Road building delayed because governments ‘fail to plan for quarries’
This was the title of a Stuff article last month by Wayne Scott, the chief executive officer of the Aggregate & Quarry Association (AQA). He said:
politicians of all persuasions have paid only lip service to ensuring the rock, stone and sand which form the foundation for all infrastructure can actually be provided…
Transmission Gully’s delays and cost blowouts are the latest example. There’s never been a planning exercise for where the huge quantities of necessary rock, aggregate and sand would come from…
Quarry materials are cheap as chips – perhaps $20-$25 per tonne at the gate; the big cost comes in transporting it…
let’s just get some glasshouse transparency on where politicians see the materials coming from for all those infrastructure promises.
Image credit: AQA
The article links to the association’s report, A Briefing On The Quarry Sector And Aggregate Supply:
There will be increased demand for aggregate and sand to build ‘shovel ready’ and longer term projects. Additionally, the impacts of climate change including rising sea levels are going to put added pressure on rock supply for sea walls, riverbank protection and restoration. It is therefore more vital than ever that local aggregate resources throughout the country are identified, protected and effectively managed.
They are right that we need to plan well for the supply and transport of our aggregate for construction and they make a number of good recommendations, such as:
A cost/benefit analysis for recycling and re-use of construction waste be conducted by Government in consultation with industry, in order to establish the types of incentives, and/or penalties needed to achieve positive outcomes from the principle of a circular economy.
Aggregate recycling (such as at Mt Eden Station) needs to become standard practice.
Yet our level of aggregate use points to deeper problems
According to the AQA’s website:
In 2018, New Zealand recorded 41m tonnes of quarried material – about 8.6 tonnes per person. Unfortunately, there was a drop in quarry reporting in 2018 so the estimated production was 65M tonnes, or about 13.4 tonnes per person. That’s high by world measure.
The figures are somewhat imprecise but industry figures are using around 10 tonnes per capita – or the equivalent of a truck load for every New Zealander every year.
This is a profligate use of aggregate.
Accessing, extracting, processing and transporting one truckload of aggregate per person per year imposes large environmental, economic and social costs.
Government decision-making is of concern – not because it’s failed to streamline an easy supply of cheaply-transportable aggregate – but because it has created a wasteful level of demand for aggregate.
AQA are right to highlight the high costs of transporting aggregate and the need to minimise distances between quarries and projects. Of course, the same reasoning means we should leave reserves of aggregate in suitable locations for future generations. Since we value having aggregate reserves handy to cities and major infrastructure, we can understand how important proximity of supply will be in the future when climate change could be creating frequent economic and environmental shocks.
Retaining well-placed reserves while minimising truck km is one reason our aggregate use needs to drop. So how do we do that?
To build an average house, you need about 250 tonnes of aggregate – for use in concrete, asphalt, mortar and building products.
To build 1km of a two-lane motorway, you need around 14,000 tonnes of construction aggregates (400 truckloads)…
Over half of the aggregate produced in New Zealand is used on roads; a further fifth is used to construct commercial and residential building.
Halting the various roading expansion programmes would see a big reduction in aggregate demand. And since all roads need some aggregate for maintenance on an ongoing basis, it’s doubly critical we minimise the number of roads we leave as our legacy for our children. Litman’s graph of lane miles per capita for US urban regions shows how density is a factor in the different legacies of roading each city is leaving for the next generation, with obvious maintenance cost consequences.
The housing development model we use heavily determines our aggregate use, too. Plans that put housing into sprawl, such as the Auckland Development Strategy, consume vast amounts of aggregate. It goes into:
- driveways, parking spaces and garages at each residence,
- large carparks at retail stores and other locations, and parking lanes on streets, to cope with the cars that sprawl living demands, and of course
- new highways, bridges, widened arterials and developer-built local roads.
Mixed-use multi-storey buildings in compact neighbourhoods need aggregate too, regardless of how leafy and tree-lined we design them. So does maintaining and updating our existing infrastructure. But a development model that modifies our cities to become “quality, compact urban” is considerably less aggregate-hungry than sprawl development.
To conserve aggregate, we need to modify the Auckland Development Strategy, severely curtail our construction of new roading and sprawl, and house our population in Good Density. This is also the best way to reduce our emissions, become more climate resilient and improve our city.
Minimising the conflicts and negative environmental outcomes of quarrying
Government give local authorities greater direction in planning for key resource areas, in order to protect existing and future quarries from encroachment of non-compatible land uses such as urban expansion and rural lifestyle developments, thus reducing the potential for reverse sensitivity effects to arise.
The issue is important, as Auckland Council don’t seem to be protecting our quarries – like the Brookby, Hunua and Matakana quarries – from new incompatible land uses nearby.
AQA raise the spectre of other conflicts too. They believe the level of demand for aggregate created by the government (and opposition’s) plans can only be met if environmental safeguards are removed:
The AQA was disappointed with the status given in the Government’s 2019 Resource Strategy to the No New Mines on Conservation Land proposition… recent work by GNS Science has identified that 20-32% of future hard rock reserves are situated on DOC land…
The AQA is greatly concerned that the proposed National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity (NPS-IB) would require territorial authorities to “avoid” in any subdivision, the use and development of land within a Significant Natural Area (SNA). This would preclude quarrying over a large proportion of New Zealand. Currently 45% of potential aggregate land is classified “indigenous vegetation”…
And presumably in response to the National Policy Statement on Highly Productive Land, the AQA state:
site restoration can result in the delivery of land for future primary production or valuable new habitats, contributing towards national biodiversity targets and wider ‘net gain’ ambitions. In many regions of New Zealand, quarrying is the most highly productive use of land for primary production.
Clearly, further opening up the environment to exploitation will conflict with the values of many New Zealanders:
Seven out of 10 Kiwis are keen for New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid-19 to be a green one
Does Auckland Council recognise the need to reduce aggregate use?
Council is required to follow guidelines in its decision-making such as:
Ensuring prudent stewardship and the efficient and effective use of their resources, in the interests of the district or region the council represents.
Taking a sustainable development approach (thinking about the social, economic and cultural interests of people and communities, the need to maintain and enhance the quality of the environment, and the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations).
At one of the webinars about the Emergency Budget, I asked the question:
Why did Council continue to sign contracts after declaring a climate emergency, that were clearly going to increase transport carbon emissions, such as for new and wider roads? Did Council’s resiliency planning not highlight this as a risk?
The answer – from one of The Forty Decision-Makers – showed that new roads were legitimised, despite the climate emergency, because we need aggregate:
if you think of all the concrete that is in the CBD, that is in the suburbs, north, south, east and west 88% percent of that concrete comes out of… Franklin in the south. That aggregate is currently going to be between 12 and 15 million tons this year, depending on COVID. And it’s transported by trucks… on some of those new roads such as Mill Road in the South. That’s what it’s for. All those four big quarries in the south connect the Mill Road within a maximum of 25 kilometres…
That’s gorgeously circular, isn’t it? We’re paying princely sums for roads in order to be able to transport aggregate. The aggregate needed, of course, to build the roads.
Of course, the roads will cater for more than just trucks. The answer went on:
And new growth areas of Drury all require transport links for people on public transport, walking and cycling. But they also need to move goods and services.
So Council recognise the sprawl will induce traffic, meaning long travel distances – not just for residents, but for all the people who visit them and service their needs. Sprawl puts our average travel per capita up considerably.
The Councillor who gave this answer is a benevolent man, genuinely trying to achieve a better city of opportunity for our children, but the remaining part of his answer then deteriorated into misunderstandings about the interplay between environment and economy. Before we can help him move into a better climate understanding, he needs to see how he’s been:
Captured by The Political Economy of Car Dependence
Mill Rd requires political justification because it is a large, expensive, publicly-funded project, and each of the main strategies of legitimising road building has been used to provide this justification. (See my post The Political Economy of Car Dependence for context):
- say Mill Rd is necessary to accommodate our growth, including the traffic it’ll induce and the trucks needed to carry the aggregate. (Strategy 1a)
- say Mill Rd is necessary to stimulate the economy after Covid. (Strategy 1b)
- presumably believe car-based sprawl developments are preferred by Aucklanders over a quality, compact city where amenities are close and traffic volumes are low. (Strategy 2)
- claim Mill Rd is important in providing access to employment… a critical factor in improving economic productivity. (Strategy 3)
- say Mill Rd is required to remediate current congestion levels. (Strategy 4)
- defer to the “technical expertise” of the Supporting Future Growth team – despite modelling and business case processes biased towards road-building. (Strategy 5)
Once we strip these myths and excuses away, the rationale for the Drury sprawl echoes that of the Garden Villages in the UK, (see Building Up or Out):
Sometimes it seemed that the location of a new garden community was actually chosen because it would help finance a new road or better junction.
To achieve a greener, less aggregate-hungry economy, we need the market to assist our goals, by ensuring:
- business cases for roads include the true cost of the aggregate they use, including its transportation and environmental costs,
- quality compact urban development is rewarded in the marketplace for its prudent use of aggregate,
- recycled aggregate is more economically attractive for construction than freshly-quarried aggregate is.
A critical step is internalising the transportation costs of moving aggregate. The quarries themselves should pay for the maintenance and improvement of roads to the quarries, then pass this cost onto their customers. Instead, it seems that the cost for these roads is being imposed on all of society, swallowing funds we need elsewhere, pushing rates and taxes up, while failing to provide cost incentives to minimise the use of freshly-quarried aggregate.
So if Council woke up to their capture, what would they do about aggregate?
Planning for both aggregate conservation and climate change means Council need to:
- identify our aggregate reserves and ensure we don’t encroach on them with inappropriate land uses such as lifestyle developments or urban expansion,
- provide for future generations, by conserving well-located supplies and leaving a legacy of infrastructure with a low maintenance burden,
- reduce our aggregate needs so that we’re not forced to haul aggregate into the city from a distance or quarry in precious environments.
Thus they need to:
- halt our road expansion programme,
- go up not out, by halting sprawl. (The National Policy Statement on Urban Development will remove some barriers to going up),
- put the cost of maintaining quarry roads onto the quarries themselves, including any roading expansion they require.
Above all Council needs to acknowledge the Political Economy of Car Dependence doesn’t serve us well, and put in place an overt programme of action to address the multiple ways they have been influenced by it in their planning.
Crazy that an even an average house needs 250 tonnes of aggregate! If we are going to be building up not out then we need to get designers to move away from concrete everything and think more about things like multi storey timber.
how do you think the timber for those multi-storey timber buildings is going to get from the plantation to the mill to the building site?
Using a road? the same as a concrete building would. Im not sure how thats relevant to my comment. If you are building a new mid rise residential block, the technology exists to build it in timber rather than concrete. I suggest we should use more of it.
Wooden homes have concrete foundations. Homes that don’t are almost always built on sloping sections. Even your wooden apartment building is going to be built on a concrete foundation.
The use of aggregate isn’t going to go away.
The recent trend for concrete slab house construction has no doubt increased the quantity of aggregate used as opposed to timber framed floors.
Foundations for new houses are often / usually made of concrete. And 250 tonnes is about 6 truck and trailer loads. Having a large solid slab has numerous advantages.
6 truck and trailers for 250 tonnes is 41 tonnes each, which doesnt allow anything for the weight of a truck (up to 40% total weight). For a multistory building it is less likely to get away from a concrete foundation than a residential house, but the designs for timber beams, columns, flooring and cladding/bracing already exist and have been built in NZ and overseas. No reason we cant use them, they have a decent sweet spot for mid rise.
And far better we divert some of our timber to these uses than shipping it overseas as bulk material with no value-add. Shipping is another area where internalising the costs imposed on the environment could shift practices and materials used.
250T of aggregate is not an ‘average’ house, that’s an exaggeration.
The average house slab needs circa 70T of aggregate. A 50 square metre driveway built from scratch might take 40T of aggregate. Maybe if you build a completely brick and tile house you get closer to 250T but that’s not average.
Auckland Council has been for decades leveraging greenfield developments for funding and infrastructure upgrades through development contributions. Drury supplies 35,000 homes and development contributions that could total $875million along with other upgrades at the developments cost (water, sewer, etc) that will benefit the wider area. Unfortunately concessions have to be made to allow it to continue
This is why brownfield developments struggle to get off the ground because there is no income stream. They are more complex, require more parties, generally more controversial due to nimby’s and cost 3 times as much to complete infrastructure upgrades. Council is not equip to deliver this and neither are the mum&dads that own land in the city.
Proper city requires a long term regeneration strategy. Pushing industrial activities to Drury south (where rail, quarries, etc are) frees up or pushes out current industrial activities in the city allowing large scale regeneration project to take place (see London/Olympic regeneration project). Drury residential development supplies people to work in Drury South and a funding stream for future infill infrastructure upgrades. Atleast this is what I hope their strategy is.
Thanks, Optimise. Yes a long term regeneration strategy is important. There are so many parts of the city that need repair, so given the population density possible in people-friendly Good Density, we won’t need to move industrial activities out to achieve it.
Rather than greenfields development being used to provide upgrades through development contributions, the figures show they are imposing an enormous burden on the city’s residents. Council say in https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/plans-projects-policies-reports-bylaws/our-policies/docspolicy2019/how-set-development-contribution-charges.pdf that they expect to receive $2.7 billion in development contributions between 2018 and 2028. This doesn’t cover the many development costs the Council faces to support this style of development. Only $1.1 billion of it is being put towards transport, for example; a tiny fraction of the public spending being put into new transport infrastructure to support it, let alone cover the enormous health, safety and climate costs from the traffic induced by this sprawl.
Conversely, transport costs to support brownfields development are no different to the projects our city needs to undertake to fix the safety and climate issues our poor transport planning has created.
I agree with you about Mum and Dad land owners being generally ill-suited to developing this city in the way we need. I’d be very interested in hearing how you think Council could become better equipped to deliver regenerative development.
True, development contributions do not cover all infrastructure costs but I’d expect the same for brownfields. Raising them seems to be the obvious solution but the government favours the CIP funding model. This looks like a complicated way for central government to control and administer development contributions.
I would look at it from a different angle in that transport projects should be brownfield projects that generate income and opportunities for density. Projects like the dominion road light rail should have 10 stops on 1ha sites and terminate at a 50ha development site somewhere around the airport.
Based on my experience on cross rail and some big assumptions that would create 8,000 apartments and generate government $400,000,000 if they sold the land as vacant, ready, development sites.
An idea like that is very controversial and requires a strong government (not necessarily a central one), public works act and a central organisation dedicated to do this.
A labour government, Kianga Ora and the new development bill could potentially deliver that outcome.
You’re absolutely right Optimise, this is a systemic problem. Heidi is throwing light on one particular aspect here, but the underlying challenge is to reorientate current practice towards a new systemic model of development that integrates consultation / engagement / partnerships, policy, strategy, funding, planning and consenting, building code, development financing, infrastructure finance and delivery, construction supply chains and operations, and ownership models.
These system components are all intentionally designed to make sprawl easy and brownfield hard; they all need individual and coordinated change to reverse that. There are very positive shifts going on in some parts of the system, but so much more to do in others.
Thanks for the article Heidi! Some really great insights into changing this component in the system.
Thanks Heidi. Great article
From a Stuff story June 2018. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/104065329/the-future-of-sand-mining-in-nz The future of sand mining in NZ.
Sand is the natural resource we consume most of worldwide, after air and water, and it’s starting to run out.
Sand is extracted from New Zealand beaches, ports, quarries and rivers, but just how much and where is not easy to sum up. Most of the sand mined ends up in the concrete industry.
Extracting sand is estimated to be a US$70 billion global industry according to the United Nations, and more than 40 billion tonnes of sand and gravel are estimated to be extracted every year.
Sand dunes are getting smaller in New Zealand
In Indonesia, more than 20 islands are believed to have disappeared in just the last 20 years due to sand mining.
Countless fish and birds are being killed by river sand mining in India, while miners have torn up hundreds of acres of forest in Vietnam to get at the sand underneath, according to investigative journalist Vince Beiser.
Two long-standing sand mining operations north of Auckland are allowed to dredge more than 380,000 cubic metres a year combined. Kaipara and northern Hautaki Gulf.
The Taharoa Ironsands mine in Waikato has been reported to export more than $150 million worth of sand a year, mostly for use in factories in Asia.
Dredging our rivers and harbours in this time of global warming is not we should be doing. It speeds up the erosion of river banks and shore lines.
From which NZ beaches is sand extracted? I’m not aware of any and believe its many years since that was allowed / tolerated. The last may have been for glass manufacture.
The Taharoa and Waikato North head mines are on shore, extracting and concentrating titanomagnetite for making steel. TTR are proposing to do a similar thing 44km offshore.
Yes it would be an interesting exercise to ask the concrete manufacturers where they get their sand.
Also to check with the councils the contracts and prices paid for taking sand
Kaipara harbour just past Helensville they used to have a huge sand barge but I see its parked up at Auckland Port for quite some time now. Another source is the lower Waikato river. But its all a bit secret very hard to find out what is actually happening with all the product running around in truck and trailer units with tarp covers. Same goes for freight logistics etc. Its very hard to sense whats going on with everything in curtain side trucks and containers. The average person would have no idea. For instance when Ashley Bloomfield called for all people who had any connection to our ports to be tested for the plague. Most people including him were probably astounded when the numbers came out.
They use sand gathered offshore from Pakiri Beach near Mangawhai. The sand is pumped up into barges and shipped to Ports of Auckland where it is trucked to customers.
No secret Royce.
There are 2 sand operations that suck sand from the Kaipara in Helensville. Mt Rex/Atlas being the main one anyone can see from the side of Th e road.
There’s a third on shore site that’s about run out and James Hardie have recently been given resource consent for a mine at the end of McLaughlin rd.
A tiny little gravel road completely unsuitable for several truck movements a day. Not that that matters to Auckland Council…
Good article. Aggregate recycling is already routine in road construction/maintenance because the margins are so thin. It’d be common in the concrete industry too except there isn’t a reliable enough supply of crushed concrete. In a growing city that’s unavoidable because we’re building more buildings than we’re demolishing.
In a hypothetical world where joined-up thinking was prevalent in government and industry I think we’d do things differently. We might even investigate building some kind of mega-quarry in Northland or the Waikato and taking train loads of aggregate in to Penrose where the city’s largest concrete and asphalt plants are located.
how do you think the timber for those multi-storey timber buildings is going to get from the plantation to the mill to the building site?
The same way it does now. Those roads already exist.
Excellent article. The urban solution as you note is Up not Out. A true-cost carbon charge would level the playing field for concrete vs wood but as another writer notes, the wood still needs transporting.
What about the intercity solution? Any ideas for this? Charging quarries for roads but not other heavy transport users doesn’t seem fair. And if heavy traffic paid true share of road costs (in terms of pavement thickness to support the trucks, and maintenance required for trucks vs light traffic) we would see more interest in rail. But rail needs to cope with multi-modal (trailers on trains) freight to be timely and convenient, and rail in NZ is limited by gauge width and height so this rules out a lot of valuable multi-modal possibilities.
If our master plan is considered in a 30 year timeframe, will not the almost certain introduction of autonomous passenger vehicles make private car ownership much less likely, and re-set the whole transport planning arguments?
Yesterdays business section of the Herald print version has an article on Chinese made prefab terrace houses being sold in Hobsinville Point for $650,000. Can’t find it online but look quite good.
I have mentioned before a couple of prefab homes being placed on a section of an old house which had being demolished. Virtually no section preparation. A couple of days to install some wooden piles then the prefabs arrived about a month to connect everything up lay a concrete drive and do a bit of landscaping then tenants move in. Housing NZ.
Compare that to the usual carry on of digging out all the top soil cart it away then truck in shingle so the whole site doesn’t turn into a mud bath. Then boxing and concrete pad. Then an endless stream of specialist trades persons and trucks backwards and forward onto site until its completed then dig out all the gravel replace with top soil and concrete. Its no wonder there are the quantities of tip truck on our roads not to mention the diggers being trucked around.
And what happened in Christchurch when the earthquake struck. The concrete slabs cracked and the whole house needed to be demolished meanwhile houses on piles just needed to be jacked up a bit to level them up and some of the jib needed to be replaced where it had cracked.
You should look up solutions like the Huff Hus, there’s a lot of time lapse videos on your tube, the house is factory built then assembled on site, takes about 7 days to erect on a prepared section. The interior decorating takes about 4 weeks.
Great article. The bit about the councillor who replied to a question about climate change by not mentioning climate change is pure gold.
The issue is, if anything, even more extreme globally: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/29/the-world-is-running-out-of-sand
China uses more concrete every two years than the US did in the whole 20th century: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/feb/28/the-grey-wall-of-china-inside-the-worlds-concrete-superpower
Sorry, he did mention climate change. I just felt that trying to address that part of his answer at the same time might be a bit much for him to take on. He’s acting in good faith – he’s just misguided. In essence, he said the ‘economy’ and the ‘environment’ need balancing.
He needs to understand that
– the economy relies on a healthy environment,
– to have a sustainable future we need a radically different, green economy, and
– the shake-up needed will see some activities reduce in volume, via those players having to internalise the costs they’re imposing.
Are we really short of rock or is it a beat up by the mineral extraction industry? If we are short of rock then why does it sell for $20 per tonne? (Even carbon has a higher price than that!)
We’re not “short” of rock – its just not conveniently located right next to or very much near where the houses and roads and such are being built.
Because, all the easy sources of local rock (typically former Volcanic cones of various sizes and shapes) have been mined out – (former Quarries in Mt Wellington, Ellerslie, Mt Roskill are a few that spring to mind). Even Mt Eden had a couple of quarries in the side of it, one near the motorway the other near the Governor Generals residence. This one is now a public accessible gardens and worth a visit.
Go to the South Island – those braided rivers are absolutely full of rock being washed out of the mountains for free. And they often have too much they need to dig it up and dump it elsewhere or the rivers flood.
So it’s like every other resource then? Available to anyone prepared to pay the price and people who want it want everyone else to use less of it.
“Captured by The Political Economy of Car Dependence”
Unfortunately this sort of madness exists everywhere and enormous amounts of money are spent on projects with economically poor outcomes.
The Forgotten Highway near New Plymouth (served by a perfectly adequate rail line until the rail operator wrecked it with a derailment)
“The announcement means a total of $23m is now available to improve road safety for motorists on SH43, with more passing opportunities, upgrading a single lane bridge, and replacing culverts.
The projects are forecast to increase visitor numbers to Taranaki by around 13,000 annually.” This is a staggering extra 35 people per day!
The belief that we and all our international tourists can drive everywhere is costing us dearly, in the pocket and environmentally.
NZTA could specify that motorways should be cut-to-fill 1:1 where at all possible.
That would decrease the need for fresh aggregate. Transmission Gully being the obvious example.
NZTA could also accelerate the use of recycled roads – if Queenstown Airport could do it on their entire runway, NZTA can. That would be a major minimisation.
Councils and operators could up their cost per tonne of hardfill dumps and contaminated fill even more than proposed.
Coastal cities with large roading jobs should also look to barging materials in.
Also higher use of mudcrete for wall stabilisation, minimising fresh materials.
If NZTA put a higher premuim on materials sustainability in both their road renewals and large capex jobs, this issue could be managed pretty easily.
Same for the large local Council renewals contracts.
Instead, they pay for hamburger, so they get served hamburger.
Good post. It’s one of those supply things (and how it related to city building style etc) that most people would never consider the implications of, so good to get it out there.
Here’s the NZTA’s interactive Quarries map which maybe of use or interest to others:
Seems they “identified inaccuracies in the naming of aggregate sources” and have been working on updating this.
Drury South and Mill Road are not the best examples for the article, simply because the cartage cost for the aggregate would be very minimal. Drury South is right next door the Stevie’s quarry, and the proposed Mill Road project will be starting from the same area. The current Covid 19 pandemic throws another spanner in the wheels of the article because most of the major political parties are relying on “shovel ready” projects to get the economy running again, and these will rely heavily on aggregate and concrete.
Evan, that’s the point of the article.
Very interesting article Heidi. Probably something many of us haven’t thought of.
Railway building and maintenance gets through a lot of high-quality aggregate but also tries to re-use where possible (eg ballast-cleaning). Would be interested to know how the aggregate-demand compares with roads for the same carrying-capacity. Much lower I suspect.
The real problem is continually needing to build new things for more and more imported people.
You’re not going to build your way out of climate change.
Very good, challenging article, Heidi.
Regrettably, the “kiwi life-style” is not always conduicive to appartment living. Where to park the trailer, boat, 2nd car, kids’ cars, caravan, extend the house, or build a granny-flat ?
BTW, keep in mind the nimbys in Hornby who opposed a new quarry, on the grounds of dust.
As mentioned above by Greg, a combined operation by rail and shipping to extract gravel from Canterbury’s braided rivers might be part of the answer.
With all the planning time-frames, Auckland could work out where to unload this aggregate. –Auck. Port ??????
Rail for both aggregate and timber – as AMF has suggested – is logical. Shipping… interesting thought.
The “kiwi life-style” argument against apartment living is a myth. We could put it in Strategy 2 – “Appeal to popular consumerism”.
There are plenty of standalone houses to satisfy that part of the market. Any new housing needs to complement what we have by providing the missing options for the many Aucklanders wanting proximity and a liveable city.
Importantly, none of us want more traffic but sprawl creates it. So continuing to build sprawl is going against the entire population’s wishes on that one.
I believe when Manukau port was open shingle was brought there from Westport or maybe Greymouth. Only a few years ago. There is a coastal ship the Anatoki which would back load anything to just pay for diesel on an otherwise empty trip. Possible it has being carting shingle across Cook Straight possibly to Whanganui as Port charges are very cheap there.
When I saw the original Stuff article I assumed truck and trailer on the ferries but maybe not. I have often thought Kiwirail should have a coastal bulk ship to widen there scope after all the are into shipping.
Not all aggregate is created equal, and there are as many recipes for the end use of the aggregate as there are for baking muffins. So a boat load of aggregate from the West Coast may only be useful for one or two applications. By the way, Bob Stott wrote an article in Rails magazine many years ago stating that the railing of aggregate from the Hunua ranges was being investigated using special trains of coal wagons loaded at Pokeno.