National Party Leader Chistopher Luxon caused a stir yesterday after attacking public transport spending in response to questions from journalists.
The case for ongoing public transport subsidies does not stack up, National Party leader Christopher Luxon says.
As part of a package to ease financial pressure, the cost of public transport has been halved from April through to the end of June.
This year’s Budget will be held on May 19, and there have been hints public transport will feature.
When asked if the cut-price, subsidised fares were something he would like to see extended further, National’s Christopher Luxon said he believed services should not have to be propped up by taxpayers.
“There’s a need for us to continue to drive mode shift, I get it, but you’ve got to build good quality public transport options that people choose to use.”
While it had been a helpful to help people right now with the “cost of living crisis”, it needed to be revisited, Luxon said.
“But ultimately, public transport needs to stand on its own feet. It can’t be subsidised or underwritten … it has to be able to build on its own case,” he told reporters.
Firstly he is right about two things: we need to drive mode shift and we need to build good quality public transport options that people choose to use. As I wrote last week, we need better quality services if we want a lot more people to use them, otherwise “a crap service that’s cheap (or even free) will still be a crap service“.
But it’s the subsidy aspect that’s got the most attention.
All transport is subsidised
The reality is all transport is subsidised and you’d think a former leader of an airline that only exists today due to multiple government bailouts would understand that well. Part of the issue is that while some subsides are largely fiscal, others are largely hidden in externalities. For example, let’s take a look at some of the ways we subsidise roads, both directly and indirectly.
- Local Government Rates – Road users, particularly the trucking lobbies, like to claim that roads are paid for by fuel taxes and road user charges – which are the main contributors to the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF). While they do cover the costs of some roads, they don’t cover all of them and local authorities fund at least half the costs for delivering and maintaining local roads, most paid for by rates. Local roads make up close to 90% of all the roads in NZ, though account for just over half of the vehicle kilometres travelled.
- Direct government funding – Over the last decade or so we’ve increasingly seen successive governments sidestep the NLTF and fund roading projects directly from crown revenue. the most recent example of that has been the NZ Upgrade programme (NZUP) which included billions in funding for projects like Penlink, Otaki to Levin and the Takitimu North Link Stage 1. In total the NZUP package includes more than $4 billion in direct subsidies for new roads.
- On-street parking – As part of the recent discussion of Auckland Transport’s new Parking Strategy, AT revealed that we effectively subsidise driving by providing on-street parking to the tune of around $1 billion annually. Add in cheap-to-free parking all over the rest of the country, and that number will climb.
Annual free parking subsidy in Auckland is about $1bn per year (based on the land value of the approx 900 hectares used for on-street parking). I look forward to reading National's feedback on AT's parking strategy https://t.co/sy0IAzNOT6
— Pippa Coom (@pippacoom) April 12, 2022
- Land Use – Decades of land use policy and forced masses of off-street carparking as part of minimum parking requirement rules – something councils are now being required to remove as part of the government’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development. Combined with designs that prioritised access by car and we ended up with places actively hostile to anyone not in a car, like Botany, shown in the image below. Furthermore, all that land used for parking doesn’t come cheap and so even if you managed to get to the shops without a car, a part of the cost of the goods you purchase goes towards paying for that parking.
- Deaths and Serious Injuries – These are tragic at a personal level and they can also have a massive impact on our economy. As the Ministry of Transport say in their paper on the Social Cost of Crashes –
“Road crashes impose intangible, financial and economic costs to society. These costs include reduced quality of life for survivors, reduced economic productivity, and medical and other resource costs“.
They estimated the cost of crashes in 2019 alone was $4.6 billion – they haven’t yet provided a 2020 estimate. That’s a massive figure and a cost we’re paying every year and one reason why it’s so important we improve safety on our roads.
- Public Health – It’s not just those in crashes that suffer, our high rate of car use helps contribute to increased rates of obesity and the preventable diseases that result from it. This has impacts on not only individuals but also our health system.
- Climate Change – Transport is one of our largest sources of emissions and is also the fastest growing. The costs just to try and mitigate the impact of climate change, let alone to reduce emissions are massive. Our environment suffers other ways too, such as the impact of road runoff polluting neighbouring environments
- Congestion – Roads are one of the rare cases where, when we make a better product, we don’t want more people using it. Yet of course that’s exactly what happens, and that’s when we get congestion. That congestion then impacts on those who need to use the road, such as delivery trucks and tradies, meaning they can do fewer jobs in a day, so we ultimately pay more for their services.
I’m sure there are more examples people have.
Imagine just how much more expensive driving would be if drivers were required to pay the full cost of all the externalities it imposes. Would roads be able to “stand on their own feet” under such a scenario?
If we’re going to talk about the costs of public transport, we should also talk about the benefits that come from providing the public access to our cities and preventing the need for further spending. In some ways it should be seen more like a public investment, like we might do for other sectors, such as water supply.
Cities are about the possibilities that spring from human connection. Making those connections as easy as possible will produce benefits borne by everyone in the city. Public transport done right helps provide access and can provide significant capacity to do so.
As well as providing access, ongoing investment in public transport can reduce the need for even larger investment in the future. The discussion of a new Harbour crossing is a prime example of that as investment in the Northern Busway. The project has been so successful it has delayed the need to spend around $15 billion on an additional harbour crossing for cars. The same thing occurs on smaller scales too, preventing us from needing to endlessly expand roading capacity. So while investing in public transport does cost us, it costs us a lot less than the alternative.
Ultimately, the money saved is from investing in PT is money that can go towards other things, such as health or education.
Brilliant summary. The whole country should read this!
He’s now realised it’s not popular and claims he was misunderstood (https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018838047/national-against-subsidising-white-elephant-public-transport-projects-christopher-luxon). Surely a potential prime minister should be able to express himself clearly and not need to come back next day to explain what he meant. Anyway, why isn’t he talking about how to get our railways up to the standard of most other railways, rather than criticising the $100m spent on Te Huia. Does he realise that only 7% of the Waikato transport budget is spent on all public transport, including Te Huia, and that 19% is being spent on road building, plus 59% on road repairs? Will he be back tomorrow to correct himself again?
In the interview he comments he caught a train 2-3 months ago. I think he was partly trying to get air time to criticise the light rail project, Te Huia, and a bridge for cyclists. I suspect many National supporters are also generally against public transport.
Ah, bagging on the not being built bike bridge and insignificant cost of Te Huia (that also started at about the worst time imaginable). How meaningful.
“I suspect many National supporters are also generally against public transport.”
Except when they go to Europe for holidays. They rant and rave about how good the PT is there. When they get home they then fight tooth and nail to derail any PT project in Nz.
About that public subsidy support for European rail systems – for years the British were crowing about how good it was that London Underground was the only PT service in Europe that was 100% unfunded by the taxpayer – all the other European countries had a 30% to 50% funding from the public. Of course, things are different now, and TfL is effectively going bust without massive input from central UK government. They’re actually talking about losing down some of the smaller Underground branch lines, and mothballing the new Elizabeth line (purple/Crossrail) and of course once more talking about cancelling HS2.
Its a sign of a mature political and social system when Public Transport is actually funded by the public.
TfL received an operating subsidy for decades. It was only removed in 2015 by the then-Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
Very few metro systems operate without a subsidy. Those that do (e.g. Hong Kong MTR) make most of their money from real estate development.
Speaking of real estate, apparently the Transmission Gully cost about 1.2 billion, but it has made land at its northern end about 2 billion more valuable. So in that way it is a success.
Adrian Orr might wipe that $2 billion off again tomorrow when he raises interest rates.
So, lolly-scramble among developers and public investment financing private wealth gain. How about capturing that wealth to pay off the PPP?
I heard from somebody that he used to run Air New Zealand. Oh that’s right it was from him- every second miserable sentence.
I’m not sure what I like about this site the most; the insightful journalism or the sarcastic miffy comments.
National is always against public transport and especially rail based, one day I hope they can move into the 21st century as it keeps me overseas.
You know they are in opposition right and have been for near 5 years…not that you’d notice.
He was on National Radio this morning.
I didn’t catch the entire interview, but sounds like he was doubling down and comments like the cost of Light rail (he gave some stupidly high figure – $29b?) clearly indicates that National party intend to kill light rail and build more roads.
Damage to the environment apparently plays no part in any policy decision, and he wasn’t called on any of the statements he was making.
If light rail is canned or turned into more roads and bigger buses, then I think Labour/Greens & Auckland council can also shoulder the blame as they have dicked around for 5+ years without getting any work committed to the point an incoming government can’t just pull the plug.
I suspect there will be bureaucrats inside of WK and AT that will be glad they managed to stall any progress until life gets back to BAU of no mode shift.
Yes why isn’t he banging on about really putting a bigger effort into the investment so far into that to get it up to a better standard
The guy is showing everyone exactly what he is, just some dude that ran a business once. Ironically politics and democracy will be the downfall of the planet.
I would like to add to this discussion on the cost of roads vs public transport. Every night on TV we are bombarded by advertisements to buy new cars, some of which are very dubious indeed. But there is not one ad encouraging people to catch a train or a bus: a lot of people don’t even realize that there are viable and often more interesting alternatives to sitting in cars for long periods. Also, while e-vehicles may provide some relief to climate change they don’t ease congestion because they take up the same space on roads as conventional cars etc.
Cant resist giving this one another airing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75F3CSZcCFs – Bus advert from Denmark
That video just made my day. Thanks Vinny!
Having used Te Huia a few times over the past two weeks I’ve been shocked at how none of the stations, especially Te Rapa, have any sign posts advertising an active train station there and that a high quality rail connection exists at those stations.
Most of the Advertising I seen was at the platform they use at Papakura and that is fenced off from the general public , there is we bit at the Strand but the only time you can see it also is when the station is open , and at Frankton all that i shown when I was there last a wee bit at the bottom of a sign just showing the Saturday service plus how long it takes to walk to the nearest bus stop .
Their Face Book page is a disaster as it can take days before any replies to comments that are posted or anything related to to the service , i.e a person posted a query to the effect which is why isn’t there someone at Frankton that can answer question about the service between trains and their reply was just ask a crew member and there aren’t any around at the time the questions are asked and when the train comes back from Te Rapa they are busy getting it ready to go back to Auckland .
And today the last trip from Auckland had around 150 on board for the long weekend which I thought was great for a service that is basically promote by word of mouth .
Te Huia high quality you’re putting a lot of lipstick on that pig!
A rare slip-up, he was of course trying to say ‘investment’, but somehow the more negative word ‘subsidy’ slipped out.
If it was a rare slip up as you say it is – then its clearly a Freudian slip [up].
He was showing his disdain for PT. He said he’d used a train in NZ – Once. But clearly not since. Why?
Well clearly he found the service crap and the publicity from the stunt not worthwhile investment of his time.
And why is the train service in NZ so crap? Well because we don’t fund it properly.
‘cos thats a subsidy. And all subsidies that I don’t like are bad.
And the ones I do like are actually investments.
I also heard his interview on Radio NZ this morning.
I nearly choked big time when he said how National supported CRL!
Huh what planet is he been living on [or flying above]. when for the best part of a decade National did everything they could and continuously denied any support for the CRL, and ensured MoT put in place some ridiculous hurdles for the rail network patronage and CBD jobs growth targets that the project alone had to meet before they’d consider supporting (and thats “consider”, not actually supporting) CRL.
Maybe they had a late Road to Damascus experience before they got booted out of office. But that doesn’t undo all the previous 9 years of “not on my watch”.
Luxon might say well none of those who opposed it are still in my Cabinet. But last I checked Brownlee still is.
But revisionist theories by a so-so former airline CEO won’t deliver anything meaningful but will hand out platitudes.
Sadly, the interviewer was also easily side tracked by his repeated, “look, I wasn’t being clear enough” comments to divert attention from his poort communication.
Because the elephant in the room was ignored – he wasn’t taken to task about how his party, while last in Government did the biggest subsidised rort of all time and pushed ahead with Transmission Gully as a PPP.
Which has opened late and massively over budget. Ya can’t blame all of it on Covid.
For which Waka Kotahi is now on the hook for billions and billions of dollars worth of “access payments” to let us use the road.
That over their lifetime will make Brownlees gleeful assertion that CRL is nothing but the most expensive transport project on a cost per km basis. CRL will look like chicken feed when the Transmission Gully costs are added up over its lifetime – its costs will ensure it will come in first, or at worst a close second to CRL.
I know which one will reduce in a meanginful and measureable overall CO2 emissions of NZ Inc by 2050. And it won’t be Transmission Gulley.
While Luxon will no doubt say “Well, that wasn’t on my watch. We wouldn’t do that now”.
You really gotta wonder. This guy is well used to being subsidy recipient of public money aka “a trougher” all his business life. A lot of the subsidies were poor investment by any stretch.
He may not admit this, but his frequent slips show deep down he knows and shows that he is happy to eat from same corporate welfare trough with all his mates.
While you’re putting the boot into Luxon you might like to tell us about the record amount of coal imported on Labour’s watch.
Seems they’re not as concerned about CO2 as you are.
Imagine what the $50 million wasted on the cycle bridge could have done for the Te Huia?
Could have bought a few battery – electric locomotives for that price and done some track upgrades to improve the speed of the service.
When I came down Thursday on it it was 5mins early getting into Papakura and then had to wait for the departure time and Rotokauri it arrived 10mins early al;so and it had 150plus on board , the slowest part of the trip was through the Papakura to Pukekohue stretch .
And Vance have you traveled on it yet / .
Rather ironic, seeing as he was once head of an airline, that has already been bailed out not once, not twice, but more like three times. Is Air New Zealand an essential service? Is it a public transport service?
“But ultimately, public transport needs to stand on its own feet. It can’t be subsidised or underwritten … it has to be able to build on its own case,” he says… Hmmmm. Would he still have been making this statement when he was CE of AirNZ?
Clearly NZ Inc does not want Air NZ to go down the tubes due to our reliance on it for freight and tourism – but Jet Star has not yet been bailed out (although predecessors Ancett etc have all died from lack of funds over the years, probably proving that there is not enough room for 2 players in the domestic market).
He was a train wreck at Air NZ and is the main reason there is no longer a kiwi airline flying NZ to the UK. He was also near unanimously loathed by its staff.
He really misjudged passengers dislike for transiting through LA, arguably the world’s worst International airport.
He kept that route over the far more popular LHR-HKG-AKL.
I don’t trust him anywhere near government.
Your comments don’t stack up.
Air NZ voted Airline of the Year in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 by AirlineRatings.Com
They won numerous awards on Luxon’s watch.
Vance, that website is all based on opinions and you do not even need to have been a ticket holder to comment.
Air NZ polled well as it has significantly less passengers and thus negative opinions, then other carriers.
Brits and yanks are especially adept at complaining about things as they tend to expect everything to be perfect unlike kiwis which works in Air NZs favour.
The industry pays scant regard to that particular site.
“Unanimously loathed” is hyperbole. I know an ex employee (now retired) who had a good opinion of Luxon. Said that when Luxon visited he actually listened to what was being said.
Many domestic routes that Air NZ price gouge on have become like that due to successive NZ governments permitting Air NZ to buy/price out competition.
Also many of those marginal routes would be bus/rail routes in other countries but our coach and rail network does not exist.
Jetstar is a wholly owned subsidiary of qantas, qantas have so far received over 2b AUD in aid from the Australian government.
Air NZ has been bailed out twice, once after ANSETT and the second time during covid. Air NZ paid back the first bailout in full, I can’t imagine they won’t pay back the second. Through the govts ownership Air NZ has paid them hundreds of millions in dividends, Air NZ has been very profitable for the NZ taxpayer.
man this guy sucks
Why did luxon only use a train once? Remember this is the guy who had to be driven a hundred metres or so to make his grand entrance at parliament in a flash car. Very ironic how comment about subsidising PT given the number of air NZ bailouts… The hypocrisy of the National party…
All good stuff and I couldn’t agree more but at the moment buses trains and ferries don’t have enough passengers. However let’s take a deep breath and look 5 years into the future when we have learnt that mask wearing passengers are unlikely to affect each other when foreign students and tourist have returned and working from home is less common. In addition the third main, Pukekohe electrification, Eastern busway, NW busway and CRL are operating. In addition fuel efficient Auckland Hamilton trains are providing 3 return services a day and new priority for buses proceeding north to Wellsford and Whangerai are in place. So chin up don’t give up things can only improve. Luxon will be looking even more like he came out of 1960 by then if he’s still around.
That photo of Botany is absolutely incredible, NZ is right up there with the worst excesses of the USA.
At least Botany *has* footways and pedestrian crossings. These often fail to make an appearance at the equivalent ex-urban development in the USA. You are literally expected to drive from store to store. It’s utterly bananas.
The pedestrian level of service in Botany is not particularly good, but at least it is possible to walk, if desired.
That said, Botany is still the archetype of the type of land-wasting sprawl development in NZ. This prevails with minimum car parking, zoning restrictions and level of service requirements for general traffic. The built environment reflects the rules, for better or for worse.
A good candidate for Retrofitting Suburbia, perhaps? https://retrofittingsuburbia.com/
And it is at least on a road that was designed to have public transport on it. Unlike Albany, where getting to the mall by bus will be awkward, probably forever.
In politics,explaining is losing.At least ,he now has a platform to outline how the Nats will shape future transportation,but we are unlikely to see/hear any of that,they will just want this to go away.
Given the way Labour initially came to power in this cycle,I.e very late run which caught Nats by surprise,and Labour’s vision ,but no delivery,it is bad politics to outline any long term goals for anything.
This of course is bad news for any large projects or ideas,maybe all that can be hoped for,is road reallocation,which can be achieved inside an electoral cycle.
On a side note,Mt Smart Rd is being resealed, and parking has been removed,on both sides, for a long stretch,the sky has not fallen in,all it needs now is the painting of the lines to be done differently, and suddenly you have a way towards mode change,at no extra cost.
To stand on its own feet roads would need to pay a return on the land they are using. If I had a business which had billions of dollars of land and broke even I wouldn’t call it “standing on its own feet”, I’d instead sell all that land and close the business.
Also roads don’t pay rates, do they even pay for all the stormwater run off etc?
If transport wasn’t so cross-subsidised. If the cost of each mode was more transparent so that all could see, then as a society we might make better investment decisions. Suspect that if the true costs of operating a SOV were known, that PT would not need subsidy. This leads to the next question of how expensive should it be for poeple to move around?
Should hydro pay rates for flooded land while wind and solar do? Rail’s efficent land use compared to road would be rewarded if both paid for land use.
Should we work towards something like the following:
Full road cost to be covered by RUC charged on distance, size and weight.
Road tax on fuel replaced by a cabon charge.
Transport component on rates to be much less.
That is the real crux of the problem. The massive hidden costs and subsidies. It leads us down the short termist rabbit hole of inefficient land use when we should be trying to maximise the value created per area.
Geez. If ya think cars are heavily subsidised wait till ya find out about busses and trains!
The team at Waikato Regional Council work pretty hard to make sure that, irrespective of your views on Te Huia, people have easy access to facts about the services including its funding. So it’s rather frustrating when the wrong numbers are thrown about so loosely.
FAQs on funding are here: https://www.tehuiatrain.co.nz/faqs/funding/
Among other info the FAQs quite clearly say that the the five year trial period has a total budget envelope of $98M (not annual as stated by Mr Luxon) with $68.7m being capital and $29.3m is operational costs (includes mobilisation costs of $2.19m).
The most obvious response to subsidies is to stop them – all of them. Doesn’t matter if it’s roads or rail, or private or public transport. If, as many here seem to advocate, people will use public more if it’s on an even playing field then let’s cut all subsides and see what people will choose.
I suspect people will use PT more if there were subsidies for either as it will create efficiencies that is hard for private to replicate.
Therefore, it’s time to privitise transport and let people decide themselves.
Yes this would be true if the goal was to simplify the real world to ensure it aligns with economic theory. But that isn’t the society’s goal. If it’s anyone’s goal, it’s the goal of a subset of economists who have enjoyed controlling policy on this very premise, to society’s detriment.
In reality, our actual, concrete goals include promoting ecological and public health, and no amount of levelling the playing field through removing ‘all subsidies’ will be able to mitigate the infrastructure that continues to support certain choices.
Its not just subsidies, it’s also externalities that need priced. Otherwise its just a competition to shift as many costs onto other people.
There’s also plenty of subsidies that aren’t direct or so easy to calculate. Use of public land for example.
“As part of the recent discussion of Auckland Transport’s new Parking Strategy, AT revealed that we effectively subsidise driving by providing on-street parking to the tune of around $1 billion annually.” Could someone please post a link showing how that $1 billion value is calculated?
All good, found it, in the webcast of the council meeting on 31st March.
I would like to see the day he becomes PM and the govt car that is Subsidized by the TAXPAYER has a tag on/off card reader installed so he has to pay for his ride and if he doesn’t use it it just sits there , and then the clown will see how the people that pays his wages get on .
I’m looking forward to the day he becomes PM as well.
It will bring to an end an era of incompetence, non delivery and waste.
You’re on your own there Vance !
I guess you have no idea of his Air NZ track record!
If you did, you’d want him nowhere near Wellington.
Like being voted Airline of the Year for four consecutive years during his tenure.
Glad to see you acknowledging the quality of his leadership.
Can’t say the same for the lot currently leading our government.
Meanwhile, in todays’ NZ Herald, Phil Goff talks of AT running out of money.
Is it any wonder with all their wasteful spending?
Remember the $70000 on plywood boxes for a low traffic trial costing $822,000 (in Onehunga and Glen Innes) being one of numerous examples of waste.
Changing the transport model for short trips in cities has the potential to save the economy and council absolutely massive amounts of money. Research and experiments in this area are the same as any other r&d. We don’t say universities are a waste of money because they tried and failed on some project that could have had massive payoff.
People used to say govt was bad because they didn’t try anything new or innovate like private business does. As soon as they do people start jumping up and down.
My point is that Onehunga LTNs is a crap example of “govt waste”.
There are far better examples that take much bigger slices of the pie but get the “right” side of the political spectrum tick of approval.
Ie matakana link road 4 laning, takapuna car park (rumours are over 100k per parking space for the 400+ spaces) and plenty of others.
Those represent extremely poor value for money, and cost far more. And dont have the potential to be a massive improvement.
Onehunga and Glen Innes LTNs were funded by Waka Kotahi NZTA, as part of Innovating Streets for People. This money didn’t come from Auckland Transport’s budget.
NZTA made a contribution to the local board towards the project. The rest came from AT.
Happy to stand corrected on this if I’ve got my facts wrong.
Yea I remember talking to someone who kids were walking to school rather than being dropped off. This was pre vandalism. Yea nah small fish.
Do you remember the time AC and had to pay billions for half of the CRL? Then top it a up another half billion and then have covid mess everything up? All the while being given car roads for free? Because that is why AC/AT financial situation is stuffed.
It’s only a “waste” because you don’t agree with it. One person’s subsidy is another’s investment.
I’m not a fan of Luxon’s but there are a number of factual inaccuracies in these comments. He did not say he has only caught PT once in NZ. He said he used it frequently overseas where it was reliable and got you to where you wanted to go. He said he doesn’t use it in NZ for work because it doesn’t have a connection to where he lives in either Akl or Wtn. He was pressed on when he last used it and said a couple of months ago to go into the city. I thought he sounded pretty evasive but he was never asked if he had used it other times so anything else is conjecture.
Air NZ was bailed out by Labour following the ansett fiasco. A fiasco which the Labour govt contributed to with their open skies legislation. The government has since made a significant profit on their investment.
In common with scores of other NZ businesses he govt has helped Air NZ deal with the fallout from the pandemic by extending two lines of credit. The first of which was never used. The second has been partially taken up. they are loans which will be repaid with interest. Air NZ is now in the midst of an equity issue to secure capital. Nothing to do with the government other than they stand to make a further profit by taking up their options.
Rant all you like about National (not that Labour has done a whole lot to promote PT other than delaying LR and turning the Skypath into a fiasco) but get the facts right.
Semantics DM, pure semantics. AirNZ went bust in 2001 with the Ansett fiasco as you say, and most certainly would be bust right now over Covid if the Gov (taxpayer dollars) had not extended credit. No money = no money. Bust is bust.
Let’s face the truth – airlines go bust all the time. It doesn’t matter so much in Europe or America where there will always be another airline willing to pick up the route, but New Zealand is a special case – not unique, but special – in that our country needs an airline or the country is screwed. Our tourists need it to get here, we need it to get away. Our farmers need it to export produce, and our restaurants need it to import fresh produce out of season. Modern NZ as it currently exists would not work if the planes stop flying – we would be a very different country. As such, NZ is always going to end up bailing out AirNZ – it is the beating heart that keeps our economy moving and to an extent, without it, we all die or become a branch office of an uncaring Qantas.
It was Air NZ’s greed that brought about the fiasco. The board simply did not do proper due diligence on Ansett. It just dreamed of being something it will never be, a major player, like Qantas, Singapore Airlines or BA.
Nothing has changed.
I was at Air NZ then, have worked for Qantas since and am now at BA. Most airlines did not need to tap up their governments for bailing out over September 11 or Covid but Air NZ (and the American airlines) did.
It is a pure greed that caused Air NZ to become publicly owned, not open skies etc which actually benefited Air NZ and all air transport consumers.
It’s a shame we have a generally anti public transport party and a pro transit party that doesn’t really build infrastructure.
And to top it off, in NZ we really don’t know how to design and build good infrastructure especially transit.
We are good at incrementally making existing stuff better, but the main problem is we don’t have any idea or plan in place for good rapid transit. It could be our small population and lack of funds but I believe even if 100 billion dropped from the sky we still couldn’t build good transit in Auckland.
But one thing I know for sure is that until transit is time competitive with the car most people will keep driving even if it was free, so transit won’t create enough patronage to break even and will continue need heavy subsidisation.
The sad thing is they actually had, and still have, a great plan for rapid transit in the acronym plans. The ATAP, RPTP, RLTP etc.
This was basically, finish the CRL and eastern busway. Build light rail on the Mangere-airport, northwest and north shore and takapuna lines, and do BRT on airport to botany and upper harbour lines.
It really is sad they had this sitting there, ready to go… but this government decided to drop it and veer off on wasting years on a dumb plan to spent all the money digging a subway tunnel to sandringham.
Imagine having all that ready to go and thinking their ALR plan is better?!
Excellent article, really appreciate the effort you put into this 🙂
Other drawbacks are:
– mental health
– air pollution (very severe impact on our respiratory systems)
– noise pollution (hugely problematic for wildlife and humans).
– personal costs of having a car that include having to pay for the health impact of being sedentary eg a gym membership or physio.
– cost to clean up our waterways from the pollution cars cause.
– the amount of concrete cars need to drive on means less open land for water absorption, which contributes to flooding and issues with maintaining storm water solutions.
And so much more. We need to move away from this bad habit of private vehicles.
I’ve noted the vehicle driver subsidies and cross-subsidies in other articles.
Its also important that PT “public transport” provides “public transport” (all urban Os & Ds with reasonable frequency) for those without alternative transport means as an objective.
This is sadly lacking at the moment. Removal of the vehicle driver subsidies would go along way to making PT more efficient and allow the above to be better achieived.