ATAP is pretty fresh. But I think even now, what we now know today, compared to a year ago, even just one year ago, on ATAP, is vastly different. If we were doing ATAP today we’d be doing it even with more transit focus and more PT focus and more active focus… I think we need to be more dynamic with our planning documents – Chris Darby, speaking at the Auckland Climate Conference on 18 March 2019

How we plan for our future in the face of climate change was the subject of several climate conferences and symposiums last week. Chris Darby’s comment above was about the Auckland Transport Alignment Plan (ATAP), which – although a recent document – fails to address the problems of climate change. He made similar remarks about needing to address shortcomings in the Auckland Unitary Plan. And these documents are not alone – business-as-usual practice continues due to business-as-usual documents throughout the planning and transport fields.

Unless we make a big effort now, our children will be working a big part of their day to cover the costs of our inaction. They’ll be paying for:

  • carbon credits, and other carbon abatement schemes,
  • modifying and maintaining inappropriate infrastructure,
  • importing fossil fuel in excessive quantities, as well as
  • coping with climate change itself, with all its social, ecological and political ramifications.

Carbon abatement alone will cost New Zealanders $14 to $36 billion over 2021 – 2030, and will rise rapidly after that as countries – including NZ – act to meet their commitments, putting the carbon credit price closer to a point that reflects the damage these emissions are causing.

To achieve substantial movement on lowering our carbon emissions, we’ll have to modify our infrastructure to allow low-carbon living. As with most endeavours, this comes down to spending on the right things.

The value of a vision is in its budget, not in its aspirations. So you really need to look at the budget… This is radical change. Is this a radical budget? Is it radically different than what happened ten years ago? – Prof Iain White Environmental Planning University of Waikato, speaking at the Auckland Climate Conference on 18 March 2019

In NZ we’re spending $5.5 billion of public money on transport each year. An appropriate response to the climate emergency and our road safety crisis must put the bulk of this money to developing a safe, low-carbon transport network. It’s tempting to dream that when NZTA emerges from its current disarray, it will be newly focused on the huge responsibilities it has to prepare for the future.

What’s needed?

I believe we need to reduce our vehicle km travelled (vkt) from 49 to 28 billion km per year by 2030. The carbon reduction commitments on which I based this are probably not ambitious enough, but since I’ve also disregarded the level of uptake of electric vehicles, they provide a good starting point. EV-uptake can be considered a buffer for urgent tightening of commitments, civil disasters that get us off track for a while, or sectors that find emissions harder to reduce than expected.

The main mechanisms to reduce vkt are:

  • reallocating road corridor space for active and sustainable modes,
  • improving public transport including its affordability,
  • Keeping road building to a minimum,
  • re-organising our road layout, and reallocating other space (such as carparks),
  • planning for a compact city, stopping sprawl and accommodating growth within existing urban areas,
  • pricing mechanisms.

Some mindset barriers to reducing vkt include:

  • a reluctance on the part of our traffic modellers to include how widening or narrowing roads changes land use and induces traffic or creates traffic evaporation,
  • too much reliance on travel time savings in the evaluation of projects – which is hopeless, given they’re not including the travel time savings of the trips that we’re trying to encourage – the active trips that stopped happening when priority was given to cars – and when the travel time savings for drivers they do count are incorrect, and based on ignoring new ‘person-trips’, or induced traffic,
  • ignoring the power of a comprehensive education programme for the public so that change isn’t so hard.

The Government Policy Statement on Transport (GPS) was a major step forward in transport planning. Whereas the earlier GPS addressed climate change by relying on “a greater diversity of fuels and alternative energy technologies”, the current one takes a comprehensive view (my emphasis):

Transport has an important role to play in New Zealand’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions… GPS 2018 will support this result through encouraging:

  • a whole-of-system approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport, including considering the cumulative effects over time
  • investment in lower emission modes of transport or transport systems
  • ongoing and clear reporting on the investment in environmental harm mitigation across GPS investment activities.

The GPS also has an excellent section on access, making it clear that better use of the road corridor is to be addressed before any road capacity increases should be considered:

greater mobility is a means to achieve better access, but not an end goal in itself… Providing better access means making the best use of the existing transport network before considering investment in new infrastructure or services.

Table 3 of the GPS gives the budget range of each activity class, and this is where it is disappointing. Perhaps a year ago, the shift in budget was about as much as the establishment could cope with. One year on, it’s hard to see how this much focus on state highway improvements can do anything but set our children up for more car dependency and carbon abatement costs:

To meet our children’s needs on a budget like this,

  • ‘road improvements’ will need to be actual improvements. Improvements for safety, for access, for the climate and the environment. Those activity classes will need to cover busways and cyclelanes, wider footpaths and fewer traffic lanes, pedestrian crossings and good amenity near bus stops.
  • ‘road maintenance’ will have to move away from ‘like for like’ type contracts towards maintenance that refits the road for the needs of the day – including multiple modes, just as maintenance on a house is often a modernising process, too.

But I’m hoping someone is taking a long, hard look, so that next time, we’ll see a budget that is really looking to the future.

Other countries are suffering from this same problem of road building inertia when the world desperately needs a different approach to tackle climate change. Wouldn’t it be great if New Zealand could help show them the way?

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  1. It doesn’t matter a jot what NZ does when other less developed counties are developing and motorising. Our emissions are less than a drop in the bucket. What you want it just another tax grab by the govt, it makes you feel all gooey inside I guess, but it does nothing for me.

    1. Masterchief, do you vote? You know your vote won’t make the tiniest difference so maybe you shouldn’t bother.

        1. Could you clarify? I would say NZ’s actions have more influence internationally than Masterchief’s vote nationally. Why do you think otherwise?

        2. Lots of reasons but first and foremost it’s not a democratic decision. Countries make their own policy based on economic priorities, eg China and India looking to uplift people from crushing poverty through industrialisation. Their annual increase in co2 output is greater then NZ annual output. This is about virtue signalling not solving the problem. Solving the problem will be when countries step up and do a Manhattan Project type step change.

        3. A country’s actions inspiring the people of another country can be more powerful than a democratic decision. The power of the imagination is a wonderful thing.

        4. Nobody will take any notice of what NZ does, we are a minor nation, not a globally important one.

      1. What George said.

        NZ is such a minor player globally nobody would notice what we did, it wouldn’t change anything, all that would happen is we’d end up paying more tax. It’s just using climate change to redistribute wealth.

        1. Yeah, same with response to terrorism and gun reform. We’re such a small player nobody notices us.

        2. Surely we should first and foremost do what is right- and rewducing our emissions is clearly the right thing to do. Arguements against it because others are less willing or slower to change are like a child saying ‘ I dont have to tidy my room because in some distant land people are littering the street”

      2. My vote doesn’t make the slightest difference. The problem is someone went and died so I can vote, so I have a duty to walk along the road and choose between a douche and a turd. (I usually vote for the douche).

        1. Anyone who tries to call themselves Mr Big-biggity-big-boss^2 obviously has some issues…

    2. There are loads of ‘drops in the bucket around the world’ and many of them are also having these discussions as well.

      We can either join them or we can show that great ‘can’t be done here’ Kiwi spirit.

    3. I agree they are a drop in the bucket globally, but another point I would make is that they are a drop in the bucket locally as well.

      Take the Auckland CBD as an example. There’s usually a cruise ship berthed in the city most days, sometimes two. Well the average larger-sized cruise ship emits as much C02 at 83,000 cars. Even worse, as much N0x as 421,000 cars. And even far far worse, as much sulphur dioxide as 365 million cars. Yes, million.

      Basically, if you see a cruise ship in Auckland, you are looking at a bigger source of greenhouse gases than all the cars in the city combined.

      So, do we ban cruise ships in our quest to be carbon neutral? Do we shut down the international flights? The cargo ships? How do we get to carbon neutral whilst still having these things? Or do we pretend they don’t exist because they are on the ocean or in the sky?

      1. Maybe those sorts of actions will come, Geoff. Maybe that’s the sort of action our children will need to take in a few decades’ time. And such bans will have an immediate effect.

        Reducing carbon emissions from motor vehicles could also be done with a ban – but there’s a more gentle transition, one that will establish a better built and ecological environment, and provide better social outcomes through physical activity and good access at every step of the way. Why would we not shift our funds to investing in this?

        1. ‘We’re too small to matter’ This whole line of reasoning is absurd: emissions can only be reduced by every subset of the world changing. It doesn’t matter whether you decided to think of the changes your group can make in terms of cities of 1.7m, countries of 5m or whatever. It can only happen at those scales… anyway, it’ll save us a fortune in not importing liquid fuels, exporting knowledge and leadership to the rest of world. It’s clear, as Rod Oram and others show; the energy, urban form, and transport transition is the economic boom of this century. What the fuck are waiting for? (And food revolution; we used to at the cutting edge of that)…

        2. What the larger countries do matters Patrick, because generally speaking moves to lower emissions through restrictive policies (that is, ‘forcing change’) can lower economic competiveness if your competitors are not doing the same.

          At the end of the day we are not going to reverse our transport emissions because nobody across the political or social spectrum, including GA, wants to do what is necessary to achieve that, which is to to stop externalising costs onto the environment. The discussions are always about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic rather than steering away from the iceburg.

          I get my eggs from the chickens outside. My tomatoes, potatoes, pumpkins, strawberries, apples and Rhubarb from my garden. Elimination of the need to transport what you need is the key. Get your food from your land outside your window instead of off planes, ships and trucks and then stored by a middleman in a brightly lit heavily energy-dependent air-conditioned “supermarket”.

          And get your energy from solar panels on your roof, instead of living on a level in a building that has no roof to put panels on.

          Freeing ourselves from being locked into transport dependency and grid dependency – these are what we must do.

        3. Geoff, I grow my own vegetables and fruit, raise my own chickens for eggs, produce my own solar power, use my own legs for transport ….. and my carbon footprint is still too high. We depend on the state’s health, education, governance, judicial, social systems… and these are all carbon-emitting.

          Individual actions are important, but so are neighbourhood, regional and national actions.

        4. That’s my point, we need to abandon current thinking, which is to centralise living and externalise the cost. City-building is a dead end, it just externalises more and more onto the environment.

          I wish I could remember where I read the article, but it refered to a study, I think from Canada, that looked at land use per person to sustain an average western lifestyle. It took into account not only the space your home occupies, but your share of land used to provide you with your lifestyle, including food production, transport, manufacturing, mining, etc etc. It worked out that the average westerner occupies about 3.1 acres of land.

          The figure slightly changed up or down depending on type of home and location, but generally it was around that 3.1 acre mark whether you lived in a suburban mcmansion or a tiny shoebox apartment, but interestingly the highest land use figure actually applied to people living in high density inner city apartments, because they externalised their costs the most.

          So what we need to do is focus instead on developing homes that have land, and putting in place economic incentives to use that land productively for yourself and your neighbours. The less you rely on far away locations to produce for you, the better.

        5. No Geoff. You are, as we have shown here many times before, entirely wrong. Your fantasies of self-sufficiency are not the possible route to global sustainability. It can’t scale, we can’t all run away. Sure you and few others can opt out and live with a pig and a chicken, and a bee (please do!), but will come running back to the city for hospital care, and other technology, including the transport systems such as railways you seem to like. And anyway everyone will face the unavoidable consequences of whatever we do or don’t do in cities to the entire biosphere. So without a global urban solution rural escapees will still suffer the outcomes of climate change.

          Therefore this form of survivalism dressed up as sustainability actually requires both mass genocide and the abandonment of civilisation… If nothing else you are wrong blog for that sort of nonsense.

          * which is not to criticise the lifestyle choice of you or anyone wanting to live in the countryside, especially if in a truly low carbon way. But just to say it can’t scale, and is still dependent on us city folks cross subsidising rural electricity, roads, rails, healthcare, education etc….

        6. Completely agree with Patrick, the City has been key to civilization since the dawn of time, there are 100s of books about why we decide to live close to each other and we could write about them all day but the fact is, we have the technology and economy (globally and locally) to avert the crisis, what we don’t have is the politcal will…and we don’t have that because of the will of the people. I would hazard a guess that we have more ‘right to centre’ right parties in power across major Global economies. We have a Green Party in actual government and still can’t get changes required across the line. I do believe the younger generation will change the way that political parties position themselves but its some way off.

          Self sufficiency is a nice idea, and in some cases it will work. But if as humans we choose to no longer interact, to work, to learn and educate then it leaves us with a bit of a pointless existence of just being alive. What we should be doing is encouraging Cities to be self sufficient, rooftop gardens providing into local markets etc, right now its the realm of ‘Greenies’ and ‘Hipsters’ but done a large scale it can make a huge difference.

        7. ‘The Kiwi Way
          The first rule is that nothing bad will happen to us because we are so fantastic and if we tell everyone and everything that, nothing bad will ever happen. Second rule is to never plan for emergencies and disasters or contemplate what if’s because that would be tempting fate and go against our beliefs about rule one. Rule three is never spend anymore on anything actually important unless it is the absolute minimum that you can get away with‘
          From defensetalk forum but fits perfectly well with NZ attitude towards climate change and pollution

        8. Wow Heidi, you really are living an extreme lifestyle, now I can see where you are coming from; I just cannot take anything you say seriously anymore. It just amazes me that you say even living on the fringe, as you are today that you are still not doing enough.

        9. I’m extreme for growing veges and installing solar panels?

          “I didn’t get 18 inch biceps walking to the train station. They took a lot of hard work and heavy lifting in the gym to get. Walking and cycling also have a place but if you really want to change your body diet and lifting are they way to go.”

        10. You’re ranting Patrick, and no, I’m not wrong. As I said, you, like everyone else, are already using 3.1 acres of land. You are not saving space by living in an inner city apartment, and I am not using more space by living on a quarter acre section.

          You refer to me and a few others opting to live a certain way. Newsflash – I live in a suburban house on a section. It’s the way most kiwis choose to live, so I’m at a loss as to why you try to define it as some kind of niche lifestyle.

          You also say we come running back to the city. Again, why? Taumarunui has everything one needs, including a hospital.

          We have no housing crisis, no congestion, no pollution, yet access to all normal amenities. Everything Auckland aspires to, yet never attains because it is constantly inducing demand ahead of what can be accomodated. Addicted to growth as if eternal growth is somehow necessary, even though it is actually very damaging.

          I suspect you just don’t like the idea of towns remaining of sustainable size, where community is everything and housing, transport and environmental issues are all sorted. It leaves you with nothing to do if you approach life from the standpoint of believing everything must grow and consume.

          Perhaps some people just fear the idea of growth and consumerism stopping? Well hate to burst your bubble, but that’s exactly what has to happen if we are to survive long term on a finite planet with finite resources.

        11. Hyperloop (just happened to be watching YouTube on this) and / or electric flights must eventually be the answer surely for flights. Expensive to build long distance hyperloops under the sea bed or deep in the ocean? if this is possible. Pretty far distant future but I’m sure they will think of something.

        12. That Virgin one is really just a levitating train of course but with the vacuum tube reducing air friction,,,wonder how much energy is need to keep the state of vacuum compared to what they save propelling the pods?

        1. That’s an excellent point. I have often wondered why reduction does not get emphasised. Regarding transport reducing peak travel by spreading working hours with flexitime starting and finishing, encouraging Tele-commuting, on line conferencing and meetings or outside cbd meetings, scheduling commute days and times, limiting sov travel to one day by forcing T2/3/4 commutes via road pricing strategies, no delivery services until after peak times. I would even go as far as credits for PT journeys that can be used when sov commutes are unavoidable, energy efficient electric vehicle encourages with subsidised parking, recharge stations and EV only road lanes.
          Yes, reduction is the way.

      2. Master Chief and George, the “drop in the bucket” argument is similar to that advanced by the USA, Australia and many other countries to justify inaction on climate change. And to an extent, they are right.
        However, when we need to entirely eliminate anthropological GHG emissions by the end of the century, no single country can do this alone. We are therefore all equally responsible for reducing GHG emissions, nobody gets a free pass, least of all a wealthy country like New Zealand that has very high emissions per capita (even taking account of being the worlds dairy).

        1. Kirk; they’re only ‘right’ in the sense that this argument is self-fulfilling. They are attempting to prevent change, by not taking any. If you refuse to leave the house because leaving the house won’t happen, guess what; you’re right. But it’s your refusal here that’s key, not your prediction.

        2. Incredible. Did I say that Patrick? ‘Cause I don’t recall writing that. Let’s re read what I wrote… nope, I didn’t. Stop it with the trolling straw man positioning of other peoples statements. Can the blog editors please highlight to Patrick the User Guidlines

        3. George, this is what I understood from what you wrote:

          1/ You didn’t like the voting analogy because input to how the world responds to the climate change challenge isn’t democratic.

          2/ You think that leading the way with positive action on our own carbon emissions reductions is “virtue signalling’, not solving the problem. Being a role-model was once something that was encouraged – calling it ‘virtue signalling’ is the opposite – it’s trying to prevent people from being role models by mocking them.

          3/ You can see a solution to the climate change problem would be of a Manhattan Project type. Putting aside the problems of what the Manhattan Project involved, this ‘solution’ leaves NZ with no chance of involvement – it’s a ‘solution’ provided by a dominant country’s government acting in secret.

          My own conclusion, if I’ve understood these points correctly, is that you believe there’s no point in NZers attempting any change in their behaviour, and will use the ‘mocking’ technique to put people off doing so.

          When Patrick included you in his comment about ‘attempting to prevent change’, I don’t think it was a strawman. I think he got it right.

        4. If America does get behind climate change it will make a difference, other countries will take note, NZ is not the US, so nobody cares and all we end up doing is raising tax and forcing unnecessary change for no benefit.

        5. And what sort of pressure can be put on the US to do so, Masterchief? They might be laggards after the rest of the world, but we’d look like fools asking them to if we haven’t taken those steps ourselves first.

        6. Yeah; making a better world for no benefit. Imagine that.

          Anyway the US, not the clown in the Whitehouse obviously, but the cities and states, and power companies, and individuals, are transitioning; coal power is down from 50% to 25% of generation in just 10 years. Wind and solar from zip to 10% and growing unabated because of the cost curve. They are moving as is China and India and Europe.

        7. And what can NZ do to influence the US, we can’t place sanctions on them, we could stop buying US products, that wouldn’t make a dent on the US economy. In short we have no influence over the US at all, none, zip, nadda. But if the US decided that NZ wasn’t playing ball they could sanction us like they have to other countries and it would be all over for us. Not saying they would but they have the power to do what they want, when they want, with very little in the way of effective censure from anyone else.

        8. As with everything we can do a lot to influence the world by doing the one thing we have control over; sorting our own shit out. Saying that’s too hard, or we shouldn’t till some one else does first is pathetic. Also high carbon products and services from high carbon places will no doubt fave penalties and tariffs in the years ahead, we have to get moving fast to bevon the high value side of the economy… especially as our distance to market will always be an issue.

        9. MasterChief is forgetting the one thing that can be influenced, PEOPLE. Every single one of my UK friends are in awe of our PM at the moment, people calling out across the world for her to be a ‘world leader’ whatever that is supposed to mean. The younger generation are way more swtiched onto enviromental and social issues than me and my friends were at their age. I’m sorry top tell you, but you and your ‘types’ will become a dying breed, the President of the USA may be in power for a bit longer, happily carrying out Trade Wars but it won’t last forever…the slide to ‘Populism’ is looking to be short lived.

          In short, the world you are trying to describe is very slowly fading and the types who are happy to destroy the planet because ‘its not their problem are becoming few and far between. We are more connected than ever and what NZ does, or other small Countries is starting to influence PEOPLE in other countries, who then get to go and vote. We’ve seen what miseducation can do with Trump and Brexit, the complete reversal is possible as well.

      3. Other cities have huge hoses they attach to the exhaust of these cruiseships so it can be filtered before released in the atmosphere. Why is that not done in Auckland?
        Just because there is B, does not mean we cannot do A. The sum today is A+B=C… If we can get rid of A, the total sum is only B, not both. Isn’t that something to consider?
        A reduction is a reduction… and all the little reductions we do will add up to a big number eventually.

        1. Whats the cba on this compared to port prioritising carparks and hotels? Obviously from the dauphin debacle the human traffickers are capable/culpable to pay for their own accommodations…

      4. International travel (planes and liners) is not included in NZ’s emissions. That is a scandal especially since the Govt is encouraging tourism. We must include all emissions and we should demand an appropriate Carbon charge per tourist – otherwise it will be NZ taxpayers compensating generally wealthy foreigners.

    4. I think the point is that in being a small, wealthy country, Aotearoa is uniquely placed to address these issues. All experiments are done on a small scale (and we know we have been experimented on many times), so it should be an attractive option to “fix” this country, as an example to other, larger economies. Yes poorer nations are industrialising, but we need to show them the next step. It is not as much about making a difference through our own emission reduction, but in fact making a difference by proving that it can be done.

      1. 35% of the export economy is dairy and tourism. We are not a knowledge based world leader. Raising a family of average salary of 50k per year is tough for most kiwis mate

        1. Exports make up around 26 % of GDP they are not the be all and end all.

          You’re right, we are not a knowledge based world leader but we are relatively wealthy by world standards.

          One of the reasons it is expensive to raise a family on $50k a year is our dependence on imported oil. We have designed our cities around cars and then complain when oil prices go up along with taxes to pay for infrastructure to allow us to use our vehicles.

        2. No imported oil makes it possible. We use it because it is just so damned cheap. Figure out some other energy source that is as cheap and convenient as oil and you will have fixed the problem. Yes we need to use oil to get around our cities because oil and sprawl is cheaper and gives us a higher standard of living than walking and living in an inner city dog box. But you will not improve welfare by forcing more people into something they have already decided is inferior. The money we spend on gas is not just a cost, it also gives us a benefit that is larger.

        3. How very, very wrong you are, miffy. Yesterday I had five places to get to, and doing so by bus and walking worked fine. Except that the walking was in such a foul, car-dominated environment. The GNR – Bond St – NNR – Dominion Rd area was noisy, dangerous, hot, and fumey, with missing pedestrian legs and long wait times, few trees, lots of places where cars had simply parked all over the footpath. My companion often had to stop our conversation due to the noise of the traffic.

          If you think this car dependency offers a quality standard of living, is it because you’ve only ever driven through there? Why don’t we meet up sometime? I can show you what sprawl-induced car dependency has really done to the city for people who try to get about actively, instead of being dependent on a gas-guzzling metal box.

          We have the opportunity to change this. On so many different fronts, we must change this.

        4. Sorry you had a hard day Heidi. But the solution to your problem is not to increase housing costs for everyone and pricing even more people out of having a home.

        5. Not sure I agree there. Every country has access to cheap oil but many have not developed like we have. Our wealth has grown over the years on the back of cheap coal, cheap oil, cheap electricity and most importantly education.

          Of course there are benefits to the mobility and commerce that cheap oil has given us, however I’m not sure how many people with a long commute really think they have a high standard of living.

          The benefit of oil is how portable it is, but as electricity gets rapidly more portable, this benefit will diminish.

        6. You can have a high standard of living without driving nearly as much as we do, this is easily observable around the world.

          The reason it doesn’t work in New Zealand is that we have almost no functioning urban areas. And we tend to put apartments in shitty areas and restrict ‘nice’ areas to single family housing. Neither of those are necessary.

          One common way to deal with the portability problem (and others) is to use smaller vehicles. Most Asian people figured this out ages ago. They surely must think we’re stupid driving those cars everywhere all the time.

          And yes, they make electric vespas these days. They’re for some reason just not for sale in NZ.

        7. miffy, the solution is certainly not to waste so much public money and private money on driving and all the cars, petrol, services, infrastructure, and carbon abatement it requires. All this waste is putting the prices of everything up.

          Bad pedestrian amenity and car domination is now typical in Auckland. Today it was GNR and Rosebank Rd by bike. Hideous. Sometimes I’m in Penrose… lethal. Let’s not pretend that you can have your sprawl and we can have a quality standard of living. The car dependency is ruining the streetscapes everywhere.

      2. Wealthy country compared to who? Not our peers, that’s for sure.

        I got to see first hand what a wealthy country could do on Saturday, I could see first hand (I live very close) the emergency response for the Viking Sky, if this had happened in NZ we couldn’t have done anything, it would have been a maritime disaster.

        1. If you don’t live in NZ, seem to have such a negative outlook on the place and your solution to climate change is simply to ignore it and throw conspiracy theories around, the question has to be asked…why are you posting on this blog? What are you actually trying to offer or discuss bearing in mind this is a topic about addressing Climate Change through Public Transport?

        2. I lived in NZ for 36 years, I’m back home every couple of years, but seriously who are you kidding calling NZ a wealthy country.

          My point regarding climate change is it doesn’t matter what we do in NZ, it really doesn’t anyone who thinks it does is delusional, we could all stop driving cars tomorrow, kill all our livestock, become vegans and apart from the international press laughing at us for a week or so it wouldn’t change a thing.

        3. Really, NZ can’t winch people off a cruise ship? I think you might need to spend a bit more time in NZ’s mountains if you think that.

          Having been a Search and Rescue volunteer in the past I can assure you we have plenty of skilled operators both in the air force and the civilian fleet that could rescue people off a heaving cruise ship in hurricane force winds.

        4. No you need to be a wealthy Country like Norway to be able to rescue people. They saved them using ropes made from 100 Krone notes!

          Once again, what has saving people from a Cruise ship have to do with Public Transport and Climate Change?

          Just be honest MasterChief, you talk about your car and your financial wellbeing and the reality is you don’t ever want anything to jeapoardise that. I have much more respect for people who are open and honest about who they are even if I completely disagree with them.

        5. Not to the same extent as Saturday in Norway. NZ really doesn’t have the capability to perform the same rescue effort Norway put in on Saturday. Name me one helicopter rescue trust which has a 20 seat helicopter, you can’t because none do. Also instead of having a nationwide SAR/air ambulance service we have split it up into multiple rescue trusts, all operating different equipment, with different capabilities.

          The Norwegians sent a Coastguard vessel within minutes of the mayday, salvage tugs deployed from Trondheim and Bergen and several large offshore service vessels deployed from Kristiansund. What could the NZ govt deploy in a similar emergency?

          You’d think with the number of times we’ve come close to a major emergency with the Cook Strait ferries losing power that having a salvage tug or two based in NZ would be a good idea.

        6. Interesting, that’s certainly a step above NZ’s capabilities.

          I don’t think anyone doubts that NZ is less wealthy than Norway, however that misses the point. If we were to rank countries from richest to poorest we are a hell of a lot closer to the top than the bottom.

          In the context of the world we are a wealthy country, of course if we decide our peers are everyone above us on that table then we don’t looks so wealthy.

    5. Is that what is called a Nash equilibrium?

      How to play this game:

      Other countries curb their CO₂ emissions → enjoy the massive competitive advantage of cheap oil

      Other countries do not curb their CO₂ emissions → if you try to curb yours, your economy will basically disappear.

      1. Exactly. It doesn’t mean you have an optimal solution. It just means that nobody can unilaterally make themselves better off with a different choice. In this case there is no gain in cutting emissions while the US is out. We just have to let it get worse until all the big polluters decide they are in. The exception is a carbon tax as all the benefits stay in our country, although even that has a negative wealth effect.

        1. “It just means that nobody can unilaterally make themselves better off with a different choice. In this case there is no gain in cutting emissions while the US is out.”

          I’ve also called for a change to the transport budget so that we can invest in a transport network that minimises these carbon credits and abatement needs.

          The ‘unilateral decision’ to do so would make us better off – those highways are a huge waste of money, and the traffic they induce make our lives worse.

  2. It’s taking too long for Shaw’s bill and his climate commission to get set up. Theyh’ve already used up most of a term getting it together. The GPS needs more force upon it than the will of 1.5 Ministers. It needs the whole of Cabinet to see how the GPS is a climate change instrument.

    1. Yes. I think they’ll get more confident to take the necessary steps in transport, though. Their bigger weakness is not understanding the damage sprawl does, that the funds directed to supporting greenfields growth must be redirected to supporting brownfields growth.

    2. In fairness he is trying to get National on board. That inevitably slows things down but it will be worth it in the long run as it dramatically increases its chances of surviving the next change of government.

      1. To be fair I hear it is actually NZ First which is holding up the process not National
        NZ First are being more conservative than the National Party around the Climate Change Bill

        1. If National, Labour and the Greens support it then there is no reason not to proceed, NZ First are largely irrelevant in these discussions.

  3. Here in Taumarunui we have a passenger train pass through every two days in each direction. It could be a good way to get to Auckland or Wellington, even if you only have one service every 48 hours, but isn’t because the train doesn’t stop here. Nor does it stop at other towns along the line.

    KiwiRail recently applied to the new government for funding to provide a second train, so that the line would have a daily service both ways. The new government said no to the funding request, directly contradicting it’s own apparent policy statements. It has also shown no interest in making it possible for domestic travellers to use the service.

    It would seem they were more interested in using the same amount of money to keep the electric locomotives, despite their being uneconmoic, not generating any new revenue, tonnage or passengers, and making no noticible difference to the environment. It was a jobs subsidy to appease the union, nothing more.

    So, before expecting people to get out of their cars, we need to see the government get serious about putting the infrastructure in place to enable that. But that means they need to get genuinely pro-rail instead of targeting spending to where it will generate votes in the next election.

    1. I’d love to know more, Geoff, about the Kiwirail request and the government’s refusal. Can you link details or send them in to GA?

    2. I’m not sure stopping a train at Taumarunui to pick up a couple of passengers will really make much more difference than the electric locomotives being kept.

      If we want to make a real difference using rail for land transport outside of the main centres the best approach would be to invest in passenger rail between Auckland, the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty. Done well this could make a serious dent in VKT and probably air miles between Auckland and Tauranga.

      1. That is why NZ needs to re-introduce a regional passenger rail services so regional communities like Taumarunui, can has frequent passenger rail services.

    3. Maybe Geoff, the issue here is not what KR asked for as you suggest, but how they asked for it [and from whom]?

      Given the fund that they asked the money from was the “Provincial Growth Fund”.

      Its hard to see how running 2 trains past your place 7 days a week [in stead of 1 6 days a week] – if they don’t actually, you know, stop there, can really contribute to provincial growth don’t you think?

      So, maybe they were right to say, “yeah, nah, doesn’t grow the provinces much if trains don’t stop”.

      Freight locos don’t stop at stations to let people on and off, they keep rolling, so they come out of a different budget. And de-electrification was a [poorly reasoned] line ball call by KR, which the Government is rightly pulling rank on. And demanding they keep them on and refurbish them.

      1. KiwiRail’s request was based on the expanded Northern Explorer creating several hundred new tourism jobs in the provincial towns it serves. It’s more about the tourism related add-ons than just the train itself.

        As for de-electrification, it wasn’t poorly reasoned. The electrification has no benefits, and KiwiRail hasn’t changed its stance on this. It basically came down to the government asking, ok what will it take for you to keep them? KiwiRail replied, give us $35m for no return whatsoever. And they did.

        1. That might be why it got rejected. The claim that it would create hundreds of new tourism jobs doesn’t sound credible. I doubt it would add 100 passengers a day to the towns that it stops at along the way. To create ‘hundreds’ of new jobs it would basically mean each passenger has more than one servant looking after their needs exclusively.

        2. Well they made the same jobs claim in their requests for upgrade funding for the Coastal Pacific and Tranz Alpine, and were granted $40m for each on that basis.

          But, the point is not actually tourism. Heidi is talking about putting in place initiatives that enable people to leave their cars at home, which means the likes of rail transport needs to be more accessible.

          So, how do we make trains more accessible to people along the national rail network (which is most towns in NZ), when the current government turns down funding applications to provide said trains?

        3. I generally agree, however I would frame it slightly differently, how can we make sustainable transport more accessible in the most efficient way.

          For some areas this will be trains, for many others it will be buses. While the rail network goes to a large number of towns it doesn’t always connect them well with other towns.

          Whether the Northern Explorer stops in Taumarunui or not is trivial in terms of emissions. It would add a bit of time to the overall journey and burn a bit more fuel as it accelerated back up to speed to pick up a couple of people who are willing to pay the steep prices that train charges.

        4. Jezza, you said ‘how can we make sustainable transport more accessible in the most efficient way’
          Unfortunately for NZ transport planners the only translation for efficient is ‘bare minimum absolute cheapest cost’ and too often this translation is used by commenters in this blog. Environmental issues, pollution and global warming consideration absolutely never ever are taken into account.
          Dare I mention the ongoing blatant PT failure that continues to see NW Auckland forced into cars/suvs to join the daily noxious gassing almost static SH16 morning traffic.
          Despite the extant railway line going to Waitakere, Kumeu, Huapai and beyond whose only use appears to be two daily freight trains. Yet you and some others here use the same old argument that it’s just too expensive to sort out the Waitakere tunnel and refurb those parked up dmus at Henderson to provide a meaningful Huapai shuttle service. Instead you support doing NOTHING and fall back on the 20+ year promise of a light rail.
          FFS when will you and GA start realising that you are not the governments accountants and instead get behind seriously trying to reduce the tons of CO2/NOX from idling SH16 traffic by supporting the use of existing rail for NW Auckland?

        5. Just to clarify, I was definitely including emissions when talking about efficiency. The example I give in another comment in this post is a situation where the bus route is shorter, namely New Plymouth to Hamilton. Given buses are lighter than trains if the route is also shorter a bus will definitely have less emissions than a train.

          The shorter route will also likely make it more attractive to passengers, meaning emissions per person will be even lower.

          I’ve given my reasoning on why I don’t support a rail shuttle between Kumeu and Swanson I don’t think anyone wants to see us rehash that.

        6. Sure, that’s the solution, let’s just ignore the worsening congestion and air pollution from the SH16 daily crawl. She’ll be right, god forbid spending money on rail unless it’s never-in-this-lifetime light rail.

        7. I’ve suggested a couple of alternative interim solutions in previous posts that do not require light rail or leave things the way they are today.

        8. I know you have, priority bus lanes. I have studied this possibility and it seems a poor solution that will still be stymied by the SH16 congestion. Additionally there seems no rush to implement a better bus service.
          Just about everyone in NW I have talked to about this prefer a train solution. Busses just do not stir up enthusiasm and experiences commuting in existing bus services just drive people back into cars.
          Every time I read here how urgent and important it is to get people into PT then have to sit in morning traffic in Kumeu beside a perfectly good but unused railway line, it just demonstrates the complete hypocrisy of how really serious we are about PT. I expected every possibility would have been taken to reduce the car dependancy on SH16. Now, next year, not 20+ years in future

        9. @ Jezza Given buses are lighter than trains if the route is also shorter a bus will definitely have less emissions than a train.”

          Vehicle weight is only part of the issue. The rail alignment is generally less hilly, wheel-rail rolling-resistance much less, and (for electric traction) regenerative braking is possible. All reduce energy requirements of rail over road, though if long-distance electric buses become available then rail’s advantage may diminish.

          The other thing to remember is the reason why rail vehicles are heavier than road. Safety is the reason. Rail vehicle standards have risen over many years to make them extremely safe, but the cost has been their weight. Sure, we could run lightweight rail-buses which would undo rail’s safety gains and lower them for parity with road, but is this a good strategy? Alternatively we could insist that road up its standards to those of rail and become far more expensive and restrictive to operate.

        10. why spend money encouraging people to move to taumarunui or any other rural location, cities are better for the environment and the economy.

        11. Dave – that’s a fair point about hills. However, the curving nature of many of our lines probably means that trains spend more time accelerating and decelerating than a bus would, thus burning more fuel.

          Electrification is not that relevant as there is there is more chance of pigs flying than many of our regional lines being electrified.

        12. The EF locos can haul more, cost less to run, are more reliable (when serviced), reduce our nations imports of fuel, and are both cleaner and quieter. The government was absolutely right to pull rank and have them retained.
          I too would like to see the Northerner operate daily. Different budget area though. If Taumaranui wants it to stop there then perhaps the council or town could look at contributing towards it?

        13. Er, no, wrong on all counts with the EFs. A DL has a maximum tractive effort of 370kN (an EF is 300kN) and continuous tractive effort of 269kN (an EF is 256kN). They cost more, not less, to run, because you also have to include the cost of traction equipment, overhead, substations, and traction maintenance staff. And finally, they don’t lower fuel imports, because if the same money spent to keep them going were to be spent on additional rolling stock it would get more freight out of trucks and onto trains, and that will lower diesel usage by a greater degree than keeping the electrics.

          Ruapehu District Council (Taumarunui based) has contributed to the passenger train and stations in the past, but has stopped doing so due to the reduction in service. It still maintains the Taumarunui station however.

        14. Geoff, some of those EFs that KR doesn’t appear to want to use could be the solution for an all stops Taumaranui to Hamilton passenger service. An EF with a few of those SDs you have parked up several times a day return service that could link into the future Hamilton to Auckland regional rail.
          Can’t see that needing significant capex or open.

        15. Given that Kiwirail runs at a loss lets look at this from a New Zealand point of view more jobs refurbishing the locomotives less emissions less fuel to import more indigenous renewable electricty to generate. The bottom line of the company is not so important. And Geof the DL’s have a better tractive effort than an EF but the EF has more horsepower and I bet you new that so I won’t person splain it.
          Bogle your idea of using the EF’s and the SD’s Sa’s to run passenger services on the main trunk is good but a bit of an overkill for an EF which would be better hauling freight. But something to keep in mind once the Waikato service is up and running. An all stopping service would be good. Lastly this government should be trying to increase the renewable electricity generation to 100 percent as soon as possible. Natural gas is to good a resource to be used on electricity generation and should be used to make methanol for export that way we a not responsible for the emissions when it is used. The other use is for natural gas is generating steam for drying milk product. This needs large amounts of energy. Other industry like freezing works or a cheese factory require far less steam for sanitizing their plant can use Electrode boilers or wood waste. Contrary to post 1984 roger he who should not be named, foreign exchange does matter at least in my economic reckoning.

        16. Encouraging tourists to enjoy an open carriage hauled by a filthy diesel under an overhead line is one of the many crazy outcomes of the nutty policy to ignore this infra. A couple of loco changes on an 11 hour journey would be a tiny price to pay for the increased pleasure and on-brand experience of running on our mostly renewable electrons on the Northern Explorer. Not sucking carcinogenic diesel particulates; priceless.

        17. Sorry Geoff but an EF has 3000kW continuous vs DL 2700kW. When climbing over the central plateau the extra power is very useful (and going downhill the regeneration back into the network is helpful too). The difference in traction doesn’t have a material impact as the gradient isn’t that steep.

        18. Patrick, the open carriages have been closed on health & safety grounds for now.

          The reason they run a diesel on the Northern Explorer is because it’s cheaper to hire one loco for one train than three locos for one train. It simplifies accounting as well. Generally they keep the same diesel on the Northern Explorer for weeks at a time. The current loco on it has been doing the run exclusively since February 11th, and performing very well.

        19. Just recently, Heidi. Apparent worry over people leaning out to take selfies. I’m not aware that any accidents have actually occurred or even come close, but yes, there is a risk someone might lose their head.
          Now don’t you just wish the same safety-police who impose these petty bans would turn their attention to the roads, where 3-400 ppl/yr continue to die without fail. They seem to be blind to this.

    4. The government did approve $40 million funding for the upgrading the Northern Explorer service and to make it a daily operation. Unlike some of the commenters on the site, I believe NZ needs to re-introduce a national regional passenger rail network that operates at least one daily return ‘stops at stations’ regional services to connect regional communities like Taumarunui. Green technology is available to power regional passenger trains, so there is no reason why it can’t happen.

      Refurbishing of the EF’s needed to happen, as electric traction is much more cost effective and more environmental friendly than diesel electric traction, so the $35 million is well spent. What the government needs to do is to electrify Papakura to Hamilton and Palmerston North to Waikanae and where possible double track the main trunk line to increase capacity for both freight and regional/long distance passenger services.

      1. The problem with one daily return ‘stops at stations’ services is that they just replicate existing bus services but with a vehicle that is heavier, thus requiring more fuel and also often on a route that is longer and slower.

        I think a better option would be significantly improving our bus system, with multiple services a day and significantly improved bus stop facilities.

        1. I agree that buses are important, but ultimately, if we were to do it well, in a way that actually provides transport choice, access, encourages sustainable regional development, and reduces carbon emissions, then I believe the model will be making good use of the rail spine, and basing the bus network around that. This will require more trains that 1 per day in each direction, of course.

        2. Agree. Looking at New Plymouth as an example, it is much quicker to get from there to Hamilton/Auckland by road than by rail, just by the nature of the rail route.

          There are currently two buses on this route. Instead of this there could be say 5-6 buses a day between New Plymouth and Hamilton, which connect with rapid regional trains at Hamilton. There would be no point running the bus through to Auckland if there was a faster better train option.

        3. Making good use of the rail spine beyond freight would require train journey times to be faster than road. This means approximately doubling the current speeds which could be done with tilt trains, a lot of track straightening and additional track to allow passing for slower freight trains. Those in Queensland run to 160km/hr, tested to 210km/hr. This was campaigned on and like many other things I’m awaiting action

        4. Jezza – I am suprise by your comment. It seems that you are no longer supporting the concept regional rail as important and investment should be direct to improve within region and inter-regional bus services.

          InterCity Coachlines and Skip already provides good frequent inter-regional and in some cases within region bus services without regional council and government funding.

          With your comment – “I think a better option would be significantly improving our bus system, with multiple services a day and significantly improved bus stop facilities.” who is going to pay for it, regional councils or the government?

        5. I haven’t changed my views on regional rail. I believe it is the way to go in between Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty ie. GA’s RRR proposal and also between Wellington and Manawatu and Wairarapa.

          These areas have the highest concentration of population and have rail lines that can be competitive with car and bus travel or significantly faster with some upgrades.

          Outside of those areas I’m not convinced the rail alignments or passenger volumes justify rail over bus.

          I agree Intercity offer a good service. However, on many routes it is once or twice a day, I think we should have greater frequency than this, which probably requires a subsidy. NZTA would fund the bus subsidy, while local councils would be responsible for stops.

      2. Kris, funding was not approved for the Northern Explorer, and it is staying as one train every two days each way.

        The Efs are only more environmental friendly than diesel electric traction if you ignore the opportunity cost. The same amount of funding could have done more for the environment and also achieved greater use of rail had it been spent elsewhere.

    5. When I used to go skiing with my mates back in my 20’s we looked at catching the train to National Park or Ohakune few times, but when you add up transfers to accommodation, mountain shuttles , booze runs, and driving round to the other side of the mountain if the side you’re staying on is closed, it worked out a lot cheaper to drive.

  4. I think the answer lies in developing a new coal industry. We could collect C02 from the air and compress it at high temperatures into blocks of coal (using nuclear power of course) and then we could employ under-educated men to take the coal deep into the earth and stack it there.

  5. Some people seem to be missing the point about carbon reductions. A responsible country will reduce their _net_ emissions regardless of whether they do this to comply with international agreements or not. Our choice as a country is not _whether_ we will reduce them, but the degree to which we reduce the _gross_ emissions; the more we do this, the less we have to spend on carbon abatement such as carbon credits.

    We have a choice of using our money to reduce the gross emissions through enhancing our lives (eg through investing in a transport network that supports a healthy population and a more accessible urban form).

    The alternative – which keeps the same, dangerous transport network, offers no benefits except to the automotive industry, and also piles carbon abatement costs on our children.

    The only other option is _not_ reducing our net emissions… a move that is unethical, depressing, and also, ultimately, economically punitive. We’ll find ourselves in trade agreements only with other unethical countries. That’s not a pretty picture.

  6. If there is one long running theme of this blog that’s now been going for over a decade, it’s not that we necessarily need more funding in the transport sector but that we are not spending the current hardly insignificant sums well.

    And this observation is only getting more and more convincing every year. The shift has begun, especially under the new government, but as we left it for so long the need to accelerate it is again pressing.

    And it’s not just that we are spending lavishly but that we are building a poorer and weaker future for us all with these bad habits (that’s all they are). Motordom path dependency.

    1. Stop doubling down on last century’s model; that leads to poverty, stranded assets, and unaffordable ongoing maintenance. (sprawl, highways, unaffordability).
    2. Adapt what we already have more efficiently (eg more cheap on-street bike and bus lanes, using existing roadspace, incentivise up not out land use)
    3. Invest in longterm valuable but currently missing post-carbon systems (urban rapid transit, intercity rail, rail-freight, e-buses, e-service and delivery)
    4. Shift financial incentives to match true economic value (eg rewrite the EEM as a transition enabling mechanism)

    1. Every time I look at the Transmission Gully works in progress, I say to myself and anyone else who’s listening, “this is crazy”. We are still blindly going in the wrong direction. Oh to see those misguided contracts cancelled, the construction abandoned, the work-crews put to use building infrastructure which will move us forward not drag us backward.

      1. I still wonder why Wellingtonian’s wanted Transmission Gully. I can see why Kapiti Coast wanted it, a quicker trip into town, but provided, not at their expense, but at the cost of taxpayers in general, plus the cost to Wellington City residents. It is the city ratepayers and residents, who have to deal with, and largely pay for the problem of extra city congestion, extra roading provision, and extra city parking provision , simply to benefit out of towners. Out of towners who are subsidised to clutter up, and pollute Wellington, with an extra motorway full of capacity, of cars everyday.

        Can you please change the comment line to display more then one line at a time?

        1. the kapiti folk seem oblivious to the added cost theyll cop in their rates’ bill after the revocation process leaves them paying for the old highway.

      2. I think exactly the same thing when I see the holiday highway earthworks north of Auckland. But then didn’t Rome throw the most lavish orgies just before the collapse.

      3. Dave B – The only benefit of Transmission Gully is future proofing State Highway 1 from raising sea levels which will engulf Centennial Highway between Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay.

        1. If that’s the main justification for Transmission Gully then it could have been built as a much cheaper 2-lane road (with median barriers of course).
          That way, there would have been money left over to attend to more of NZ’s many low-lying, flood-prone roads.
          Supersizing Transmission Gully has sucked an awful lot of money away for the next 25 years or however long the PPP contract is set to run for.

    2. I wouldn’t disagree with your observations on PT spending wisdom. This would be a great subject for a blog post. Look forward to it.

  7. Regarding the activity class planned investment can anyone explain why both State highways and local roads have a maintenance spend as well as an improvement spend but walking and cycling do not. We are seeing more and more need for not only improved walking and cycling infrastructure but also the need to upgrade and maintain existing.

    1. These activity classes look like a straight-jacket to me, unless they are just a communications tool, rather than policy parameters. Fine if they’re there to say; this is where we’re spending, but not if they are being used as; this is where we have to spend.

      What purpose do they serve in policy setting, especially as the huge imbalance towards the big- road status quo seems to undermine the main thrusts of the GPS?

      Just bin them.

      1. Maybe they’re useful as a tool for transparency? Right now, it’s transparent that we’re spending way too much on state highways. And it’s transparent that all the road building has led to a massive maintenance bill each year. I wouldn’t actually like that hidden.

        1. Yes, that’s what I mean by useful for comms, but not as a policy defining straight jacket.

        2. Yes. I wonder if someone could explain how they came up with the budget ranges anyway? I mean, they simply don’t align with the GPS. So what was the policy that led to them? Is that something we should ask the MoT, or the minister?

          What’s the point of a GPS, if the policy doesn’t match it? And if there are other constraints – shouldn’t there be an explanation given to the public? Like, “we’ve committed to these projects. We’ve analysed that the cost of cancelling them exceeds the cost of proceeding with them (and here is our working), therefore for the next few years, we’re stuck with this, but we’ll mitigate that by doing this.” – sort of thing…

  8. “Maybe they’re useful as a tool for transparency?”
    Heidi, you are absolutely right. They are vital for transparency. When you look at the AT Budget for the next two years for Capital Expenditure Expenditure, how would anyone have any idea where the spending is to occur? (I will shortly, hopefully, because it has been about 5 weeks since I submitted an OIA Request.) If we are serious about improving PT outcomes then maybe there needs to be a yearly debate about where the money goes. The standard local government budget planning approach of, how much do we need more than last year, is no longer acceptable.
    When you look back through recent AT budgets it is evident that we were going to have more congestion as the capital expenditure on roads was surging. Surprisingly renewals was also surging.
    As you say Heidi, address climate change through the budget.

  9. Amongst its victims at Christchurch was the climate change demonstration by students. It was lost in the horror down there and yet it should not be.

    Is this impossible?;
    Cease all new highway construction with the exception of safety initiatives such as the Dome Valley.

    Then in a carrot and stick approach put all that former funding into vastly improved PT, like 100 times better than the crap we are offered currently, to give the people a true quality undeniable alternative. Example the current near stalled LRT proposals in Auckland but on steroids. And expand and improve our rather malnourished rail system joing NZ together

    Then begin moves to suppress internal combustion motor vehicle use with expanding MPG targets until true ecological alternatives are what is left but with the additional alternative of decent PT.

    It is possible but there needs to be the will from the government because only government can lead this and the buy in from an educated public first with genuine marketing.

    The stick approach which I am seeing from AT for example of raising car parking prices, getting rid of car access and parking but offering a shitter of an alternative is not the way to go and will fail miserably.

  10. NZ emits 0.2% of the world’s CO2 with only 0.06% of the world’s population. If the rest of the world emitted at the same rate as we do, the planet would choke. Thankfully we at last have a government that seems to care.

    1. And yet TV and newspapers are still advertising gas-guzzling SUV playthings and cheap flights to here, there and everywhere. Carrying on like there’s no tomorrow.

      1. Dave B, here’s my favourite from the last month. It’s a promotion by Hyundai.
        “Drive for Good, a world-first initiative, gave players at the 100th New Zealand Open the chance to win the award-winning all-new Hyundai Santa Fe, worth over $75,000, for one of three Kiwi charities, if they hit a hole-in-one on the 10th hole.”
        They are giving away a vehicle with emissions of 150gm/kg. It doesn’t seem that any good was going to accrue apart to the recipient of the car; certainly the environment wouldn’t be a benefactor.
        I was further amused that one of the potential recipients was, “Habitat for Humanity, or in this case, Habitat with dubious impacts on Humanity.

        The promotion peaked my interest to look at Hyundai NZ. From their website, “Minimising our environmental impact to protect the world we live in is central to everything we do at Hyundai. It starts right at the design-stage, where we work to ensure our vehicles are as efficient as they can be. By designing lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles, we reduce emissions and resource use. Our aim is to reduce vehicle emissions in our models by 50%, with the ultimate goal being the production of vehicles that burn no fossil fuels at all. That goal has become a reality with the introduction of the Hyundai IONIQ 100% Electric Car.”

        Should we expect more of the world’s car makers? Should they all have a time frame to phase out all fossil fueled vehicles?

        1. What are you going to replace all those fossil fueled vehicle with? Electric won’t cover every need, apparently hydrogen is out for private vehicles but still in the running for trucks and buses.

          I know a few people with Teslas, I looked at buying one myself, in the end it didn’t stack up financially, for the difference in price between our large diesel station wagon and a Model X I’ve got 5 years worth of diesel, on road costs, tolls and maintenance. Electric cars are great for around town driving but if you want to do more like drive long distance or tow a trailer they are still behind.

        2. This post is about how we can invest to reduce vkt; part of this reduces the need to own a car, so the fossil fuel vehicles can be reduced in number.

          The measures I’ve listed to achieve reduced vkt will give people more choice in how they move around, so the country will be in good shape to serve our populace without ruining the climate in the process.

          If you’d like to bring some evidence for why the measures I’ve listed wouldn’t work, instead of just giving your car-dependent opinion, please do.

        3. Your choices are good for you but I wouldn’t want to live your life, I don’t want to rely on public transport to get me to where I want to go when I want to go. I don’t want to plan my life around bus and train timetables, I’m not alone here, I don’t think many want to live like you. I’ve done it in the past and I don’t want to do it again.

          You’re really all about reducing people’s choices, you want to change how people live, how they move around, how they plan their free time, what sort of property they live in.

          A car is freedom, it gives you choices which you don’t have it you don’t have one.

        4. Currently in Auckland many people feel they don’t have the choice to take the bus because it takes too long, or to ride a bike because the traffic is too dangerous.

          If we invest wisely, we can change that, so that people will have choice. Since these modes are more space-efficient, the result ultimately should be that we’ll also have a better environment for people who still wish to drive. We have enough examples from nations that have provided much safer, people-friendly networks, to know that balancing the modes allows more freedom, not less.

          I don’t want you to live my life either, Masterchief.

          “You’re really all about reducing people’s choices, you want to change how people live, how they move around, how they plan their free time, what sort of property they live in.”

          This is a personal attack, but maybe you can’t see it because you are so dependent on your car that you can neither see, nor have any interest in hearing, how people have had basic freedom of access robbed by the city’s 60 years of designing almost completely for the car.

          Please follow all the user guidelines.

  11. To reduce vkt from 49 to 28 billion km per year by 2030 there would need to be a serious disincentive. I can’t think of anything aside from doubling the fuel price. Is this achievable?

    1. That would be a major disincentive, but I would want the solution to involve much more ‘carrot’. I think inspiring the population about what a really accessible city could be – low speeds, bus priority, safe cycling, walking and micromobility everywhere, zoned suburbs so it’s quicker to move through the city by bike, bus or walking…

      1. Heidi
        and surely another carrot being cheaper public transport? If there is a very real and viable alternative then many will be accepting of measures such as road tolls, congestion charges and higher parking costs.
        The survey released today suggests that many accept they have to do things differently.
        “The Government-funded Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), which works to improve energy efficiency, commissioned a study from the market insight agency TRA to find out what people and businesses thought about climate change.

        The survey of 1000 people found more than 80 per cent agreed climate change is real, and about the same number agreed that we could all be doing more to combat the global rise in temperature, including individually and at the government level.”

        1. Yes, cheaper public transport and a lot more of it! If we had transit stations in all of our town centres, and frequent local buses connecting everyone to those centres, we could get serious reductions in vehicle usage. It’s mad that we deny frequent services to so many Aucklanders, especially those outside of central Auckland who are landed with expensive and damaging long trips by private car.

    2. Then we are punishing the poor and increasing the divide between those who have money and those who haven’t, this would negatively impact the majority of kiwis.

      By 2030 wealthier kiwis will have already made the jump to electric vehicles.

      Mileage won’t decrease, by 2030 our population will have increased significantly, as will the number of vehicles on our roads.

  12. If we take two country one makes it lively hood by exporting crude oil and the other by exporting dairy and meat. The country that export oil doesn’t get to pay emission charges while the country that exports dairy and meat does. Of course in the end the emission charges are paid for by the end user but it is a lot harder to sell the idea of emission charges to the farmers in the meat and dairy exporting country than the oil producers in the oil exporting country who don’t have to pay any. Doesn’t seem fair really but then life’s not fair then you die.

    1. We could also be a country who exports crude oil as well as a country who exports dairy and meat, unfortunately our current PM destroyed this potential golden goose. With luck a future govt will change this.

      1. We could have been but it wouldn’t have made us rich. The previous government set the royalties extremely low to try and encourage companies to come and explore, they still couldn’t make it pay.

        It might have looked good on paper but the money wasn’t coming to NZ anyway, all we were going to be left with was the risk of another deepwater horizon disaster.

    1. How many people will they have to leave behind to carry the weight of the batteries? Planes take off heavier than they land, an electric plane will have to take off an land at the same weight, which means that it will have less capacity for passengers and baggage. Which probably means they will have to charge more for each passage and kg of freight to cover the shortfall in capacity.

      1. Do you ever actually research anything; or just interview your own arse? Opinion is fine when it is backed up with evidence or authority. Unfortunately you clearly don’t fall into the second camp so you’d better bring links and articles, or it’s likely we’re gonna start tiring of your dull views dominating treads…

        1. Don’t you understand how aeroplanes work. Maximum takeoff weight and maximum landing weights are different, planes always take off heavier than they land. The reduction in weight is caused by the consumption of fuel during the flight, if you have a battery powered aircraft the aircraft won’t lose any weight during flight, so it will only ever be able to land at its maximum landing weight.

          It all comes down to range vs weight. If you want to fly the same distance prior to conversion you have to have a battery pack with sufficient capacity for the same range, batteries are heavy, which probably means a reduction in cargo weight ie passenger and/or freight to ensure the plane can still land safely at its maximum landing weight.

          A Boeing 787-8 has a MTOW: 484,000 lbs, it’s MDLW: 370,000 lbs, there’s a pretty big difference here. If Boeing designed the 787 to land at the same weight it can take off at, it would need a considerably stronger undercarriage to take that additional weight, this undercarriage would in turn weigh more than an undercarriage designed for a lighter landing weight, a heavier undercarriage would mean less weight could be used for fuel and carrying capacity, which would either mean a reduction in passenger capacity or a reduction in range.

          MTOW = Maximum take off weight
          MLW = Maximum landing weight

          If you do a bit more research about the system Harbour Air are installing you would have found the following statement

          “Due to battery limitations, Harbour Air’s first all-electric routes are likely to involve 10- to 20-minute trips between relatively close destinations, and not the Seattle-Vancouver “nerd bird” route, Ganzarski said.”

          So do you understand they are trading weight for range.

          It’s going to be a very long time before you will rock up to AKL for your flight to LAX on an electric wide body airliner.

        2. You are correct regarding MTOW and MLW, there is no doubt that jetfuel or avgas are superior energy sources for aircraft at the moment.

          The point is change is happening and the airlines are well aware jetfuel and avgas won’t be as easy to source in the future as land transport transitions to electric power and oil exploration falls off as a result.

        3. The airlines are already experimenting with alternative fuel. Air NZ has already flown test flights with bio fuel.

        4. Yes, and I think this is probably the only viable alternative for long-haul travel.

          It’s worth considering though that most of the world’s air travel is short-haul over land. The question is whether this can be electrified. The answer is probably not in the near future as the jet engine is inherently dependent on burning fuel, it can’t easily be replicated with electric power.

          However, this could change in the future and it’s worth remembering that with many of these routes being over land there is potential to replicate them on the surface in the way that Eurostar has killed air travel between London, Paris and Brussels.

        5. Yes, I think those are good points, Jezza. It seems that electric air travel is close to being a reality for short haul trips, but that will simply add to electricity demand, which will put pressure on some countries to go / keep nuclear power. And then there’s the travel demand management aspects and Jevon’s Paradox.

          Technological progress needs to be framed by overall policy direction to avoid it pushing behaviour even further beyond the earth’s carrying capacity.

  13. Say if we electrify the rest of the main trunk railway and out to Mt Maunganui. This would save 1000’s of tonnes of emissions. Could we get carbon credits for it. You could even make a case for carbon credits being given for switching passengers from cars to public transport. I suppose its not quite the same as planting a tree which is sequestering carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere but carbon emitters in New Zealand purchased carbon credits in the past from eastern European companies that were no longer using coal. That’s being discontinued now. So maybe Greater Auckland could develop a spreadsheet which calculates carbon dioxide savings if passengers switch to public transport. It would also speed up the implementation of electric buses as carbon savings would be greater.

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