Here’s our roundup for the week.

City Centre Bus Changes Consultation

A reminder that Auckland Transport’s consultation for new bus lanes on Wellesley St closes today so get your submission in. You can read our thoughts about it here.

New North Rd and Symonds St Consultation

Another consultation reminder, the consultation on upgrading New North Rd and Symonds St closes on Wednesday 3 March. You can read our thoughts about it here.

Pukekohe Station

Following on from our post earlier in the week about the proposed new train stations in Drury and Paerata, it seems the changes to Pukekohe Station to enable electrification will mean the station building needs to go by November.

After more than a century, Pukekohe’s railway station building must be demolished or moved, to make way for electrification of the train lines.

The Franklin Historical Society wants the building to live on in Pukekohe, but say they need the community’s help.

KiwiRail has said the building cannot stay on site as it will need the space it occupies for stabling the trains and electrification.

New overhead masts will be built along 19km of track between Papakura and Pukekohe to power electric trains for passengers, and Pukekohe station will be redeveloped to allow for more services and longer trains.

The image above comes from this video from some sessions Kiwirail and Supporting Growth ran recently.

Fringe Benefit Tax Break

Stuff reports that government officials considered making vehicles exempt from Fringe Benefit Tax in response to COVID.

It’s the tax exemption blamed for New Zealand’s extraordinarily high uptake of polluting double cab utes, but instead of closing the loophole the Government actually looked at extending it to all vehicles for the period of the Covid-19 lockdown – at a cost of $36 million.

Papers obtained by Stuff under the Official Information Act show tax officials drew up plans to exempt all motor vehicles from paying Fringe Benefit Tax or FBT whenever the country was in a level 4 lockdown, costing roughly $36m.

Fringe benefit tax or FBT is used to make sure that companies pay tax on benefits they give to their employees. It’s designed to make sure that companies and employees don’t use generous work perks as a way of getting around paying tax on ordinary income.

The most common type of work perk is being allowed to use a company car in personal time.

Whenever the car is being used for personal rather than work-related purpose, the owner should be paying tax.

If anything, the government should be looking to close the FBT loopholes on vehicles and removing it from public transport.

Get the cars out now

Even more evidence that we need to get the cars out of Queen St now.

Air quality on Auckland’s Queen St is worsening year on year, and a councillor says it provides strong evidence to make it a zero-emissions zone “as soon as possible”.

Auckland’s State of the Environment Report 2020, released today and the third such report since 2009, provides the most up-to-date snapshot of the region’s air, land and water.

While many minor improvements have been made even since the last report in 2015, it highlights the challenges of catering for a city experiencing unprecedented levels of growth, with the current population of 1.7 million people expected to top 2.3m by 2050.

It paints a picture of slow improvements on major legacy issues such as deforestation and the state of our beaches, but also major concerns around urban development swallowing up pastoral land, sediment from developments choking waterways and estuaries, and highly-polluted city streams.

While air quality overall appears to be improving for the region, roadside testing shows increasing levels of nitrogen oxide, and in particular Queen St in the CBD has seen the gas along with particulate matter (including black carbon) breach targets each year from 2017 to 2019.

Data for 2020 is not known yet, but is unlikely to exceed annual targets due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

These pollutants are known to cause and enhance breathing problems, including asthma.

According to the report declining air quality is likely from diesel cars, delivery vehicles, buses, construction vehicles and construction work at the lower end of Queen St reducing ventilation.

Chair of the climate and environment Committee Richard Hills said this evidence added to the impetus to make the CBD a zero-emissions zone “as soon as possible”.

Later this year the City Link buses will go electric but at the same time there will be more buses using the street as a result of CRL diversions. Getting the cars out of Queen St asap will mean at least those buses are moving and not idling in traffic.

City Rail Link

The CRL team have put out the latest drone footage of the works at Mt Eden Station. Helpfully the drone is lower in the sky and that helps to give a greater sense of the work going on at the site, including making the trench approaching the tunnel entrance much clearer.

They’re also starting to put together the first segments of the Tunnel Boring Machine, which will take till mid-march, ahead of tunnelling starting in April.

Puhinui Station

Auckland Transport put out this video on a visit to Puhinui Station by Transport Minister Michael Wood and other central and local government politicians.


A few quick things

An update on fixing the new Tamaki Dr cycleway

Nice mask Phil but why not take a photo wearing it on a bus or a train?

New South Wales is making including walking and cycling mandatory in all projects.

There is one potential risk with this approach is if there’s a fixed walking and cycling budget which could result in funding being diverted from standalone walking and cycling projects that might be a higher priority to fix from a network point of view.

While requiring all projects to including walking and cycling is good, my preference is for something like what the UK are planning which will tie the government’s share of funding for non-walking and cycling projects to how fast and how well local authorities roll out safe cycling infrastructure.

The other thing that stood out in that letter above is the comment about this decision being about helping to drive behavioural change. Sadly, despite agreeing to a mode shift policy and it being required by the Auckland Climate Plan, Auckland Transport don’t seem to believe they’re in the business of “helping to drive behavioural change”.


Have a good weekend.

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  1. Insanity that FBT was going to be fully removed. It’s not like we have a car industry to support like Germany or USA.

    100% FBT needs to be exempted from public transport passes, is Genter all over this?

    Have Auckland council ever considered CBD car park levies like Sydney/Melbourne?

    1. The real insanity that they’d consider removing FBT on vehicles but no there have still been real moves to exempt EVs from FBT. Between that and exempting private imports of used EVs for GST, there’s two easy quick wins the government could go for if they were serious about dropping emissions and bolstering our fleet until we can build some more extensive transport networks.

      As a side note, FBT doesn’t work the way some people think it does, especially when it comes to utes and even more so when it comes to small companies, who can exempt vehicles from paying FBT anyway under certain conditions.

  2. On NZ Herald, an article that the Harbour Bridge is coming to the end of its useful life and ‘can no longer be strengthened’.

    So now is the time to have the hard talk – about whether going ahead with Skypath/whatever it is now for $300m+ is a good idea, what the replacements are going to be and what sort of rail connection (Light/Metro) we want on the Shore.

    I’m starting to wonder whether a new, smaller road bridge and light rail-only tunnel is the answer here. It would be great to find a way to run a proper pedestrian access corridor across the Harbour (like a linear park) but I’m not sure how we could make this happen. Bonus marks if it works out to be cheaper to just infill the Harbour entirely for affordable housing. It works pretty well in Sim City.

    1. Why is the Auckland bridge collapsing while Sydney’s bridge, which is 30 years older carries trains etc and seems to have no problems

      1. Because the Sydney Harbour Bridge hasn’t had two extra bridges added on the sides. It’s the clipons that have the issues, maybe the solution is returning the bridge to its orignal state and the let the traffic “adjust”.

      2. The issues are all to do with the clip-ons. They had a shorter design life (I want to say 40 years but have no proof). That has been extended significantly but steel can only have so many flex’s and eventually large structural members will have to replaced. They were also an innovative design in the civil engineering space for their time, and like usual the first adopters of a technology have to pay the price of fumbling in the dark and making mistakes.
        The center section is totally isolated from these issues and is doing fine. Trucks hitting it aside. It was built to carry much more weight than it does currently.

        1. Surely you can spend a lot of money shoring up the clip ons somehow before you even get to a fraction of the cost of a total crossing replacement

        2. They actually have very few options left in terms of shoring it up. The main path forward it to restrict heavy vehicles from those outside lanes. Further on they will have to fully replace large sections. That would require complete closure of those lanes for presumably years.

          What they have done in the past is to just weld more steel on to reinforce the weakening and cracked sections. This can no longer be the case however, they’ve reached the limit of how much extra weight they can add. All the old weak steel is still there, just dead weight. As more and more wears out, you can keep adding more but you’re just adding more and more weight.

          Its not a question of money, its a question of physics.

        3. Surely we could just replace the clipons then. Admittedly I have no idea what this would cost but surely it must be cheaper than a whole new road crossing.

        4. I’m not so sure that clip-on replacement would be cheaper. The harbor bridge is essentially 3 independent, parallel bridges. Each clip on and the center original section. They only thing they really share is the supports that its all sitting on. You would in effect be removing an old bridge, building a new one in its place, on the same supports, all while keeping the rest of the bridge 1 meter away open.
          Might be easier to do all that work a couple hundred meters away from the live very important bridge, while getting the benefit of new supports.
          Not to mention closing 1/4 of the harbor bridge down for years would cause a lot of jumping up and down from various groups.

          This is all hypothetical, clearly a PT tunnel and light vehicles only on the outside lanes is the short – medium term solution. Once PT is good enough then replacement or just removal of the clip-ons might be an option then. In 20 or 30 years.

        5. SOLUTION.

          Introduce a $20 per way toll to all bridge traffic using number plate scanners. This revenue then goes towards the new tunnel. ( This process has already proposed by NZTA. See; )

          170,000 vehicle trips per day x $25 =$4.25 million per day of potential revenue ( or approx $1,530,000,000 per year )

          The bridge toll would also encourage “behaviour change” from single occupancy car drivers.

      3. There are also different ground conditions at play, Auckland being more difficult.
        That and the structures are vastly different from each other from an engineering viewpoint.

      4. Aucklands bridge isn’t collapsing, it is stronger than it has ever been due to strengthening works, and it’s lifespan is indefinite.

        This is a media campaign by the team at NZTA who are pissed off their pet project isn’t proceeding, supported by the trucking lobby. They’re trying to create some sort of urgency to build a motorway tunnel even though all their work has shown it isn’t a priority and the only need is for active modes and a rapid transit crossing.

        They issued a thin retraction this morning after getting a ‘please explain’.

        1. It was a media beat up. The Herald was speculating in areas NZTA hadn’t commented on much, before NZTA was specifically asked.

        2. Yes it is a beat up. The next press release will say that because of the state of the bridge there is no way they can build the Skypath.

    2. Personally I think they should take the city side bridge lane and turn it into a cycling/pedestrian shared path and be done with.

      1. It would also increase the life of the clip-ons as they would have to handle way less weight and flexing. However if you were going to take one, the northbound lane is the one that is much weaker. It would be more ideal for the bridge itself if that lane was the one turned into a pedestrian section. Too bad about the view being the other side though.

      2. ‘Personally I think they should take the city side bridge lane and turn it into a cycling/pedestrian shared path and be done with”

        How many people will then use it to cross the bridge each day??
        25? 125? 300?

        How do people get to the northern start point of the bridge by foot?? Will you walk from Albany into the CBD by foot??

        We need to replace 170,000 daily vehicle trips.

    3. This and the Waka Kotahi’s response to JAG at select committee are starting to sound like “a very NZ coup’. Instead of tanks on the streets we get bulldozers and motorway builds whether the elected government wants it or not.

    4. I believe people are saying the busway will be totally saturated at ~18,000 people per direction per hour. So whatever we choose to be the next mode (and hopefully final mode) for the busway corridor has to be able imo to take at least double that. I think a final form upper limit of the system (with large future upgrades) should be around 40,000 people per direction per hour.
      That would put us at the upper limit of systems that have any street running / non automated running. It would have to be on the level of the Seattle link light rail system, or a metro system like a slightly cut down Sydney metro.
      A north shore system connected to a surface queen street light rail would probably work in the beginning, but over time that would likely become quite the bottleneck and a grade separated tunnel would be needed to overcome capacity limitations stemming from non automated train running.

      If even more growth is needed in the far future then that would be the time to put in an alternate corridor imo and extend the reach of the RTN.

      1. Kinda agree, but note that the bus capacity doesn’t go away if you build another transit crossing. So a crossing with twice as much capacity would be three times as much as we have today. Will be a very long time before there are more than three times the passengers at peak hour.

        1. Well, any light rail would 99% be likely to use the Busway so yes the bus capacity goes to almost zero as the only buses crossing the harbour would be from Onewa Road

        2. It is highly likely that the first north shore rail system will be built on the busway. It would be a big target to get busses out of the city. Plus its an existing grade separated corridor ripe for light rail / metro track laying.
          And I would hope its at least 30 years after buildout before a metro or light rail system is totally saturated with no upgrade paths left.
          Another rapid transit corridor would be much easier to implement with busses too, using existing streets with really good bus / signal priority.

        3. The busway stops at Akoranga, from there the buses run on shoulders lanes on the motorway. Buses can keep doing that, from onewa yes, and also buses from northcote, takapuna, Milford, devonport that don’t use the busway. No reason to stop running those, In fact you can double those routes if the northern expresses are replaced.

        4. Yes, that is probably what will happen. I really think that the Onewa road busway station should be built though, and the bi-directional busway should be extended down to it. It’s the ideal location for a major interchange. It would be a big extension to the hub and spoke model we want. Then travelling north on the busway from Onewa would be a much better rapid transit network experience. Simple frequent lines, and easy interchanges.

          If this station was there, you can build the future transit tunnel to there fine I believe. A sunken tube tunnel would work. I looked at the marine charts and all the gradients seem to be doable for light rail / metro.

      2. “If even more growth is needed in the far future then that would be the time to put in an alternate corridor imo and extend the reach of the RTN”

        Over 50% of trips from the North Shore to Auckland CBD are now made using buses.

        NZTA already has highly developed plans to:
        – Replace buses on the Northern Busway with Light Rail
        – Build a Light Rail tunnel and vehicle tunnel from Barrys Point Road or Onewa Road to Fanshaw Street/Vic Park
        – Bring light rail into Fanshawe Street and Queen Street, then to Dominion Road
        – Only city bound or Ponsonby bound cars would then use the existing harbour bridge. It would no longer be part of SH1
        – The curent double decker buses that are using the Northern Busway would then be redeployed across the busiest bus routes across Auckland.

        Unfortunately there is no budget to complete these projects and Jacinda made sweeping promises about Light Rail that the Labour Govt could not deliver.

  3. My understanding of FBT is that if the vehicle is used for any private use at all the FBT is totally void and you can’t claim it.

    It’s just that it’s not enforced.

      1. You mean the property brightline test zippo?

        That test most certainly is enforced.

        IRD have a team specifically dedicated to it.

        Both parties involved in a house sale have to provide IRD numbers and it’s the lawyers doing the settlement that have the onus to supply the IRD numbers.

    1. That’s true in general, but vehicles intended primarily for non-passenger use, like vans and utes, have an exemption and can be used for commuting without incurring FBT. They pay FBT on days in which the vehicle is used for any personal use other than commuting to work, such as stopping at the supermarket on the way to work (unless that use is minor, infrequent, and irregular). Hence calls to either enforce the rules or repeal the exemption. In addition, since 2017 small companies (1 or 2 vehicles in total) have been given a complete exemption.

      1. The real lack of compliance was that all the work-related vehicles conditions had to be met for it to be deemed a work-related vehicle in the first place. I don’t know how but this turned into ‘a mate told me a mate’s accountant said all double-cab utes are exempt’.

  4. Still no news about light rail then. Its been about 3 1/2 years since Labour were elected, seems like they should have decided what to do by now (or maybe they have decided to do nothing).

    1. Light rail has served its purpose. It got Labour elected. No urgency now, there are other pipe dream projects to get on with (where are we with NZ supplying the world with hydrogen?)

    2. Twyford had this in his lap ready to go and dropped the ball with his $15b metro fantasy. It’s gone for at least a decade now. Time to think about other things.

  5. Light rail has served its purpose. It got Labour elected. No urgency now, there are other pipe dream projects to get on with (where are we with NZ supplying the world with hydrogen?)

  6. I think it would be a good bet that the increase in particulates in the air in Queen Street might correlate well with the number of buses. Letting diesel buses into Queen Street was a major mistake. Can you imagine the owner of any shopping mall agreeing to let them drive through 5 metres from their shop fronts?

    1. Replacing trolley buses with diesels was a major mistake from an air pollution standpoint. Just as well no was bothered about that back then and no measuring of particulates in Queen st was undertaken until very recently. The first generation of Link buses had the stinkiest most disgusting exhaust fumes I’ve ever encountered. And right at ground level.

      1. Greater Wellington Regional Council scrapped all its trolleybuses in 2017, in full knowledge and awareness of the pollution issues.

  7. “(Also they don’t think improving safety and reducing emissions are always aligned ‍♀️).”

    Not too sure why she finds this confusing as it’s pretty obvious, sure some aspects of improving safety can reduce emissions, but other aspects can increase emissions.

    An example I’ve mentioned before is the installing of speed tables every 100m on certain urban roads, this can increase fuel consumption by 300% and hence increase emissions by just as much if not more.

    It’s also interesting that she thinks not a single project Waka Kotahi is doing will reduce emissions. Have to wonder what she was doing when she was Transport Minister.

      1. By “ridiculous statements” are you referring to your claim she wasn’t the Transport Minister when she was in fact the “Associate Minister of Transport” during the Labour- Green-NZ1st coalition?

        1. “An example I’ve mentioned before is the installing of speed tables every 100m on certain urban roads, this can increase fuel consumption by 300% and hence increase emissions by just as much if not more.”

          imbecilic tosh

        2. Chris N
          So from your testing what impact does it make?
          Or do you simply scream abuse at people when they share information some obvious and logical information from outside of your echo chamber?

        3. What is obvious and logical is that speed humps reduce carbon emissions by reducing vehicle speeds.

        4. Sailor Boy
          Can you explain to me how slowing down to 10km/h, then accelerating back to 50km/h to only slow down to 10km/h every 100m uses less fuel than rolling along at a constant 50km/h?

          Have you ever done any testing to support this theory that defies the laws of physics?

        5. I agree Richard. Obviously they will increase fuel usage if people are on the gas and then on the anchors all the time. they should hurry up and make the limit on these roads 30km/h.

        6. That would be the more environmentally way of doing things, or they could use other measures that encourage people to drive at the speed they want without penalising people who are already driving at the right speed. This is what was done in the past before speed tables became so popular.

          Currently they seem to be installing these things on roads where 99.999% of people are driving at about the right speed but there was been one or two people driving at 2 or 3 times the speed limit trying to evade the police.

        7. “Can you explain to me how slowing down to 10km/h, then accelerating back to 50km/h to only slow down to 10km/h every 100m uses less fuel than […]”

          They won’t — if you don’t want to use a ton of fuel, then don’t drive like a tool.

          Do you think people who drive like this will slow down for a speed limit?

        8. roeland
          It sounds like your just making some stereotypical assumptions.

          My 300% came from my own testing of a road that was just over 1km in length with speed bumps every 100m. I drove it rather casually however my fuel consumption increased from 5/100km to 15l/100km.

          It does of course depend what sort of vehicle you drive and how much you care about said vehicle, some folk would simply drive straight over the things at 50km/h and get some air time, however I slowed down to 10km/h as I have a sports car with track suspension.

          From some research I was reading some air pollutants are increased by 500% from a single speed bump.

        9. I’m not making assumptions — you literally mentioned slowing down to 10km/h, then accelerating back to 50km/h in your post. Seriously. Don’t do that.

          Sports cars with low suspension are indeed forced to slow down a lot for speed bumps, but they are only a small minority of cars on the road. For good reasons. Most other cars can take these speed bumps faster than that.

        10. “Seriously. Don’t do that”
          So you expect people to stay driving at the 10 or 20km/h that the speed bump is posted at even though the road is posted at 50km/h?

        11. The council has been pretty thick so far when it comes to speed limits, so quite often the answer is yes, you should drive under the speed limit.

          I can’t tell where you are encountering these speed bumps, but so far I spotted them mainly in shopping streets and small residential streets. And we have a few new ones nearby on a particularly crappy intersection. These are all places where you shouldn’t be driving 50.

        12. roeland
          FYI, you called poeple who slow down for speed bumps tools and assumed they don’t follow the speed limit. Not too sure why.

        13. roelan
          The place I tested was Chichester Dr in south Auckland before they reduced the speed limit to 30km/h. This is essentially what the plan is for every urban road in the city other than arterials.

          Another annoying set are on Carlton St in Hillsborough.

        14. So yes there is your answer — these are both streets where they intend to be quiet, with local traffic only. A clear hint on that second one are the kerb build-outs. So they expect you to drive more slowly.

          I don’t know why the council is so reluctant to actually lower the speed limit. But you don’t have to wait for them to do so. It is not a nanny state. The speed bumps give you a clear hint.

        15. roeland
          Did I at some point claim speed bumps aren’t effective at reducing speed or diverting traffic? I don’t recall ever bringing that up so why change topic and start telling me about it?

        16. Increasing fuel consumption from 5L/100 km to 15L/100 km is only a 200% increase. Excuse the splitting of hairs but it does soften the impact of the argument.

        17. Well, if you double a thing, that’s a 100% increase. Each successive increment of the starting amount is another 100%. It’s not “my system”, it’s just the way it is. A 50% increase on your starting 5L/100 km gives you 7.5L, 100% increase is 10L, etc. I don’t mean to make a thing of it, and to your credit you provide the raw numbers so people can make their own mind up, but the 300% cited is technically an exaggeration.

        18. If you’re trying to speed up to 50km/h between speed bumps then that is your terrible driving that is causing an increase in emissions. The majority of drivers are sensible enough to realise that if they consistently travel at a lower speed (or choose an alternative mode or route) then they don’t have to drive like a child playing Need for Speed.

    1. “An example I’ve mentioned before is the installing of speed tables every 100m on certain urban roads, this can increase fuel consumption by 300%”

      Oh for cripes sake. Why not claim that bicycles give you cancer and walking increases racism. Such a moronic statement with no evidence, in support of a blinkered worldview. Go vote for Trump.

      1. Wow, so much hate.
        Amazing how someone can get so triggered and abusive by such an obvious and logical bit of information.

        1. You don’t need to oscillate between 10 and 50kph. You can cross a speed table/bump at 30kph which likely will be the coasting speed anyway due to lower urban speed limits.

          There will be some minor effect on emissions but they will be within the margin of error.

        2. Brutus
          It depends entirely on what type of vehicle you are driving. For most of them I need to slow right down to 10km/h, however for others I need to almost stop as they have such an abrupt change. If you’re in a 4×4 however you don’t even need to slow down, hence the incentive to drive a 4×4.

          If for some reason nobody needs to slow down because they are already going slow enough for the speed bump it would imply the speed bump is superfluous.

        3. Front overhang and height is the key driver in how much you need to slow for a speed table. I have a small Corolla sedan and a Mini but they basically have to crawl over speed tables lest I damage the front ends. As noted, huge lifted 4x4s can just throttle over them like they aren’t there. Do we want the cityscape to punish people who drive smaller, more practical cars?

        4. I agree Buttwizard.
          Unfortunately many of the measures being taken to apparantly make things safer are rather effective and encouraging people to trade up to SUVs and off-road vehicles, my road for example is only 3m wide and therefore its not possible to use a standard driveway without driving over the kerb.

          It certainly plays on my mind when deciding what car to get next. They’re even worse on my motorbike.

        5. @Buttwizard I guess I was lucky so far. Near me the nastiest bumps are on Maritime Terrace. Which force you down to about 15 to 20 km/h. It is annoying but still sort of OK. You’d probably want to limit speed to max 30 km/h there anyway. There’s a park and playground at the bottom of the hill, so you really don’t want people ripping through there at high speed. Speed bumps enforce a speed limit in a way that road signs just can’t.

          There are the brand new speed tables on Archers Road. These are just bizarre, some ramps are quite smooth but others are like driving off a 30 cm kerb. I don’t think they’re supposed to be like that. This as well is a defensive measure — you often see people entering roundabouts at full speed, they probably want to avoid this because of the poor sightlines over there.

          I haven’t been forced all the way down to walking speed so far — I agree that sort of thing should be abolished.

        6. Speed bumps are only necessary because of idiot drivers who can’t or won’t keep their speed down without them.

  8. You mean the property brightline test zippo?

    That test most certainly is enforced.

    IRD have a team specifically dedicated to it.

    Both parties involved in a house sale have to provide IRD numbers and it’s the lawyers doing the settlement that have the onus to supply the IRD numbers.

  9. I find it amusing, from a very cynical point of view, when comparing the health effects of Covid as compared to air pollution. It is estimated that approximately 1250 New Zealanders will die from air pollution this year. However, the government’s response to this is deafening silence. As I have said many times fear and risk are not the same.

    1. There’s plenty of experience overseas telling us that Covid would have killed many thousands of people if left unchecked.

      Covid sits in this awkward space where it is not properly scary in the way eg. the Black Death is, but it is still worse than the cold or even the flu.

      That said, the apathy towards air pollution over here is pretty bizarre.

      1. Perhaps Covid would kill thousands, perhaps not. The so called modelers and daily experts have been so wrong so often, flipping a coin would have been better. My point is that we in New Zealand spent billions and have lost billions yet this year, and every year after this we will lose lives to air pollution and our response is a shrug.

        1. Same with the more direct form of road-carnage. We shrug and do nothing effective to stop that happening either. Bar another Covid lock-down or other major societal reset, I can confidently predict that road casualties will continue largely unabated next year. And the year after, etc etc.

        2. No, that is not a “perhaps”. An uncontrolled outbreak is a guaranteed 5,000 dead even if we get it back under control after a month or so. That is still assuming your hospitals don’t get overwhelmed. And this is not a question of modelling, we know this because that is what actually happened in every single country that decided to go more ‘softly’.

          You’re right about air pollution being a big deal, but so is covid.
          We are just spoilt by being relatively insulated from it so far, and by having a government that could afford to take action before we got thousands of infections per day.

        3. “The so called modelers and daily experts have been so wrong so often”

          It’s a ‘good’ thing that natural experiments occurred to prove them right then isn’t it? The UK’s death rate would have given us 10,000 deaths here, no modelling required to realise that.

  10. Once the northern corridor improvements are done we should re-jig all the motorway names / designations. SH1 through traffic should use the western ring route, that’s essentially what its for, and there are not issues with those bridges out there getting worn out. Call it state highway one and be done with it.

  11. “NZTA just said at select committee that their capital budgets are mostly committed so they won’t be reducing carbon emissions from transport over the next 3+ years.”

    There is a simple solution to this. Cabinet instructs the State Service Commission that at the next annual review of Chief Executives a substantial part of the “at risk” component of their salary is tied to the reduction in carbon emissions.

    I imagine within a very short period of time NZTA would inundate Minister Wood with thoughts about tolls; bus ways; bike paths near motorways; and perish the thought, reallocation of spending towards PT and active modes.

    Such an approach is also respectful, civilised, but most importantly, effective.

    Maybe even Police might decide that a couple of their cars could be EVs?

  12. “Auckland Transport don’t seem to believe they’re in the business of “helping to drive behavioural change”.”

    AT does dream about “Mode Shift and behaviour change” ie “how do we get single occupancy car drivers to use the bus?’ however they don’t have the political support to actually do this. Meantime the Commercial Dept at AT continues to increase fares and the Metro Team continues to cut services.

    Many of the people who had proposed ways to encourage mode shift, have been made redundant and have been replaced by recent Uni graduate “consultants” and “facilitators” from PWC and Deloittes.

    1. They do have the political support to do lots of things. They just undermine that political support by giving poor expert advice such as claiming what the politicians are asking for is not possible.

      Sometimes their excuse is a legal reason, but they don’t seem to understand their role is to provide a good network, and test the law as required, when the law is lacking.

      Sometimes their excuse stems from their poor modelling. Like in A4E, where the fear of accommodating traffic in 2048 – and their misconceptions about how to shape those traffic levels – means they couldn’t do what the Councillors voted for unanimously. (Even though hundreds of city centres around the world have demonstrated exactly what they need to know.)

      Or like the fancy emissions modelling that produced the emissions diagram (that demonstrates very little modeshift or reduction in vehicle travel) I showed in

      Yet this emissions modelling itself is restricted by them believing public opinion can’t be changed, so it’s not expert advice at all, just a political statement.

      1. Well said Heidi. It’s hard to add more.

        As you say, despite many other cities making huge changes in mode shift Auckland remains stuck as one of the worst in the world. I guess the signal to the future was when Auckland abandoned the by words -“the world’s most liveable city.”

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