It’s certainly been a busy week with all of the light rail news and discussion. So here’s a bit of a round up of the other stories that have cropped up this week.

City Rail Link Demolition

The area around the Mt Eden station is going to start looking very different as demolition has started in advance of the main construction works.

The demolition of the empty buildings at the City Rail Link project’s Mt Eden site has started today.

The 30 buildings are in Flower, Nikau, Ruru, Shaddock and Ngahuru Streets, with the first demolition happening on Shaddock Street.

City Rail Link said it owns all of the buildings – it bought the first building to be demolished in 2012 and the last four years ago.

It said the demolition will happen in three stages and the first phase was due to be completed in March next year.


A Goff-slide

The dominance of Phil Goff’s recent election victory has been highlighted.

The one-sided nature of Auckland’s recent mayoral election has been laid bare in a breakdown of voting into 32 community battles.

Phil Goff won all but one, on his way to an overwhelming 100,000 vote margin over his main challenger John Tamihere.

The small chink in Goff’s support armour was in northernmost Wellsford where, not Tamihere, but Craig Lord emerged the winner.

Tamihere’s strongest showing was in his home territory out west, but there he still managed only 39 per cent of the combined Goff-Tamihere vote.

The red-blue pendulum swung firmly Goff’s way on October 12, after he lost 8 of 20 local board areas in 2016, to National party-backed Vic Crone.


Gating Papakura

Papakura is going to be the latest station to get ticketing gates.

Auckland Transport is installing new electronic ticketing gates at Papakura Station as part of a programme to increase the safety of train passengers and avoid fare evasion. The gates will go in early November.


Fire insights

The fire at the Convention Centre has dominated news this week. One of the consequences has been that the two major arterials of Hobson and Nelson St have been closed while fire fighters battle the blaze and seeing the road the other morning with so few cars on it really highlights just how much space there is.


No congestion busting

A recent study shows Brisbane is the latest in the long line of cities to see no long term benefits from big road building programmes.

Brisbane no longer receives congestion-busting benefits from its three underground road tunnels after a decade and $10 billion in costs, a Brisbane transport and urban planning specialist says.

Associate Professor Matthew Burke from Griffith University’s Cities Research Institute said Greater Brisbane would have benefited instead from building the Cross River underground rail and Brisbane Metro bus project a decade ago and improving the region’s public transport first.

“Today we remain a pretty car-dominant society,” he said.

“Many of us [transport planners] would look and say, particularly at Legacy Way and Clem7, if we had invested $8 billion or so in alternative projects like Cross River Rail [$5.4 billion] and Brisbane Metro [$1 billion] – that is what Vancouver has done and what Sydney is doing with its Metro – then we would have really boosted our public transport.”

I think this issue is definitely something we need to keep in mind when thinking about another road based harbour crossing – where we would either spend $5-10 billion to encourage more traffic to the city, undermining the goals for the city, or we avoid that by reducing lanes on the existing bridge but that means spending $5-10 billion to add no extra new capacity.


When’s Queen Street’s Turn>

San Francisco’s Market St will be the latest to join the trend of completely banning cars on a major public transport route

Following hours of public comment and a rally outside City Hall, the SF Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors unanimously approved the Better Market Street Project.

“A half million people walk on Market Street each day, yet it’s one of our city’s most dangerous streets for traffic crashes,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco. “The Better Market Street plan will finally change that, plus create a more climate-friendly city and an incredible public space at the same time.”

This approval will authorize numerous changes to Market Street from the Embarcadero to Octavia, “including fully protected bike lanes, extensive car restrictions to private automobiles, transit-only lanes and pedestrian safety improvements,” according to a statement from the SF Bicycle Coalition.

So when does Queen St join this list?


Informal Urbanism

99% Invisible has made a podcast on informal urbanism – or you can read about it too.

Informal urbanism” is a broad term. It applies to everything created outside the legal city planning and development processes. It can be a whole community, like a favela in Brazil. Or it can be a tiny thing, like a homemade road sign that helps drivers avoid a pothole.

But there are lots of actions that skirt the boundary between “formal” and “informal.” In the last decade, there’s been a rise in tactical urbanism and guerilla urbanism, where regular people make interventions in their communities. This ranges from hastily painted bike lanes, to do-it-yourself park benches in under-served communities. Gordon C.C. Douglas is the author of The Help-Yourself City and he spoke with Roman Mars about the concept of informal urbanism.

Let me know if there are any good local examples of this.


The small stuff

New South Wales looking to electrify its bus fleets within the next 10 years to not only address climate change but also health issues. This once again highlights how slow Auckland Transport are being with this.

The Northern Busway extension is progressing (along with the neighbouring motorway works. Reader Bryce snapped a few photos of these in the thread attached below but perhaps the most interesting is the busway bridge at Albany Station

Paris has been more aggressive than most in priortising space for people over cars and the results have been very successful so far with the city seeing car ownership drop almost by half with now just over a third of people owning one.

Enjoy the long weekend and if you’re on the roads, please be safe.

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73 comments

  1. Queen St can’t come soon enough.
    I’ve lobbied the incoming Waitemata LB about this, asking them to give this over due idea a good solid nudge along. Anyone want to help me present to the Board on this?

  2. So two of the main roads in the city centre have been closed for days now and the sky hasn’t fallen in.

    It looks like we’ve just unofficially conducted a New York style 14th street experiment and come to the same ‘disappearing traffic’ conclusion.

    Wonder if Mr Hosking and co will pick up on this?

    1. More than a dozen businesses closed for the week losing a lot of money, many (if not most) other CBD businesses told staff to work from home/other offices etc. But hey good on you for using a disaster to push an agenda…

  3. Thanks heaps for the great posts. Good to see Papakura station is being been gated. Could someone post a list of all stations which are currently gated?

    1. Britomart, Henderson, New Lynn, Newmarket, Manukau, Manurewa, Ōtāhuhu, Papatoetoe and Parnell.

      Don’t think they’ve been done yet but the plans also include Glen Innes and Middlemore

      1. What will happen to the passengers getting og the Northener service and the new service starting next year to Hamilton ? .
        Will they then have to get a hop card to enter the platforms or is there going to be a code on their tickets ? Or is there another way to use it , mainly for the transfer from the H2A passengers transfering to the Auckland metro system . It seems they may have to put Hop readers onto the plaform as a stand alone device

    2. Cynically I think why bother gating Papakura after AT told us for years fare evasion was a non-issue. Guess it was after all!

      1. They always had a program for gating more stations. What they pushed back on was the suggestion that fare evasion was sufficiently bad to warrant the cost of gating every station. And that is reasonable, I think.

      2. It’s also for security & even perception of more safety really. Less chance of a random murderer hanging around the station platforms at 10pm. This affects patronage and usage especially by those more vulnerable.

        1. That’s actually very true. Papakura was a bit of a problem child, fare evaders going between there and other south platforms can be a definite problem. Once they have to pay it’s all over.

  4. “When’s Queen Street’s Turn?”

    Answer – When we get something worthy of being called Public Transport!

    You cannot begin to compare Auckland with San Francisco or Queen St to Market. SF has buses but not only buses but electric buses, it has streetcars, it has cable cars, it has extensive underground fast public transit in two forms.

    What do we have in Auckland? – diesel buses that are about as quick as they were in the ’50s, about as quick and attractive to use as grandma’s 1950 Austin A30, or a horse and cart.

    When will that change? Not in the foreseeable or even distant future because there is no will by any political party to do anything. So sadly in Auckland, cars rule!

    1. Yeah nah, Waspman. You claim we need good public transport BEFORE we can reallocate the road space to enable the good public transport. And you give driving on Queen St as an example to support this? You won’t get much support on that one.

      You want better public transport. Good. Lots of us do. But you seem to think it can be magicked up without reallocating road space to it. And somehow, that this can also be done in a toxic pickle of abuse.

      How about seeing the good that’s happening, and supporting AT in its attempts to do more, showing that people are willing to see change?

      1. Jezza, the two streets and philosophy of each city are light years apart.
        The people are simply not given alternatives to cars, they are given crumbs and told this unacceptable state of affairs is the best we can do so just shut up and appreciate what you are given. It is the 1950’s model post light rail and apart from colour schemes, electronic ticketing and makes of buses the story remains the same.

        Heidi, that is precisely why this city is so car-bound. We just suck it up and politely go on our way being humble and wonder why peak hour now extends to 10.00 am!

        1. Still none of what you have said explains why private vehicles need to be on Queen Street.

          Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great rant you are having but it is completely irrelevant to cars on Queen Street

        2. Well I’m guessing Jezza that people drive on it, across it, through it for a variety of good reasons apart from cos they can or because they hold shares in Exxon Mobil.

          But what do we do in Auckland when we tell people to stop driving on Queen St, BYO skateboard? Pogo stick it, you’ll love it, I promise? Not that enticing is it?

        3. Jezza none of it explains why there are buses or Lime scooters on Queen st either. Queen Street is now worse than it was before AT ascended to the throne. Before there were few buses, no scooters and some superfluous cars. Now once we eventually get rid of the cars we will still have buses and scooters making it a dreadful place.

        4. Waspman – people drive down O’Connell Street too. People will drive down any street that is available, that doesn’t mean it is a vital part of the roading network.

        5. Jezza, O Connel Street is a vital part of an around the block cruise to try and score an on street carpark.

        6. O’Connell St is a back street, blocks away. It’s not exactly comparable now is it and you can still drive on that baby anyway.

          My point is if you are going to take away the right of motorists to drive on a road then in the very least give a damned good set of alternatives, not the sweet FA there is now!

        7. What bit of the public transport network is missing that means people need to drive down Queen Street? There is a bus running every few minutes, what more are you asking for?

        8. We’re going in circles here, read what I said to start with. The odd glacial little red bus is not an acceptable alternative, humble and low rent as it is.

        9. Here’s a thought:
          If general traffic was booted from Queen, the little red bus might actually be worth using. It may even be a possible to increase frequency without needing more buses/drivers due to the time saving …

        10. ‘What bit of the public transport network is missing that means people need to drive down Queen Street?’

          You still haven’t answered my question, enjoying your random rant about PT in Auckland in general though.

        11. Waspy:
          So you’re anti bus priority. Stuff you, defenders of the status quo such as yourself are what is holding back PT in Auckland.

          You rant & rage that things aren’t good enough, but then continue to rant & rage against any changes that might actually happen…

        12. GK, you’ve lost it. “Defenders of the status quo”. That’s you. I want far better PT than the bare basics this city has been provided for decades because Aucklanders don’t question it, they simply get on with life and take their cars. The status quo is unacceptable.

          The comparison is with San Francisco. Do you think they would dare close Market At
          and offer a 39 seater diesel bus as an alternative to cars and get away with it. Absolutely not but that’s all you want.

        13. Sorry waspy you’re the one that’s lost it & you are indeed defending the status quo by arguing for continuing the current car supremacy unless some unspecified big grand projects happen first.

    2. Waspman “When we get something worthy of being called Public Transport!”
      What does this mean? That when people arrive in the city they cannot move around because there is a lack of public transport? That PT does not allow people to get into the city? That for you PT does not suit the speed, convenience and cost for you to get into/move around the city?

      One thing is certain; if enough people believe that cars rule there will never be the reallocation of funds from roads to PT and so PT will never become what it might and should. Is that what you are advocating?

    3. After reading the comments here no-one has picked up that a section of QueenSt was closed off to motro vehicles back in the late70’s early 80’s between Victoria and Wellesly Streets . And the biggests moaners were the shop owner’s . And the only vehicles allowed were the trolley buses as the was no way they could remove the overhead wires .

      The people enjoyed it and we didn’t have the problem of the beggars and homeless occuping the street . As in those days the home less lived in the parks or under motorway bridges .

      The biggest complainers were the shop owners moaning that no-one was entering their stores because they were enjoying what was going on in the street .

    4. With a bit of luck some smart person might work out that by saving $10B on light rail we can have a fleet of amazing buses, light the length of Queen Street and a dedicated bus lane to Kumeu and still have plenty of folding left over.

      1. We can have an entirely electric fleet of buses in 12 years for $0. The bus contracts already have a maximum age of 10 years. Then add that no bus newer than 2021 can have and ICE. Done, next problem.

  5. Gating, especially in the south and west should mean school kids get free travel… particularly when they have such p1ss poor cycling alternatives… Breaks my heart when a kid trying to get to school gets booted off train because they didnt tag on. What message is that sending to the kid? As an adult it’s embarrassing to watch… I hope you are reading this AT Board… Time to think more about the kids and those without a voice. Rather than running around trying to placate the St Heliers and Remueras first and foremost.

    1. Or KK, why don’t we adopt the very successful model of a number of European cities that have low cost annual passes for kids e.g. Vienna is about $120 per year. This way parents are invested in public transport because they have paid for it; just like say a gym membership if you pay $10 per week then you want to use it to derive value from it. They are more likely to say to their child, “take the bus”, rather than, “let me take you.”

      Matt’s figures the other day are instructive – the portion of adults who use PT on more than two days a week is only 33%. To build PT ridership it will need to have more people using it and using it more often. Casual usage encouraged by free use is not going to be helpful.

      Results from the recent survey done by Auckland Council of older people are also interesting. Despite these people receiving a gold card for free travel, for 55% of respondents they saw “continuing to drive” as important. It seems for most the free travel is only an adjunct when they don’t want to use their car.

      I am in favour of everyone paying something for PT and a pricing schedule that encourages the most use of it is likely to be helpful to ease congestion, pollution, emissions and improve safety.

      1. I get the sentiment John, if you have to pay for something you will value it more. In 95% of the cases that scheme would work well. However there are unfortunately a lot of kids in our community that come from very straightened circumstances. Whereby school is one of the only places of relative stability in their lives. If a 9 year olds parent(s) aren’t interested in funding an annual pass (no matter how small in value) what chance does the 9 year old have of funding it themselves? If we make this harder for those kids to access schooling then they fall off the bottom rung which they are potentially already clinging onto for dear life.

        Arguably we already pay for these services for our kids anyway. It’s called taxes. But tying the link between taxes and benefits derived/services funded is a topic for another day.

        Maybe we should start a scheme whereby Gold Card Holders who don’t use their card for a few months lose it and it goes to a child in need…

        *Runs to the bunker – incoming artillery fire*

        1. KK
          Arguably the benefits or child support that the government provides for parents pays for their transport needs, but I accept that for many life is a struggle. For most families they would be better off financially if they didn’t own a car, but I accept that it is a challenge to convince people of this. I do struggle with the concept that because some families cannot afford a yearly pass, or maybe a monthly one all kids should be given free PT. That sort of approach is one of the reasons that we have an unaffordable superannuation scheme.
          I suspect though that the best solution is to have kids either walking or biking to school. With obesity levels now the second highest in the world surely their health demands this?

        2. Yes, your points are valid, John.

          I noticed today that the public transport information held by the NZTA includes buses for one school in the country. I wondered what was special about this one school that meant that NZTA bothered to keep data. (The decision to keep data isn’t related to concerns of access, or of safety, or of environment, but only of who funds what), and discovered:

          http://gisborneherald.co.nz/localnews/2438917-135/council-to-fund-kaiti-school-bus

          Where there’s poverty there’s clearly a precedent for council providing extra funding.

        3. @KK Perhaps the government should look at funding child passes at a discounted rate for those that need it deductible from welfare payments. That way there is still a value placed on it while improving access etc for them at an affordable rate (certainly cheaper than petrol for a van/suv that are so popular in many low socioeconomic areas).

  6. “New South Wales looking to electrify its bus fleets within the next 10 years”
    Auckland signed up to essentially the same goal back in 2017, the C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025 and to ensure that Auckland’s city centre has zero emissions by 2030.
    https://ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/articles/news/2017/10/mayor-commits-to-a-greener-auckland/
    And Goff reiterated it as part of his recent campaign
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/local-body-elections/115087659/phil-goff-to-scrap-diesel-buses-buy-electric-cars-for-auckland-council-if-reelected-mayor

    1. Those sorts of promises are particularly easier to make. I hearby promise that some future administration will spend a fortune of your money doing something popular that makes no sense for me to do.

  7. Wait, are they going to run a fence down the middle of the island platform? So one won’t be able to cross from 1 to 2?

    Why??

  8. That is a great picture in the fire insights bit. What are the chances of either Fletchers or SkyCity ever seeing an insurance payout? My guess is the insurance companies will claim that the fire is evidence of negligence kind of like John Clarke’s Front Fell Off skit.

    1. A more important question:

      What are the chances of Auckland ever seeing the NZ International Conference Centre that NZ Taxpayers (via the Key led National Government) gave away a ton of “Benefits in Kind” to Skycity [such as extra pokies, expanded cashless pokies, and their casino license extension to 2048] for them to build it for us on a “no money changing hands” basis?

      Supposedly a master stroke by Joyce, it has the distinct aroma of something else, far less desirable, some 7 years on. And appears to be no closer than the mirage it was in 2013.

      So while the NZICC Burns, SkyCity, Fletchers and their insurers fiddle about who pays, we miss out on what we’re rightfully owed – a world class Conference venue?

      I would point out that SkyCity is [legally] bound under the terms of their one-sided [in their favour] agreements to deliver a working NZICC venue by October 2021 – 6 years after signing on Fletchers to build the damn venue.

      So it seems we’ve got shit show of that ever being achievable now by APEC in 2021, let alone the actual 6 year deadline.

      Will the government now hold Skycity’s feet to the fire and pull their concessions?

      Might depend on whether National or Labour is in power come October 2021.

      Forget about crap PT on Queen St, and instead have a go at the shonky deal-making with the Governments hands tied every which way including Sunday – that got us into this slow train-wreck of the conference venue situation.

      Hell, at this rate, Christchurchs on-again/off-again/on-again Conference venue, will be eating all those Auckland international conferences for lunch – for some time to come.
      And that project is even further behind the 8 ball than the Auckland one ever was.
      Even with Fletchers and Skycity playing so fast and loose in the last 7 years.

      1. Yes, shonky from start to finish.

        Now, it’s the ideal time to ask whether international conventions are part of a low carbon future.

        But if journalists like Simon Wilson are right in saying that what good climate decision-making that is happening is due to the kids’ strikes, we’d have to rely on them getting out there in force to say “Stop Inducing Aviation” to get that discussed.

        Imagine acting like adults without the children having to shame us into it first?

  9. With a possible shutdown of the Tiwai smelter we will have lots and lots of electricity spare. One suggestion is to make hydrogen so we could have lots of hydrogen to fuel fuel cell buses in our cities and towns. The other suggestion I would make would be use the electricity to replace South Island coal fired boilers with electrode boilers. Industry , Schools Hospitals etc. Meat Plants Dairy factories etc. I am not sure if you could replace milk dryers with electric boilers I am thinking you would need super heated steam for that. But maybe not and maybe an electric heated boiler could produce super heated steam. Anyway don’t ask me how it would be organised and who would pay for it that’s way above my pension pay grade. However there is carbon costs and also opportunities if Meridian is not having to give the electricity away. Think Big Part Two maybe we could dig up Bill Birch.

    1. The cost to NZ Inc for giving Tiwai Point endless Carbon credits so it can continue to emit CO2e gases forever is going to dwarf the supposed opportunity cost to Meridian [or NZ] for the lost income from not being able to flog their Manapouri power station power to Tiwai point for a song.

      Remember Tax payers own 51% of Meridian, so we as Tax payers can afford to take the hit of Tiwai if needed.

      We’re better off without Tiwai Pt in our country, scarfing up some 13% of the nations Electricity [and generating 5% of our exports by value].

      I would be cheaper to shut Tiwai Pt down, and pay the former smelter workers to stay home on full pay for the rest of their working lives than continue to subsidise the smelter. As we have done collectively for nearly 50 years.

      The Tiwai point thing is nothing but special pleading for corporate welfare by Rio Tinto.

      1. Tiwai Point is effectively exporting electricity (which we don’t really have any other reasonable means if doing). It is one of our biggest exports and certainly worth keeping.
        The costs of redirecting Tiwai’s power supply to the rest of the grid (more specifically the North Island) would be a costly exercise. It would also put a stop to further wind farms and geothermal plants.

        Environmentally, you also have to realise that if the aluminium is to be smelters elsewhere then it will be with coal powered plants meaning an increase in global CO2 emissions.

        1. The main thing they export is effectively processed imported bauxite. Once you subtract the imports then the net exports don’t look nearly as impressive.

          They also export it at a ridiculously low cost to shell companies in countries with low tax to avoid paying any tax here. The sooner Rio Tinto’s business model is gone from NZ the better.

        2. “to avoid paying any tax here”
          Tim Shadbolt has stated that the smelter has paid $350M in taxes in the past 10 years so what is the source of your tax avoidance claim?

        3. I would expect Shadbolt is mainly referring to the PAYE NZAS employees had paid the IRD by NZAS on their behalfs and the NET GST NZAS paid the IRD from locally purchased services and supplies and sales within NZ subject to GST.

          Resulting in [at best] no less tax being collected than any other company in Southland of a similar $ turnover would pay.

          It is however equally true that via transfer pricing between Rio Tinto owned companies and subsidiaries that the cost of the imported materials (mainly, but not only, Bauxite from Australia) is inflated in price and the value of the resultant Aluminium ingot priced at commodity prices to minimise the value-add component that is taxable within NZ.

          Which conveniently ignores the fact that this Aluminium is widely acknowledged as amongst the highest purity metal you can buy. Which is effectively giving it a premium price on a commodity market, but one that I doubt the NZ Tax payer ever sees any benefits from. But which Rio Tinto are happy to tout as a reason why the Smelter is so valuable to potential buyers.

          [However all this is a bit like Fonterra making Organic milk and cheese products which sell for high margins but then “pricing” them for tax purposes as if they are non-Organic milk and cheese products.]

          It may all be legal but doesn’t make it morally justifiable.

        4. “It may all be legal”

          Transfer pricing of that nature with the aim of avoiding tax is not legal so if there is evidence of it taking place why is no legal action taking place?

        5. “Transfer pricing of that nature with the aim of avoiding tax is not legal so if there is evidence of it taking place why is no legal action taking place?”

          Because provided there are “reasonable” alternative “commercial” justifications/explanations as to what is being done and why, the IRD can’t prove its tax avoidance and so can’t stop it, claim the taxes back, or get penalties from those who do so.

          Rio Tinto, Google, Apple, you name it, they all maximise their input costs and minimise their revenues in each country to achieve this transfer of pricing around. And its all legal.

          And all quite legally as they can trade tax jurisdictions off against each other in a race to the bottom.

          We can’t stop Apple or Google pulling such fast ones so why do we think Rio Tino is not doing or can not do the same?

          Little old IRD is like a one armed, one legged wallpaper hanger, with a blind fold on in trying to manage that on their own.

          However, if Rio Tinto isn’t running a Aluminium smelter here, holding its hand out regularly for free ETS credits and corporate welfare cash from the Government, while minimising their taxes, then we don’t really have to care what tax shenanigans they get up to with their costs and revenues do we?

      2. AKLDUDE
        “Tiwai Point is effectively exporting electricity (which we don’t really have any other reasonable means if doing). It is one of our biggest exports and certainly worth keeping.
        The costs of redirecting Tiwai’s power supply to the rest of the grid (more specifically the North Island) would be a costly exercise. It would also put a stop to further wind farms and geothermal plants.

        Environmentally, you also have to realise that if the aluminium is to be smelters elsewhere then it will be with coal powered plants meaning an increase in global CO2 emissions.”

        Thats a very unbalanced view while ignoring the facts in your many bald assertions there.

        Facts are:
        1. We do have uses for the electricity Tiwai consumes. Manapouri is linked to the rest of the South Island Grid in a two-way fashion (required so that the NZ Grid can cover any power shortfalls to keep Tiwai operating whenever Manapouri is running off the grid or otherwise unable to supply the full load to Tiwai).

        2. NZAS (Tiwai Pt) has received ongoing corporate subsidies to the order of tens of millions of dollars a year since 2010, the last was $33m a year in free carbon credits in 2018. For a total of $134m since 2010, and this subsidy is projected to rise to over $1 Billion dollars a year just for Tiwai Pt free credits after 2030.

        See: https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/116695150/free-carbon-credits-worth-billions-will-continue-being-allocated-for-decades for the details.

        Of note is that 75% of these subsidies have gone direct to foreign owned companies (being Bluescope Steel, Rio Tinto, Methanex, and Fletchers – yes Fletchers is considered a Foreign owned company in NZ).

        So yes, its a bit (actually a lot) rich for Rio Tinto to try and put its hands out for even more.
        So soon after the last “do it or we quit NZ” bailout by National a few years back.

        3. The electricity can be used as Jezza points out to replace a lot of carbon intensive energy processes all throughout NZ. And Tiwai uses 13% of our electricity supply, but produces at best a Gross export value to NZ Inc of 5% of our GDP. The true “net” figure will be a lot lower than 5% as imports need to be deducted of that. But even so, I can think of plenty more industries we could effectively decarbonise that collectively would generate way more than 5% of our exports.

        4. The cost of the additional infrastructure to get the electricity to the North Island, whatever that may be, will be dwarfed by the planned subsidies to Tiwai the longer it stays here.
        So the least cost options are to decarbonise industries, even if we have to pay to actually get the electricity to the North Island to do so as it will be cost effective to do so.

        5. Manapouri is sunk cost, we can as a nation afford to give the power away at cost if needed to displace coal and other fossil fuels. We do not have to build new power plants, so yes some geothermal and Wind farms may be delayed until Manapouri power surplus is used up. But for the next 30 years these will still be needed, its a timing thing.
        Manapouri does not suffer the same “Dry years” problem as some other Hydro schemes suffer from, given its location within the South West corner of one of the rainiest parts of NZ. Yes, there will be times that we don’t have enough water to run Manapouri at full capacity. But if its not supplying a huge smelter that can never be turned off we have a lot of flexible options to manage such shortfalls.

        For instance, we don’t to have to commit the rest of the NZ grid with a Manapouri sized spare capacity [and a way to get that capacity from one end of the country to the other] to keep Tiwai running for when Manapouri is not available, if Tiwai is not there.

        5. The “displacement” argument is false equivalence (that belief is that if they don’t make the aluminium here using Hydro power they will make it elsewhere using carbon intensive electricity).

        The reality is that the planet is awash with aluminium has been for years.

        So if Tiwai wasn’t there then in all likelihood Tiwai’s contribution would not be made elsewhere.
        It simply would not be smelted.

        Secondly, under the Paris accord (which all but 2 nations have ratified), it is difficult to invisibly move such production overseas in a way that means that its not accounted for in carbon emission terms.
        So the usual argument, “of well if they leave NZ they’ll make the aluminium in some coal fired smelter in Indonesia or India”. Might have be a possibility 10 years ago.
        Its not likely now, even less likely in the future.

        All up, we’re better off now and for the foreseeable future to 2050 and beyond without Tiwai point, clouding our future.

        1. Mostly agree. However, I believe there would need to be upgrades to the South Island network to get it north of Otago. The main issue with Manapouri power is the huge line losses that would occur getting it to the top half of the North Island where the biggest population growth is occuring.

        2. “Huge”

          No more than 50 MW loss from Manapouri to Auckland based on a dedicated HVDC line all the way and all of Manapouri’s production being consumed in Auckland. That’s around 6% loss. Not huge.

          (source: ABB)

        3. I think that suddenly having a massive amount of power available at one end of the country, and consumption growing disproportionately at the other will incentivise investment in upgrading transmission but equally importantly incentivise power users, from heavy users, right down to householders, to move south. It could well influence settlement patterns.

    2. “One suggestion is to make hydrogen so we could have lots of hydrogen to fuel fuel cell buses in our cities and towns.”

      Not a good suggesstion Royce. In doing that less than 20% of the electricity that was generated would end up at the motors of the buses. The rest would end up a wasted in the form of low-grade heat in the various conversion and transportation processes. It would also require a lot of capital. It really is time that the “green hydrogen” fairy tale is debunked before the NZ taxpayer forks out any more on it.

      1. I had an idea that hydrogen through a fuel cell is more efficient than petrol through an internal combustion engine. I get that using electrolysis to produce the hydrogen is not that efficient compared to using the electricity directly but then petroleum extraction and processing is not either and it also emits carbon dioxide as does burning it in a car, bus or truck. And yes lots of capital would be needed to make any change but capital will be needed whatever we do to change to a carbon neutral economy. Either that or the government will have to buy lots of carbon credits.

        1. It’s not a binary choice of ICE vs H2 Royce. Electric buses that don’t require hydrogen are available now and have been available for over a hundred years. Delivering electricity to them by wires is 3 to 4 times more efficient than doing it via hydrogen.

        2. Bring back or maybe bring on the trolley bus. I am trying to imagine the wiring around the Manukau bus station though. I suppose the buses could have a small battery which allows them to cruise in and out. And personal at the gate to hook and unhook them to and from the overhead.

        3. Battery electric buses are now to the point where they can run 500 to 600 km on a single change. This means they can now do a simple overnight charge at the depot then do the full days schedule without stopping to recharge. This makes hydrogen and trolley buses etc redundant.

        4. Royce , The old Trolley buses that we had in Auckland all had a battery pack in them for which enabled them to operate a short distance if the wires were down or to get back into position at say the old Railway station when there was another bus park in their spot .

  10. So Brisbane spent $10 billion on roads that just encouraged more driving. Seems to me that the decision-makers listened to the wrong people.

  11. The first of fifteen new trains for Auckland has arrived without the batteries which would have allowed them to replace the DMU’s on the section between Papakura and Pukekohe. We were promised electrification by both Labour and National last election but it has never happened. So no progress on reducing our emissions. Yes it might have being experimental but we will have to experiment if we are going to make any progress. Tywfords indecision is damming as is his lack of judgment.

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