different times and places but that does not necessarily mean the network as a whole is inefficient. In fact the existence of not ‘fully laden’ Transit vehicles will be necessary to supply those 100%+ ones on the busy routes. Cutting a network down to only its busiest routes will in fact undermine their efficiency too. Just as Kiwi rail is doing now.

      Auckland’s current systems are underutilised and fairly inefficient but the good news is that this means there is a whole lot of capacity there than can be accessed by improving the offering, as has already been happening this century as is going to to improve a great deal more over this decade. The new trains will be way cheaper as well as Greener to run and the New Bus Network is expressly designed to be hugely more efficient than the current radial one.

      So yes I will tell you electric trains, newer more efficient buses, and the active modes. But agree that they need both greener vehicles [buses] and more efficient services with higher uptake.

      Especially as the small improvements in ICE vehicle efficiency recently has simply led to people driving every bigger cars; in other words although the efficiency of individual vehicles has improved the efficiency of the fleet has not. Again consider the whole network. Page 9 here:
      The average efficiency has improved a little in the last few years but is still worse than it was in 2005 and considerably worse than in 2001

      1. And let’s not forget that systems that have some ‘waste’ in them are more efficient than those that purport to have zero waste and 100% efficiency; you can never achieve 100% efficiency – the cost to do so would be large. There is a sweet spot between the 100% efficient goal, and a truly efficient outcome.

    2. “What is smart, green transport?”

      Green is pretty obviously a reference to environmental issues. Smart is essentially a meaningless term that is only used in order to implicitly label people who disagree with you as being stupid. Any time I see the term used (usually with reference to energy or transport) then I tune out, because if you have to resort to insulting people who disagree with you then your argument probably isn’t strong enough to stand on its own merits.

        1. I skipped right to the comments, then went back to see what Patrick H was referring to. To me, the comments were always going to be more interesting than a Green Party gig that I’m not going to attend.

        2. Lol well put. I can’t stand this smart, green bull turds. I care about the environment but it is insulting.

      1. What is smart green transport? –
        “Smart is essentially a meaningless term that is only used in order to implicitly label people who disagree with you as being stupid”

        Well, “Smart” – when a politician or their officials (Local or Government) says it, usually means a more efficient way to achieve the same or a better outcome for less $. [but not always just cheaper, sometimes, much faster and/or better too].

        So as a Tax payer (of PAYE, GST, Fuel taxes etc) and as a Auckland Ratepayer.
        I am interested in hearing what the countries likely next Transport Minister has to say on how they think they can solve the current Auckland Transport issues.

        Because the current one and the Ministry he heads are collectively pretty bankrupt of any real ideas on how to do it without trotting out the same old mantra of MOAR ROADS for MOAR CARS – and this is what has got us to where we are now.

        And wasn’t it Albert Einstein who said:
        “The definition of stupidity is doing the same again and again and expecting a different result”?

      2. Smart is essentially a meaningless term that is only used in order to implicitly label people who disagree with you as being stupid.

        No, in this case ‘smart transport’ is a term that implies that the current transport system is not smart and that there are smarter ways of achieving transport goals.

        1. You’ve used the word “smart” in a circular definition of smart. All of which relies on the idea that the promoter of the idea is clever and their opposition is not.

          If your ideas are good, then say why they’re good: More efficient in terms of energy. Faster. Cheaper. Whatever. Those are all attributes that are measurable and you can then discuss your ideas on their merits. But “smart” isn’t measurable, and is really hoping that people will agree with you because they’re scared of being thought un-smart. I know this is politics and a certain amount of hyperbole and partisan bombast is involved, but the use of “smart” to promote policies is so transparent it just seems insulting.

        2. Gosh, way to be stuck, obi. The Greens are a political party. They are allowed to say their policies are smart, just as others are allowed to immediately switch off when they hear that these policies are proposed by the Greens, should they want to.

          Insisting that they follow your narrow dictionary definitions in what is essentially political advertising (if for sensible and explainable policies) is simply weird.

        3. “Smart is essentially a meaningless term that is only used in order to implicitly label people who disagree with you as being stupid.”

          And I even missed that sentence of yours. Its insulting in its peevish insulted-ness.

      3. Obi, in this context “smart” could mean:

        1. Innovative ideas that National may not have thought of before
        2. Avoiding wasting billions on RoNS that have questionable and/or sub-economic BCRs (Kapiti Expressway BCR = 0.25 –> National being really, really dumb).
        3. Increasing PT capex spending but reducing opex subsidies – so that the system becomes more “efficient” in the sense that it can attract more users while costing less to run (i.e. ultimately reducing subsidies).

        Unfortunately long-winded bullet points such as this don’t work so well in a poster. So rather than moaning like a stranded blue tory whale I’d suggest you 1) cut the Greens a friggin break and 2) just go along and hear what they have to say in a quiet, considered, and respectful way.

        1. “1) cut the Greens a friggin break”

          I’m objecting to the term itself, not merely its use by the Greens. It seems to be in pretty common usage to market growth, transport, and energy policies amongst other things. Usually in the implied context that accepted best practice and the last few hundred years of human development is un-smart, whereas the proponent of the “smart” policies is cleverer than everyone else. If you have smart ideas then people will work that out on their own… You don’t have to brand them with your own assessment of their and your merits.

          Having said that, I don’t object to the terms “smart card” and “smart phone” for some reason. Maybe I’m inconsistent. Or maybe it is that “smart” policy agendas are debatable and value based, whereas smart phones and cards have a measurably greater amount of advanced software and hardware in them than in previous versions of these products.

          “2) just go along and hear what they have to say in a quiet, considered, and respectful way”

          As far as I can tell (which means mostly based on her contributions here), JAG seems to be a cool person. I suspect that I’d learn something and would probably agree with her more than I would disagree with her. But I think the way Norman has recently been pandering to the anti-Chinese fringe in NZ is beyond the pale. I really wouldn’t feel comfortable doing anything that could be implied as supporting the guy. But I’ll leave it at that since I’m straying well away from anything transport related.

        2. “has recently been pandering to the anti-Chinese fringe in NZ is beyond the pale.” So any common sense restrictions on non-resident buyers is some how attacking one ethnic group? Sorry but that is absolute rubbish! Using that logic a similar policy used in Singapore (74% of Chinese origin) would also be anti-Chinese…..

          Not transport related so will stop it there.

        3. Yes the term has had its day, and the problem now is some of the problems we have are a result of policies branded as “smart” that were implemented in the past. So the term is now untrustworthy.

    3. There is no transport system which is full 100% of the time, both PT and roads have peak periods where they experience much heavier demands than at other times. What is a good idea is getting more out of our existing systems which is where more buses and trains can be useful.

    4. In very general terms regular sized bus only needs about seven people on it before it produces less emissions than the same people driving themselves. A bus that’s a third full is green, or at least more so than any motorised alternatives.

      And who says buses and trains can’t be fully laden (or rather fairly full) all the time, why not? There are plenty of well optimised systems out there that don’t run empty services day or night.

      1. I didn’t know the numbers on it, but yes, there’s not much that’s efficient (or ‘smart’, however you define that term) about one person per car, which is how a very large proportion of Auckland currently gets around. While we are talking about ‘mechanical principles’ there is also the arguably more fundamental geometric principle, that Jarret Walker makes here: using this picture:

      1. “to be fair she has since become a minister”

        All the more reason for her to finally contribute to the debate about a major issue in her own electorate
        – and says where she as the local MP actually stands.

        And the more politicians that want to guest post here on transport subjects and issues they have areas of responsibility for – or knowledge of/expertise in – the better as far as I am concerned.

        1. As a minister she’s more constrained on talking about a broad policy area that is not her portfolio, though. When she was just an MP she was allowed to have an opinion, but now that she’s a minister she’s restricted by the convention of collective Cabinet responsibility.

  2. what was the point of this post other than an advert for the Green Party. I really hope that this the moderators and the CFBT are not getting aligned with these guys.

    Please keep this blog out of politics.

    just because the greens are the only one who post on this blog, this isn’t a fair representation of the other parties and their policies.

    1. ??? Sadly transport is political. Bring it on. The decisions made be politicians have a material effect on transport investment. I don’t care what side of the political spectrum an opinion comes from. The important thing is that sound reasoning and careful consideration drive thinking and policy . Orthodox transport planning has not successfully delivered the congestion free utopia sold sixty plus years ago. We have now entered what some economists call a fifth cycle of economic growth that will not be characterised by a continued supply of cheap oil. We are already experiencing changing patterns of behaviour. So why on earth would anyone think that building RONs will deliver the sort of resilient, long term and enduring solution that is going to be needed in this new era? The short answer is they won’t and what they will do is suck up an increasing proportion of the NLTF yet still won’t deliver any improvement. The 60 billion ITP, rhetoric about managing demand aside, is simply more of the same. I won’t attend the event, but will be interested to see what she says. Frankly same old, same old doesn’t cut it. I welcome hearing from those that challenge the existing paradigm, especially if accompanied by constructive suggestions for the future whether they come from a green, red, blue or polka dot perspective. Perhaps your biggest fear is that politicians you support will reveal too much. Ie that they are standing on shakeu ground. No pun intended.

      1. not sure if that reply was meant at me or was just copy/paste from some generic political response repository..

        but as in my original comment, there is nothing that the Greens have offered in their post regarding anything other than the their ideas are better than the other guys. Lots of talk, no substance. (same as most parties)

        “…Perhaps your biggest fear is that politicians you support will reveal too much. Ie that they are standing on shakeu ground. No pun intended….” – what does this even mean? i think you have had too much of the Kool Aid

        1. Agreed this blog shouldn’t become “the standard” or “kiwiblog”.
          And people who clamber to say oh but but but transport is political. Have you stopped for 1 minute to think that maybe that is the problem?

          What we need in this country is a multi-mode transport funding body that is hands off from the politicians. There is no reason this body could not still be democratic, in that people vote for which projects are prioritised, after presenting the public with cost benefit information/discussion on the various proposals. Now that would be something that would get us moving!

        2. We had that. The current government made it mono mode and directed what projects it should undertake. Transport isn’t political?

          I agree with you though.

        3. Not sure if that was meant “at” me? Wow where is the I want to talk about transport issues. Clearly you didn’t even read it cause if you had you would have read1 your name and 2 that there is no way I will be attending any political meeting. Entirely agree with other writers that on an ideal world transport policy should be apolitical but it’s not. The purpose behind the establishment if nzta was to create a single agency to deliver upon a nationally agreed upon transport strategy. This was an attempt to get a nationally derived transport direction with some sort of buy in. It attempted to provide a good evidence base for the future. In particular for instance form many years “safety” has been a predominant focus, but evidence that more premature deaths occur due to vehicle emissions was a compelling reason to give this issue greater precedence.

          Any attempt to involve either evidence or a representation of any sort of consensus has now flown out the window with the rise and rise of the GPS as the new defacto “strategy”. This is supported by a so called investment and revenue “strategy” which prioritises investment in the government favourites. Presently three significant pieces if legislation are being rewritten to give greater precedence to givernment. Undeniable facts.

    2. “Keeping a public transport blog out of politics”? Next thing you’ll want sport kept out of rugby. If there’s one thing that’s totally political, it’s the relative support that government gives to private cars vs. PT. Not to say necessarily that right-wing politics have to be anti-PT, but that’s the way it is in NZ.

    3. Fiddlestickbob – If you don’t like reading it then don’t read it, its that simple. If the national party wanted to do a similar post asking people to come and hear their views on transport, we would post that too. What you have failed to realise is that this announcement is about expanding the transport debate and that should be welcomed. If you don’t agree with their policies that is fine but to suggest we shouldn’t be allowed to post about it is absurd. The writers of this blog put a lot of effort in to provide content and at the end of the day this site is ours and we can post whatever we want.

      1. thanks for that Matt L. My issue is that i come to this blog to read about transport issues and not as some billboard for a particular brand of politics.

        Again as i have already said, the post offers nothing with regards to transport proposals and only acts as a Green Party advert.

        “… at the end of the day this site is ours and we can post whatever we want….” i have been waiting for somebody to write that. However i do agree with you that you are entitled to post whatever you want but you run the risk of marginalising a lot of readership by being so narrow minded and childish.

        1. The post offers you to go and hear the transport policy of a potential party to the next Government. Couldn’t think of a more appropriate invitation to be posted here. And as a couple of the admins have made clear they are fine with posting invites and stories from other political parties.

          “i have been waiting for somebody to write that. However i do agree with you that you are entitled to post whatever you want but you run the risk of marginalising a lot of readership by being so narrow minded and childish.”

          Scary stuff.

        2. Yes, it’s an invite to a political party’s transport event, a chance to hear about and discuss their transport policies. We would post the same from any political party that asked us to, and have posted notifications from several events from various companies, the university and other organisations.

          Is it the fact this is a political event that upsets you, or just that it is a Green Party event? I’m guessing the the latter.

      2. Well technically they listed food, speakers and policy. So hopefully that is not listed in order of importance.

      1. hi Bryce, i haven’t made any reference to the CRL and its political links, i might have inferred some for the CFBT though…. lol….

        i am also not trying to paint anything in any way. I am fully in support of the CRL, the sooner the better as far as i am concerned. But i don’t think that the CRL will be the solution that fixes all of Auckland’s transport issues which it appears the Greenies seem to be advocating. There still needs to be a total transport solution that includes different modes and however you paint it cars are, should and will be part of that.

        1. I’ve heard JAG, in an interview, say that cars are a part of the total transport picture, a point that I agree with, and no one is suggesting ripping up all roads and getting rid of cars. I do think however that the current balance of spending on transport projects is very much out of kilter and is primarily aimed at roads. The ITP is proof of this as are the RoNS. All these things are directly influenced by political will, be it local through AC / AT or national through the Government. The only way to get a different balance is through political means.

        2. And for the record. There is no one saying the crl will be the panacea for all future transport problems

  3. Now that FBT on employers providing staff car parks has been rejected, I hope the Green’s and other political parties would support policies doing the same for businesses who provided public transport passes to their employees.

    Every HOP card offered as as part of a salary package deal, instead of a car park would guarantee to reduce congestion and increase PT use.

  4. lets face it, while we try to be apolitical, transport is a political issue and most the other parties are ignorant of the facts which reflects in their policies. any attempt by any other party to post here would get ridiculed on their transport policy as they should be. I would vote Greens on their transport policy because the facts actually support their position, but I can’t say the same about the rest of their policies, which is why I could never bring myself to vote for them.

  5. National have made transport political after closing down 2 railway lines which make up NZ Incs transport infrastructure in favour of trucks.

    Yes, l do like to see what the various parties will offer NZ. Yes, will the Greens, Labour and NZ First back re-opening of the Gisborne line. Will tgey reopen the Rotorua line – important for tourism. Will they support the CRL being built and the Airport line for all the suburbs living close to the airport?

    Will they back modern trams for Auckland and Wellington? Why not Christchurch as well?

    Will they back a Govt owned passenger rail operator to run inter-regional passenger services – NZ needs this type of organisation asap before Kiwirail kills all long distance services.

    Lots of non roading investment needed, looking forward to hearing more from all the parties before I return to live in NZ later.

    1. I grew up in Rotorua, and was fortunate enough once or twice to be able to take the train from Auckland to Rotorua.

      Sadly, the terminus is now a big box retail area, and the train line has been ripped up all the way back to somewhere like Ngongataha. The bridge that used to go up and over the railway line on the way out of town (,176.23744&spn=0.015343,0.031264&t=h&z=16&layer=c&cbll=-38.127583,176.237808&panoid=HYqW1sv5lFyCYgg3sziICw&cbp=12,300.08,,0,1.3) is now a roundabout.

      Annoyingly, this work has recently been done, at considerable cost, and there are no bike lanes at all.

  6. When transport spending is the single largest item in local government accounts and well up the national government’s list as well (after health, education and welfare) there is no way for it to thought of as anything other than deeply political. It’s perfectly reasonable for this blog to publicise events that aim to present or discuss transport policy, regardless of who is running them.

  7. Interesting descriptions of recent liquid fuels consumption history in the US here. Certainly suggesting that if we are ‘smart’ we can uncover elasticity in western society’s oil use:

    “Reporting “oil” by volume has become a convenient (deliberate?) way to obscure the net energy content of US oil production. Also, as lease condensate becomes a higher and higher percentage of reported US crude oil (now up to 14%) it’s worth remembering it has a slightly lower energy content on average than crude (91%) and cannot be used to make diesel or jet fuel.

    Since 2005 (peak year for US consumption of oil products), in terms of volume US consumption of oil products has dropped 10.5%. In terms of BTU’s, US consumption of oil products has dropped 12%. In terms of BTU’s per capita, US consumption of oil products has dropped 21%. US oil production is presently at the same level as 1984 in volume, but at only 87% of 1984 oil net energy levels when taking into account BTU content and EROEI losses.”

    From here:

  8. Auckland has a transport problem. So does every city in the world. The economic and environmental rewards and benefits for solving this are huge, and there is a way this can be achieved. You would think the Green Party would have some interest in dialogue considering my vast knowledge and experience, but ‘NO’ they do not want to know. It is a bit technical but if anyone is genuinely interested email me [email protected] I have no secrets.

    1. If you think you have the answers, and say you have no secrets then why be cryptic about it? Put it in a comment or better yet, why not write a guest post and send it to us and we will post it.

  9. I have been thinking about this for most of the day and decided to go post it any how:

    As a Nat Member (ok I am ducking the missiles heading my way now after mentioning that) I do not see the invite as a problem. The Greens have their right to express their views and alternatives to current government policy just as the government have their right to express theirs based on their policy. I think the problem is that National are more likely to be either too lazy or just utter arrogant in not hosting a community event to talk transport which gives way to bias here at ATB being apparent.

    Look the “Free Market” applies here (ducks next round of missiles), don’t like the way ATB is swinging you have some choices:
    1) Go away
    2) Set up your own blog
    3) Ask for a guest post

    I am sure ATB will respond as such

    My 2 and a half cents there

  10. What would that achieve, if you have a genuine interest, and some mechanical knowledge my contact info is there? Talking gets you nowhere and action speaks louder than words. Problems will eventually get worse and attitudes will eventually have to change. I don’t think – I know, believe me.
    Greg is right – And wasn’t it Albert Einstein who said: “The definition of stupidity is doing the same again and again and expecting a different result”? Or. We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

    1. Then please, put your thoughts down in a few paragraphs with any pictures or diagrams if you have them, and send them through to one of us on the “contact us” tab. We’ll put it up as a guest post.

  11. Probably a lot more that writing three posts in a comments section that basically say you have a magic secret that you won’t share with the public!

    We could discuss your ideas, open them to critical evaluation and perhaps use them in planning for Auckland’s transport. A lot of regular readers of this board a people with influence in the industry, including politicians, local government and consultants. If you want the ear of the Green Party then post it here, they’ll read it. If you want action, you’ll have to let people know what you want actioned!

  12. I recall a few years ago (about 6 if I recall) going to a Transport talk by Maurice Williamson, then a National Party Back Bench (List) MP again.
    Labour was in Government and Williamson was (again?) in disgrace for something he said or done or something
    – he had no electorate as Pakuranga got dumped as an electorate and Williamson with it as electorate MP.

    He was talking about unclogging Auckland arteries – by completing the Motorway network as designed.
    [conveniently forgetting about the parallel PT network using trains as also “designed” at the same time].

    This talk was not long before the SH20 and SH1 debacle at Manukau BTW.

    He demonstrated this talk by using some old National Film Archive footage he got from somewhere of trucks and buses competing for road space with each other and the trams in the 40’s/50’s Auckland roads and saying how this nightmarish traffic was what prompted the motorway building program – and only that it never quite got completed.

    These films used this way felt like seeing an old Black and White film of a smoking and drinking doctor, eating really fatty foods and dishing out “modern” health advice in a TV commercial about the benefits of smoking to calm your nerves – creepy as hell – in the light of the present day, but there you go.

    Williamson’s prescribed “fix” was the Eastern Motorway, the Western Ring Route and a second harbour crossing near Pt Chev where the current WRR joins SH16.
    Oh, yeah, and ensuring that whenever a property is needed for said projects, all affected parties get compensated at double the valuation of their properties to guarantee speedy construction of all projects as people fall over themselves to sell you their houses that way.
    And the money spent doing that is saved in construction costs and minimising delays as pretty much as soon as the route is announced everyone sells up and the MOAR ROADS project can begin in earnest.

    Somehow this “holy trinity” of Motorways and bridges would fix all Aucklands transport issues forever, if only it would come to pass.

    Trains didn’t get much of a look in in Williamson’s world though. Electric trains? – well they were for schoolboys of yesteryear and their woolly jersey wearing dads to play with in the attic or bedroom or whatever (just not in public!), and certainly not for moving people around.

    Well we all listened, some more politely than others, some asked some intelligent questions, we all got vague answers and we all went away none the wiser really. Those who were National Party stalwarts before, were probably the same after. Everyone else probably went away glad that Williamson wasn’t transport minister (or any Minister anytime soon) and that National wasn’t the Government, nor likely to anytime soon.

    Fast Forward to today, well we have the WRR underway pretty much as designed a long time ago.
    No Eastern Motorway through the Hobson Bay area, something half-arsed called AMETI instead and no second harbour crossing anytime soon.

    We have a National Government, Williamson is not Transport Minister (and don’t we sorely miss that – having a Minister of Transport who hails from the biggest city?], and we have congestion problems way worse than the ones that Williamson was on about “fixing” a few years back and way worse than the 50’s traffic that prompted motorway madness to begin with – and yes we have most of the Motorway built now, only the WRR to go.

    So, yep, there is a change of approach needed for the next round.

    If the Greens, Labour or even bless his cotton socks, Peter Dunne think they have something, and can deliver if given the chance – then lets hear it.

  13. Perhaps a “Reconnect New Zealand” would be good. Greens could champion Inter-regional rail services (something NZ definitely needs)? Yes, it will require vision, it will require infrastructure improvements to rail on key lines. It will require some new, faster, modern railcars. But get this right on the first couple of lines and then it will take off.

    I would suggest inter-regional commuter services:

    1st stage:

    Hamilton – Auckland
    Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland
    Dunedin – Christchurch
    Dunedin – Invercargil

    2nd stage:

    Napier – Wellington
    New Plymouth – Wellington
    Gisborne – Napier

    3rd stage (involving additional infrastructure)

    Rotorua – Auckland

    Yes, it will require expenditure. Yes, it will require vision. Yes, There are bus companies these routes, but the do not help NZ goals of lower Greenhouse emissions, or environmental sustainability. People will not get out of their cars for coaches, but for high quality and frequent rail services it works extremely well (around the rest of the developed and developing world.

    KiwiRail is now to dogged by whipping itself for the National Government. Time for a new independant organisation, state owned like AMTRAK, to run passenger rail services. Will the Green Party be that party to think outside the square and deliver something like this to New Zealand?

  14. @Obi – it’s a good question.
    When I hear ‘Smart’ in relation to transport I think the heavy involvement of technology.
    The parallel for me is the use of the term ‘Smart Grid’ to describe an electricity grid that uses technology to manage peak and off peak pricing, demand management via ripple control and real time usage feedback from ‘smart’ meters.
    When I think of a ‘smart’ public transport network I think of one where I can use technology to get up to date information on service availability (or delays)and frequency. For example via those electronic GPS bus stops notices and web and smartphone integration. I think of integrated ticketing ‘smart’ cards to manage payment by time period or whole journey rather than individual trip. I also think of ‘smart’ pricing which manages demand by accounting for peak and off peak times, similar to the way smart meters and smart pricing incentivise electricity users to move their usage to off peak periods to minimise the impact of peak demand on the grid. These are just some of the possibilities.
    I agree it is a vague term which means different things to different people. When I hear ‘smart’ I think ‘technology rich’, ‘integrated’ and ‘real time feedback’. Apparently when you hear ‘smart’ you assume that somebody is calling you dumb – that’s a shame as I’m sure that wasn’t JAG’s intent…

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