Featured image is from the documentary High Tide Don’t Hide (see below)

Here’s our roundup for the week.

Climate Change Commission

On Wednesday, the Climate Change Commission published its advice to the New Zealand Government on its first three emissions budgets and direction for its emissions reduction plan 2022 – 2025. This follows their consideration of the public feedback to the draft advice they released in January. They say:

Aotearoa has committed to reaching net zero emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases by 2050 and reducing biogenic methane emissions between 24-47% by 2050. The Commission’s role is to provide independent, evidence-based advice to reach those targets.

It is now over to Government to decide whether to accept the advice, and to show how it will shape climate action in Aotearoa. The Government has until 31 December 2021 to set the first three emissions budgets out to 2035 and release the country’s first emissions reduction plan detailing the policies it will use to achieve the budgets.

Transformational and lasting change is both necessary and possible. The technology and the tools Aotearoa needs to reach its climate targets exist today. Our evidence shows climate action is affordable.

The government should use this advice as a springboard for systems change, and forget the stale ideas of politics and democracy that have tended to dilute experts’ recommendations and social ambition. It’s time for a new decision-making paradigm involving serious education and collaboration, in which the public are more involved in democracy and the outcomes are fairer.

Jamie Morton has written a good thread about some of the differences between the draft and final advice.

It’s notable that the Commission continues to refer to the 2050 target whereas the Climate Change Response Act (the Zero Carbon Act) requires the Commission:

to require the Minister to set a series of emissions budgets… with a view to meeting the 2050 target and contributing to the global effort under the Paris Agreement to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels;

If we take our fair share of action to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, the long term goal of net zero by 2050 will be largely largely dealt with.

The Ministry of Transport’s Hīkina te Kohupara – Kia mauri ora ai te iwi

This focus on the longer term target has filtered through to the Ministry of Transport’s discussion document out for consultation presently:

Council’s draft submission (p149 onwards) on the document is very inspiring. This nails one of the current challenges:

42. Analysis undertaken in the development of the ATAP 2021-2031 package found that only a small portion of Auckland Transport’s programme consisted of projects that will increase emissions… the way in which funding for large programmes such as renewals and safety is allocated to specific projects will ultimately determine the emissions profile of Auckland Transport’s overall investment programme.

43. Conversely, the analysis found that many large scale central government funded roading projects will increase Auckland’s transport emissions. These projects are therefore candidates for reconsideration in light of stated emissions reduction objectives.

Basque Park

Auckland housing

The Coalition for More Homes has relaunched its campaign.

Newshub had a positive article about Auckland YIMBYs:

“The Government has promised to provide a ton of affordable housing whereas the people who vote in local governments tend to be perhaps older and in these concentrated suburbs where they are particularly affected by new development,” Caldwell explains…

Stewart calls this a “critical problem with local democracy”. Only the people who live within a specific council ward can vote – not the people who may need to go to and through that ward for travel, work or school who would benefit from better transit or closer accommodation.

This means there’s a large incentive for residents to vote for councillors who promise to set rules in place to make development very difficult…

“Councils are some of the biggest drivers of housing unaffordability in New Zealand and the situation right now is so dire that nothing less than quick scaling up a public house building programmes and widespread relaxation of rules preventing the construction of new houses, whether that’s private or public, need to be removed.”

Some international climate change news

In Italy, climate activists are suing their government over inaction on climate change.

The UK government has announced that businesses must commit to net zero by 2050 before they can bid for major government contracts worth more than £5m a year.

The Tree Council are happy about Mill Rd

The Tree Council’s note about Mill Rd and Cheesman’s Bush

But elected leaders in the south aren’t so pleased 

The Government’s announcement ending the Mill Road project has disappointed the south’s leaders.

Auckland Deputy Mayor and Franklin Ward Councillor Bill Cashmore understands costs have ballooned to $3.5billion but says residents are unhappy.

“This has been at the top of all the city’s transport plans since its inception, and it will have to be completed one day. The Drury development can only add to congestion and carbon emissions.

I’m not so sure about that, Councillor Cashmore.

“Top of all the city’s plans since its inception” If we take the 2012 Auckland Plan as a guide, the section of Mill Rd south of Papakura wasn’t even on the plans. Mill Rd north of Papakura showed up in the 2012 Auckland Plan as needing “improvement,” and that is what will be provided by the current plan.

I could more convincingly say that completing 70% of the Auckland Cycle Network was “top of all the city’s plans” as it was in the same list and aligns better with Council’s goals. Yet it is neither an item in the government-funded NZUP boost nor even in the Regional Land Transport Plan for the decade to 2031.

“The Drury development can only add to congestion and carbon emissions”: Couldn’t have said it better myself. Developing Drury is simply poor spatial and environmental planning when we need to create a compact urban form. But building new road capacity is not going to help resolve either the congestion or the carbon emissions this development will cause. Road capacity expansion eases local traffic congestion, but only temporarily, and it induces extra traffic – which emits more carbon emissions and congests the wider network.

The package now being provided to South Auckland is much more people-friendly and climate-appropriate. The government has said:

Savings from these changes to Mill Road will allow investment in transport upgrades to release housing and local centres in Drury in a way that supports the Government’s decarbonisation goals. The projects to be considered will include regional cycleways, arterial corridors that provide direct walking, cycling and/or bus access to stations and projects within or crossing state highway corridors to help release additional housing in Drury West.

Innovating Streets

Here are a couple of inspiring videos about Innovating Streets projects. The first is a round up of what’s happening around the country and the second is a nice one from Palmerston North.

Serious crashes are on the rise

Stuff reported:

When Inspector Ashley Gurney hears the words ‘serious crash’ through his police radio, his thoughts jump to his family…

In the first six months of 2021, 146 people were killed in crashes across the country, an increase of 22 from last year, according to the Ministry of Transport

He urged people to take responsibility for their safety and those around them…

Conversations about road safety at home and with friends were needed for a culture shift, he said.

Yes, that culture shift needs to happen and those conversations need to be had. But they’re not just about how we drive; we need the conversations about allowing the authorities to make the systems changes we need.

Red Light Running

Otago Daily Times reporters have been out recording the red light runners at an intersection in Dunedin, and reported running the red is a matter of routine for some drivers:

Within five minutes of arriving at 4pm for my allotted hour of vehicle monitoring, I had counted four blatant red light runners — one heading straight through and three pushing through a right turn arrow, as well as six vehicles squeezing the orange…

While driver behaviour appeared mostly good, the number of drivers speeding up rather than slowing down when the lights turned orange in front of them was concerning to see.

The longer this problem remains unaddressed, the more entrenched the behaviour will become.

The Norske Skog Pulp and Paper Mill to close

One of Kawerau’s mills will close due to the decline of the newsprint industry. Opened in 1955, the mill was built in Kawerau (rather than Murupara as originally intended) because of the geothermal power available there, and is currently owned by Norske Skog. With 160 people losing their jobs, the closure will be a loss to the town.

According to Wikipedia, the Murupara train line (built to serve the mill) was “the last major extension of the New Zealand Rail network.”

Kawerau has other mills, including a craft paper mill owned by a Japanese company, Oji Fibre Solutions, and a toilet paper mill owned by Asaleo Care.

I include the item here, because I’m interested to see whether there’ll be any joined up climate and resilience planning. There’s an available train line, workforce, timber supply, and general log-handling expertise in the area. The Provincial Growth Fund invested $19.9 million in a container terminal in the town and associated roading. Is this mill location appropriate for a value-added timber export industry or an enterprise to produce sustainable timber materials for our construction sector? Perhaps the government’s Mid-Rise Wood Construction programme would be interested?

Clearwater Quays, a timber project that is a partnership between Red Stag Investments and the Ministry of Primary Industries.

K Rd Cycleway

The K Rd Cycleway is having its official blessing this morning. Stuff published a good user’s review of it by Josephine Franks:

My first impression was that it feels damn good to be sheltered from the cars…

But if bikes are protected from cars, pedestrians aren’t necessarily protected from bikes…

I was surprised by how much of my short cycle was spent waiting for a green light… Cars get first dibs on the green light, while bikes have to wait until the left-turning traffic has gone before proceeding straight.

Congestion Charging in Wellington

Minister Wood could reverse Phil Twyford’s position on congestion charging for Wellington:

Wood added that yesterday’s Climate Change Commission report had also weighed in on congestion charging.

“It is notable that the climate change commission has also said that we also need to consider congestion charging as part of the tool box as well,” Wood said.

Public Transport Operating Model Review

Consultation on the Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM) review closes on the 18th – next Friday. There have been a number of benefits from the PTOM, such as better network planning and consistent livery across many companies. But the PTOM is in need of improvement.

A more comprehensive and better quality public transport system will need more buses, and more drivers. To attract more drivers, and keep the good drivers who put safety and customer experience first, they need job security, better pay and conditions. Drivers need to receive ongoing professional Vision Zero training. They also need companies to have a culture in which drivers can raise issues for passengers, drivers and other road users, or that affect the network efficiency – and expect this input to be valued and acted upon.

To deliver on our aspirations for electric buses, companies will need to recoup the cost of new buses, so they’ll want a guarantee of long-term contracts. Yet in times of change, long-term contracts might lock us into yesterday’s plans. Perhaps the solution there is a shift to agencies or government owning the buses and leasing them back to the bus companies. Benefits could include standardizing on makes/models etc, as well as ensuring enough right sized buses. The would need a capex boost to get started though.

There’s a similar issue with depot infrastructure.

The PTOM will also need to be written in a way that works for cities and towns of all sizes. In towns and smaller cities, there’s no genuine competition, and money is always tight.

Documentary “High Tide Don’t Hide” is on tonight, part of the Doc Edge Festival

I’ve been told it’s an inspiring story: Facing a bleak future due to our inaction on addressing climate change, our teenagers have stood up and taken action.

Winner

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79 comments

  1. +100 to “I’m interested to see whether there’ll be any joined up climate and resilience planning. There’s an available train line, workforce, timber supply, and general log-handling expertise in the area. The Provincial Growth Fund invested $19.9 million in a container terminal in the town and associated roading. Is this mill location appropriate for a value-added timber export industry or an enterprise to produce sustainable timber materials for our construction sector? Perhaps the government’s Mid-Rise Wood Construction programme would be interested?”

      1. I started googling to find this out, but ran out of time. Would love to know. Ditto about the associated roading.

        1. Based on news releases from the local council (most recent sources found):
          – Container site construction supposed to start in 2021 (was still in design phase in September 2020), also some sort of interim container site supposed to open 2021. https://www.kaweraudc.govt.nz/news/kawerau-container-terminal-one-step-closer (29/9/20)
          – Road construction for industrial development stage 2 underway, including roundabout connection to SH34. Sites at south end of development ready for lease. https://www.kaweraudc.govt.nz/news/putauaki-trust-industrial-development-progressing-well (4/11/20)

    1. I’d like to see such joined up thinking too but am very pessimistic. We’ve lived under neo-liberalism for more than 30 years and this precludes the sort of government intervention in “free markets” that’d be required to make it happen. Even if our politicians were willing, they’d face the roadblock of an entire public service that at an institutional level doesn’t believe it’s possible or desirable.

      1. ‘Even if our politicians were willing, they’d face the roadblock of an entire public service that at an institutional level doesn’t believe it’s possible or desirable.’
        Haha, yes. Have you worked in government? I have and that sounds very familiar.
        What I learned from my time in government is that group-think reigns supreme, as does a neo-liberal mindset (even amongst so called ‘lefties’). And there’s an amazing lack of creative thought and innovation. Anyone who has that soon leaves, once they realise how that is stymied.
        Anything that involves a decent amount of government-led organisation usually gets rubbished.

    1. But first we have to have enough mills in NZ to cut the timber that is currently sent to China as logs.

      1. I heard anecdotally that almost all of nz’s logs sent to China get used for forms for casting concrete. Fun fact I thought

      2. Which China uses them for temporary construction purposes – ply or lumber concrete formwork. On average NZ’s wood in China has an estimated weighted average useful life of 6,6 years.
        Imagine the good it would do the world if NZ (and other countries with sustainable forests) became so good at building large wooden buildings that we could export them instead of exporting wood for concrete formwork.
        That would be really joined up thinking.
        P.S report here
        https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309459572_Material_flow_and_end-uses_of_harvested_wood_products_produced_from_New_Zealand_log_exports

        1. Australia largest export is iron ore to China which in large part is used to reinforce concrete.
          Surely engineered wood that is used for structural purposes is the better option.

        2. Check what the Aussies are saying about their iron ore.
          https://minerals.org.au/minerals/ironore
          “Iron ore is Australia’s largest source of export revenue, worth $63 billion (approximately US$45 billion) in 2017.”
          “China is the world’s largest steel producer and a key export market for the Australian iron ore industry. It accounts for around 80 per cent of Australia’s iron ore exports (by volume)”

          “As the economies of highly populated countries in Asia continue to grow, steel and iron ore will be in high demand. Just as we have seen with China over the past 20 years, the economic growth in India and South-East Asia will require increasing amounts of steel.”

          “China will also remain a key producer and consumer of steel with its One Belt, One Road initiative requiring significant investment in steel-intensive infrastructure projects both in China and around the region.”

        3. Wow. That’s really interesting too. So sad that New Zealand went down the path of exporting raw materials for so long instead of doing what the Finns have done. We could be leaders, but we’ve refused to invest in the right stuff.

        4. We could build in stone. That’s being done in the ancient past and look at the main street of Oamaru.

        5. If we processed more of our logs in NZ then we could also process the waste wood. There is a idea that waste wood can be processed into biochar instead of rotting or burning it which releases CO2 and potentially methane. Biochar is stable as a stored form carbon for hundreds of years. It has lots of uses – soil remediation, aggregate, additive to compost – it removes odour etc.
          Full report here
          https://biochar.net.nz/application/files/2616/2323/1895/BNNZ_Submission_and_Supplementary_Combined.pdf
          Phil Stevens on Twitter was disappointed the Climate Change Commission ignored the CO2 sequestering benefits in its final report (it was discussed in the earlier drafts)
          https://twitter.com/stevens_phil/status/1402557001503154176?s=20
          To my mind if some of the ETS revenue was used to create a biochar market then that would improve the economics of processing wood here in NZ.

        6. Heidi – the Finns do have the natural advantage of being closer to market… Stor Enzo (Finnish timber products company) supply much of Europe. KLH in Austria supply the rest. All the timber-processing machinery is made in Austria or Germany – fantastic precision cutting tools. We have a long way to go from here.

          Royce – not sure if you’re trying to be ironic, but stone buildings in Oamaru have all been classified as Earthquake prone and if not strengthened, are due for demolition within next 15 years. I was there last month – the city is a financial time bomb. I enquired about one stone building for sale – was told that as it was unstrengthened, banks would not loan on it, and so it effectively could only go to a cash buyer. No one down there has the money to do them up. Government doesn’t look like it will step in with a giant chequebook to solve the problem – and then of course if they did fund the strengthening for Oamaru’s magnificent white stone architecture, then everywhere else would want the same level of subsidy as well.

        7. @miffy
          Or are they burning it releasing all the CO2 someone here paid credits for?
          I don’t entirely know what you mean by that, but when logs leave the forest they are considered “burnt” and their carbon credits have to be surrendered to the government. As a forest grower you get credits for having wood in your forest, if it leaves you have to give the credits back. The government want people to plant trees, and never harvest it, or get the ~30% of the total one off payment you get for the first cycle from the wood that always stays as roots.

          I think if the wood was put into long term infra (like buildings) they should change it to not be considered burnt when it leaves the forest.

        8. Brendon that is a pity about Oamaru. Still more use of stone especially for paving rather than concrete paver. And I suppose stone buildings can be constructed to be earthquake proof. Leave the forest to sequester carbon use stone. Alternatively wood makes good bio fuel even if it is only burnt at Huntly in a dry year. I used to make wood adhesives for plywood and LVL. It’s a nasty chemical process I wouldn’t recommend a job which involves manufacturing or using these adhesives to anybody looking for employment.

        9. Things aren’t looking that bad in Oamaru. As it’s in low risk area (like Auckland, Northland and Dunedin), the deadline to upgrade to 34% of New Build Standard is 35 years from being issued an Earthquake Prone Building Notice by the local council, which doesn’t need to be done until 2032.

      3. As far as I understand, New Zealand lost a lot of that ability to dictate what happens to our forests when we (NZ Government) sold off the cutting rights. Not sure if it was Labour or National, but it was felt that the forests were not earning enough money just sitting there, so interests like the Harvard Pension Fund, and Chinese owners, leapt in, bid millions, and took over our future. China, of course, wants just raw logs – they don’t want them to be further processed – they already get enough processed timber from us – mainly in the form of scaffold planks.

        Currently though, NZ is very uneconomic at producing low-cost processed timber: our practice has recently completed some buildings in CLT imported from Austria, as that was quicker and cheaper than getting CLT from NZ/OZ (XlamNZ closed down and so XLam now only import CLT from Oz). That’s fairly shameful – that a landlocked Austria can get spruce timber panels from forests in Graz, out through Germany and up to Rotterdam, onto a boat and across two oceans and then shipped to site – all for less than we could have done from Nelson to Queenstown.

        On the other hand, there is some good news on the horizon: Red Stag Group have just completed and opened their massive new timber processing plant in Rotorua, right next to our/their biggest forest, and are now capable of pumping out massive amounts of CLT and LVL and more traditional timber. We’re know that this will be faster than before – we’re also hoping this will be cheaper.

        1. Thanks for the real world comment Guy.
          Hopefully Red Stag will do the business.
          Even in this neo-liberal world that NZ has been stuck in since the 80/90s there must be some capacity to do joined up thinking between the government, the construction sector, and the forestry industry to speed up the transition to a desirable value-added engineered wood economy?

    2. Thanks. Lots of interesting points in there. The concept of nail and screw free construction in that way is fascinating. The biophilia work, too. And the forestry comments are hopeful.

      1. Sorry, intended to be a reply to Brendon’s comment with the video link.

        But yes, Weekly Roundup good too.

    3. What about timber prices? Timber prices in US and Russia (countries with massive forests) are now basically at more than 250% of 2019 prices.

      Prices surged up by growing demand on individual houses during/after lockdowns.

  2. The K Road cycleway was available for quite a while, and I’d say It’s not popular at all. I sometimes feel like I’m the only person who cycle and scoot there.

    1. The K Rd cycleway, like many cycleway projects in Auckland, has few if any useful connections. Most of the intersecting/feeder roads have no cycle infrastructure yet. It’s like building a motorway with no onramps then wondering why no-one is using it.

      Yes it is proximate to the NW shared path and Lightpath but users of these don’t have any need to travel along K Rd, they generally want to go into or out of town which involves crossing K Rd.

      Once Symmonds St, Ponsonby Rd or Great N Rd have cycle infrastructure then we’ll see more people using the K Rd cycleway.

      1. “NW shared path and Lightpath but users of these don’t have any need to travel along K Rd, ”

        Not true. My cycle is Pt Chev -> Grafton, which means use of the cycleway between Upper Queen St and the bridge.

    2. I assumed it was a soft launch. They just officially opened it today.
      Had a cycle up and down. From a vision zero approach, it isn’t perfect, but pretty good. But cyclists won’t get through there much faster than a car.

      1. If we applied vision zero to cycleways then all bikes would have to have 5 wheels arranged like an office chair.

    3. I’ve used it every morning since it was partially open, and will probably use it at night once the K’Rd station construction allows the reconnection of the cycle lane on Pitt St.
      So far I’ve had too many near misses with pedestrians to count, and hit one. I’m not travelling particularly quickly (non-electric commuter bike), but many pedestrians are just on another planet and will literally change direction and step out directly in front of you without looking. Many are reading their phones with headphones in, oblivious to bells and yelling.
      From my point of view, the worst spot is actually on Upper Queen St, at the bottom of the dip and the Cross St intersection. Due to the dip, its easy to have a bit of speed on. The surface is littered with leaves at this time of year, and floods when it rains. Pedestrians can jump out form behind trees, parked vans and road works signs. The kerbs are sharp on both sides with no possibility of swerving to avoid. Cars sometimes do not look when pulling out from Cross St, and sometimes they enter driving the wrong way into the one way exit, certainly not looking.

      1. These pedestrians could just be intoxicated with substances. Near upper queen street pedestrians can also jump on you with a knife or assault in other ways.

        1. So it has been known since 1896 and yet NZ has increased its coal consumption. Basically any change I make in my life is totally pointless so long as Huntly is burning coal. Except of course I can use less electricity.

        2. There’s the choices you can personally make about transport, housing, energy, lifestyle, travel, consumption, etc – these are choices we all have (albeit our power to make good choices vary considerably) and which need support by good systems and culture.

          Then there’s the choices you can personally make about the discussions you have – which can influence the culture – and the decisions you make in your work – which can influence the systems. From what I know of you, I would’ve thought you’re already having some discussions that are making your colleagues think outside the square. That’s important.

        3. Heidi the only choice I have today is whether to cook fish, chicken or chic peas. I am sure they come with different amounts of carbon but nothing significant. Meanwhile Huntly is burning coal instead of gas and everyone who spent big on an EV is charging it on power made from fossil fuels.

        4. I cant find the exact stats, but charging an ev with 70% renewable electricity is still produces far less co2 than powering it on 0% renewable energy from petrol, powered with an inefficient personal ICE.

          But yes the recent spike in natural gas prices and subsequent switch to coal lies at the feet of the government not even voters. They cant just ban natural gas drilling, not do anything to influence the use / price of coal, provide no regularity change to encourage more renewable development, and then expect good outcomes.

        5. It always seemed a stupid decision to me, to use a gas field for burning just to spin a turbine and make electricity. So much wastage.

          Someone did the calculations once: if we had just kept the Maui gas field for use as a cooking fuel only – home and hospo – it would have lasted for over 500 years. Instead, NZ burnt it all off and all for nothing to show. Such a waste. Maui himself would be ashamed.

        6. “They cant just ban natural gas drilling, not do anything to influence the use / price of coal, provide no regularity change to encourage more renewable development, and then expect good outcomes.”
          What the hell? NZ has a shortage of electricity because there has been less rain and our hydro lakes are producing less. As a consequence Genesis has had to burn more coal. This reasonably foreseeable problem could have been partly solved if all the gentailers had reinvested in more generation capacity in the last decade instead of paying high dividends and in some cases special dividends.
          When every economist and interest group has been banging on about the need for more infrastructure it should been followed by, like more wind farms and solar, instead of the very unhelpful, roads and bridges.

        7. @Guy I would argue cooking etc is a waste of natural gas. The new powerful electric stove tops are great (much better than the old ones), and can be powered directly off renewable electricity, got one in my flat, more powerful I think than my parents gas hob, at least I find myself burning stuff more often. Although the usage for these domestic purposes is far less than other things. Still, there are almost no advantages to natural gas for domestic cooking these days IMO.

          @john
          A decade ago facing similar low lakes, we would have been burning much more natural gas instead of coal, which is better in almost every way, co2, waste product, danger to miners, efficiency etc. But we cant any more partially because we stopped drilling and exploration.
          For sure the current setup with the electricity market is not optimal, but the government is mostly to blame there too, they write the laws. It seems like they’re getting it together now though, and hopefully the Onslow project goes through, that would be infrastructure that pays for centuries.

        8. There are a whole lot of wind farm plans which got consent and were then put aside because of the silly reforms in the sector. A disappointment for all involved. I believe some of the ideas are being reignited now.

  3. My view has always being the second law of thermodynamics is evidence based and any sort of clickbait research on human behaviour isn’t however I am thinking it would be useful for some research institution to pick a random thousand workers and examine their commute to see if a switch to cycling or public transport is in anyway feasible and also if their is a possibility that a car will be left at home. Then we can make some sort of an estimate of the need for further investment in walking cycling and public transport. There could be criteria factored in like any journey taking twice the time or any trip requiring three or more changes would be deemed unacceptable. It could also pickup the number of workers who require road transport as part of their job. By workers I just mean everyone bosses contractors etc. So this could be extrapolated out to give us some kind of steer on reduced level of congestion and carbon and nitrogen emissions. I except the answer would be 42. But it might show an emperor with no clothes. But it would be good if it gave us some hope that what we are advocating for isn’t completely delusional. Or that we need to focus on changing non work travel rather force workers out of their cars. So a thousand case studies go for it.

    1. We don’t need to model it to any great depth, Royce. The research is clear about a whole lot of interventions. It’s even clear that no more research is needed!

      To make public transport attractive we need safe walking amenity, more network, and faster bus times – that means road reallocation and a reduction in the number of vehicles congesting the network. To make cycling attractive, it needs to be safe for all ages, so we need low speed, low volume local streets, road reallocation to protected cycleways on the arterials, some cycling superhighways in each broad direction and a reduction in the number of vehicles congesting the network.

      Claims of needing to ‘prove’ it in the Auckland context stem from fearfulness and work to delay progress. We simply need leadership and a better national conversation, in which the public’s abilities to learn, consider and collaboratively find solutions are respected and harnessed, rather than ignored by fearful politicians always expecting the worst kickback to change.

      1. Is that right. Anecdotal evidence says otherwise. Anyone can get on the journey planner and find a commute which will take an hour and 22 minutes on public transport and 25 mins by car. And my 4.6 kilometre ride on the Southern pathway convinced me that a regular commute of that length would be too much for many even if they were on a gold plated cycleway for most of their journey.

        1. I agree, Royce. The point is that there’s no point modelling this in a detailed way; we simply need to get going with doing it.

          Provide the effective and connected public transport system, and people will use it. Provide the safe cycling, and people will use it.

          The split between modeshift for short local trips and long commutes will be interesting to observe. Ditto for public transport. But the results are irrelevant to the decision about whether to make these investments. All the modeshift is important.

        2. If we’re talking total journey times a largely untapped model in Auckland is the bike park and ride, and this will produce much better results overall than the; feeder bus -> backbone train / busway -> feeder bus model, which is really contributing to these crazy journey times. I think it’d make a great post, giving some example trips etc. Compare to car park and ride.

          The cycle superhighways are important, but the more practical model for the majority of the commuting population going long distances (4+ km) is to bike 1-2 km to the train station, park and ride into the city on a train or bus. And if you don’t work in the city to leave a bike at your regular destination station to remove the far end feeder bus too.

        3. If we don’t have to analysis I would suggest we need to measure it. So do we have a nice simple graph showing shift from cars to bikes walking and public transport in Auckland. Certainly I expect in London and Paris there has being a shift to cycling but that’s understandable given the pandemic cause who would want to be in a crowded train.

        4. Yes, measuring to show the impact is important.

          I think I linked the research once showing that in Europe, which has been hit by Covid all over, an enormous study has been able to separate out the effects of the pop up cycleways and LTN’s, and shown how much of a difference they’ve made to the cycling uptake. They have enough cities – all hit by Covid – to be able to say how much is due to Covid and how much due to the infrastructure.

          If I haven’t linked it, I’ll dig it out and write a post… sometime…

        5. I’d agree transit times are terrible, a weekday journey from South Auckland to Britomart is about 1hr 20min, of which about a third is walking and waiting.

          That 20-30 minutes of walking and waiting is almost the time it takes to drive the lot.

          High frequency services or good planning eliminate the waiting; riding a bike directly to the express rail or bus station greatly reduces walking and local shuttle time.

          Onward travel from Britomart might include a hire bike or scooter, cheap and on demand.

          It’s also worth pointing out that the time to find a car park and walk out to the final destination is not counted in the journey planner.
          We don’t always get a fair comparison from Google Maps.

        6. That is not too bad, I measured a transit time of about 1h 30min from Birkdale to K road. A common problem with these sort of trips is you never know beforehand where on Fanshawe Street your buses are going to stop, and the route planner is often wrong so you get stranded. Needless to say that is not a trip I will be doing on PT again any time soon.

          I guess being a regular will help, but for casual users you just get horrible experience after horrible experience.

          Casually driving to K road is also a bad experience, but there is no way it will take 1 and a half hour, even including getting lost in the one way streets behind it, finding parking and walking. And at least the way back will be much quicker.

      2. Yeah, I’ve seen nothing that suggests Auckland will be a special snowflake with conditions that would prevent us from repeating the bicycling success seen in every country / city that’s made a decent go of it.
        Other cities have worse weather, e-bikes flatten hills, and most of the roads in Auckland are perfectly fine grades for bikes with gears.

        1. COVID happened and then it turned out Auckland actually is a special snowflake. It turns out cycling is such a taboo over here that even COVID didn’t budge it. Unlike all those overseas examples.

        2. a) we have had a very different experience than overseas with covid. We have had short strict lockdowns combined with normalicy vs a year and a bit of prolonged pretty strict lockdowns and mask wearing
          b) I’ll use London as an example, they are much further ahead than Auckland in the conversation / infra around biking. I have no doubt we will get there, its just we’re behind, and started out behind. If covid had happened in 10 years we would have had much more similar initial conditions, and I think similar outcomes.

          People claim we have a different culture and that is why biking would never work here. But the majorty of pundits / the public said the same thing about Britomart and rail, and the same thing about the northern busway. And were undeniably proven wrong. The way people get around over the medium / long term is almost exclusively about the infrastructure provided.

      3. Heidi
        I still believe that cheap public transport for all is a large part of the picture. When you look at the European cities with high PT mode share, cheap travel for all seems to be a large part of the equation. Annual pass uptake in Vienna is an example of that.
        Annual and monthly passes encourage the holder to use PT frequently which is what is required.

    2. I share your scepticism of of social sciences research. most ‘research’ seems like a quest to collect some data to support the researcher’s or research supervisor’s existing long held beliefs. Gathering data and applying a value judgement that ‘those people should cycle’ or those people would cycle if we imposed my preferred policy will always fail due to Goodhart’s Law and Campbell’s Law.
      Robert Lucas’s Lucas Critique suggests you really need to find underling structural parameters and base policy on them. We don’t do that with transport. The result is each time we follow someone’s policy to increase driving times we actually encourage people to move further out and travel further.

      1. “The result is each time we follow someone’s policy to increase driving times we actually encourage people to move further out and travel further.”

        I don’t really understand what you mean Miffy. Do have concreate examples from Auckland?

        1. Basically every travel demand management measure. The ARA forced parking maximums onto the CBD against the better judgement of the old Auckland Council, the result was development everywhere else. We have seen a major reduction in minor intersection improvements since AT took over. We saw the ARC try to dictate urban boundaries. Every single one of these measures has resulted in people going further out to escape the impacts of the policy.

        2. “The ARA forced parking maximums onto the CBD against the better judgement of the old Auckland Council, the result was [a fivefold increase in homes and almost doubling of employment in the city centre]”.

          Fixed that for you. Abolition of parking minimums and introduction of parking maximums were the best thing that happened to the city centre at anytime between about 1955 and 2003.

  4. I’ve been thinking about Project NEXT lately… is it possible that forcing Auckland into a national system would act to stymie development of innovative payment schemes that are either (a) irrelevant everywhere else in the country and/or (b) perceived to be Bad Things? For example, if we were to (by some miracle) incorporate paying for parking or (possibly more plausibly) a congestion charge into the HOP system, you could imagine howls of outrage on the basis of “implementation by stealth”.

  5. Gotta say Goff’s been on form recently. I like this in Tim Murphy’s article today:

    “This is not a time to go soft. We have to make the hard decisions. The soft decisions no longer exist around climate change,” the mayor said. “This not about us. It’s about the next generation and the generation after that.”

    I’m more cynical than most, but am heartened to see this. And it’s not just talk, given he has been really on form at Council meetings, which has led to really impactful decisions like agreeing to the submission on the MoT discussion paper and agreeing the transport outcomes for the Downtown Carpark.

    Where he’s not yet up with the play is understanding his role in supporting local endeavours that attempt to implement the higher level decisions. He needs to put some effort in to making sure the leadership is provided when it’s needed to make those first, tentative, local steps. It’ll be easier once benefits have been demonstrated but currently his lack of local leadership is preventing that from happening.

  6. @miffy – The coal and Huntly problem is a short-term issue caused by a combination of stopping building renewable energy in 2016 (possibly because generators were betting that climate action would not step up) and the present dry spell. Now construction has started again and there is enough on the books to take NZ from 80% to 90% renewable in the next four years.

    1. Norske Skog is powered by Geothermal plant.

      One upside of the plant shutting down current operations is that some of that geothermal supply could help supplement base load in the upper north island and we can burn a little bit less coal

      1. This is like the alcoholic father who blames his family’s poverty on their failure to look for cheap booze. You’ve completely missed the underlying problem that we use a lot of electricity that we don’t need and haven’t built enough renewables over the last 20 years.

    2. If Kawarau mill is powered by geothermal, then that is fantastic for NZ – and equally tragic if that is mothballed. Obviously no one wants newsprint any more, and we can’t compete on the high-quality paper that the Japanese mills do so well – but so we urgently need a new manufacturing facility to go into the Norske factory, so as to keep the geothermal energy use going and to create replacement jobs for the workers. There must be some use for all that energy – the building industry perhaps? A prefab housing factory? Plastics recycling factory? Glass works? Steel / Aluminium smelter? A facility to remove steel engine blocks from cars and replace with an electronic battery-based drive chain? God, even a Sleepyhead bed factory so they don’t have to build all over the farmland in Waikato?! Is there anyone amongst Labour’s 64 spin doctors that could sit down and do some serious thinking on this?

      1. Not all of the Kawerau Mill site is closing, just the newsprint paper manufacturing which has obviously been a dead man walking for some time. The toilet paper production facility at Kawerau isn’t going anywhere with its critically vital product as shown during the lockdowns.

  7. Overall I felt that the final report of the Climate Commission put greater emphasis on mode shift, but you would hardly realise that if you only read / listened to the main stream media, which still focused on electric vehicles.

    1. Yes, and it includes low traffic neighbourhoods and road reallocation.

      Whatever its failings, we’re still a whole heap of a way ahead of where we were.

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