Yesterday the Council made a fairly momentous decision to proceed with the Regional Fuel Tax, after a long and pretty good debate on the issue. Here’s what RNZ reported on the decision:

Councillors voted 13 to 7 in favour of the tax.

Today’s debate on the proposed tax began with Mayor Phil Goff saying the consequences would be “inconceivable” if it was not introduced.

He said the government would likely walk away from an agreed programme of transport works, if the tax was rejected.

Councillor Penny Hulse said the tax had been debated for decades and the lack of action on transport had harmed communities.

After the debate, Mr Goff told RNZ it was a “great news” for the future of Auckland.

“We’ve grasped the nettle, we know that we need to invest more, we know that for every dollar we invest, we’re getting more than a dollar back in terms of government payments. This is another $4.3 billion into Auckland transport over the next decade and that’s critically impertinent.”

The seven votes against were Greg Sayers, Efeso Collins, Sharon Stewart, John Walker, Daniel Newman, Desley Simpson and Mike Lee. Mike Lee’s vote against the fuel tax is a bit surprising, given most of the part of Auckland he represents supported the tax the strongest:

It’s worth noting that most of the “other” comments by Great Barrier Island sought an exemption from the scheme, which was confirmed.

Ever since Auckland’s local government was amalgamated in 2010 (and probably for a long time before then) the issue of transport funding has been a huge problem that has made it difficult for rapid progress to be made. While there are still elements of the transport budget that need more money (particularly cycling), the big decision made yesterday means that massive progress is now possible. Auckland Transport now need to get on with making it happen.

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136 comments

  1. I wonder if the higher fuel taxs will mean an increase growth in people using public transport. Or will AT plans to cut/reduce some evening services work mean that PT is not a viable transport option?

    1. More people using PT is a result that will achieve fuel cost savings for the individual and reduce congestion for Auckland.

      1. If you are a single passenger, and dismissing the subsidies that PT get, then yes it may be cheaper than the fuel used in a single occupant vehicle. But put mum and dad, and a couple of kids in the car and the fuel costs near enough the same. In this case it will be cheaper than PT fares for the 2 adults and 2 children. I have considered fuel costs only, as car registration, depreciation, insurance, etc are all accumulating whether the car is used or sitting in the garage. I have also not included parking costs as this imaginary journey is from one suburban address to another with free roadside parking at both ends. And this is not considering PT subsidies, which this imaginary family will be paying whether they use PT or not.

        1. Yes, PT for a family cannot compete price-wise with driving, RFT or no, unless they can actually sell the car and remove all those other costs associated with it, and most people can’t do that.

          Why did you mention PT subsidies though? I thought yours was an analysis of costs to this imaginary family, who are also paying the subsidies to drivers. Both should be mentioned.

          1. True, not having a car at all is a lot cheaper for a family. Now that we have a car, I’m always amazed at the continual costs. We’re certainly spending a lot more on transport these days.
            Not having a car does restrict you somewhat. It’s particularly difficult getting out of the city and into the great outdoors.

          2. Yes, I’ve explored some of the PT options for doing so, and prefer them when they work, but I think in the end it’s going to be mainly Cityhop and rental cars to get into the countryside when we finally ditch my husband’s car.

          3. “It’s particularly difficult getting out of the city and into the great outdoors”

            Depends on your viewpoint. If you already live in the great outdoors it’s difficult to get into the city without a car….not that I want to often. We spent the afternoon picking citrus and avocados in the glorious sunshine and enjoying every minute of it. City life? Bah, humbug! We will happily pay the fuel tax to finance PT for your poor folks and we won’t even increase the price of our fruit to cover our increased costs. Can’t say fairer than that.

          1. It must be awfully low, to achieve the 1.14 people per car average that I’ve seen reported.

  2. Again the people of Auckland have been rail roaded into something they clearly don’t want by Auckland city council .As of the 1st everything goes up in price including the projects this was bought for .Great work done by a council who ignores the residences of its city

    1. Or, to put it another way, our elected members have shown some leadership mettle on this issue. I really support Cr Bartley’s line as quoted in the Herald this morning: ‘A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit under.’

      The approach you seem to prefer mike is somewhat like a child refusing to take its medicine. That’s literally going to get us nowhere.

      1. Leadership? Yeah right. That’s proverb is sentimental nonsense with little basis in reality. Where is the evidence that there is any truth to that statement? None. It’s feel good drivel.

        Some other dude uses evidence to show that poor people will be hardest hit in a time when people claim to be concerned about about homelessness and poverty. Instead we just ignore the evidence and trod all over the poor and just spout sentimental nonsense about their grand children going to benefit. From what? Mill rd?

        Even the submissions say public support is 50/50 and I think it is a safe bet that the poor people most affected weren’t even polled and didn’t even know how to submit.

        More money to spend on stuff won’t solve the problem if we aren’t even spending the existing money properly.

        Let me be clear. I 100% support more investment into PT. It should be the lion share. But I do not support more taxes going to an incompetent AT when they can’t even spend their existing money properly.

        1. If it cuts down on fuel use that’s what is important, we are using a finite resource as if it will last for ever, once it goes into decline the industrial age will finish. and it’s at a time when we will need all the resources we can find to contend with climate change.

          1. I have been hearing for probably the past 20 or 30 years that we were at peak oil, and that reserves would start running out. It appears that more and more is being discovered and coming on stream every year.
            On an associated subject, how come there is so much oil in the ice cold areas of Alaska, Canada, etc.

          2. Graham P. Yes there is plenty of oil and the world will never run out but if you look at the fracking industry in America most companies haven’t made a profit in 10 years and are now borrowing to pay the interest on loans, sounds like a ponzi scheme rather than a sustainable business model. once the suckers stop financing the oil industry with more and more loans then that will be the end of it, without unconventional oil we peaked years ago.

            The easy oil peaked in about 2005/2007 and since then it’s debt that has been financing the production of oil. The Energy Return On Investment EROI is getting worse as time goes on and it’s net oil that runs the world not what the production figures show at the well head.

        2. Leadership is making the hard decisions that need to be made, even if unpopular. Even in the face of emotive arguments which don’t provide any alternatives.

        3. I agree, Leadership is making hard choices! I don’t see ANY leadership here.

          Hard choices like NOT flushing existing taxes down the toilet on stupid projects? The easy choice is to just raise taxes and continue with business as usual. It’s the easiest choice of all and exactly what we have done for years. And it is exactly the what is happening here, except we know all the poor brown people will be hardest hit and still want to forge ahead.

          Yup, just keep pouring more money into a broken system.

          1. Yours is a general anti-council rant. Fair enough.

            Do you have a specific issue about the projects for which proceeds from the RFT will be allocated? They look a fairly good and deserving list to me, albeit you won’t please all the people all of the time.

          2. I’d hazard a guess: billions being spent on road capacity increases, which will exacerbate all our existing problems.

          3. I don’t have a problem with most the projects funded by RFT per se. My problem is that we shouldn’t need to raise taxes to do half of them if we(NZ) cut out lots of new road building and road widening projects and instead focused on PT.

            1. I don’t mind paying taxes if they are being well used, but we keep spending most our existing transport money on building more roads in the hopes of out building congestion. Half of the RFT looks like it will be spent on business as usual road stuff that only makes the problem worse.

            2. I don’t like the fuel tax when we are putting more burden on poor people to pay to improve the PT system that remains too expensive for many poor people to use. Auckland’s PT is expensive and can sometimes take forever. It just isn’t a practical option for poorer families that tend to be larger.

          1. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12062321

            Also I am unable to find ANY evidence that the Mayor and Council have made ANY attempt to reduce expenditure as Goff promised on the hustings. Rather we have expenditure increasing with a payment to the America’s Cup rich boy’s toys syndicate and AT removing graffiti around potholes that they should have repaired ages ago.

            I would like to see the Council take a lead with representations to the Government to amend the rating act to allow rates to be set on religious and government buildings, excluding schools and hospitals

          2. Chris, I can think of a few ways AT could save money, mainly to do with parking and road building. But do you think focusing on cost-cutting is helpful, when keeping rates low has been the prime reason that we’ve degraded our harbours, forests and land so badly?

            We should have had rates high enough to properly fund pest control and care of the Waitakeres. We should have had rates high enough to properly fund a separated sewer system and a stormwater system that treated road runoff before discharging into the sea. We should have had rates high enough to properly fund waste minimisation programmes that didn’t involve landfills and wasting fossil fuels to ship it elsewhere. Keeping rates too low to allow us to do these things has killed ecological systems, and multiplied the costs involved in dealing with our problems while putting those costs onto future generations.

            Direct suggestions for saving money are welcome, but a general call for lower rates simply exacerbates the problem we’ve created of not living within our means and caring for the ecological base that supports us.

      2. I read that bollocks about trees to but unlike you I saw it as bullshit. In what society is it fair for old men to tax the poor in a different area, so they can plant some trees in their own area and then claim they are wonderful forward thinking old bastards?
        The regional fuel tax is a regressive tax, and like all regressive taxes the people who voted for it should hand their heads in shame. It can’t be justified on the basis that they can spend the money on projects they think are cool. They are stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

          1. Agreed with miffy. In a way it is a redistribution of wealth. Those in disadvantaged neighbourhoods have poor transportation options. Making their mobility more difficult for them is simply not fair. The burden of such transportation projects should be placed on those who can afford it, namely the wealthy. Give us a capital gains tax on real estate and allocate those funds to PT, housing and health care.

          2. I agree about the capital gains tax, except it may be too late. Wealth has been amassed through property investment which should have been taxed. It wasn’t, and I’ve seen no political proposal for a retrospective tax. Introduce the tax now, the young who struggle to buy and manage it will get taxed while the older ones now divesting of their rentals will not. Probably a good thing to do, still, but it will not create the equity we’re all after. For equity, an overhaul of trust law and a reintroduction of estate duty is probably what’s required at this point in time.

    1. What issue do you have with their decision? It’s not been made because of the RFT – they are putting these EVs in branches all over the country. From that article, Westpac have reduced their carbon emissions by 38% since 2012. If only the rest of the country had done the same!

      1. In defense of Don, I think he was really meaning he’d hate to see avoidance of RFT by big corporates.

        Don, I think the more important message to get out there is that ALL costs imposed by traffic on society: congestion, danger, DSI, pollution, carbon emissions, poor access, poor social and public health, etc, are reduced by reducing vehicle kilometres travelled. Trying to reduce just one of these – carbon emissions – through increasing EV uptake, is a lost opportunity to reduce all the others too.

        1. The sooner we get to the point that EV and abstinence based avoidance of fuel tax gets road pricing over the line, the better.

        2. Heidi, exactly how I look at it, electric cars still need roads and kill people, it’s the idea of personal transport being justified when if we want a sustainable future PT is the only way to go and the car should be phased out.

          1. There is no way we are getting rid of private cars. Sure we need to make them safer for other road users, sure we need to reduce the pollution, and sure for simple space reasons we need to reduce their use in urban areas.

            However, they will always offer the freedom to get to places that can’t easily be served otherwise and they will remain a vital part of small towns and rural communities.

          2. ‘no way’. We’ve had them for an insignificantly tiny part of our history, and yet we’re so dependent on and attached to them that we can’t envision a world without them, hey? Despite the fact that their use has been during a period of unprecedented energy use, and there’s ‘no way’ we’re going to continue with that forever.

            Moot point, of course. If there was any signal that a significant move away from dependence on cars was even being considered politically, it might be worth discussing, but the road-building and car-importing culture continues. And so, our dependence increases as usual.

          3. Maybe they will be replaced by something superior in terms of personal mobility in the future, but humans as a general rule don’t like taking a step back in terms of quality of life.

            Cars are not inherently the problem, our use of them is. Storing them all day in suburban houses, driving them to school, work, the dairy, driving them at speeds that are not safe for their environment, running them on fossil fuels are the problems.

            I don’t see a family loading into an electric car and heading for a holiday at a beach that can’t be accessed by PT as being at all unsustainable. I also don’t see a farmer heading into town in their electric ute to take the dogs to the vet or pick up some supplies as unsustainable.

          4. Ever studied any of the civilisations that flourished and declined, Jezza? Ours is just one of many. Humans as a rule have regularly had to take a step back in terms of quality of life.

          5. I’m not an expert on ancient civilisations bit I agree, we are certainly at risk of collapse if we continue the way we are at the moment. I guess where we differ is I believe we can still keep cars and thrive as a society, however it would require a significant change in the way we use them.

    2. They’re not “electric vehicles” (BEVs) as you or I know them.

      They are mostly “Plug in Hybrids.” (PHEVs) aka “electrified” cars, as the Europeans like to call these vehicles now, to muddy the waters and add a tonne of greenwash to a regular car.

      PHEVs have a small battery and a regular engine, so that will drive it a short distance on battery only, the rest of the time [when battery is empty] it sucks down petrol from the petrol engine like every other petrol powered car does.

      The fuel efficiency of these cars on petrol only operation mode will be average at best. So they will be paying their share of RFT when refueled as would any similar sized petrol powered car. If it was filled up with the Auckland Region.

      But as far as contributing to anything else?

      Its. Nothing. But. Greenwash.

      1. 63km range means most car commuters can do all their commuting and shopping trips on 100% electricity, but not need to buy a second car for longer weekend away type trips. That’s not greenwash IMHO.

        1. In Westpac’s case, they will be primarily be used for the long distance driving of many of their out of town “branch offices”. The distance covered on EV only mode will be small in comparison to the overall trip distances.

          If used for a small range daily urban commute they will reduce fuel usage to near zero – but only in an urban driving context.

          Drive from say Pukekohe to work and back and you’ll get less than half the distance on electricity only.

          The higher purchase price means its not economical in a business context – except when used as a greenwash PR stunt as it is here.

          1. “Drive from say Pukekohe to work and back and you’ll get less than half the distance on electricity only.”

            Why wouldn’t you charge when parked in town and do the whole trip on electric?

      2. “The fuel efficiency of these cars on petrol only operation mode will be average at best.”

        In petrol only mode they still operate as a hybrid. They get about 5.3l/100km in US spec, better than say an average Corollas 6.1/100. Though that compares badly with the NZ spec plain hybrid Ioniq which gets an impressive 3.4l/100km, that’s almost as good as a diesel.

    3. I love this logic, anything that reduces fuel consumption in Auckland equates with not supporting Auckland.

      So when i ride my bike to the shops I am giving Auckland the bird.
      When I go easy on the accelerator to reduce pollution I am trashing Auckland.
      When I carpool on longer trips genuine Aucklanders despise me.

  3. Maybe the title could be “People with great great public transport options support charging others a fuel tax”

    1. People with good public transport (great? Please.) support charging others a fuel tax to pay for a huge programme of mostly road building and road maintenance, so that it doesn’t have to come out of general rates.
      Sounds fair to me.

  4. Or Maybe: “Roads Continue to Get Lion’s Share of Funding but Council Approves Tiny Extra Charge to Road Users”.

      1. “Improvements in Poorest Suburbs with Worst Road Safety Still Underfunded Due to Continued Investment in Major Road Investment. RFT Mechanism Insufficient to Undo Poor Planning of 60 years.”

      2. Yeah but the fuel tax is being used to fund the light rail project. That is central government plus a private (or KiwiSaver) investment. But if you are saying spend more money to make PT an attractive, affordable and viable solution for South Auckland then I support that 100%.

        1. South Auckland has had major investment in three new mega transport hubs Manukau, Otahuhu and Pukekohe, a new bus network plus train & bus station upgrades.

          1. So would buslanes on SH1 and SH20 be the next obvious step to improve South Auckland’s PT? Didn’t see that in the RLTP…

          2. Yep, but it is also going to get a cut in its off peak and evening services to help pay for the North shore bus services. Right at the same time that fuel taxes go up. It seems like poor people are going to be disportionally affected by the fuel tax. It would be nice to see some other measure introduced to help making PT an option for the poorer parts of Auckland. I personally would like Central Government to reduce the fare box recovery goal to 40% or less. Plus an increase subsidy from central to PT (above what is promised). Then AT to offer better off peak frequencies and more evening services. Hopefully making PT attractive to shift works. If there was enough money then having a cheaper fare for evening and weekend services would help also.

          3. Yes. Also, if trucks were required to pay a RUC that increases in proportion to the damage done – I think that means in proportion to the axle load to the power of four – and if quarries were required to pay for the roads they require – then ratepayers would be relieved of all that road building and road maintenance bill. This would surely help poorer families.

          4. Heidi: truck’s RUC rates are calculated at the fourth power already. They fully pay the damage cost that the GPS and NLTP choose to recognise – and it’s also that that full amount does not necessarily flow back through to the region it was generated in in the same timeframe the damage is incurred.

            Of interest, the number of quarries in the country has decreased markedly. It is actually causing a different financial risk as the cost of aggregate doubles something like every 20km it has to be hauled, while the proportion of the road network exposed to the trucks doing the hauling may or may not improve, because it’s not like quarry locations are being optimised to delivery locations.

            I prefer how you more often frame the issue/solution: stop building unnecessary roads – then quarries and very heavy aggregate haulage are likely to be needed less often.

          5. Tutehanga: I’m no RUC expert, but plugging in some values to the online user charges calculator gives me:
            – for a doubling of axle load, the charge went up by a factor of just over 3 (not 16, as it should be).
            – for a trebling of axle load, the charge went up by a factor of 6 (not 81, as it should be).

            Maybe I chose some illogical truck and trailer types. Can you provide a link to raise my understanding here?

          6. Some things to watch are tire sizes, actual axle loadings, then axle groupings, then distances between axle sets.

            The largest trucks have lower average axle loadings than smaller ones – about 5.55 tonnes per axle on a 50 max combination, 5.62 on a general access 8-axle combination, whereas a two-axle truck can carry about 8 tonnes per axle on average (less on the front steering axle, more on the back). NZ has relatively restrictive axle weight limits compared to most of OECD states because our pavements are so weak and bouncy.

            A second consideration is that trucks don’t run full all the time.

            Although rates are set on GVM there is a load factor applied, which was about 0.5 last time rates were set, but needs to change as back-loads are becoming more prevalent.

            (Currently the same rates apply to buses as to trucks of the same configuration; you might expect to see that change under this government, too. Who knows.)

            Charge-wise the waters get muddied further because 2/3s of the costs recovered through the sum of all road taxes are not maintenance/renewals related, but also improvements, PT subsidies, safety promotion etc. Those are largely common costs (although trucks also pay the strengthening increment for structures), which get spread on space occupied and dampen the visible effect.

            As an aside, I gather many of Auckland’s major roads are built to a state highway standard in order to prolong the time between major repairs and renewals. If so, the proper power rule is closer to the second than the fourth; a residential cul-de-sac is closer to the seventh, btw. ‘Right-sizing’ the charge may have perverse or counter-intuitive consequences.

            Scroll down this page for a good illustration: https://www.transport.govt.nz/land/roadusercharges/where-does-the-money-go/

          7. Oh and maybe OIA the “shareable version” of the cost allocation model from the Ministry of Transport.

            It is shareable in the sense that there is an Excel version that can be emailed and that gives you a look at the main variables. The fully populated model is quite unwieldy.

            I thought the short version it was on the MOT models webpage, but those links are all broken now… MOT should share it as, while it is not publicly available as such, it has been given to the RTF, AA, various Australian public agencies, and US researchers.

          8. Indeed!

            I haven’t forgotten your privacy article suggestion, btw, re pricing; it appeals except that finding time is a challenge. Also my contact for work done a few years ago has gone quiet so I may need to approach the dept in question more formally for the source material.

          9. @Ari. Fare box recovery removed altogether I would hope and cheaper PT fares incl special off/inter-peak prices/deals are needed.

        2. The Lion’s share of LRT will NOT be funded by the fuel tax. Much more likely to be a PPP like the one proposed by the Superannuation Fund.

          1. PPPs are procurement tools for allocating risk, not funding tools.

            They will have a financing component, which will generate some kind of government (re)payment. That’s a side effect which can be scaled up or down depending on a range of factors.

            The RFT future revenue stream can be tagged against those repayments (for 10 years, anyway), and in that sense supports/pays the debt and “funds” the project. That gives the city 10 years to get its other debt and revenues sorted so the remaining payments can be met once the RFT has finished without ruining the city’s credit rating.

            If the RFT is used directly. Otherwise it creates headroom which enables other revenues to be pushed towards funding LRT.

          2. But I don’t think any funding for LRT is coming from the RFT?

            It’s coming from central govt?

          3. How does a superannuation fund make money off PT? Property development?

            If so, how is that compatible with an affordable housing policy?

          4. Kevin. It’s more that it offers a known return over a long period of time and is relatively low risk. So it’s a way of balancing the portfolio.

        3. “Yeah but the fuel tax is being used to fund the light rail project”

          That is just fundamentally false, is it not? Are you with the National party?

          1. I actually thought it was a typo. “isn’t’ would have fitted with the rest of what he was saying…

        1. “Poor tenants squeezed out at Landlords enjoy Windfall Gain as Light Rail Introduced”
          Watch how prices and rents go up anywhere near a Light Rail stop. The owners will get a tax free gain and the tenants will have to go somewhere else.

          1. “Engineers Squabble As First Good Decisions in 60 years Are Made – Where’s Criticism of Poor Planning to Date?”

          2. Were you equally delighted when motorways rammed through suburbs destroyed the social fabric and impoverished the area? Presumably rents went down… If Light Rail is good for an area, and makes it more desirable, shouldn’t we have been doing it for a while now?

          3. Heidi I am not particularly pleased that a motorway came through my area and now instead of birds waking me up it is traffic noise.

        2. My guess: “Mangere picked out as winner, gets cycle network and light rail. Gentrification expected to commence soon”

          Anyway, won’t the census data come out in a few months? Some think the poor are more likely to commute by car. Some think they’re not. Let’s see who’s right.

        1. As cars become increasingly fuel-efficent, NZers respond by buying ever larger cars. Clearly the cost of fuel is not an issue to many/most drivers.

  5. Although the legislation has not yet been finalised, So it is not clear whether there will be an exemption bun fight (The Barrier /Waiheke spring to mind), also it is not clear how “spreading” will be dealt to ……

    While the council will get 10c/litre and the Govt 1.5 its not yet clear who will exactly pay what…

    1. Great Barrier has been given an exemption by Auckland Council. Waiheke had the fourth highest response in terms of submissions so I can’t see big debate there.

  6. Given the fact that petrol companies are not obliged to fund the tax purely from Auckland sales I would have thought if anyone has a right to be angry, it’s those of us who live elsewhere and will probably end up funding your infrastructure to a degree.

    But personally I’m not too bothered. I drive a reasonably efficient car but my hope is that a nationwide increase in fuel costs due to the Auckland tax will lead to a nationwide increase in PT patronage. Then maybe services will improve and I won’t have to drive any more.

  7. The regressive nature of a fuel tax is unfortunate but this is an unfortunate side effect of an economy that for years has has been dominated by market forces at the expense of more compassion and fairness. Although the linkage between fuel use and road use is far from perfect, it is better then pretending there is absolutely no linkage and fully funding roading provision elsewhere. What is needed is for our society to address the issues that have created these disadvantaged people that currently have little alternative to spending so much of their time and income behind the wheel. This is where we need to accelerate the intensification of our city and massively increase our efficiency in providing cost effective housing and provision of local services. Taking some money from fuel taxes for roading leaves more money available to fix the root cause of compelling the less financially able to being so heavily SOV dependant.

    1. Are you serious? Market forces existed long before capitalism and communism came along. It is government decisions, government intervention and government inaction that has lead to where things are. Nothing to do with market forces.

      1. I dunno, Ari. I think in the early days, the tribes probably came to decisions based on perceived best outcome, and people who disagreed wandered off. Later, when something we might call a ‘market’ developed, decisions were still made in a social context; market forces would have been restricted heavily by culture. When we finally became a culture that gave a name to ‘market forces’, we also named concepts like ‘democracy’ and ‘common good’ and ‘socialism’. What Don was probably meaning was that ‘market forces’ have been treated by some as if there’s a fundamental law associated with them. This never existed; they’re a tool we can use if we choose to, along with other tools.

  8. I have to keep laughing at the people in the Howick ward, one local area that has some of the worst congestion problems and distinct lack of efficient public transport. Yet it’s manifest into their constituents that having low rates and taxes is far more beneficial for them that solutions that make their lives that much easier – for instance the long awaited AMETI busway project.

    With the recent passing of Cr Quax, there will be a by-election to fill the role now vacant. I can only guess who will queue up for the contest. I wonder if Jami-Lee Ross will go back to the council he abandoned after just a few months from the first super city election.

    I’m glad my councilor, Ross Clow, was one of the 13 to support this. The Whau ward area has some good transport already (and will benefit even more with the CRL) but this is not just about the people he represents but the greater city in general, which all has to work together to make things work.

    1. Thanks for that, will keep a closer eye on the Howick by-election now. Any politician that supports an accelerated Eastern Busway (AMETI Busway) will get my families vote.

  9. I’m sure the residents of Taihape won’t be happy when they see price rises at their local supermarket on
    July 1.

    1. Agree, I distinctly remember their outrage when the Key government put fuel taxes up and increase GST. There was a protest on the main drag of Taihape from memory.

      1. Not to mention the EQC Riots when they found that their decades of contributions were to be spent rebuilding roads and public infra for Christchurch city slickers to swan about on.

  10. While I/we may criticise governments for caving in to populism at times, I must commend Council for taking this decision. It is clearly necessary, but previous Councils have avoided it.

    As for its impacts, the reality is that businesses sell products at the price their market will bear. So I do not believe all the nonsense that this will send one demographic or business group broke. Not all of it will be passed on. Things need to change, and those who are taking most advantage of the current system will always complain when they have to change their behavior, whether rich or poor. But the solution is to provide direct assistance to the poor in those cases, not avoid change for the whole community.

    1. Yes, but it also means that central government should fund & ensure there is “true urban public transport” for the poorer in society – a full coverage public transport network running at max 30min headways preferably 24/7 with pulsed transfers where possible. (It can be a time varying mix of fixed & on-demand routes)

      This is not currently the case as the coverage and frequency of the PT network is at the whim of AT & regional councils.

      AT & regional councils should only fund service level improvements, at a reduced FAR, above the true PT network.

      Having a true PT network in place should also be a minimum condition for implementing the congestion tolls.

      1. I agree on the need for PT services; that is exactly what the funding should assist in delivering. My only caveat is I think we have to get away from the “30 minute frequency” and “coverage” way of thinking about PT. It has been shown to be not very effective getting people to use PT, rich or poor. Better to use the funds to boost service frequency on the main RTN network. There should still be feeder services into that, as people on this blog have correctly suggested.

        1. Yes. Listing the game-changing improvements to PT in my suburb over the last 10 years, they have each been because of the addition of 15-minute (or better) frequency bus routes. The addition of route 66 is the latest addition, and will connect us with many parts of Auckland that the meandering Outer Link and the infrequent 007 were struggling to do.

          Now for ramping up the buslane provision and enforcement, AT.

  11. “…the solution is to provide direct assistance to the poor in those cases, not avoid change for the whole community.”

    Well said.

  12. I was thinking of leaving Auckland and this more of less cements my decision to do so. It’s been overrun by socialist bureaucrats who want to tell you how to live.

    1. I’ve heard that Waikikamukau is a good place to live, far from the madding crowd and far from the interference of councils or bureaucrats. None of your taxes get spent on public transport, very little on roads, and you won’t be paying the regional fuel tax. There are no parking restrictions, no traffic jams, no rush-hours to contend with, and no queues. You can build a long-drop on your property wherever you want it. No one is there to tell you how to live.

    2. Cool, one less person we have to worry about providing infrastructure for, plus we still get the benefit of you paying for it as the fuel companies spread the cost across the country.

        1. He he he. Now I see your humour. Japan, that pinnacle of individualism where no-one tells you what to do.

          Lots of things to like about Japan: no subsidy to parking in Tokyo, for example, which has a huge effect on land-use and the economics of transport. Building regulations that have allowed much more intensification than Auckland has. Are these the things that appeal?

          1. Yup, they collectively know how to not step on the individual with slow, bloated governments full of leeches just there to suck increasingly more money from tax payers. It’s a paradox I know. Things happen very quickly over there and problems get fixed in smart ways, with new technology and not by flawed regulation and process. Years of increasing problems and low-tier socialist solutions like these this is the best the council can come up with. NZ’s going down the toilet at this rate.

        2. Tim, I lived in Japan for 5 years mate. As Heidi said, they’ve got their act together precisely because of the all the planning controls etc they implemented while Auckland fiddled around for the last 60 odd years.

          As for bureaucracy, you’ll find Japan is awash with it compared to Auckland. I fear the joke about control and bureaucracy is on you bro. You even have to get an Alien resident ID card and go to your local council office within a couple of weeks of arrival.

          You also have to go to the local council office to get your residence info updated on said Alien registration card if you ever move to another locale within Japan. Doing such stuff as bank transactions etc is also far more laborious. There are so many, many more rules in Japan, than there are in NZ, so actually you’re proverbially jumping out of the frypan and into the fire! Moving elsewhere to escape being told how to live. Not a particularly smart move to choose Japan.

    3. Somebody makes me cycle amongst dirty fumes, and makes my children cross dangerous roads, and gives me lower priority in almost every journey I want to take. I’ve been told how to live all my life. But it wasn’t the socialist bureaucrats telling me.

  13. For South Auckland, where I am from, I will say this.

    Cr Daniel Newman of Manurewa would rather property rates go up (by 13% to get the equivalent revenue of the RFT) than the petrol tax.

    I accept the RFT is regressive. I accept that the poor, especially those living in areas poorly served by PT and/or work in the middle of the night, will have no alternative but to drive.

    However, would these people rather pay an extra $2.00 to $20.00 per week in fuel or pay a rent increase of I dunno maybe $50-$100 per week as a result of rates going up 13%?

    1st July 2018 is when the Families Package kicks in. The working poor (like those working shifts in the middle of the night) will get an extra $75.00 PER WEEK on average in the Working For Families tax credits.

    The benefit to the city is too huge for this RFT not to be proceeded with now. To not proceed with it is effectively doing nothing. It is accepting the shitty traffic we have now.

    “Societies grow great when old men plant trees whose shade they will never sit under”

    The old men who were around in the 1950s and 1960s have shafted us with their bullshit decision-making on transport. We, their future generations, have been right royally shafted. This week, some other “old men” have taken the courageous decision to make the unpopular call to raise fuel taxes to help pay for putting right what the previous generations have got wrong.

    I say thank you to them. To my South Auckland working poor, the fuel tax rises will be more than offset by the Families package on 1st July 2018. The extra fuel you are paying now are your gift to your children and grandchildren.

    1. If you get the Families package.

      Not everybody who is poor gets it.

      And how about the poor long suffering Superannuitants?

      1. No, people like me, on National Super, don’t get the Families package, but don’t forget I
        get free travel on public transport. I was able to shift from Auckland to Pukekohe a couple of
        years ago thanks largely to my Goldcard, which allows me to stay in touch with friends and
        family in Auckland.

        I am all in favour of the petrol tax levy. For the last 3 years I had a $114 interim transport levy
        added to my rates, while those on a much higher income than me, but who didn’t own property, escaped this levy. The petrol tax is much fairer – it will be paid by most adults.

        It will of course be paid by those staunch Labour voters who put this lot in power – great stuff !

    2. JBM Can you please explain your math calculations/assumptions when you state and extra $50-$100 rent increase a week as a result of rates going up by13%

      1. I didn’t do any maths calculations. That is why I said “maybe”. I was just going on experience with my own rents over the past decade. They never went up by $2.00-$20.00 per week. They went up by $50.00 to $100.00 per week.

  14. “The car should be phased out” I can understand improving PT but what is it you have against any individual mobility and the freedom of movement?

    1. Cars are a luxury we can’t afford, we build and maintain a system of roads that impose restrictions on other lives and give the car and driver a preferential status over others. but most of all they waste energy and for most of there lives cars sit there cluttering up our roads before becoming scrap. we can’t keep wasting and polluting and destroying this planet just for our own wants. not if we want our grand kids to have a world that can support them.

        1. Calculate the embedded energy in each car, the energy use and the pollution they cause. Can everyone in the world do so? No. So, is there a hierarchy within humankind that allows you to use more resources than others?

          1. There is the argument that if humanity hadn’t overpopulated the planet so much there wouldn’t be an issue. Most developed countries are actually not naturally growing in population (rather they are shrinking) and it is only because they are accommodating those from overpopulated countries that the total population is going up.

          2. Ah, but it’s a whole lot more complicated than that, AKLDUDE. As with any organism, populations explode when a new input is being exploited. When Europe’s population exploded they spread out across the globe, seizing power and resources where they went. Then when other countries’ populations exploded, they were treated as criminals for trying to move around the globe.

            Education has brought down birth rates in even the poorest countries so that their population increase now is simply tracking the bubble of adults ageing. (At least according to some analyses.)

            But the biggest problem is that we’re not viewing ourselves as part of the earth’s ecosystem. While our soil is what sustains us, instead of honouring it, growing it, we are destroying, eroding, polluting it, at a massive rate. Each year we have less and less actual soil to feed ourselves from. We have the potential to reverse this, by increasing the amount of fertile soil each year as our population increases. Obviously there’s a limit, but hopefully by then the population will have stabilised too.

            Meanwhile, we have a duty to share the world’s resources with the people trapped by our immigration policies in countries that the First World and others have exploited.

    1. Bryan, are you submitting about the Low Emissions Economy Report? Due 8 June. It is a long document (500 pages), so I’ve only commented on the transport, land use, waste and built environment sections. Here’s a bit of my submission related to what we’re talking about:

      p ii: “f. how to maximise New Zealand’s comparative advantages in a carbon constrained world, including the timeframes for any relative advantages from market premiums or market access risks.”

      Does the government really want to include a statement about ‘relative advantages’ in an international crisis? Future generations may not judge so favourably. For future reports, we request balance: either remove mention of relative advantages or add points such as:

      “how to contribute economically to assist other countries: those that have not benefited from carbon emitting activities to the same degree that we have, and those that do not have the same level of carbon sequestering options that we have.”

  15. Heidi I didn’t even know there was such a report, but have a life long interest in sustainability, I was born in 1936 not many miles from Manchester so grew up with the threat of starvation in a country that in those days wouldn’t have been able to feed itself if it hadn’t been for the merchant navy and the lives they lost .

    We now have a small holding and can grow most of the food we eat without any food miles or artificial fertilizers, it took us the best part of 30 years to get to this stage and why I keep harping on about stating to build a future that uses far less energy but it will take time and we need to be doing it know.

    1. I take my hat off to you. We’re attempting the same food self-sufficiency in the city, with a big reliance on perennials to cut the workload down. Perennial shark’s fin melon and a really nice perennial basil being some of my recent happy finds. I’ve definitely found the volume we produce depends more on the time we have available than on land area, within limits. Great season for persimmons and tamarillos this year… 🙂

      Have you heard of the transition movement? “Transition” referring to the transition to a lower-carbon future. Our local group has been very active for the last ten years, and a great support for each other.

      1. Like you say it doesn’t take much land to grow a good supply of food, many allotments in the UK produced far more per acre than any farm and we would produce as much for our use of 1 acre as we do of 2 and much less mowing although I have cut that down to about 4 times a year by using a sickle mower the longer the grass the better it likes it and it makes great mulch.

        I must have a look locally to see if there are any Transition groups, we swap with friends and neighbors and at the moment I’m in the process of making cider to turn into vinegar, second batch this year I don’t like to see apples going to waste.

        1. Our pear tree (born in about 1936) used to provide us with perry, (quite glorious stuff, and I’d never consider vinegar instead 🙂 ) but it’s turning its nose up at our pruning style at the moment.

          Swapping with friends and neighbours is when it all starts clicking into place and the produce highs and lows get evened out. Btw our purchasing group is always on the look-out for farmers to connect with directly, so if you have any neighbours wanting an urban customer, let me know.

          I’ve cut mowing my verge down to about 6 times a year, with shears, but I’m not sure if I’ll get away with it for much longer. Our mower was taken a few years ago, so I took that as a message to get rid of the remaining bit of lawn. 🙂

  16. “wanting an urban customer”

    Heidi,
    We have large quantities of spray-free satsumas, navel oranges and clementines. Also late-season Hass avocados.

    I can be contacted at:

    metriceight(at)
    gmail.com

    Replace eight with the digit.

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