How can Aucklanders contribute to solving the climate crisis? Perhaps our strength lies in community; a crisis like this could work to align interests towards a common goal. Last year, Auckland Council launched an online Ideas Hub, which is a way for residents to share ideas and see what others are thinking. What residents write is then available to Council for consideration in the Climate Action Plan. Chief Sustainability Officer John Mauro says:

We’re also starting to organise the Auckland Climate Summit for early 2019, an event designed to further refine ideas, gather up support and showcase what we’ve collectively come up with.

It’s worth having a look at the site to see what others are thinking; lots of the ideas are great. There’s a gaming element to the website: people can vote on each idea, and well-liked authors can climb up a leaderboard. But you can ignore all that if it’s not your cup of tea.

Great to see that Generation Zero were organised months ago, and their ideas have put them at third place on the leaderboard. Well done, Generation Zero!

Last week, Greater Auckland added some ideas to the conversation, which I’ve copied below. We tried not to repeat what other people have already said, but didn’t necessarily manage to read everything already written. Each one is a response to a challenge, or a question in the form of a poll. You can scroll down to what looks interesting, and if you make it to the Council’s website, enjoy!


POLL: Public transport – Do we need more in Auckland?

Our Idea: To increase the appeal and viabilty of public transport, we need to radically reallocate road space to buslanes.

People need to be able to consider using public transport is a viable option, with viable travel times. This could be possible if buses weren’t held up in general traffic. Improvements such as bus lanes and bus priority measures at intersections means our budget for bus operations can provide us with better value for money and good public transport outcomes. Reallocating the road space from inefficient general traffic to efficient bus use provides enables our budget to be better utilised.
The current buslane programme rollout has been underwhelming:

  • Twenty four kilometres was delivered over 2015/2016 and 2016/17, ie average of twelve km per year.
  • Five kilometres delivered 2018
  • Eleven kilometres scheduled for 2019

We propose that the Integrated Corridors programme reallocates general traffic lanes to bus lanes and other sustainable modes at a much faster rate than this, and continues them through intersections instead of using so much road space for general traffic at intersections.


Challenge: How can we protect and increase green spaces in Auckland?

Our Idea: Build Housing on Carparks

We need more homes in central areas where people want to live. To prevent the remaining green spaces being built on, we need to convert at-grade carparks to housing.

There’s a lot of space in Auckland dedicated to storing private cars. The car parks induce driving, and they spread amenities apart so that people can’t walk, cycle or take public transport to things as easily, meaning they feel they need to drive.

If we build high-density apartments on the large at-grade carparks, (together with new gardens), there will be less pressure on green spaces in the city, and less pressure to build greenfields developments on farmland.

Since these carparks are in more central, well-connected areas, compared to fringe car-dependent developments, the need to drive will be substantially reduced, reducing traffic. The residents will add patronage to the public transport system (increasing its value-for-money).

Council needs to set a methodology for how this will be achieved, setting targets, monitoring progress, and adjusting methodology so that targets are reached.


POLL: E-scooters – “A Fad or A Practical Transport Option for Auckland?”

Our Idea: The popularity of the e-scooters share scheme has shone a light on the suppressed demand for moving around Auckland independently of cars, and the variety of options that people will eagerly adopt in addition to cycling and walking.

Auckland needs to respond by allowing scooters to use cyclelanes, and by rapidly growing the cyclelane network. This can only happen if the capacity to build cycleways is also grown, by providing a steady work programme.

According to the UN, 20% of transport budget should be spent on active mode infrastructure, at both a national and a city level. In NZ, it’s barely a tenth of that, and until recently, was much lower. We are in catch up mode, and probably need to spend more than 20% of our budget. To give our people the choice to radically cut their own transport carbon emissions – as well as to become healthier through more physical activity – we need to bring the networks up to scratch. Unfortunately, Auckland’s cycleway programme has seen stops and starts and very little workflow security:

To grow the capacity of the sector, security of the work programme is needed.


Challenge: What has to change?

Our Idea: Transformation for Auckland Transport

We support the CEO of AT in his choice of the word “transformation”. In terms of Auckland Transport, it’s useful to look at the definition of the word in the Business Dictionary:

In an organizational context, a process of profound and radical change that orients an organization in a new direction and takes it to an entirely different level of effectiveness. Unlike ‘turnaround’ (which implies incremental progress on the same plane) transformation implies a basic change of character and little or no resemblance with the past configuration or structure.

Everything that Auckland Transport does should be evaluated under an emissions reductions lens. To reduce emissions, they need to reduce people’s need to travel long distances or in private cars. We’ll continue to suggest ways to effect this transformation, and they will cut deep to the very mechanisms AT uses to decide what to fund, and who makes the decisions.

But it wouldn’t hurt for the CEO to require every AT meeting to start with an affirmation that AT’s business will transform the city from car dependent, dangerous, and carbon-emitting, to sustainable, human-scaled, safe and accessible so that children are mobile without their parents, and adults prefer not to use a car.


Challenge: In the face of climate change, how can we be responsible kaitiaki for Tāmaki Makaurau?

Our Idea: Eco-Suburbs, where cars don’t dominate

Currently there is no choice to live in a car free suburb. Perhaps in time, existing suburbs could vote to become car-free, or at least make changes so they are not dominated by the car.

Until the political will to stop sprawling onto yet more farmland is achieved, we should at least be developing those new suburbs in a way that offers the choice Auckland doesn’t currently have.

People are generally wanting to live in established urban areas which offer proximity to amenities, not at the end of long commutes in the middle of sprawl. The only advantage of offering greenfields development on the fringes of Auckland would be real transport choice. We propose that greenfields developments are established with only public transport connections and walking and cycling routes. Provision of roads simply establishes the driving mode. There are precedents in Germany where the developments were built by tradespeople who travelled there each day by rail.

What if Tradies Preferred Trams to Utes?
And look up: freiburg-germany-city-of-the-future-part-ii-how-to-build-an-eco-suburb-from-scratch


Challenge: What has to change?

Our Idea: Invest in regional rail and bus services

NZ’s transport carbon emissions are low-hanging fruit, if we design ways to reduce the need for private car travel. To enable Aucklanders to live without cars, some changes are needed to our national networks, and these changes can benefit communities throughout the country too.

We need to establish regional rail and regional bus services to decrease private car trips that Aucklanders (and others) make to and within the regions. Having options to travel for holidays, education, sports events and work without having to drive on our open roads would mean that the increasing number of Aucklanders who no longer use their cars for commuting to work could consider selling their cars. This would be financially beneficial – cars are expensive to own just for occasional trips.

There are many other benefits, particularly the provision of access and opportunities for people in small towns, leading to more local economic and social health. For example, youth in small towns would be able to travel to larger towns for training or work opportunities, and small towns would be able to attract national and international tourists who don’t wish to drive on our open roads.

For people who wish to live in regional towns and centres, the improved access and economic opportunities allows them to continue to live in their preferred home town without a high transport carbon footprint. Benefits include that the communities and infrastructure of regional towns can be maintained instead of people having to move somewhere else where new infrastructure will need to be established for them, and where there are already population pressures.

The safety benefits of reducing travel on our open roads would also be large.


Challenge: In the face of climate change, how can we be responsible kaitiaki for Tāmaki Makaurau?

Our Idea: We need to restrict energy-intense travel technologies

The energy needs of Auckland’s transport network must reduce even as we become more populous. The compact city strategy, plus investment in lower-energy modes such as walking, cycling, and public transport is vital. Auckland Council has not successfully prevented helicopters being used for reasons of personal luxury, yet these machines are energy-intense, and create both noise and danger for the public. Meanwhile, some companies are pushing other energy-intensive technology, such as Uber Air and flying taxis.

These technologies are not part of a low carbon future, nor of an equitable society. Steps need to be taken now to ensure that the use of any technology that is more intense than the private car is heavily restricted to those uses that are in the public interest. Until all costs of transport modes are internalised (contribution to climate change, effect on public health, urban form, social equity and cohesion, etc) we cannot rely on pricing to prevent inappropriate use of new technologies. Restrictions may have to be overt.


POLL: Climate change – Scientists say it’s urgent, but is it being communicated well in Auckland?

Our idea: Climate change is being communicated well to residents in council documents, but not to the council-controlled organisations in a way that requires them to change.

Auckland needs to reduce its contribution to climate change, not just cope with the consequences. While there are already a number of documents that ouline Auckland Council’s intentions, this Climate Action Plan needs to outline how the actions will happen. To this end, Council needs to set targets and establish action pathways to achieve those targets, plus processes to ensure that any deviation from those pathways is quickly identified and rectified, to ensure the targets are met.

Our post, Letters of Low Expectations outlines how the letters sent annually by the Mayor to the Council-Controlled Organisations are the first step in setting clear targets for achievement. Since 40% of carbon emissions come from transport in Auckland, we have focused more on the transport emissions, but the same principal applies for all activities that emit carbon and which Council has a responsibility to influence.

Targets (in numbers), action pathways, feedback mechanisms and financial and other disincentives (such as removal of decision-making power) for failure to meet targets are needed for:

  • Reductions of Auckland’s greenhouse gas emissions in the area of responsibility of each Council-Controlled Organisation.
  • Reductions of vehicle kilometres travelled overall.
  • Reductions of vehicle kilometres travelled per capita.
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  1. Heidi , targets to reduce total transport carbon use are essential and building complete suburbs are a great idea.

  2. All the ideas sounds positive, however, the short answer to your question “How can Aucklanders contribute to solving the climate crisis?” is nothing. Nothing we do in Auckland or in New Zealand will have any effect on climate change. Until China, the EU, India, and the US focus on the problem everything we do is token at best. So while the ideas are positive they will have zero effect on climate change. Our focus should be on improving our environment as much as possible – like not pumping sewage into our harbour.

    1. Yes Adrian, no nation will solve this disaster on their own. Only by acting as a team can we save ourselves from the terrible consequences of climate change. Either we are part of this team or we are not. In my view, as a privileged and wealthy country, we need to step up and take responsibility.

      Note that we are blessed with a pleasant climate and abundant renewable energy. that together make reduction of our carbon footprint very easy. Auckland is also blessed with many wide roads that could be upgraded within a decade to a city-wide rapid transit network. This alone would be a positive step toward reducing our carbon emissions and would actually improve our standard of living. It’s madness that we are dragging the chain on this when we have all the facts at our fingertips.

      We can make a difference and we must, not alone but as part of a global shift to a safe future.

      1. Totally agree. It needs to be all or nothing in terms of commitment. Every nation can come up with an excuse as to why they shouldn’t be taking action.
        Also, principles are important. You could say our anti-nuclear stance didn’t mean much in global terms. But man was it principled…

        1. We can hardly point the finger at China, India and the US while we aren’t pulling our weight, surely?

        2. We are, actually, far worse than China or India, on a per-capita basis. We are one of the worst polluters in the world, in terms of consumption of energy and production of CO2, per person. If countries like India consumed as many resources as we do, per person, the world would be in a far worse state.

        3. @average human
          NZ’s not just bad on per capita consumption of energy and greenhouse gases. We’re also bad per capita in producing waste and not recycling. And the pollution from our diary industry is appalling and completely unregulated.

          Surely I’m not the only one who’s spotted the irony in how so many Kiwis cop an anti-American attitude yet the nation emulates the USA so much…

    2. Glad you like the ideas. And I’d really love you to reconsider, Adrian. Here are some reasons we should cut our carbon emissions:

      – Many of our young (and older) people are depressed about where the earth is heading. In the same way that Greta was able to rise out of her chronic, limiting depression by taking action, the mental health of our people would be improved if we could make real progress. Perhaps even more so if we can inspire people around the world about what’s possible.

      – We have to spend billions of dollars on carbon credits in order to meet our net carbon commitment – if we could meet it through good planning instead, that could be money we can invest into our own projects.

      – Agriculture, Transport and Land-use Planning would all be improved if they had to radically reduce their carbon emissions. That means healthier, happier lifestyles, with less air, soil and water pollution.

      – If we don’t plan to make these changes, our trends will continue in the wrong direction. We’ll miss out on the opportunities for innovation in industry and business. So other countries will be gaining a competitive advantage while we’re stuck in yesterday, and paying more and more for our carbon credits as the price slowly rises to reflect what the use of carbon actually means. That’s a black, scary future for NZ, and so unnecessary.

    3. Adrian
      Nothing Aucklanders, or New Zealanders could have done alone could have stopped ozone depletion. But heh, we complied with the Montreal convention, and suprise so did everyone else including the genenerally considered renegade China. The biggest resistance, to the required bans was though from big, largely US corporates manufacturing the halogen compounds who advanced the exact same argument you are advancing .
      The result of compliance with the Montreal convention, was that ozone depletion was reversed. So we have already at least once successfully used an internationally agreed approach to act locally, but acheive globally, to reverse a serious life threatening risk. The reason we cannot yet replicate this success with carbon emmissions is totally down to the attitude you are articulating at a personal level, corporate level and national level.

        1. Indeed. That’s the point. International political pressure meant we had no real choice. The TPPA and other trade agreements should be set up to provide benefits for countries meeting their commitments.

          Indeed, we’d be pretty stupid to think that Europe is not going to favour complying countries (when it suits them) in their trade agreements, now that they have committed to spending a quarter of all their expenditure on climate change measures.

  3. We need much more ‘ultra-density’ in key strategic locations. And the government needs to play a big role in this. The private market is too conservative, and too volatile. And the profit imperative usually kills anything approaching affordability.
    But the private sector still has a role to play. But needs to be incentivised more.

    1. Or…
      …there could just be more medium density radiating from town centres and transport nodes.

      Why does there need to be “ultra-density” sticking out like sore thumb?

      1. Can be both. But medium density can be very incremental, given the fragmentation of property.
        And what’s wrong with ‘sticking out like sire thumb’. We are a city, aren’t we? Rather than a quaint European town

        1. Generally speaking; changes to medium density occur when property values get too high and a few built sets off a chain where others allow suit. Isn’t incremental the best outcome? Especially given the associated evolution that the area needs to go through?

          How about live in places where they’ve decided to put towers in the middle of suburbia without any supporting infrastructure there first and see their negative effects for yourself if you won’t take it from me?

        2. Daniel, I think most of the increased housing needs to be in apartments limited to 4 to 5 storeys, for some of the same concerns you have. But to actually get that happening is tricky. We’re up against
          – NIMBY regulations,
          – many people who think being green means resisting intensification,
          – an AUP that makes incremental change property-by-property both impossible to achieve a good urban form,
          – subsidies to greenfields development in many shapes, including transport considerations.

          The issue of insufficient homes is urgent, and far-reaching – it’s not just about homelessness, but about survival sex, high traffic trauma from sprawl-induced driving arrogance, children having to move schools 6 times a year because their parents have to bounce around relatives’ places.

          How would you like to think about strategy here? Perhaps the best way towards the urban form that we both like might include some more easily achieved higher density developments for now… bringing more people into the isthmus and out of car dependency and sprawl means bringing more people into voting for better planning.

        3. Australian cities in the last two decades also had resistance from NIMBY’s about medium density residential development.
          Most have since warmed to it after seeing that the predicted doom never happened (and that their own property values have increased).

          What they are still opposed to is high rise towers beyond CBD’s.

        4. You often raise this Daniel, but where in Auckland do we have;

          – High Rise in Suburbia (other than a couple of Towers popping out of Herne Bay and Remuera)..remember to define Suburbia here and neither of those places are actually Suburbia

          – Where in the UP does it allow for high rises in Suburbia.

          You talk as if Auckland if full of concrete Socialist monstrosities (other than Hobson Street!).

          What we are really asking for in Auckland when we talk density is a move away from single level homes and we are struggling for the exact reasons Heidi describes. I don’t think anyone on here means throwing up 432 Park Avenue in the middle of St Johns!

        5. Again – it’s not ‘either / or’. I’m talking about strategically located apartments in key nodes, centres and corridors, 8-12 storeys high: far from high rise. And not indiscriminately located throughout suburbia (that’s where low rise medium density is good, as you say). It takes an awful lot of single site, 4-6 townhouse developments to get meaningful outcomes. 2-3 apartments blocks in close proximity can realise much quicker gains.
          Remuera Road, for example, should be lined with apartments towers, of the kind of scale of the few that were built in the 1960s-1970s.

  4. Having apartment blocks above car parks is nothing new. People have been building them since the 50’s.
    They’re actually quite common in Sydney Australia. But they went out of vogue in the 80’s because…. …well… …they’re often not very aesthetically pleasing.

    Most post-1930’s urban apartment blocks in Europe have garage basements, and many older ones have had them retrofitted. This wouldn’t be advisable in most of NZ due to the earthquake code but Auckland isn’t at the same level of seismic risk as the rest of NZ so I don’t see why it shouldn’t be an exception there.

    1. The suggestion is to use that land. The asphalt of the carparks can be removed to allow nice gardens around apartment blocks. And the concept should be accompanied by less car infrastructure, not more. The sausage flats and sets of townhouses straddled by concrete driveways has become an awful Auckland form. So little greenery, so little permeable soil. We need to regenerate places already formed in this way and prevent the continuation of the form.

  5. I am not planning on going carbon free, I am planning on producing less carbon than I did in 1990. Yes that old scam. But if nations are allowed to get away with that shit then why not me? Back in 1990 drove to work every day and sat in a traffic jam on Esmonde Rd so I have plenty of fake credits available. Now I work at home so maybe I will buy a V8 for reduced travel I still do. How cool would that be? I could burn fuel like there is no tomorrow and claim I am helping the environment.

    1. The commitments are set to try to limit the anthropogenic temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, a goal the UN says is “exceedingly difficult, but not impossible.”

      For those socially-minded and able to understand the links between history, politics and science, and who can see that using 1990 as a benchmark provides a huge bias for the countries already industrialised by that year – such as yourself, miffy – there is always the opportunity to aim higher, and try to model a better way forward.

      1. Oh, and you and I are both quite family-focused. If you prefer your method of deciding how much you should limit your emissions to, you might want to limit your family’s contribution to what you were all emitting in 1990. Daughters included. 🙂 Let’s not cherry pick, now.

      2. “The commitments are set to try to limit the anthropogenic temperature rise to 1.5 degrees,”

        Yes, and it was generally thought that NZ’s Carbon Zero legislation would set emissions targets that would provide a pathway to achieve this here. A speaker this week suggested that the emissions targets may have fallen away because political consensus cannot be achieved. There seems to be a real worry that this issue may cause enormous social dislocation and many politicians are not brave enough to take the risk. France’s yellow shirts protests has caused significant concern.

        A real impediment to progress seems to be that effectively National is saying that they will do nothing for 3 years. There will be no new taxes to persuade people to drive less e.g. road tolls and congestion charges. There seems a reluctance to increase petrol taxes. Presumably there will be no disincentives to cause the agricultural sector to change.

        Heidi, I suspect that you are right that change will come from the community up, just as is happening with plastic waste. I will be Kiwis demanding change that leaves governments to fall into line

    2. I actually have some agreement with Miffy on this point. Whilst the motor vehicle manufacturers and dealers desire a scrapping scheme of inefficient vehicles to stimulate even more vehicle sales the biggest gains to be had are simply putting more better alternatives to SOV travel. Better public transport options, denser housing, from which follows a denser provision of facilities, are a start. Also a staged withdrawal of SOV privalege,the subsidised parking, and our current road allocation.
      Emissions from our twenty year old car were not really a problem at 3000k per annum. Upgrading our ceiling insulation to reduce gas heating probably saved a lot more emissions for vastly less cost, then a car upgrade to new.

      1. Don, you are absolutely right that simply introducing lower emitting cars is not particularly helpful. The Productivity Commission Report showed this neatly in reporting an example from France. The average emissions from new cars sold from 2007-2014 only decreased by 3% per year over that period. Surely NZ should be able to increase non SOV travel by a much greater proportion than that each year. This of course ignores that the remaining fleet pollutes as it always has.

        I agree with you that items like subsidised parking should be withdrawn immediately. Why when I go onto this parking site is all the cheap parking provided by my ratepayer dollars?

        Heidi, you are suggesting converting at grade car parks. There is probably a good case for knocking over some of the parking buildings and replacing them with high rise. This has started.
        Unfortunately these have been replaced by the added SkyCity parks.

    3. I want my carbon-credits please, backdated for 50 years of cycling/rail-travel, and minimal usage of cars. (Of course I have travelled by plane from time-to-time but apparently their emissions are exempt).

  6. You will remember the govt spent $1500 million on the fibre rollout. Does anyone know if it gets any of that money back. But anyway if we can spend that amount why not a similar amount on rolling out an electric bus network or rail electrification. There would be some foreign exchange gains with using renewable indigenous power instead of imported diesel.

    1. GWRC spent nearly $11 million to decommission an efficient near new 7 route trolley bus network to replace it with $13 million plus multi hub rapid bus network that predominantly power be diesel buses that doesn’t work.

      1. I know Bell Gully has just released a report about Climate Change, and the section “Boardrooms on alert” is interesting. Although intended for business, surely our councils and CCO’s need to think through their responsibilities.

        In the face of a population concerned about the climate, this decision by GWRC seems to have been an assertion of a policy of indifference to climate change. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the public respond with a strong legal message that better decisions need to be made.

  7. Another issue in NZ is that most of the housing here whilst not only being suburbia of detached housing that forces automobile dependency; also is often very poor quality and poorly insulated and ventilated. It’s often been designed for warmer climates than NZ has. People in NZ are often oblivious to just how crap most of the housing across the nation actually is, especially if they’ve never been overseas.

    NZ could definitely justify investments in providing central heating and proper insulation in most of the urban and suburban housing and making it the standard.

    1. Kind of sad that its our young people who are leading the charge for change and not those who caused the problem.
      “Thousands of New Zealand school students plan to go “on strike” on March 15 to support a worldwide day of action over global warming.

      The global strike is expected to bring tens of thousands of students on to the streets across Europe, the United States, Australia and other countries.”

      I will certainly be lending my voice.

  8. We should start using liquid renewable fuels for ground, sea and air transportation. The technology exists, it costs nothing in terms of capital outlay on new fleet and it is being used already in Scandinavia and California. The same technology can be used to make plastics and gas. It’s just a shame our coalition Government – Green Party included – do not get behind this.

  9. Heidi, I am suprise by your opinion. Its just rehashing what we already know and what is required. Unfortunately, there is at least 46% of the voting population are stuck in outdated neo-liberal economics that has created a working poorer and struggling middle class, nimbyism, short term bad urban and transport planning, etc and looks at NZ’s future through their blue tinted glasses, not that concerned about climate change, as it is still fake news. Until the sea is lapping at their front door, then there will be moans that nothing wasn’t done to stop it. The blue 46% brigade is quite happy to have their wealthy lifestyle at backpacker prices.

    With regards to Auckland, its still a basket case, that has years of short urban and transport planning based on urban sprawl and car fixation, that is has rundown and in some cases destroyed the previous public transport infra-structures and nimbyism mentality.

    Auckland needs to stop it urban sprawl by using Part 2 of the Public Works Act 1981 to use this land within the current Auckland Council boundaries for intensified affordable manufactured prefabricated dwellings for medium to long term rental, lease to buy or outright purchase, more dedicated bus lanes/busways, build the the 4th rail system for inter-regional and long distance freight and passenger services, move to hydrogen and/or bio fuel PT vehicles, make share sharing services (Uber, Taxis, shuttle buses, etc) more battery powered, have localized solar powered grids using battery storage and the list goes on.

    With regards to NZ, upgrade the under utilized national rail network to allow greater use of regional, inter-regional and long distance freight and passenger services, stop bulk freight being transported by trucks by introducing a 2-3 tier RUC, have a decent national recycle policy and system where NZ’s can do its own recycling instead of the lazy way of using land fills and/or shipping overseas, lead the way in developing alternative fuels, drop GST on EVs, solar panels and storage batteries for localized urban and rural grids and the list goes on,

    Stop dirty dairying, farming, etc with environmental friendly sustainable ‘farm to suit the land and climate’ concepts. Stop our current low yield ‘cram them in’ mass supermarket dirty tourism with controlled environmentally friendly sustainable tourism that offers quality tourism products and services. If NZ can offer environmental friendly sustainable agribusinesses and tourism coupled greener living. transport and waste management infrastructures, then NZ can promote itself as true 100% Pure, leading to increase economic benefits to the country.

    NZ can does this but the leadership and policies has to come from a government that has long terms policies, can think outside the square and the staying power to make it happen.

    1. Nice.
      In terms of your last paragraph, I am not yet convinced that the current government is sufficiently long term focussed, nor that it has staying power.

    2. Sadly Kris, most of the things on your wish list are unaffordable to NZ.
      Auckland needs to stick to the Unitary Plan, it was voted for and the current coalition Govt should be ashamed of itself for ignoring it. Instead of building low cost housing in Auckland which would create ghettos reminiscent of places like Tower Hamlets, we need to increase wages across NZ and provide jobs outside of the Auckland area. NZ does not have a housing problem, it has a low wage problem – something that successive National and Labour Governments have failed to resolve.
      The rail network is a sad legacy of colonial penny pinching. The narrow gauge system used in NZ is never going to deliver fast and affordable rail travel. We also cannot afford to replace the system we have with a modern wide gauge and electrified network.
      Agriculture is our main income earner. It is the only industry we have a competitive edge. What would you propose to replace it with – Rapeseed for your alternative fuels?
      Of course we need to address climate change, but NZ can not afford to become poorer in the process.

      1. I do agree with you, that after 32 years of neo-liberal economic policies which in theory should work but in reality it hasn’t, leaving NZ with a low wage economy where the working poor and middle class struggles and the wealthy are wealthier, corporate greed that has been dominated by self interest lobby groups, bad urban and transport planning that has been based of car fixation and nimbyism, dirty agri-businesses and uncontrolled ‘cam them in’ super market tourism that is currently effecting NZ society and ecology.

        NZ is facing a very different world compared to 10-20 years ago, as the planet warms, climate becomes more erratic that will affect our water supplies, agri and aquatic businesses, tourism, etc add in global, synthetic milk/meat production, technology advancement, geo-political and economic uncertainties. NZ needs to do some serious long term planning. If we don’t NZ could end being a basket case.

        Our national rail network doesn’t have to be rebuilt buts needs serious upgrade as it has been on life support for a long time and our national State Highway and regional road networks need serious maintenance work done on them to make them safer. We need to build affordable dwellings quicker that the current ‘hammer n nail’ construction, future proof our energy, food and water supplies against climate change.

        NZ can afford it, through long term urban, transport, energy, housing, sustainable agr-business, tourism, etc by doubling our population to 10 million spread thought the regions not the 6 main centres, which increases domestic consumption, regional, inter-regional and long distance transportation. have fair pay agreements (not compulsory union-ship), producing high yield environment friendly sustainable commodities under the ‘100% Pure NZ’ brand etc.

        It can be done with a government that has long term plans, stamina and the political will to make it happen. At the moment there is alot of talk and wishful thinking with some action.

    3. I wonder if the Govt just uses rail to out subsidize the trucks on inter regional freight. Rail has an economy of scale the more it carts the cheaper it gets whereas with road each truckload of freight costs the same amount. So maybe it wouldn’t cost the Govt that much too put a sizable amount of road freight onto rail. So there is no way rail can have sidings into every freight business but giant container handling facilities can do the same thing. And better containers is the key. Ones with greater volume and greater weight capacity so the road part of the journey is competitive with today’s giant H sticker-ed road trains.

  10. I am incline to agree with you. At least the current government does have some long term objectives but this will depend if Winston doesn’t have a hissy fit and the Greens don’t self destruct with Marama’s social and Maori activism. If that happens, the only hope for a green economy and well being government that can formulate long plans, is Vern Tava Sustainable NZ Party working with Labour, with a lessor extent TOP.

    National is fixated on their short term out dated neo-liberal economic planning and goals but unfortunately, they have at least 46% of the voters which is a bit of a worry. Despite all their anti government ‘barking’ at all passing vehicle’ rhetoric. they haven’t come up with anything that is long term to wow the remaining 54% of the voters.

    Normally NZ voters will give a ‘new’ government two terms and I only hope the voters give this government 3 terms to implement some of their longer term goals like Kiwibuild, etc. or we will be back to where we were prior to last election.

  11. Heidi, didn’t AC make a significant financial provision last year to ameliorate the possible effects of climate change? Is this just some sort of slush fund in case the unlikely transpires?

    If the attitude expressed in the link is pervasive throughout Council then it is little wonder that so little progress is being made to curtail carbon emissions.

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