It is said that nothing in this world is certain, except for death and taxes. But according to Waka Kotahi NZTA, that saying needs to also include motorway widening.

Yesterday Stuff reported:

The Ministry for the Environment advised the Government not to fast-track the upgrade of State Highway 1, because it could increase carbon emissions.

But the Papakura-to-Drury upgrade was fast-tracked anyway, after the Government received contrary advice from the New Zealand Transport Agency, Environment Minister David Parker told Stuff.

Road transport is New Zealand’s fastest-growing source of climate pollution, with a new Statistics NZ report this week revealing transport makes up 37 per cent of New Zealand households’ emissions.

NZTA told the Government the upgrade was going to happen regardless, so fast-tracking it wouldn’t make climate pollution any worse than it was already going to be.

“What it does is bring forward the timing of a roading project that is going to be built anyway, so on balance the Government thought, and I thought, that it should be included in the fast-track,” said Parker.

“You can argue that if there’s less traffic congestion [there’re lower emissions].”

Firstly it’s positive to see the Ministry for the Environment taking note of the impact of transport decisions as it feels like it’s an area they’ve generally been far too quiet on – not that it seems they’re being listened to.

The $423 million Papakura to Drury project is to add a third lane in each direction to the motorway for about 6km south of Papakura to about halfway between the Drury and Ramarama interchanges. This is essentially a continuation of what has just finished between Manukau and Papakura and they eventually want to continue all the way to Bombay. Though the NZTA like to pretend it’s a multi-modal project because they’re also adding shoulders that they say could be used by buses, not that we need it to run buses because there’s already a rail line there

The project was announced in January as part of the NZ Upgrade programme and at the time it was noted how road heavy that programme is. Of the $6.8 billion in transport projects that were included, just over $5 billion (75%) of that is for large roading projects.

What is particularly galling about article is the NZTA’s assumption that these projects are considered to be inevitable and therefore should just bypass climate considerations. It reflects poorly on the government that they just took this line without challenging it.

To me there are a few key issues that are relevant here.

As I pointed out yesterday, the models behind these assumptions are often flawed and don’t take into account issues such as induced demand. The whole thing can be a vicious circle. Congestion leads us to widen the roads, which allows for people to drive faster thereby encouraging more people to drive, or drive at different times, leading to more congestion.

The issue is almost perfectly captured in this video from the Australian show Utopia. Though the models are nowhere near as sophisticated as it makes out.

For this particular project, and it’s $1.3 billion also to be supersized neighbour, Mill Rd, which is needed to make it easier to move aggregate from quarries to support the supersizing of Mill Rd, there is then the issue of all the growth that they’re meant to enable. Like with induced demand, there’s a vicious circle that occurs where the motorway is widened to allow for growth, which then encourages planners and developers to push for auto-dependant sprawl to make use of that infrastructure.

The council and government along with their respective agencies love to talk about how these developments will be focused around good public transport but even with a high level of PT modeshare, many of the future residents of these areas will continue to drive and that will obviously put pressure on these roads.

The issue of climate change and transport is one that will only become louder in coming years so it’s also worth highlighting Arataki, the NZTA’s “10-year view of what is needed to deliver on the government’s current priorities and long-term objectives for the land transport system“.

What is notable firstly with it, which was updated in August, is that in the section of tackling climate change, the first focus is on adaption, in other words, making sure the network can cope with things like sea level rises, landslips and flooding. Only later do they talk about mitigation. In that they say

Our approach to reducing transport greenhouse gas emissions is shaped by the Avoid – Shift – Improve Model:

  1. Avoid/reduce: help people avoid or reduce reliance on private motor vehicles through integrated land-use and transport planning.
  2. Shift the travel of people and freight to low-emission modes, public transport, active and/or shared transport modes.
  3. Improve the energy efficiency of the vehicle fleet, through things like fuel standards and incentives to support the uptake of low/no emissions vehicles.

In terms of what that means:

Key activities that Waka Kotahi will lead, or partner on, to reduce GHG from transport include the following:

  • Ensure GHG reduction is embedded in all decision-making, strategic assessments, and planning.
  • Ensure planning for urban growth and intensification manages transport demand to reduce emissions.
  • Optimise urban networks to manage demand and reduce emissions.
  • Support road pricing in high growth urban areas to manage demand, support mode shift and reduce emissions.

There are many more activities listed than this but these four seemed the most relevant here. I wonder if they addressed any of these points in their own internal assessments before they pushed for the government to include the projects in the funding list.

Finally it seems that the Ministry for the Environment staff fell back on a plea to at least choose the least worst one between this widening and Mill Rd but as we now know, the government decided they’d do both.

Documents released to Greenpeace under the Official Information Act, seen by Stuff, show environment officials put the project on their ‘do not recommend’ list when the Government was mulling which options to go for.

“This is a significant roading project and has significant environmental risks,” the ministry said.

It raised a similar objection to an upgrade of Mill Road near Papakura, to ease SH1 congestion, noting the area south of Auckland had large, greenfields housing developments underway, and people in the area were already low users of public transport.

Upgrading Mill Road “has potential to lock in greenhouse gas emissions that are contrary to New Zealand’s climate change objectives,” it said.

At some point, the ministry appears to have been told that some kind of roading project was on the cards, and advised that, if the Government was going to include a roading project, it should choose either SH1 or Mill Rd. Fast-tracking SH1 was deemed the lowest environmental risk, because it was due to start construction in 2021 anyway.

The Prime Minister once talked about climate change being the defining issue of this generation but it certainly doesn’t seem like it when they make decisions like this.

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    1. They couldn’t have made it easier if they tried. I mean: “You can argue that if there’s less traffic congestion [there’re lower emissions].”

      No, you can’t David, because there aren’t. No Minister for the Environment should fall for such a well-debunked myth. Road widening increases emissions.

      But I was looking at some scheme assessments yesterday. The lie permeates the analysis. They even go so far as to say there are public health benefits from these lowered emissions. FFS.

      In order of magnitude, benefits seem to be:

      – travel time – rot
      – agglomeration – rot
      – vehicle operating costs – again, based on this myth of less congestion when in fact there’ll be more vehicles, doing more mileage, costing more
      – accidents – ffs. These schemes put more cars throughout the city and cause crashes all over the place.
      – reliability – no. The more roads you build, the more car dependent we become and the less reliable our network becomes.

      These roads don’t have the benefits stated. The assessments are a crock of shit. And our kids will pay with their health and wellbeing.

      1. Can you imagine how bad the pollution would be had we never built any motorways and instead spent the money on PT? I can’t but David Parker obviously can.

        1. Yeah. Have a guess how they calculated the “agglomeration benefits” for the Mill Rd corridor, Jimbo, “that arise from the close spatial concentration of economic activity.” (Mill Rd is an agglomeration-worsening project if ever there was one.)

        2. I’ll answer anyway. 🙂 They decided 20% was a conservative amount. So they toted up all their other (fallacious) benefits and then added an additional 20%. That’s it. The full calculation was x0.2=

          The sheer audacity of taking a concept like agglomeration – which is all about proximity – and applying it as a benefit to a project that fundamentally worsens proximity – shows just what weasels these people are.

          I have no respect. Their professional integrity is zero.

        3. I’m not sure you can say a highway worsens agglomeration. It might result in more sprawl but they are not the same thing.

        4. Yes they are.

          Sprawl comes with car dependence, requiring car parks and loads of land wasted on car infrastructure throughout the city.

          Thus, it spreads amenities and people apart. Which worsens agglomeration.

        5. Cars and trucks, and their necessary infrastructures, bridge distance, but also enforce distance. This is simply a geometric outcome of their inherent spatial inefficiency; this is a system that requires heaps of space, everywhere. It pushes everything further apart. Therefore auto-infrastructure provision is, by definition, anti-agglomerative.

          The term agglomeration was coined to describe the benefits of more spatially efficient systems. It is essentially fraudulent for it to be used in this way. But then so is the use of carbon benefits like this.

        6. @miffy, if a highway increases total transportation costs (time and money) between markets, then you can in fact say that the highway reduces agglomeration benefits. If a highway encourages people to drive, thus increasing congestion across the network by an amount greater than the transport cost reduction of the new link, then it does increase transport costs, thus reducing agglomeration benefits. It should be pretty obvious that Mill Road enables sprawl at Drury which increases total transport costs across the network compared to a more sensible option of building homes near to existing infrastructure and high quality public transport.

        7. I think you are conflating two different things that are related but still different. Congestion is one of the negative effects of agglomeration. The positives are the economies of scale that occur when firms co-locate with their customers (reduce transport costs) and with their competitors (labour pooling). But both can occur over a whole city or even a region. Even knowledge spillovers can occur over kilometres and don’t all come from people buying coffee together. The Core -Periphery model doesn’t suggest you must cut the core off. But don’t believe me.

          “In general, the existence of agglomeration economies does not itself give guidance about optimal regional policy. For example, advocates of London’s Crossrail system emphasized that increasing commuter access to the city would bring in more workers who might generate agglomeration economies. However, those workers would presumably be coming from somewhere else. Any gains to London might be offset by reductions in agglomeration economies elsewhere. The existence of agglomeration economies does not itself suggest moving people from less- dense to denser areas, because as long as people remain in the less- dense areas, their productivity will fall with the move.” E Glaeser – Agglomeration Economics.

        8. Sailor agglomeration is not really about traffic congestion, that’s a different problem. Highly agglomerative places don’t really care about congestion, aren’t really involved in it, it’s a quality of and burden for low agglomerative economies, as they are so dependent on vehicle travel for everything.

          Miffy. To me Glaeser here falls into the ‘fixed land use’ trap. Agglomeration is not about moving people between areas whose conditions are fixed, but about changing the nature of places from being less spatially efficient to more. There is no need to overcomplicate what agglomeration is meant to be expressing; it’s spatial efficiency, proximity of a place.

          Crossrail does enable more access to already dense places from burbs and ex-urbs; but that’s not agglomeration, that’s access (and property re-pricing!).

        9. Originally agglomeration was about the cost savings of moving goods shorter distances when factories were close to their customers. That still exists but the reduction in shipping costs lead people to find other bits of agglomeration. A lot of the Glaeser book seems like bollocks to me. A better way to look at it is probably from the consumer end (Peter Nunns has written about that in this forum in the past). Cities exist because we can obtain more amenity in a city as we can consume a better range of things. Firms locate in cities to purchase the type of labour they need. They don come for knowledge spillovers or labour pooling or any of that. Everything else is actually a disadvantage- too many people means: congestion; higher land prices; smaller houses etc.
          But there is nothing to suggest increasing capacity of a road decreases agglomeration- at least not that I have ever read.

        10. A denser city means within easy reach, there is:

          a bigger pool of enthusiasts for a hobby, more volunteers available to keep the items at a specialist museum in order, a higher quality of performers for a production, more support for music teachers from others using a particular pedagogy, more variety of concerts, teachers offering instruction on less well-known instruments, more people swapping seeds and seedlings, more people offering workshops in specialist subjects like mushroom growing or working with bamboo or techniques for propagation or grafting. The list is as long as the richness of human life.

          These are agglomeration benefits, too. They have nothing to do with highways that encourage sprawl and car dependence. Cities spread apart by car infrastructure mean:

          it’s all just a fag to get to anything, it’s harder to get volunteers to venture out on a wet evening, it’s harder to get the numbers together for a band to accompany a show or an event, parents make ultimatums about their kids only continuing with a specialist hobby if they practise hard because the parents are sick of being taxi driver across town, etc…

        11. Yes they are agglomeration benefits. So is a road that allows a workshop in Pukekohe to bid for prefabrication work for the CBD or allows pipes made in Pokeno to be sent north. Or allows their truck to make four deliveries each day rather than three. These are economies of scale due to making things close enough to work. Requiring manufacturing to move to where rents are higher and where they will displace more houses is not going to increase benefits. Agglomeration benefits and density are not the same thing.

        12. So your only real argument against the agglomeration disbenefits that these highways create through the high distances that they impose is one about affordability. Yet that is rubbish too. Sprawl creates unaffordability and intensification brings affordability. Sure, some economists would have you believe otherwise because they love their little conceptual models, but neither history, nor logic support them. Sprawl’s extensive infrastructure costs more to build and maintain than density’s compact infrastructure.

        13. No. My argument is that because these things are not mutually exclusive you can’t say density creates agglomeration benefits therefore a road on the periphery does not.
          The point about costs and agglomeration is one of those weird ones where some economists have argued there is a disbenefit to cities that should be included while others have said people accept the costs because of some underlying benefit they are gaining. I don’t much like the second argument as it is one of those claims that can’t really be disproved by data or analysis. Yet you will see every spruiker of spending public money claim costs as though they are benefits for every stadium, theatre, sports event or Americas cup.

        14. Spruiker would be right.

          I certainly don’t think these business cases are the right place to be figuring out if these roads are a good idea based on agglomeration. I’d have to consider it case by case for other types of projects, but it’s clearly nonsense here.

        15. Yes I am with you on that. My guess is it is also a double counting of benefits. The value people put on their travel time probably already includes most of these issues.

        16. Miffy, apologies if I’m misunderstanding, but it sounds like you’re ascribing agglomeration benefits to a road widening or new road based on that providing a faster travel time between existing places. This would be true if the travel time savings weren’t lost to induced demand. However, it is well-proven that new capacity induces more driving, which leads to equal or greater congestion than before. Once the congestion has returned, there are no more travel time savings and therefore the places that had been brought temporally closer together are no longer any closer than they were before, erasing agglomeration benefits. Worse, the additional induced driving actually creates additional traffic on the network, which adds travel time to other trips that don’t even use the new capacity.

        17. It’s well worth learning about Braess’ Paradox and how adding new links to the network can actually make overall network efficiency get worse, even without induced demand. This works on many types of networks, not just traffic. There are a lot of good videos on YouTube that illustrate this phenomenon.

        18. Yes I learnt about Braess’ nonsense over 30 years ago. It isn’t a paradox at all. It is what happens when you assume one route has a highly volume dependent delay and the alternative is highly independent of volume. Since that almost never actually occurs you never see a Braessian link.

          As for your other observation, that has occurred on Auckland’s motorway system during the peak hours, yet even though the harbour bridge was last widened in 1968, I can still happily drive across the harbour bridge in the interpeak and off peak periods and go to plays, concerts, hearings or whatever. I can be part of a larger labour pool, consume things I can’t get in a small town, or transfer knowledge all without using a bus. So no, you are wrong.

        19. But at quite a distance, miffy. If you’d been paying a proper carbon price all this time, including for your vehicles, for the whole process of road building and maintenance, and for your share of the extra land and extra infrastructure that a sprawled city uses compared to a compact one, and for your share of public health and environmental costs imposed by the car dependence that came with the sprawl, you might have found that although you would no doubt have been willing to pay, as you value your location so well, many others wouldn’t have. Where would you be then? Apart from in a cheaper house closer to town with lower transport costs. Hang on… 🙂

      2. Actually GHG has no correlation with road widening. GHG is directly related to the amount of carbon emitted. If you widen the road and have the same number of vehicles, the GHG emissions remain the same.
        Moving traffIc has less particulate emissions than traffic in congestion, so you can argue that widening a road can reduce pollution.

  1. Every time I drove southbound in the morning, I feel sorry for the people in cars sit in the SH1 northbound/city bound around this area.
    Whilst I understand the planned population growth in that area will give rise to the need of cars, but I can’t help to think what are the other levers that we can pull to achieve better outcomes environmentally and economically.
    Can we bring forward and expand the scale of the public transport network into that area?
    Can we provide limited stop trains into Manukau for those need to commute to work?
    Can we bring forward better bus networks for our southern suburbs?
    Can we charge more tax/registration for SUVs and high emission vehicles to level the playing field, and encourage more hybrid and electric cars on the road?
    Again, there is a place for cars as part of different commuting options. By failing to set a timeframe to move 100% electric vehicles in the next 10 years, I feel we fail our children and grandchildren by not doing enough to cut our transport GHG emission now. Not to be political here, it feels we have been let down by decision makers (politicians included) by keep doing things BAU.

    1. Yes, we can do all those things, and they’ve all been done successfully in other countries. The challenge lies in getting a big enough coalition of the public and MPs on board.

      Unfortunately, when you run the numbers, getting 100% of new vehicle sales to electric by 2030 doesn’t cut emissions nearly fast enough. (Or if you meant the whole fleet being EV, no one knows a practical way to do it.) Plus, it requires sweeping changes like all the ones you mentioned, that aren’t broadly possible yet. (How many SUV drivers want to pay $1000 a year in vehicle registration?) That’s why the present strategy (urban intensification, PT + cycling improvements, Clean Car Initiative) is being followed, just not nearly fast enough.

      1. Considering the longevity of vehicles and the tiny percentage of new vehicle sales that are electric, the quickest way to decarbonize would be to adapt the fuel supply side to a low carbon alternative. The problem isn’t CO2 from recent sources but from ancient sources. So growing fuel wouldn’t contribute much to greenhouse gases. The problems with growing fuel are things like diversion of arable land from food production and water usage. Algae culture was something that appeared promising but has gone nowhere. The use of arid land and sea water for algae culture solves the two main problems. There are large parts of Australia that are in a rain shadow particularly around the tropic of Capricorn in from the west coast. Arid land increases sunshine hours. NG power stations could supply CO2 to boost growth rates.
        MP’s don’t decide the market does. People vote with their wallets and feet. Politics follows culture. You have to change culture first. Culture has enormous inertia. The government can only incentivize and de-incentivize.

  2. Doesn’t matter who you vote for, the result is more roads.
    I’d love to see a true environmental green party. One that would form a coalition with either party depending on which would give the best environmental outcomes. I would say the greens could have got some really good concessions out of National at the last election, instead they defaulted to Labour and have no bargaining power. Almost all of their policies are social, their main tax policy is to tax the rich not to tax the polluters.
    Imagine a green party that has a non negotiable significant emissions tax where all revenue gathered is then divvied up evenly and paid back to all tax payers on a monthly basis. The worst polluters get stung, the least polluters get a payout. Around 50% of NZers would end up better off under such a policy, and the environment would end up much better off. You would effectively be paid to ride a bike to work instead of driving because you would not be destroying the planet and local environment. There would be significantly less demand for driving and no need to build more roads (saving us all more money).

    1. The main reason the Greens had no bargaining power was not because of their refusal to work with National, it was because they didn’t get enough votes. I don’t think small parties with non-negotiable demands for sweeping changes can succeed, either in our system or as a way for running a country.

      1. NZ First didn’t get much more of the vote but they’ve got considerably more concessions (although they’ve largely squandered them). The ability to walk away from a negotiation is a very powerful position and is something the Greens don’t really have.

    2. This take is utterly ridiculous, and this is why:

      NATIONAL: “ROADS ROADS ROADS! And urban sprawl!”
      LABOUR: “Only some roads, and maybe a little less sprawl”
      GREEN PARTY (if they followed your strategy): “How can I play these two off between each other to get no roads and urban intensification?”

      Answer: you can’t, it’s as foolish an idea as the one I saw the other day that Bernie Sanders should have run in the Republican primary.

      Possibly this take is even in bad faith, because we HAD a “pure green” party, it was called Sustainable New Zealand, and it went nowhere.

      1. I believe bill English was open to a coalition with the greens. They could have got something decent, whether it had been tax policy, public transport, who knows. And had labour known it was a possibility they may have offered something, light rail for example. With labour they haven’t achieved anything, maybe planting a few token trees which is one of those easy wins any party would endorse.
        Didn’t labour promise something like 6 billion of infrastructure spending almost all of which was “shovel ready “ roads?

    3. More roads is a result of how the funds are gathered or not as the case may be. The National Land Transport Fund gathers funds from fuel excise duty, road user charges, and vehicle registration fees. As such motor vehicle users are the ones who pay into the fund. Quote nltf annual report “Users of the land transport system who provide revenue into the National Land Transport Fund will benefit from its investments; other beneficiaries, should pay for benefits they receive (as a general principle).” Walkers, cyclists, and rail don’t contribute to the fund at all and busses are a minor contributor. Dispite this the Urban Cycleway Programme is paid for by a mix of NLTF and local funding which I assume means ratepayers. If cyclists would accept registration fees for their bikes and distance charges I’m sure there could be a lot more cycling infrastructure. While they are at it they should introduce rider licencing so that we can be assured cyclists know the rules of the road and are safe to ride.

      1. Requiring all bicycles to be registered and all cyclists to be licensed, along with bikes having odometers would have to be one of the stupidest ideas around.

        It would create a large barrier to cycling, spending say $25 per year on getting every $200 kids bike registered, along with the extra cost and hassle of paying RUCs, parents just won’t bother and instead drive their kids everywhere.

        Maybe this is exactly what you want to achieve but I can’t really see how the above scenario benefits anyone.

        Just out of interest do you think pedestrians should be licensed and registered as well? They don’t always follow the rules and require footpaths which aren’t free.

        1. So despite cycling being almost completely unregulated and all the infrastructure being fees free for them and all those large barriers existing for motor vehicles its still no contest. Convenience wins because people are lazy. Having no barriers doesn’t make up for the effort of having to actually ride the bike or weather. Licensing is about safety, sacrificing the safety of cyclists to improve popularity, hmm, OK then. Oh and cyclists ride along the roadway with motor vehicles and navigate intersections etc. unlike pedestrians. Knowing things like the intersection rule might be handy.

        2. ‘Oh and cyclists ride along the roadway with motor vehicles and navigate intersections etc.’

          So because cyclists don’t have their own infrastructure and share the road with cars they should pay for it but pedestrians who do have their own infrastructure shouldn’t? Sure that makes sense…

        3. ” Knowing things like the intersection rule might be handy.”

          I see plenty of motor vehicles not knowing or obeying the road rules & they weigh a lot more. Cars and trucks running red lights are incredibly dangerous.

          Joe Blow – Why don’t you just admit it that you are completely and utterly anti-cycling for some reason, perhaps because it slows you down a tad when driving from time to time? You sound like an intelligent person, but your reasoning is flawed.

      2. Except that your statements only work for motorways and highways, which are predominantly closed to bicycles and certainly contain very little cycle infrastructure.

        If you are talking about local roads, they are overwhelmingly funded out of local rates with some top up from the NLTF – which isreferred to as the Funding Assistance Rates (FARs).

        FAR makes up a small part of funding in places like Auckland (around 10%) because we can afford it with a dense population. In rural areas the proportion is much higher because low density places are so much less efficient on transport costs:

        In addition, you have to take into account that almost half the money spent on local roads is to fix the damage caused by trucks and cars – but never bikes. Plus, 90% of the infrstaructure is only necessary because cars and trucks are so dangerous. If the roads were only built for buses and bikes, we could cut a huge amount of the costs. Bikes only need a basic gravel track at minimum.

        So asking bicycles to pay for roads is an illogical silly idea.

        1. According to the table FAR’s are never below 51%. Considering that developer contributions reduce the local share and not the NLTF side the rates contribution wont be that much. Considering that cars have been getting more efficient over time they are contributing less to the NLTF than they used to so I’m sure FARs used to be higher.
          I wasn’t sugesting that bikes pay for roads, but their own separate infrastructure were use density justifies. The difference in speed between the two modes leads to a large number of interactions, and that coupled with a large weight disparity leads to significantly elevated risk when they share the same infrastructure. Bikes don’t telegraph their intentions as well as motor vehicles. Part of the safer roads in Sweden was to barrier off cycleways from roadways. This seems to recognise the weight disparity issue. Considering that the NLTF will invest first and fore most in infrastructure that benefits its contributors and is short on funds there will be a significant underinvestment in cycling infrastructure untill they have their own fund and revenue stream.

  3. Well stop advocating for mass immigration (most of whom settle in Auckland) and we won’t need to build more roads…

    1. Why does an increasing population automatically mean we need to build more roads? It could just as easily give us the scale needed to make significant PT improvements.

      1. @jeeza, sure it *could* but the reality in NZ is that it doesn’t and so we get moar roads which is almost entirely to serve an increasing population (which has been driven over the past 2 decades by immigration. It is only since Covid that we’ve had a net gain of NZers).
        @harrymc. Aimed at GA itself as most if not all of the writers are either very pro-immigration (particularly the large mass migration we’ve been seeing), or at the very least they support considerable migration.
        @Gary, according to Stats NZ in 2018 at least 42% of Aucklands population was born overseas. That’s over 700,000 people. It’s impossible for 2/3 of Auckland’s growth to come from people being born there when the birth rate is hovering around the replacement rate (even accounting for the higher birth rates in the Pasifika communities).

        1. The entire Auckland population is as a result of immigration, it’s not just the last 20 years, started in about 1300, took off in the 1870s and has come in bursts ever since.

    2. It is my understanding that at least two thirds of Auckland’s population growth arises from people being born there. Citing immigration as the ostensible source of the city’s population density/traffic congestion woes is just lazy thinking. It really is becoming tiresome hearing that old canard being brought up yet again.

      1. It is my understanding that there has been a net outflow of New Zealanders from Auckland for some time – see the recent article by Paul Spoonley on Overall, NZ’s rate of natural increase is 0.6% while immigration has been 1.4% for the past 5-8 years. Labour did have a policy of reducing immigration, the main impact of which seems to have been a flood of PR applications being held up in processing during 2019. Possibly they haven’t had time to review it more recently what with everything else that’s going on.

        1. Hmm instead of saying that he is wrong, why not provide stats to show it?
          Facts seem to show he is right?
          There is a small outflow of migrants from Auckland to rest of NZ, There is a large inflow of Intl migrants,
          There is also quite a large number of newborns in Auckland.

          John Polkinghome did a number of articles on this a few years ago.
          A quick google gave one of those articles but I know he did quite a few and they were supported by stats.

          It also showed that a few years ago, more migrants settled in Auckland than in the rest of New Zealand combined.

        2. Yes, a story from 2015 which approvingly quotes ‘research’ reports from Westpac that confidently assert “That suggests that beyond the next year or two, it’s worth planning for a return to historically more normal levels of net migration – closer to 15,000 a year than 60,000.” The Stats predictions used also turned out to be hopelessly wrong.

          Instead by the year ended June 2020, the net migration gain had increased to 79,400 or 75% of the total population growth which was a very high (for a developed country), 2.1%.

        3. Zippo – migration has been high for the last few years but as the article points out the most foolish time to turn the tap down is when things are growing as that creates difficulties in the labour market.

          Not sure what relevance the figure for the year end June 2020 has? That includes the recent period when it has been driven by returning NZers, something we have no control over. A figure for the year end Feb 2020 would make more sense.

  4. We have to make decisions that will improve NZs productivity and remain a beautiful place to live, work and play. NZ is far from countries that we trade with and we must minimise our costs.
    If families are forced to live far from work or school they will spend many hours and $hundreds per week on transport. We are putting our economy at risk. Families living in those new distant surburbs will be the new poor. Cities that have a wellbeing approach will do better. So we need to concentrate on reducing costs for businesses, spending more on R and D, improving hospitals, supporting our arts and culture, improving our water, investing in sports facilities, reducing transport times and costs, recycing and reducing emissions.
    These are the things that will make a city stand out in the world.
    Just another $billion highway to Maraetai or Onehunga won’t do it.

  5. Just think if instead of spending so much on roads that they put it aside for a new train corridor to Hamilton with knowing that it will likely be extended larger on. Shock horror we may actually get that standard gauge high speed train after all. But alas, that will never happen.

  6. GREEN PARTY – where are you? Where is your passion for overhauling transport policy? Why are you now so silent on this? Many of your long-term supporters rejoiced when you were at last able to become part of government in 2017. But what has happened to you since? Seems like you have lost your way on transport matters, and your entire emphasis is now on other things. James Shaw – how about you step out of politics and set up your own Green School somewhere. Russel Norman – please come back. Julie Anne Genter – you are the only reason I would consider voting Green at the moment. Hang in there, we need you.

    1. Why do you say it is their own “Green School” Dave? I think the only connection is the word green – is that not correct?

      James Shaw is speaking at the moment. He has outlined that they made a list of exclusions of support from the Green Party for the economic recovery list, and motorways were on that list, because they are very focused on climate change. It appears they fully understand the climate implications of building motorways. He owns that the key moment he made a mistake was in making this exclusion list: he didn’t look at the wider party policy which would have put funding for private schools on it, too.

      Government shouldn’t be funding this school. But the shovel-ready and roads-heavy economic recovery list is an abomination at a far bigger scale than the funding for this school. The media’s focus on it is to undermine support for The Greens and to distract people from the ginormous waste of money going on roads.

      1. The media’s focus on it is because it’s the second high profile clanger from a Green Party leader in the lead-up to the election in a row, not because there’s some deep state road lobby story planting operation at play.

        1. It’s mainly getting attention because the Greens don’t usually get involved in this sort of stuff. If Winston did this no one would even bat an eyelid, in fact they would probably be shocked if he didn’t.

        2. While $11.7million certainly seems like a lot of money to you and me, the Mayor of New Plymouth Neil Holdom puts it into the context of other projects:

          “Here are the list of projects we have advocated and secured investments from government for over the past three years:
          Provincial Growth Unit
          SH 43 Improvements; $13,450,000,
          SH43 Unlocking tourism; $9,600,000,
          1 Billion Trees Grant; $940,000,
          GM Transitional Economies; $600,000,
          Turbocharging Tapuae Roa; $530,000,
          SH43 business case; $400,000,
          Tapuae Roa Project Coordinator; $210,000,
          Major Food Opportunities; $150,000,
          Maori Entrerprise and Education Stocktake; $100,000,
          Innovation Precincts; $100,000,
          Quarry Road Te Wera; $2,070,000,
          Stratford Economic Support (Roading); $770,000,
          Hiringa Green Hydrogen; $19,900,000,
          Taranaki Crossing; $13,300,000,
          Blueberry Production; $1,450,000,
          Parihaka Visitor; $14,000,000,
          Taranaki Cathedral; $5,000,000,
          Woodspan Panels; $1,800,000,
          Hydrogen Supply; $950,000,
          NP Economic Support (Egmont Rd); $350,000,
          Acos Filler; $300,000,
          Hydrogen Transmission roadmap; $260,000,
          Rail Freight Opp; $250,000,
          Taranaki Clean Energy Centre bus. Case; $100,000,
          8 projects under $100,000; $490,000.

          NNEDC; $27,000,000,
          Yarrow Stadium; $20,000,000,
          Stratford Pool; $8,000,000,
          Mawhitiwhiti Kanihi Pa; $5,000,000,
          Nukumaru Station Road; $7,000,000,
          Te Ramanui o Ruaputahanga Hawera; $3,000,000,
          Dawson Falls; $3,000,000,
          Cycle Park & Basketball Stratford; $2,000,000,
          NPDC Thermal Dryer; $36,000,000,
          SH3 Waitara to Bell Block; $14,000,000,
          3 Waters Funds; $17,900,000,
          Other roading projects – estimate; $1,000,000,
          Pouakai Crossing Funding; $3,400,000,
          Taranaki 2050 Roadmap; $250,000,
          Tourism Infrastructure Fund Mangorei Road; $708,500,
          Tourism Facilities Devt Fund Resp. Camping Est; $156,000,
          Green School; $11,700,000.

          TOTAL: $247,184,500”

          On that basis, it really doesn’t seem all that bad. On a purely idealogical basis it sounds terrible – but by comparison, its relatively reasonable. The real issue is perhaps not why Shaw approved it, but more like: why isn’t the rest of NZ’s schools approved to the same rate of funding?

    2. They’re too busy funding their pet private schools, and playing identity politics (Golriz is out with *her* she/her hat on). The Green Party in NZ is 95% about socialist ideas and gender/identity politics and only about 5% environmental issues. If they actually were an environmental party they would get a lot more votes, but most view them as a bunch of nutcases.

  7. I was thinking a decent park and ride at Drury was going to be sufficient but maybe there will need to another at the junction of Highway one and two with buses running through to Manukau city via Drury it would be good if there was a rail station there as well. The south junction for the Manukau branch would help but when you think about the rail diversion through Pukekohe and the direct motorway route over the Bombay it becomes obvious which is quickest. And there is no reason why we can’t have both.

    1. The reason we can’t have both is they are spending all the money widening roads, just like they did for the past 60 years.

      1. True but we can’t have either at the moment and I haven’t worked out where to put the park and ride yet. Probably will have to be Pokeno. I wonder if the project is set in stone would they have enough discretion to include a park and ride if pressure was applied. I am thinking of out of towner’s who would rather not drive in Auckland. Coming from Coremandal, Tauranga and Waikato and regular commuters. Even if you got 10 percent that would be some improvement in congestion and emissions.

        1. Possibly, combined with some feeder buses. Station placement at Pokeno seems problematic with the newer subdivisions layout and the original town positioning. Best longer term plan would be to build the previously proposed (and partly built) rail line from Pokeno to Paeroa that was halted due to WW2. Continue it on to the Kaimai tunnel. Combine it with cycleways and such. This could be a good feeder/tourist route from Coromandel. All but a pipe dream I guess when they are still building motorways like this.

        2. I think we have had quite enough long and medium term dreaming Grant. I take your point about the suitability of Pokeno for a park and ride. Which makes me think that maybe it should be a small distance from the junction along state highway two. I would point out that it is possible to catch a bus from Paeroa to Hamilton and with one change from Wellsford to the CBD but not from Paeroa to Auckland. Well we know why that is so in my view it’s up to NZTA to bridge the gap between the two regions. Now I know Greater Auckland are dreaming of a dense city so we get the whining whenever a new road project is approved. However we need to be advocating for public transport inclusion in these projects. Failure to do that is just throwing the toys out of the cot. I think one reason for neglecting the potential of the southern motorway for public transport or cycling for that matter is that everyone is thinking well we have got the railway. However the railway has its problems as well, the biggest one being the detour through Pukekohe and also heavy capital and operating costs. Note that both the proposed high speed service or the Te Huia service that is due to start next year only stops at Huntly then Papakura. We need to be ahead of the curve here while everybody except Greater Auckland is thinking a major park and ride at Drury will be the goods we should be advocating for a park and ride somewhere on the other side of the Bombay hills. After all two major state highways feed into one what could possibly go wrong. If it can be done on the Northern Motorway it can happen on the South as well.If its possible to have a dual park and ride for train and bus than all the better.

    1. Still – better than the opposition ! I just thank heavens that National are not leading this crisis, or we would have many more dead. Bill English / Gerry Brownlee would have just treated it with the disdain they treat a herd of dairy cattle getting mastitis, while Bridges / Moller / whoever else there was were just incompetent beyond extreme – and the Crusher has zero compassion for anyone human. End result: I’m very happy for JA and Labour to be in charge right now.

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