This is a guest post by sustainable transport and accessibility advocate Tim Adriaansen.

Yesterday we received two important and related announcements from Central Government:

  • The first Emissions Reduction Plan, which sets out the pathway Aotearoa will follow to meet our emissions budgets through to 2035 and;
  • Details of the Climate Emergency Response Fund which will be included in Budget 2022, to be announced on Thursday.

While the Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) lays out the direction different sectors of the economy should take to help us stay on track at a national level, the Climate Emergency Response Fund is a much better measure of what the current government is actually prepared to do in terms of climate action.

So let’s take a look at what the ERP has in store for transportation, what this could mean, and what sort of impact it might have. Then, we’ll compare “the plan” with “the action”, and see if the money matches the message.

Handy links to key elements of the ERP:
Summary, with links to the main document plan
The table of actions 

And, to appear on 20 May 2022, i.e. after the Budget:
Technical detail
Formal government response


The Plan

Some parts of the Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) stand out as fundamentally good moves for the transport sector. In particular, it sets this target:

“Reduce total kilometres travelled [VKT] by the light fleet by 20 per cent by 2035 through improved urban form and providing better travel options, particularly in our largest cities.”

And on this point, the ERP aims to:

  • Set sub-national VKT reduction targets for Aotearoa New Zealand’s major urban areas (Tier 1 and 2) by the end of 2022.
  • Revise Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s national mode shift plan (Keeping Cities Moving) to ensure nationally led activities align with the pace and scale of VKT reduction and mode shift required in urban areas.
  • Develop VKT reduction programmes for Aotearoa New Zealand’s major urban areas (Tier 1 and 2) in partnership with local government, Māori and community representatives.

It’s important to remember that we can’t reduce overall emissions from transport simply by doing more of something. More frequent buses, more trains, more people riding bikes or more people walking – these are great, but in and of themselves, won’t make any meaningful difference to our carbon emissions from transport.

The only way to reduce emissions from transport is to do less of something: consume less petrol and diesel. As 99% of our vehicle fleet currently runs on fossil fuels and there is no realistic chance of changing that any time soon, the only effective way to reduce New Zealand’s emissions from transport is for New Zealanders to drive less.

This is a conversation that we often see elected representatives and transport officials shy away from, so it’s fantastic to see it front-and-centre in the Emissions Reduction Plan.

To “support people to walk, cycle and use public transport”, we see an intention to:

  • Improve the reach, frequency and quality of public transport;
  • Deliver a step change in cycling and walking rates;
  • Accelerate widespread street changes to support public transport, active travel and placemaking;
  • Make school travel greener and healthier;
  • Improve access and travel choice for the transport disadvantaged;
  • Investigate the potential for public transport, walking and cycling in rural and provincial areas.

And under each of these sub-categories there is a smattering of ideas of how to do this – but while most have merit, almost all lack any measure of success. A consistent theme throughout the plan is that it doesn’t identify who, what, when or how something is going to be executed. This leaves far too much wiggle room for uncooperative officials or nervous politicians to escape actually doing something.

(And paradoxically, leaving out any measures is a missed opportunity to let New Zealanders know how extremely doable this all is: compare London’s rollout of 350 “school streets” in a single year.)

The ERP includes an initiative to “Scale up Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Innovating Streets for People programme to rapidly trial street changes.”

Carrots and Sticks

For congestion charging, a powerful tool we’ll be glad to see implemented, the plan plots a “steady as she goes” course.

In terms of road pricing, we see an intention to “Investigate additional pricing tools to reduce transport emissions (including parking pricing, VKT pricing and low-emissions zones)”, and “Explore a pilot Mobility as a Service project”.

We haven’t heard much about Mobility as a Service (MaaS) in Aotearoa just yet, but it could play an important role in reducing emissions from transport by eliminating the need for individuals to own whichever vehicle they may choose to use—be it an e-bike, cargo bike, electric car or van—and instead to simply pick one up from a useful location (such as a mobility hub), returning it to any other mobility hub nearby when they have completed their journey.

The end of motorway expansions?

There is some very exciting news with Action 10.1.4: Require roadway expansion and investment in new highways to be consistent with transport targets.

This action, in no uncertain terms, raises the burden of proof on highway projects to demonstrate that any expansion will align with the plan—and as we’ve already seen, that means reducing vehicle kilometres travelled—something which pretty much never happens when roads are widened or straightened at great expense.

If followed as described, this action point effectively halts expanding the road network (at least with a view to improving motor vehicle level of service). However, as we’ve seen previously, this is weak on enforceability, sitting on the fence with the phrase “establish a high threshold”, but not telling us when that will happen, who sets the bar or just how high the threshold will be.

Low-emissions vehicles

There’s much talk in the ERP about rapidly adopting low-emissions vehicles, which includes a fairly predictable “spend lots of money helping people buy cars” approach.

It also includes:

  • Initiatives which might spell the end of the current tax exemptions for light trucks;
  • Minimum emissions standards for future imports and;
  • An initiative to “determine whether legislative barriers preventing the use of some types of light low-emissions vehicles can be reduced without unduly compromising safety objectives”—which sounds like we might be clearing the way for micro-cars.
Toyota’s i-road concept microcar. Soon to hit the streets of Wellington?

The plan proposes scrap-and-replace and vehicle leasing schemes as a way to assist low-income and transport-disadvantaged New Zealanders into low-emissions vehicles, selling the ideas through an equity lens. Both of these, however, still focus on private vehicle ownership/possession.

Car dependency itself creates unequal outcomes. This plan could be an opportunity to address that built-in inequity by investing in a transport system where people don’t need to own and operate a large, expensive, complicated machine in order to move around their city.

Unfortunately, this section of the ERP risks locking us into a transport model that is fundamentally unsustainable and inequitable.

Freight

The ERP is big on freight, but light on detail: As we’ve seen elsewhere, freight is dealt with largely by “we have a plan to make and implement more plans”. This is complemented with an objective to reduce the emissions intensity of fuels; AKA biofuels.

Developing ‘a national freight and supply chain strategy’ in partnership with industry is indubitably a good idea, and logistics providers are the experts in this area. Appropriately pricing emissions and VKT would likely create an economic situation in which logistics companies would themselves decarbonise operations, so there may be less work here than the government thinks—so long as cumbersome legislation doesn’t stand in the way of industry innovation.

Other objectives in this section:

  • only purchase zero-emissions public buses from 2025
  • set a target for decarbonisation of air travel (by 2050)
  • create a plan and set targets for the maritime fleet, including work towards zero-emissions near-shore vessels, including ferries.

Summary

All in all, the ERP specifies around one-third of emissions reduction will come from reducing car travel, around half will come from shifting to low-emissions vehicles in both the light vehicle and freight fleets. The remainder will come from other policy initiatives, including rail, coastal shipping and aviation.

This should keep us on track for the emissions budgets set out in the broader scope of the plan.

Notably missing from the ERP is a restriction on fossil fuel vehicle imports from a particular date, which runs the risk of New Zealand becoming a dumping ground for used cars from other parts of the world.


The Actions

Without action to back it up, a plan isn’t worth the hard drive space it’s stored on.

So it was also good to see the Minister for Transport put out a press release detailing what’s in the upcoming budget that will achieve some of the outcomes of the ERP. This is, unfortunately, where things don’t quite track the way we need them to:

“The Clean Car Discount Scheme has been successful in supporting the uptake of electric and hybrid vehicles. However, we know for many families, the cost of transitioning to cleaner vehicles can be too expensive. Starting with an initial trial of up to 2,500 vehicles, the Clean Car Upgrade will provide targeted assistance to lower- and middle- income households to shift to low-emission alternatives in exchange for scrapping their old vehicle.”

The change in language used by the Minister is an immediate red flag: we’ve gone from “low-emissions vehicles” to “Rolling out the Clean Car Upgrade programme”.

We know that electric vehicles (EVs) simply aren’t a solution to Climate Change – they’re too expensive and we can’t possibly obtain enough of them in order to stay on track with emissions reductions. This means that any expenditure on EVs represents a substantial opportunity cost away from genuine climate action.

The language change, too, signals a backing away from any e-bike subsidy. Why? Shifting people from clunkers to e-bikes would likely have a much greater impact at much lower cost, and we’ve already seen highly successful international examples – such as this wildly popular scheme in Denver, Colorado – which feature a strong equity component.

Crucially, subsidies for e-bikes would rapidly shift the dial in terms of social license for the street-level changes we so desperately need to make in order to create safe, liveable communities that encourage walking, wheeling, cycling and scooting. The more people who have access to any kind of bike, the more welcome the transformations will be.

Overall, these are the Minister’s announcement promises for the Climate Emergency Response Fund:

  • $569 million for Clean Car Upgrade;
  • $350 million to fund Transport Choices, including walking, cycling and public transport improvements;
  • $20 million for a vehicle social leasing scheme trial;
  • $23 million to develop ambitious national active modes plan;
  • $61 million to support a sustainable, skilled workforce of bus drivers;
  • $40 million over four years to accelerate the decarbonisation of public buses;
  • $20 million to accelerate the decarbonisation of freight transport.

These are all fundamentally good. But it’s difficult to look past the fact that the combined improvements for walking, cycling and public transport clock in at significantly less than the Clean Car Upgrade programme.
Spread across multiple modes of transport and distributed around the country, the $350 million in additional funding will barely make a dent in our current transport emissions.

In short, the funding priorities are out of order and the budget allocated simply isn’t enough—compare the $1.3 billion spent on emissions reduction with the $8.7 billion investment that made up the NZ Upgrade Programme. While I’m excited to see this plan finally arrive, it’s difficult not to feel that the actions which accompany it are not even close to the scale and pace of change that we need to see.


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105 comments

  1. There is nothing in the plan for low emission inter-regional travel based around re-establishing a passenger rail network and upgrading the long distance coach network.

    1. The government seem determined to ignore inter-regional rail and bus travel, while they are equally determined to subsidise aviation, that golden boy, at every turn.

      1. Don’t worry, by 2025 Air NZs electric sea planes (pending some testing), will soon be flying 10 meters above the sea at 400kph. That’s sorts flying completely and is far more sexy than taking a bus or a train.

        1. The thought of flying 10m above the sea would have many passengers clambering for their nearest railway station. It’s just a clever ploy…

        2. … This is first I heard of that.

          As someone who is petrified of heights, but is otherwise OK with flying, I’d be pretty excited about this. It’d open up my dream to live in Nelson and be able to travel back to Auckland for a family weekend or near daily commutes to Wellington.

        3. “I’d be pretty excited about this”

          How high above mean sea level is the top of a sailboat mast?
          How discernable is a sailboat on radar at 10 m altitude?

          Not my preferred form of excitement.

        4. Apparently, any sailboat over 25ft could have a 10 metre mast. I couldn’t tell you how many sailboats over 25ft there are around NZ. But, travelling at 6.7km/minute, with the average human being able to see 5km away, that’d give the pilot 45 seconds to avoid any masts. Probably not the biggest concern.

          I’d expect choppy waters would be a bigger issue.

        5. “the average human being able to see 5km away”

          On a good day.
          Visibility on the Manukau at 4 pm yesterday was around 300 m. Your 45 s is down to 2.7 s.

        6. Air NZ isn’t buying those, its a company called Oceanflyer.

          https://www.oceanflyer.co.nz/

          Air NZ plan to have electric aircraft in the fleet by 2030, the problem is what electric aircraft will be in production for them to purchase?

    2. This is the big omission we need low emission Intercity buses and trains and they should be subsidised especially for young old and community card holders. And remember bike trailers for Intercity buses so we have transport when we get to our destination. These could also be used to carry extra baggage so you can take your chilly bin when you visit Aunty. Special wagons attached to trains to carry bikes. Also subsidy for walk on passengers on the Cook Straight ferries car passengers to pay full fare.

      1. +1 And we need the trains and buses to be coordinated and receive proper investment in stops and stations. And all that.

        1. The way luxton bangs on about the Hamilton train maybe it’s considered political suicide?

      2. We firstly need the govt/councils to build good bus stations. I don’t thnik intercity busses are what’s stopping people using them. It’s just shitty infrastructure. Bus stations NZ wide have to be built and in a location where they connect with other PT.

        Speaking of ferry i disagree. It’s a commercial operation, subsidies skew markets, and I’m against all forms unless necessary. In this case, people pay for ticket + vehicle if they have any. I think this is fair.

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  2. 1) Unsure about how many people in Auckland on the median household income or below are going to be looking at buying EVs (or anything, really, given living costs).
    2) Disappointed there’s no discussion about how an E-Bike subsidy would work? Do we just set up a portal to let them claim GST back after submitting an invoice from a retailer? It’s time to talk about making this functionally and stop giving people a reason to say No.
    3) I feel like the money would almost be better used topping up walking and cycling budgets councils had to slash post-Covid, or maybe even roll out extended commuter services in Auckland like to Huapai? Crickets, again.
    4) It would have been a great opportunity to announce a return to surface light rail. That this is an urgent climate announcement with no update or speeding up of a new mass transit network in Auckland is pretty average.
    5) Lots of ‘let’s investigate the things we’re already investigating!’ with no timeline.

    Hopefully we see some movement in the EV subsidy to account for exchange rate walkbacks making used EVs less affordable, or potentially an FBT exemption to drive fleet uptake at some point, alongside something, anything for E-bikes. But fast running out of optimism.

  3. Bernard Hickey summed it up quite well. Par for the course for this govt. LINO.

    The Government has done the least it possibly can to meet its limited emissions targets under the zero carbon act, and has done nothing either truly transformational or politically difficult.

    https://thekaka.substack.com/p/a-tame-late-and-skimpy-emissions?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoxNzgzMjA2LCJwb3N0X2lkIjo1NTA3NTkwOCwiXyI6IjhVNHBMIiwiaWF0IjoxNjUyNzMxNjc3LCJleHAiOjE2NTI3MzUyNzcsImlzcyI6InB1Yi0xMDI0NzMiLCJzdWIiOiJwb3N0LXJlYWN0aW9uIn0.wni2CTDCC3smJKMDl3HBy_XuZi_weXk6ydyFoMHrMNw&s=r#details

  4. It’s a shame we are RHD in NZ, as China has been pumping out millions and millions of cheap and fantastic EVs all over the world, including Norway whereas its like goldust getting an EV thats good value in our RHD markets….that said it isn’t the answer and the Government doesn’t appear to be that serious about these reductions, hardly anythnig on cycing. Surely they would also see that near $20 billion on x1 light rail would be insanity when it could be used to reduce congestion and emisions much more efficiently and not sure being used a a Kainga Ora train line.

    1. Unfortunately the Norwegian govt are planning on killing the EV market. If they pass the 2023 budget all BEV’s over 500,000 NOK or 80k NZD will be subject to VAT, this eliminates almost all of the popular family sized vehicles and leaves the small city cars untaxed.

  5. The 20% of the transport budget that the UN recommends as the minimum to spend on walking and cycling was suggested before the current higher focus on climate change. It’s just good planning for an equity, functioning, healthy transport system.

    You’d think the government would take note when designing an ERP.

  6. It’s worth noting that the Clean Car Upgrade will also provide the option to replace an old car with an e-bike or public transport vouchers. This aspect was downplayed during the initial announcement, presumably for political reasons.

    Initial reaction is that it feels like document full of planned actions and good intentions, but light on ambition when it comes to concrete steps now.

  7. Just been listening to some Taranaki Farmer and then the Dairy NZ dude on RNZ National explaining why farmers shouldn’t do anything. Perhaps it is time to shame NZ farmers customers for buying their produce. Maybe NZ farmers will understand market forces. They willfully don’t want to understand science.

    1. Ah yes the NZ farmer who believe that because they, in their own view, pollute way less than anyone else, it is others who should change. It’s a clever form of debating until you think it through.

      I call it the “piss in the pool principle.” It doesn’t matter that I urinate in your swimming pool because the kids up the road do it more way than me. Nice try, but simply wrong.

      Let’s talk about the reduction in herd size and to diversify into plant protein that can be farmed on a much smaller land footprint with a lot less use of water.

        1. But why “eventually’? Is it farmer greed driving this? With the milk price predicted at record levels ($9.10 to $9.50) there seems to be the ability for emissions payments to start.
          Surely all the super profits aren’t going on planting a few cabbage trees on river banks? I know they resent paying the ute tax on a new vehicle, but the government gave them months to do that. Yes, there is next years to pay for.

        2. From what I can gather, the big banks are trying to exit some of their positions on NZ farmland, its quite a bit harder to access credit for farmers and there are lots of minimum repayments being added. Previously people were being encouraged to go interest only and gather as much land as they could. A lot of debt was built up by farmers in the 2000-2015ish period. People buying up the neighbours etc.

          So a lot of money is being paid off, plenty exiting the country probably. Lots of debt to Rabobank in the Netherlands.

        3. Jack, I think someone is pulling your udder.
          https://www.ruralnewsgroup.co.nz/rural-news/rural-general-news/farmers-worried-about-economic-situation. Debt is not an issue.
          Hell, if you believe all the stories NZ farm land has never been so valuable. Where are the airlines going to access land for the sustainable fuels that they think will keep airlines expanding forever into the future? Cautionary note- the world has a global food shortage due to the war in Ukraine. That’s ok though because impoverished people don’t fly.
          The only reality in all of this is that agriculture all around the world will have to change if global emissions targets are to be reached. It would also be nice to have a few unpolluted streams and clean water where nitrogen hasn’t leached into the aquifer.

      1. The ranting idiot farmer was to be expected, a lot of people who don’t do very well at school go onto their parents farm. But the Dairy NZ man is far worse. His claim that it is ‘warming’ that matters not emissions is an attempt to claim the expansion on the dairy herd occurred more than 10 years ago so it no longer counts because methane is now steady and not increasing. He didn’t mention all the coal Fontera and their predecessors have burned.

        1. There was also some playing down the impact of methane emissions from the rural sector.
          It was stated that methane doesn’t last that long and breaks down. What wasn’t said was what it breaks down into – interaction with ozone into water and… CO2. So having damaged the ozone layer methane degrades to the long lived CO2 making methane a worse warming emission than CO2 itself. This nonsense should be challenged by the media whenever it is mentioned by the rural sector.

    2. If they do do something the costs are then passed onto the consumer so we all have to pay. Many kiwis are already struggling with the high cost of food, do you really think we would be happy to pay more?

      We live in a high cost low income country at the end of the worlds supply chain……….we should be looking to locally source as much food stuffs as possible, cutting imports would save a lot of unnecessary CO2 in transport and benefit the economy through increased local production and more jobs.

  8. Why $569m to take up to 2,500 gas guzzlers off the road? That works out at $227,600 per car. I agree it’s a bad concept, but that price makes it look like no one’s thought it through.

    1. The goal is to appear to be doing something while doing nothing unpopular. If they actually wanted to achieve something they would have extended the public transport 50% subsidy, included farming into the ETS and put punishing taxes onto coal.

      They don’t want to do any of that so in my view this government (that I voted for twice) is just a waste of space.

      1. They seem determined to be a caretaker government (that doesn’t even really do that much caretaking).

        Sadly, when they won the majority (majority! in MMP!) I already thought that this would result in lots of middle-of-the-road MPs who think being National Light would be their best chance at being re-elected. Instead they are just being meh to EVERYONE. Good riddance. If National wasn’t going to be worse, I’d be laughing all the way to your crushing next defeat, Labour.

        1. That said, why the hell are the GREENS even fronting this? James Shaw isn’t guilty for Labour being useless, but he does make the Greens complicit in this soft-softly useless approach.

        2. For me it will be like swallowing a dead rat at the next election but it seems the only way to get rid of a swathe of hopeless people from Labour is to throw them out for a while. I have voted for Lange, Bolger, Clark, Key and Adern (& Goff once). But the right wing religious thumb-man is really going to test me.

        3. Damian,l agree, James Shaw has had to swallow a dead rat ,there was a telling smirk and embarrassing pause yesterday, when replying to a question,his heart is not in this.

        4. I can’t actually think of any of the things Labour has done badly that National would’ve done better. To the contrary, National were typically suggesting far worse policy.

          In transport, a big problem has been Labour trusting Waka Kotahi and the various dinosaurs appointed to special tasks, instead of doing their due diligence on whether the organisation and people that have delivered the current system are fit to be giving the advice they’re giving. Are they more skeptical yet?

          I think the time to vote for National is when they produce some policy that aims to meet our sustainability and other challenges but with a RW economic approach to funding it. They’re not there yet.

        5. Heidi Labour did the Covid response far far better than Bill English ever would have. My problem is I was expecting some action on things that mattered. Instead we got a continuation of John Key’s talk but do nothing anywhere approach. Now for me its a question of the long term. Are we better off giving them 3 more years to bullshit us or is it kinder to get rid of them next year so they can have a clean out and hope the next cohort of Labour people can be effective. Given they seem intent of mangling needed reform then its probably better to push them out earlier.

        6. miffy – looking at National’s caucus it might be kinder to give them another three years to find some talent. They don’t look any more likely to be able to deliver than Labour are at the moment.

        7. I have the opposite worry about them. They seem like people in a hurry to change things (likely for the worse). Think back to the first Key government, he achieved precisely nothing and we were all ready for that at the time. If that alternative existed my decision would already be made. The current crop seem to have ideas and ambition, which in National is usually a big problem. Maybe Winston will come back and I can vote with all the other old grumpies like me.

        8. Though it sticks in my craw to give him credit, John Key did do one useful thing. He gave the go-ahead for the City Rail Link which as we all know is now being built, and to do this he had to oppose the views of his two most useless ministers of transport, Steven Joyce and Gerry Brownlee. But for Key taking this step, I am not sure that we would have a City Rail Link under construction today as I just can’t see Labour being decisive enough to have committed to it. Having said that, I welcome Labour’s more cautious approach to other things such as harbour crossings, light rail and motorways, where dithering through indecision until the right decision becomes clear, is far preferable to decisively making wrong decisions such as National’s Roads of Significance.

        9. How short your memory is Dave B (Wellington).
          Yes JK eventually agreed to the CRL in his last term having made relentless attempts to push it back for the previous 6 years. It was only the belatedly perceived potential for gaining votes that finally made the Nats give in and agree to the CRL.

        10. Don’t think bringing in National will do much but may just reverse any good that has happened over the last whatever number of years it is now. Give them time, we have gone/going through a pandemic etc. They still are basically “pro public transport” which National is not. What is this weird politics where they are pro car / anti public transport anyway? I think they need to and will grow out of this childish philosophy over the next term or two.

    2. That is an eye watering large amount of money.

      You could just buy 2,500 Telsa’s and give them away and it would cost under $200m. Still would only increase the number of EV’s in NZ by a small amount. Though incentivising purchase of something that already has long wait lists seems a bit pointless right now anyway.

      Just something like a $1000 subsidy on purchase of an EBikes from some approved list, could give us 200,000 vehicles instead and even if most were only used during weekends or nice weather, I suspect it would still reduce VKT significantly.

      Still bugs me that this government are pushing EV’s (and we have already brought one and claimed the subsidy – I am a fan), but NZ govt also had the biggest fleet car user (NZ Police), opt for pure ICE fleet for most of their vehicles with only a token few hybrids for trial

      1. Grant,bikes aren’t on the radar,they are the “peasants ” machine,they “bikes” have been transformational to society in the past ,and their time has come again. But as a politician,who wants to be remembered for recreating a movement,when you can build something in concrete and steel. There is probably no one person in Holland ,that can claim to have energized their bike revolution, you can’t beat the bronze plaque on an edifice for a politician,as a justification for their being.
        Would happily pay for a plaque ,myself ,that opened up a lane on the Harbour Bridge.

      2. To be fair though, the police churn through their fleet roughly every 3 years and the cars lives are considerably shorter than private vehicles. In 3 years I would expect 90%+ of the police fleet going forward to be at least hybrid if not pure EV especially as EVs keep getting better and the charging infrastructure improves.

        1. I did look it up

          https://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/%C5%A1koda-supply-new-police-cars

          They are planning to go emission free by 2030; which seems like bit of a stretch given we are ~mid 2022 and they have about 3 PHEV vehicles being evaluated. There are also a bunch of weasel words in that press release; they are planning to develop a plan to go emission free, not actually doing it.

          “Police cars and car-based models are considered for replacement at an average age of six to seven years or once the clock up 120,000km, whichever comes first”.

          Still see lots of Holdens in the field, so even if they start replacing some of the cars with PHEV versions, then unlikely to hit low emission status by 2030

        2. The police’s biggest contribution to decarbonisation would be a responsible approach to enforcement of the laws which enable and improve active and public transport options.

        3. police committed to 1700+ ICE Skoda’s the week before the Climate Emergency declaration. They have subsequently been called out by the OIA ombudsman for lying about their emissions strategy.
          Instead of 1700 police EV’s coming into our used fleet, we are now going to get 1700 more ICE cars into our fleet + all the carbon our cops chow through policing our roads. Nailed that one Labour.
          Police want Holden, will settle for VW (skoda).
          Irony – Holden bailed on police car contract to focus on electrification and automation, so couldn’t complete its contract.

    3. I now understand it’s a poorly written media release. The Clean Car Upgrade will eventually cover about 30,000 cars. However, that’s less than 1% of the 3m+ that’ll still be polluting and, as written above, a huge amount to spend when there should be higher priorities. Has Michael Wood got reason to expect car traffic to decline by 20%, or is he just being hopeful, or being misled by his staff?

  9. People using public transport must be making good savings now.
    The cost for families owning 2 cars and driving 100 km a day would be $300 or more a week.
    One of Labour’s best achievements is the many developments like those at Middlemore that is upgrading the area. 20 or more developments. 1000+ New apartments and homes.
    The hospital and several schools in the area should encourage more short journeys.
    The busy train station gives trips to Britomart, Sylvia Park, Manukau and the airport in 20 minutes.
    Work on the third rail line between Middlemore and Puhinui is going well and will have a new bridge at Middlemore.
    Kiwi Rail will have less restrictions getting through that area and provide a better service to deliver all our stuff.

    1. Not all are making savings…. Arguably the most expensive PT service in the country (Waiheke ferry) has remained at full price.

  10. They are totally missing something that won’t cost very much (in comparison), people just don’t wait it in their neighbourhood. Reduce speeds even lower than recently suggested by Auckland Council, local non arterial roads in neighbourhoods don’t need to be 50km/h or even 40, go to 20 even lower) and put some signs up/ and or paint part of the road to make it obvious its a shared space. People will be much less likely to want to use them as a rat race option and also it will be much better as a shared space for cars and bikes/scooters. People will get to retain their precious on street parking and we won’t need to put in as many dedicated cycle lanes. Its a pretty simple idea that won’t close a lot. I’d be happy to have it in my neighbourhood (Pakuranga). Yes we are are a two person household, have two cars and two scooters. We could offload one of our cars if it was safer to scooter (and park it without it getting stolen too which is also very lacking)

    1. Good point. Secure parking infrastructure for micromobility devices and bikes is important for people to feel safe using those modes. Is it even mentioned?

      1. Nope, they are so focused on car ownership they can’t see the forest for the trees. Yes a lot of places where you want to park (like shopping centres) are privately owned and not under the control of local councils but surely its not that hard. In saying that, the car park at my local Pakuranga Plaza is owned by the council for now. They simply have their head in the ground. Surely if it was suggested they would find a way to speed $100k more than they need to and then say no anyway.

        1. A parking space levy a la Sydney might help shift the needle more than a congestion charge will

        2. Under 10.1.3 “Other Initiatives:
          Investigate additional pricing tools to reduce transport emissions (including parking pricing, VKT pricing and low-emissions zones).”

          We should be well beyond the “investigate” stage. We were already at the “investigate” stage – including going to consultation – at the start of the Super City, but AT put paid to that.

          Auckland Council and AT should have been lobbying hard for parking levies. And AT should have included it as one of the policy intitiatives in the RLTP that were required of government.

          In any case, leaving it out of this ERP when it could be helping immediately with our “budgetary pressures” is an example of how inertia is preventing progress.

  11. While action 10.1.4,is aimed at roadway expansion, l wonder whether,this could be used to argue against underground light rail,I’m calling ULR ,a “new highway ” project,and therefore inconsistent with emissions reduction objectives. There is a another version,surface light rail,that would better meet thes objectives.

    1. You raise an important point. All the roadway expansion considered under 10.1.4 needs to include the projects where the expansion is really being done to preserve general traffic lanes but where the planners might be calling it expansion for sustainable modes. Will it?

      10.1.4 is a good example of where further action is possible, and where that further action should be highlighted to give people hope and show that we have options.

      Rather than saying “New highways and road expansion projects are sometimes needed… Further investment that expands roads and highways needs to be consistent with transport targets and avoid inducing further travel by private vehicles” they could be saying:

      Actions we’re taking: requiring that further investment that expands roads and highways is consistent with transport targets and avoids inducing further travel
      Actions we can still take: stopping any investment that expands roads.

      If every lever was laid out clearly, with both the actions we are taking and the actions that we still have up our sleeve, people would no longer be able to claim that reducing vkt is too hard or that the effects would be fantastically inequitable. They would see the options available to us, and realise that they aren’t scary or radical but in fact quite appealing.

  12. The ideas and the intentions are good, but the funding is is totally inadequate and the former is totally negated by the latter.

  13. Would think that extending railway electrification would be a priority for both passenger and freight operations.
    Long-distance passenger rail is completely ignored meaning that cities and regional communities are forced into either flying or using roads.
    New Zealand needs a quality low emissions national passenger rail network with bus connections.
    Overnight sleeper trains between Auckland and Wellington would be a great alternative option to having to fly, these night trains could conveniently connect cities as well as link regional centres with zero-low emissions travel options.

    1. The lack of passenger rail discussion is surprising considering the govts enthusiasm for the “golden triangle” rail plan just a few years ago. Te Huia is a great start but that is old news now.

      1. Pretty sure te huia will be gone by lunchtime if luxtons the PM. That 100million towards half a new motorway interchange or something.

    2. Yeah, I was hoping for this. Electric locomotives were a solved problem over a century ago, electric trucks are still at least several years away assuming they’re practical at all.

      Perhaps the reason nothing is being done here though is the assumed extreme cost. The estimates from ONTRACK in 2008 for electrifying Papakura to Te Rapa seemed absurdly high – $5.1m/km in 2020 money.

      Electrifying Palmerston North to Te Rapa only cost $1.3m/km in 2020 money and that price included 22 brand new electric freight locomotives.

  14. We need a government supporting free fares and these policies –
    a) Urgently increase the supply of safe walking and cycling options.
    b) Increase the supply of reliable and affordable public passenger
    transport (buses, trains and ferries).
    c) Repair and upgrade our national rail network including reinstatement
    https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/beachheroes/pages/9636/attachments/original/1615414313/Policy-Greens_Transport.pdf?1615414313
    of mothballed sections.
    d) Invest in a coordinated freight strategy that includes developing
    coastal shipping for domestic freight.

    1. Where is the evidence that free fares is the answer? Matt’s research suggests that the former does not make much of a difference.
      Let’s have some evidence based debate. There are plenty of cities that have very low car mode share and none of them have free public transport. The ones that I have visited do have tailored pricing to achieve high occupancy, not some social equity policy, and such models are replicated in many places.
      I am the first to agree that Auckland has a poverty problem. Enabling people to move around without owning a car will be a significant way to reduce household costs, way better than car ownership and free PT trips as it suits.

      1. Half fares are increasing numbers, but not enough to raise income. That makes the additional cost of free fares low, especially as significant savings could be made by getting rid of fare collection costs. All the studies look at fare elasticity alone, without considering other benefits, like faster boarding and leaving and the hassles most of us (and most ticketing staff) have had at one time or another about whether we had the right ticket, lost it, had to find it, etc.

  15. One thing is not clear. It said “reduce total km travelled by the light fleet by 20% by 2035”

    The problem is EV is a part of the light fleet.

    1. Anecdotally EV drivers do more KMs as short trips to the shops are “guilt free”. Can’t find any actual stats on that though.

      EVs will save the car industry, not the climate.

  16. Was there any mention of the fuel excise tax being changed? The 3 month discount might end up being a deep hole for the govt. The high price of fuel is inequitable but necessary.

    Would a sinking lid on fuel import volumes be a useful (radical) policy?

  17. Still baffled by this EV scheme. The car isn’t the problem, its what is inside it that is. We could use that money to invest in NZ companies doing EV conversions at scale and battery investments/upgrades rather than pumping the money into Nissan and the Japanese 2nd hand market. Older cars are much better for converting anyway and gives them a new lease of life as they dont need as much servicing. The investment in the battery sector would go hand in hand with solar powering of companies / schools etc etc

    1. EV conversions, nobody is doing EV conversions at scale in any country. Most EV conversions are of classic cars where people don’t expect long range, fast charging, luggage space, practicality.

      1. When I was in Wellington in the early 2000’s the place we were staying at the owner of the property had a Morgan 3wheeler which he converted to an electric vehicle , the problem was it only had a short range as it ran on the old lead acid batteries which were/are easier to fit compare to these new lithium batteries .

  18. Am I right in thinking that all the motorway projects currently being planned will likely still go ahead? (Penlink, Levin etc) And only new new ones will be hard to get across the line?

  19. We already have lots of (relatively) low cost Nissan Leaf’s in the country. That trickle of cars will probably accelerate now with the subsidy continuing. Since we brought our Leaf last year, the cost of one with similar age/capacity/range has gone up if anything

    From an reducing emissions POV, if New Zealanders are going to continue to import lots of right hand drive cars from Japan and drive them for 10 years, better it was a Nissan Leaf than a Nissan Qashqai.

    I agree that there really needs to be investment in solutions focused on NZ though. I was disappointed to hear that one local initiative had a modest request for funding turned down:

    “They’d hoped to receive additional EECA funding to help cover the cost of the first trial upgrades, but were unsuccessful”

    https://thespinoff.co.nz/business/26-02-2020/the-nz-company-giving-early-model-e-vehicles-a-much-needed-jumpstart

    For a few hundred thousand, (not millions), the government could have had a ready answer for all those people holding back on investing their own money into buying an EV because they worry about what happens when the battery declines.

    I still think things cottage industries will pop up to refurbing battery packs for cars and home solar. A tired Leaf battery that has gone from 24KWh to about 50% SOH is near useless for the car, but highly valuable for off grid solar/wind

    1. There is a chch company already a long way through research and development for a leaf battery replacement. They’re a legit company that has been working with battery swaps on leafs for years, including making battery swapping hardware and software. So not a “kickstarter” take peoples money and run type scheme. Looks extremely promising, and the chemistry they are using, on a well looked after pack should last 30-50 years.

      https://evsenhanced.com/aftermarket-battery/

      Worth a watch

      I’m planning on getting a leaf in a few years, knowing you can get a great extremely long lasting battery on a car like the leaf, might be the last runabout car I ever need (I’m 25) and makes it extremely appealing. Got to buy a house first though.

  20. Have we as a country underestimated the benefit of not having to send billions of dollars a year off shore to pay for petroleum products when we can use home grown renewable electricity to power our transport. Also is the fact we won’t have to pay for it in American dollars an additional benefit. On that last point witness what has happened in the last week or so as bad economic news has led to speculators rushing to put their funds into American bonds and oil pushing the price of oil up and our dollar down. So we are paying for something we have absolutely no control over. Wouldn’t it be great to be insulated from that kind of reef fish behavior.

    1. It’s a big factor, and I agree; I think it’s important to try to have more control over those costs. And similarly, carbon credits. Relying on buying them to meet our targets is going to cost us big time.

      In both cases, we’re leaving our kids with an economic burden they’ll have no control over, unnecessarily. We should be making better investment decisions now.

  21. Climate change is a red herring. The problem runs far deeper and no amount of decarbonisation we do will make even the slightest difference to anything.
    We’re far better off spending our money on creating some sort of resilience to it.
    Like that’s gonna happen.

  22. On Newshub tonight they brought up a Question , What will happen to the power Network on a COLD Winters night when all the homes plug in their heaters to keep warm an at the same time are charging their EV’s and cooking their dinners ?
    Will the power system crash and leave us in the Dark or will go out the next morning and find the Battery in your EV flat because it was putting the power back into the Network ?
    And if they start to Build new power plants will the Environmentalists be up in arms if they start to Dam more rivers ?

    1. that’s easily solved by a peak tariff. EVs can charge after the peak which ends around 8pm.

      Electricity demand between 9pm and 7am is less than half what it is across the day. Charging a car uses about 5kw per hour, same as a couple of heat pumps.

    2. This is a problem as old as the grid David, and there are many ways to skin that cat.

      One popular one lately is the “hour of free power” or 3 hours of free power that some retailers provide. It can work out cheaper for these companies to not charge you for all that power, provided you are shifting things you would otherwise do at peak times. People choose to shower later after 9pm when their free power kicks in, wait to turn the dishwasher on, wait a bit longer before cranking up the heater. The economics here would only get stronger as there is more and more peak demand.

      Night store heaters were a big thing a few decades ago to solve the same problem. There are the discounts to have some things be hooked up to the ripple control to automatically disconnect things that aren’t so needed at peak like water heaters.

      In todays age of gas peaker plants and a more modern grid, a lot of these things are a bit neglected and the problem of the peak is a bit out of peoples minds. Lots of things are no longer connected to ripple control and some lines companies are thinking about getting rid of it. I think that is pretty short sighted. Night store heaters are mostly a thing of the past.

      Todays modern electronics really make it a much easier problem to solve than back in the day however. I fully suspect that having an EV overnight charging controlled by the power companies will be a thing, it almost already is (off peak power being cheaper etc). People don’t really care when their car is charged, just so long as it’s at some predefined % by the morning. Of course with some override with a higher rate if you need it done at peak times. Electronics, smart meters, all give us way more options today than we used to have to solve the same problem.

      We’re just going to need a heap more wind, spread out over the country, solar (again spread out), more geothermal, and probably some pumped hydro storage. There are 100’s of megawatts under construction of all this already.

  23. I love in Waharoa and I’m going for a ride on Te Huia on Saturday.
    Waharoa – Hamilton 0h50m car
    Hamilton – Auckland 2h39m train

    Auckland – Waharoa by car 1h50m

    No contest really.

    1. If we had a normal basic intercity train system then Waharoa would be on the Tauranga-Hamilton-Auckland line. And the Waharoa to Auckland trip should be just under two hours also.

    2. Ya not getting it. In a low energy high cost future you’re not leaving Waharoa for anything but the most essential reasons.

      1. Those essential reasons including visiting friends and relatives and business premises.

        I cannot understand people whom say we shouldn’t travel. We have a huge unmet demand for mental health services in this country – why would you want to make it worse?

  24. Another, much more sensible, option would be to supply, free of charge, solar panels with batteries to every household in NZ.

    1. More sensible than that would be to build a couple of solar farms and storage facilities in the best locations.

      It would be cheaper, easier and produce more power.

    2. And it should be compulsory for all new builds and renovations to have Solar Panels installed and with all these EV’S use the semi tired batteries for storage .

      1. I disagree about going that far. It still doesn’t make economic sense for most electricity users to have solar, its only really good for places that have daytime loads. But there is a bit more of a happy medium, make the building code include stuff about making retrofitting rooftop solar way easier and cheaper. Have the conduit up to the roof there, have the electric meters and electrical panel set up to handle 2 way flow. In general making it much more viable for DIYers and small companies to do the retrofits.

        I’ve been looking into DIYing grid tied solar and it is extremely painful here. Bordering on impossible in NZ which is a pretty ridiculous situation to be in in 2022.

        It would be really good for commercial buildings and schools for example to have those quick and easy retrofit options available in particular. But let the individual or organisation run the numbers for their particular scenario to see if it’s worth buying the most expensive part, the panels, inverters and the install.

        1. With anything electrical you must have a qualified person to connect all cables at either end , you can run the cables from the starting point through to the end point but you must have a qualified electrician to tie it in . And if you get caught after you make a mistake you are then in deep doodoo’s because if something goes wrong you insurance will give you Zilch .

  25. I was going to mention that none of that addresses the congestion issue, but the congestion charge will help with that.

    Average car trip in Auckland is 6km. Plenty of those could be done by bike. Build the cycleways and reallocate the road space once congestion charging takes effect. VKT will drop anyway.

  26. A potential reason for the relative silence on ebikes; people are already flocking to them in droves so no incentive needed, it might p!ss of those who have recently bought, and any further demand would men they need to front up with more cycleways at the expense of the current roadspace for ICE cars?

    1. It is worth a try, but back in the ’90s a lot of people moved into apartments built around Hobson and Nelson Streets, and even now I don’t see anyone in a hurry to free up some road space for the mass of pedestrians you inevitably get from those apartments. Don’t underestimate the power of despising outgroups.

  27. Just in case anyone was wondering, the Isabella above with the long spiel of Spanish is a phisher (clear enough even without speaking any Spanish) and I’ve flagged it to the admin to block and remove. DO NOT click any of those links thinking it’s me who’s suddenly sprouted Spanish fluency!

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