Yesterday the Government launched their draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) for Land Transport for consultation, replacing the draft version that Labour released last year prior to the election.

As the name implies, the GPS sets out the government of the day’s transport policies and planned spending on transport, over a 10-year horizon – although is refreshed every three years. The GPS breaks transport spending down into given “activity classes” and sets a funding range for each. Those funding ranges are then used by the New Zealand Transport Agency and regional councils to come up with more specific plans for how that money will be spent. Those plans are also required to be consistent with –  and give effect to – the GPS.

The TL:DR version: this GPS is probably the most ideological, unbalanced and petty transport policy the country has seen. It is one that, despite the government’s rhetoric, will ultimately result in worse safety outcomes and fewer alternatives for driving, meaning more congestion, higher emissions (given transport is our second biggest source of greenhouse gases) and New Zealanders spending more on transport.

Even the images on the front of the document clearly illustrate the change in focus.

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The media attention so far has largely focused on what’s arguably one of the more sensible aspects of the plan: increasing vehicle registration fees, which haven’t changed since 1994. The plan will see registration fees for most vehicles increase by $25 next January and then the same again a year later. The government says the registration fee increases will raise $530 million over three years.

It’s easy to see the media “cost-of-living” angle here, with costs landing harder for those already doing it tough – especially given National promised no new taxes and not to increase fuel taxes.

But this doesn’t mean fuel tax increases aren’t also happening: the GPS proposes a large 12 cents per litre fuel tax increase in January 2027. This would bring fuel taxes up to the same rate Labour had proposed, but in one big jump. All of this increased tax is to help pay for just a fraction of their road-intensive policy.

As expected, this government is focusing their transport policy on building lots of big roads. In other words, More RONS.

The Roads of National Significance include:

Whangarei to Auckland, with the following stages prioritised:

  • Alternative to Brynderwyns
  • Whangarei to Port Marsden
  • Warkworth to Wellsford.

Tauranga to Auckland, with the following stages prioritised:

  • Cambridge to Piaere
  • Tauriko West State Highway 29.

Auckland roads:

  • Mill Road
  • the East West Link.

Roads to unlock housing growth:

  • Hamilton Southern Links
  • Petone to Grenada Link Road and the Cross Valley Link
  • North West Alternative State Highway (SH 16).

Other major routes:

  • Takitimu Northern Link Stage 2
  • Hawkes Bay Expressway
  • Second Mt Victoria Tunnel and Basin Reserve upgrade
  • the Hope Bypass
  • The Belfast to Pegasus Motorway and Woodend Bypass.

They also say all RoNS “will be four-laned, grade-separated highways” which is notable as in Auckland at least, both Mill Rd and the East West Link were never intended to be built to that standard under previous schemes. This likely means those projects will cost even more than they were already expected to (recalling, too, that the East-West Link was already set to be the world’s costliest road project).

The other big priority in the GPS is road maintenance, with the government creating new funding allocations specifically targeted at “pothole prevention” on state highways and local roads.

When it comes to public transport, one aspect they do highlight is:

There has been a 71 percent increase in Crown/NLTF funding for public transport over the past 5 years (Figure 3). However, over the same period patronage has decreased by 23 percent. This has partly been caused by COVID-19 restrictions, but numbers have not increased back to pre-COVID levels.

Increased public transport fare-box recovery and third-party revenue will be expected from local government.

Drops in public transport use has not “partly been caused by COVID-19 restrictions“, it’s almost entirely as a result of COVID and the changes to society that have occurred. And ridership levels are now quickly getting back to pre-covid levels. Furthermore, the issue with setting hard fare-box recovery targets, like the previous National government did, is that it ignores the economic benefit of that crown investment. Public funding for public transport should be focused on achieving the best overall outcome, rather than having arbitrary limits.

There are similar issues with rail, where the government are going to cut funding from the NLTF but hypothecate track user charges, saying:

While rail freight network investments will remain within the GPS, rail infrastructure will no longer be cross-subsidised from revenue generated from road users. It is unfair to ask people using the roads to fund rail infrastructure. Rail investments will continue to be supported and funded through the Rail Network Investment Programme, as agreed by Cabinet. Track User Charges paid by rail users will be used to support these investments.

Investments in the rail network, such as the rail network rebuild in Auckland, are entirely about making trains operate better and therefore making trains an easier choice for people who currently have to drive. That’s why the previous government allowed for rail projects to be funded from the NLTF.

The real key to the GPS, though, is in the expenditure targets and activity classes. These are where the government set how much funding can be allocated for each type of activity. These are given maximum and minimum ranges, with Waka Kotahi NZTA deciding where in the range the actual result will sit.

The headline figure here is that the government expects to spend over $18.6 billion on transport over the next few years – and that doesn’t include its expenditure on things that sit outside of the NLTF process, such as the City Rail Link, recovery from last year’s weather events, etc.

To put this in more perspective, here’s how this expenditure target has changed over successive versions of the GPS. Note that as of last August, Labour were also promising a big jump  – however over the three years, this government’s aim is around $650m higher.

Things get even more extreme when considered at the activity class level.

As activity classes change with different governments, I’ve grouped these into some common categories for comparison.

This shows the minimum and maximum spending ranges for some key activity class groupings over successive GPSs.

So, at a minimum, the government is telling Waka Kotahi it has to spend more on state highways than ever before. And that’s to be paid for by slashing public transport, walking and cycling. (Note: the big drop shown in road policing is because the classes that fund road policing also included other safety measures in the 2021-24 GPS.)

This GPS also extends its reach way beyond all previous ones, delving into technical details in a way that, if followed, would undermine the ability of NZTAWaka Kotahi and local governments, i.e. councils, to make independent and evidence-based decisions. This appears at first read to be contrary to the Land Transport Management Act, which enshrines the agency’s independence.

All the road related activity class descriptions include statements such as:

The Government expects that funding in this activity class will not be used to make multimodal improvements, i.e., cycleways and busways, or fund traffic calming measures, such as speed bumps and in-lane bus stops. Funding may be used to remove speed bumps that exist on high volume corridors. It is expected that NZTA will prioritise reliable travel times in all investment decisions in this activity class

While the Walking and Cycling description says:

This activity class is for the purposes of maintaining the existing walking and cycling network and investment in walking and cycling where there is either clear benefit for increasing economic growth or clear benefit for improving safety where demonstrated volumes of pedestrians and cyclists already exist.


Any investment in walking and cycling must be funded exclusively through this activity class.

These sections imply incredibly unsophisticated understandings of economic value, and the role that all modes play together in enabling a more efficient and effective transport system. and transport’s role in enabling the success or otherwise of housing and other urban development. This is especially for urban areas, both towns and cities.

Let alone the horrifying implications for safety – it implies building or repairing roads without footpaths, crossings, and protective cycleways – and of course the  environmental harms – especially including climate change, which appears so minimally in this document you’d suppose it no longer exists.

Does this government expect local roads to be built without even any footpaths?

What this means is the government is using funding activity classes to enforce detailed design outcomes. That’s getting extreme; it removes options from local councils and centralises decision-making with the government. Our transport system is already far more centralised than most countries, and this just makes that worse.

Given most projects these days – even the ones from the previous national government – are multi-modal, this is a massive shift. It is entirely about trying to stop investment in walking and cycling. It’s also deeply impractical: many urban projects require walking and cycling as part of their consent conditions, to mitigate the negative impacts of roads. Trying to split those aspects of projects out is not just bad policy, it’s also likely to lead to delay and extra cost while agencies work through those processes.

It’s also notable that this GPS says walking and cycling projects must be able to show clear economic benefits – while other projects, the government’s RoNS in particular, don’t. The irony is that walking and cycling projects often offer some of the best economic value, while assessments for most of the RoNS projects show they will never deliver as much economic return as they cost to build. And again, this is leaving aside climate considerations, and the  impact of climate inaction on both our economy and our transport system – which the whole document seems comfortable with, even though transport is the main area all New Zealanders can all actually contribute to significant change.

There’s a lot more to dig into, but all up this GPS is concerning, if not downright irresponsible.

Consultation on it is open till 2 April. By all means have your say, it’s important to highlight the issues and put public perspectives on the record. That said, whether the plan changes substantially will probably be down to how local government reacts, or whether there’s a judicial review of any of the issues above.

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  1. I often wonder what these parties are thinking. Elections are won in the middle yet this is a fairly extreme policy that will probably have ramifications come the next election. A more balanced policy / minister would have increased their chance of being re-elected, but this guy is an extremist nutter.
    When you spend more money on potholes than public transport you are sending a very clear message, and its unlikely more than 50% of NZ agree with that message. People will have forgotten about potholes next election, but they will see bus cancellations and 20% fare increases and suburbs without footpaths.

    1. This last election wasn’t ever about the middle. It was about the Labour/Greens having annoyed the crap out of people right across the spectrum so we figured the next lot couldn’t be worse. In the USA later this year people will vote Trump because he isn’t Biden. I know, I am glad to not have that terrible choice too.

    2. Why does this article claim that National’s GPS is ideological? If it is, then Labour’s was also ideological. I didn’t hear any media beating up the Labour govt over theirs?

      1. 1) You read the whole article and that’s what you took away from it?
        2) Greater Auckland isn’t ‘the media’
        3) Quite certain if you even followed this blog you’d know there are heaps of articles criticizing Labours transport polices
        4) Oh no please don’t bully my National Party

    3. As tou would expect from a National- led Government, the Railways have been almost forgotten. The cheapest way to reduce emissions is to get as much freight and passengers on rail as quickly as time and money allows.
      As the Railway system is already in place (and all those expensive RoNs are not) all it requires is a modest investment in rolling stock, and extend electrification where there are steady flows eg: Tauranga to Hamilton.
      The two gaps of electrification on the NIMT would cost a fraction on any of these 4-lane highways, and produce better results.
      Non of the proposed RoNs would have a satisfactory cost to benefit ratio, even over a 10 year span.

  2. That last sentence in this post is a bit concerning. The only appropriate response is an overwhelming number of submissions calling out this nonsense

      1. Good. And the point about how local government reacts is key.

        The public can do at least two things:
        – submit on the GPS and
        – advocate to their council that Local Government New Zealand needs to take a case against the government on this.

  3. Ironic that this National govt is setting aside so much money to repair potholes that are a direct result of Waka Kotahi having to rob the road maintenance fund to pay for the last National government’s RONS programme.

    A plundering of the maintenance budget that WK predicted would be necessary from the moment RONS were first mooted.

    Otherwise all drearily predictable. This government have no understanding of what works for transport policy and are in the back pocket of the freight industry.

    1. No mention of extreme weather events causing potholes either in the last few years. Just blame the previous government and cyclists. Trucks get a free pass.

      1. Clearly it is the cyclist’s fault for causing the potholes in the first place. Trucks never cause potholes…!

    2. They are in the back pocket of the road freight industry. Because any sensible freight person would have realised that the scrapped interisland project would be a large efficiency boost.

  4. Thanks Matt. “incredibly unsophisticated understandings” sums it up well.

    The draft is so completely misaligned with evidence that it raises questions of whether the officials who wrote it can individually be charged with professional misconduct.

    The draft is inadequate on reducing transport emissions, to the point that it gives misinformation about what our commitments are:

    “Following the general election and a change of government in late 2023, the intended emissions reduction policies foreshadowed by the previous Government are being reassessed. For this reason, GPS 2024 has not undertaken the alignment exercise as anticipated in ERP1. The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is the Government’s key tool to reduce emissions. In addition to the ETS, matters relating to climate change/emissions reduction issues are being worked through and will be
    addressed during development of the second Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP2). This will include deciding on the cross-sector policy mix, to ensure the second emissions budget is achieved, and we are on track to achieve net zero by 2050.”

    Reference to net zero by 2050 doesn’t meet our commitments nor provide for a liveable planet, and constitutes intentional misinformation.

    From the public’s point of view, it’s important that everyone realises this avoidance of improving our lives through decarbonising transport harms us all. The approach only benefits are the the planet’s uber wealthy, who wish to maximise their short term profits without regard to the effects on the rest of humanity and the planet.

    This isn’t a draft GPS intended to do what’s right for New Zealand or New Zealanders. It is a draft that must be entirely stopped. It will harm us, every step of the way.

    Every National Party supporter or person with connections to National Party members needs to encourage the party to pull back from this damaging extremism.

    1. Why do you think he would care to read it or change his mind. That money can fix some potholes in his driveway in Pakuranga!

      1. That could be why NZTA will read it first then rewrite in simple language he can understand i.e comic book form with very few hard words that are too complicated for him to understand .

        1. (I don’t really like to say this since I’m not sure it’s productive, but frankly this proposal is so bad…..)

          I heard that with Trump and intelligence reports, visual aides, short single page memos helped. But also mentioning his name a lot. I wonder if something similar might work here?

    2. It’s very clear that they don’t want Te Huia to succeed. It goes against everything their main sponsors lobby for (the road transport lobbyists).

    3. At the Rail is the Future one day conference in Wellington last year, Bishop spoke, and said he had no interest in Rail beyond the two metros – Auckland and Wellington. No interest in Regional Rail – said he certainly would not fund any extension of any Regional Rail, would not support electrification of the remaining parts of the NIMT, and would not be favourable towards Te Huia. Implied that it would need some pretty amazing numbers not to be axed.

      Its interesting – he claims not to be anti-rail, as being a Hutt boy, he had to use the Wellington Metlink rail service twice a day for many years – but he wants to shut down any option to expand those rail opportunities for others. Perhaps, like many other Hutt boys and girls, he is just a petrol head at heart.

      1. And did It the Blubber Chin Bishop say anything about KR’s big loss leader the Capital Connection which has been running for 30plus years and never made a profit , which they have just spent big Bucks on New/Old Rolling Stock .

        Or as it’s running into Wellington they won’t touch it .

        1. I think he was pretty lukewarm about the Capital Connection as well. From memory, he said something to the effect of: “Funded by GWRC, so its not our problem, but if it was up to me, I would not waste my money on it”.

          Such a positive, helpful, friendly and forward looking chap.

    4. Te Huia has had the chance to make its case to customers that it’s a useful service. I’m sure that those who love it will have no problem paying its full cost from here out. Its core ridership will likely have no problem coming up with 100k each to keep it running.

        1. ‘How much will drivers be tolled to fully fund 15 RoNs”

          Between $3.50 and $5.50 each way, depending upon the time of day.

        2. We don’t need any of the RoNs. The bottleneck is Cook Strait. Now that the iRex project has been canned you can expect National to go ahead with the same disastrous buying of secondhand rust-bucket ships from Europe with no rail tracks.
          Come to Picton to see the mess the town has been left with. Our National MP for the area Stuart Smith has hardly said a word on the subject and it has been left to our Mayor to get some traction on opening up the town again.

  5. One can hope that if each funding bucket is so fixed, we won’t be funding other activities from the walking and cycling path.
    Half the funding for walking/cycling under national would still deliver more if that money is actually spent on walking and cycling vs a way to complete another project.

    1. Hasn’t this Mob gone back to when they were last in Power when Key was the one that Started the Cycle Paths , or is that now water under the Bridge , opps sorry they didn’t build them either in the North .

      1. Key’s cycleway proposal was largely a tourism initiative, and wasn’t intended to have any effect on how Kiwis get around day to day or in cities.

        It also belongs to a more technocratic era where it was possible for National to do bike-related stuff without totally alienating their base.

        The current government doesn’t have any of that technocratic self-confidence and is playing to a base that has lost all sense of proportion or humanity, mainly through mainlining right wing and conspiracist bullshit all the way through the early Covid years. They’ve been elected by people who mainly want them to ruin, undo, and punish.

    2. Nice idea, but the general pattern has been that instead of using the available corridor space to include all modes, WK and the regressive RCA’s squeeze as many traffic lanes into them as possible first; they treat the public space as if it’s intended for vehicles only, which is incorrect. To improve walking and cycling, the huge big costs of widening and property purchase then get lumped onto walking and cycling.

      (Example: AT’s dynamic lane projects which, in each case, were corridors in urgent need of improved walking and cycling and instead, AT focused on squeezing more traffic through and made them more dangerous for walking and cycling.)

      The situation was at least identified, and slowly being improved. Now, the limitations put on the activity classes in this GPS will exacerbate rather than resolve this. The GPS will prevent what’s needed: for each asset to be used in a more balanced and efficient way, ie with good walking and cycling facilities, before widening it.

  6. My only hope is that this plan proves unpopular with voters on the right as well – there are many people, on all sides of the political spectrum, who enjoy walking and cycling. It was National and JK who got a huge cycle trail programme started nationwide, and now more and more boomers are retiring into smaller towns and communities where they enjoy shared paths and so on.

    1. “this plan proves unpopular with voters on the right as well ”

      The issue is see is that the results of this will be slow in coming – who among the general population even knows what the GPS is? Yes, there will be worries even outside the usual circles when the first roads get built to 1975 standards, when the road toll rises again, and again and again, when we fail another couple of years of climate change goals. But by then years of damage will have been done…

      1. And when changes are eventually made by a future government, they will blame them for crazy spending on walking and cycling infrastructure. Money that could have been used for potholes!

  7. PT patronage drop is also due to not having enough bus drivers, track maintenance resulting in cancelling services and general unreliability. Also consider the fare subsidies.
    These projects are what was campaigned on and it is mostly unsurprising.
    The ministry and NZTA jointly reporting on travel demand management within 3 months of the release of draft GPS 2024 was one thing I noted. Also rail freight track maintenance being funded from rail access charges.

  8. It looks like he’s planning an 18% reduction in public transport operational funding. Will this mean an 18 per cent average increase in fares on top of the increases council’s have already made? I’m guessing the community connect concession is gone along with half price fares for under 25s and Te Huia.

    1. Such weird ideology being displayed by Luxon and co as they take us back to 2017 and try to wipe out the 6 years of Labour .

  9. Simeon Brown stand revealed for what everyone feared he would be when he was in opposition – a God bothering, lib hating culture war fanatic whose ongoing battle with reality will admit to nothing as unreasonable as evidence. Te Huia is dead. Cycling is officially othered as an enemy. The guy is a complete fruit loop. And since Luxon is at worst a weak PM and at worst an evangelical fellow traveller, he is allowed to run the cereal factory.

    1. Totally, we are just a backward looking country (see the aerial cannabis story again). All these measures are like cancelling Netflix to try fund a jetski purchase.

      In 10 years traffic in and around the Auckland region will be so chaotic, I suppose the rich will just helicopter from Herne Bay to Omaha so perhaps should start a helipad building business.

    2. Can someone confirm or deny the rumour that the new Board Chair of AT is in the same church as C Luxon and S Brown? God Help Us. Or not, as the case may be.

  10. A century ago, in 1924 the organisational structure and funding stream for upgrading New Zealand’s state highways came into force. What has happened in the transport space ever since have been variations of this basic implementation model.,which%20were%20declared%20main%20highways.
    I think the mistake we keep making is trying to shoehorn alternative transport modes – ports and shipping between our two main islands, cycling and active mode infrastructure, rail networks, bus service networks, etc. into a structure that is primarily designed to build and maintain the road network.
    We need alternative funding systems and organisational structures (in many cases locally or regionally controlled) to manage these alternative transport networks.
    Centralisation into one transport organisation (the National land transport fund and the New Zealand Transport Authority) that supposedly fairly allocates resources to all parts of the transport network has just created an overly politicised ideological mess.
    Look how France rolled out modern trams services across the country over the last 30 to 40 years. It wasn’t a Paris controlled mega transport agency that did it. It was tens and tens of different regional city agencies with their own independent regional transport funding sources.

  11. Is anyone surprised? This is a party who still thinks in 1970s transport planning of private cars over all other modes. It’s a huge road building manifesto which the priority of building monolithic oversized motorways that have very poor business cases. It appears they are aiming to revitalise those plans back from their 2017 campaign before they were paused or cut back by the Labour goverment due to escalating costs.

    What is worse is that they are cutting funding for much needed community projects such as safer infrastructure for children to get to school and more initiatives for people to use cleaner transport.

    And, for a party whose primary election focus was to bring down the cost of living, this policy shows that they’ve thrown that idea out the window.

  12. This GPS shows we can no longer expect this government to examine evidence on climate change, safety, the health benefits of walking and cycling, or who does not have access to safe, affordable low emission transport. Driving a double cab ute on a four lane road is not an option for a significant proportion of the population. Research by the group Motu indicate that more than 20% of our population 16 years of age and older do not hold driver’s licences. There are age, gender, ethnicity and deprivation dimensions to holding a licence. For the least deprived members of the population, over 80% of adults hold a licence. This drops to only a half in the most deprived. In addition, plenty of people who do hold licenses cannot drive because they have started medication or developed medical conditions including poor eyesight, or have no access to a car. With an aging population, the proportion of those who cannot drive, or should not, is going up. This is being led by those in small town New Zealand. Without good quality long distance coach services or regular trains they are stranded. This government is looking to the past not the future.

  13. I have no hope for this country at the moment and even less so for Auckland where we have been absolutely shafted.

    That said trying to be an optimist, Governments come and go and that’s democracy. Can’t change the result now and in fairness the previous Government did nothing. At best we get some revenue from time of use charging to be invested by local bodies into PT and active mode, that this Government is only 1 term and none of these massive roads get built…and at worst we get some modern roads out of it. Regardless of mode preference both our road and PT systems are third world and if we had sandbox mode on I’m sure we would have to upgrade both..

    1. Look at the latest plans: Reduce tax on fuel, increase rego fees and RUC. This means that the general public pays more and people driving vehicles with high fossil fuel consumption are better off.
      So while a lot of people need to or choose to have a car, this reduces incentives to look for alternative travel options. The lack of funding for walking, cycling and PT also makes that choice harder (or easier, but in favour of the car) 🙁 It is complete stupidity.

      From the RNZ news ticker:
      Nicola Willis was adamant on Morning Report that the Government was keeping commitments made during the election campaign.

      “People can do the math and they understand that actually having lower tax every week, having lower petrol costs every week, adds up to be a lot more significant than an increase in the fee.”

      1. The clean car discount should have been a pure incentive scheme for EVs and phevs only funded from amorphous and anonymous tax revenue. Contrast that with the penalty+incentive scheme that took money very visibly straight out of the pocket of one group of people to put that money into the pocket of another group. Most taxation does this but in a way it seems people find much easier to ignore. Also quality branded EV or PHEV utes were not available in New Zealand and still are not quite yet here. If it was done as a pure incentive or had a carve out for some segments until suitable alternatives existed it’d likely still be in place now.

  14. Rail provides benefits to road users in the form of reduced congestion, fewer crashes and offset carbon emissions. This was quantified in the Value of Rail study which gave a number of $1.7-2.1 billion per year. Contrary to the GPS, this makes it look sensible to fund rail improvements from income generated by road users because road users clearly recieve a significant benefit from both freight and passenger rail

    1. Yes, the approach to rail in the GPS is lacking all logic. Very weak pro-roads stuff. Compare these two excerpts:

      “It is unfair to ask people using the roads to fund rail infrastructure.”

      “In addition to the forecast $74 billion investment in land transport through the NLTF over the next 10 years, the Crown also intends to contribute additional funding into transport infrastructure and operations.”

      Those Crown funds will fund the road building climate bombs they have planned. Yet, this is inconsistent. If it’s not fair to require people using the roads to fund rail, it should at least be fair to ask them to fund road infrastructure – without having to use general tax or to use PPPs so future generations have to pay.

      This draft GPS will simply increase the already enormous subsidies to driving.

      1. Agreed it is hypocritical nonsense for National to say that rail, coastal shipping/the inter-islander, public transport, active mode infrastructure must pay for itself while it is giving tens of $billions of taxpayers money directly to the roads of national significance.

    2. The problem comes when you start claiming all sorts of intangible benefits as the thing that seals your business case. For over half of it’s benefits the study relies on a pre ZEV world with the assumption we’d have to make is once road traffic shifts primarily to ZEVs that modelled business case for rail would largely collapse. The second relies on ‘Time Savings’ which become increasingly irrelevant with increasing vehicle automation as the time is no longer lost and the study also doesn’t address the capacity increases that provides. With the right model you can justify just about anything, but this is a model that any future looking planner would say that it shows rail makes a temporary contribution at best then it’s reasons to exist go away. (note I’m not saying that, the modelling methodology you reference is saying that).

      1. You’re doing exaclty what you accuse others of doing: relying on assumptions that suit your case. Road traffic won’t shift ‘primarily to ZEVs’ for decades yet (they’re far too expensive for ordinary New Zealanders who don’t buy new cars) and automation will have no effect on flows until it’s almost universal. Too many electric cars will cause just as much congestion as too many ICE cars.

  15. There’s so much that makes no sense in this GPS, which on the face of it seems designed to trap people in traffic and increase the dangers on streets and roads. New Zealand already punches well above its weight on both counts, to our shame.

    The bit I don’t get is, the Transport Minister is a young dad. He must know the school run is super-low-hanging fruit, an ideal way to achieve the things he says he’s keen on like improving efficiency and productivity.

    School journeys add hundreds of thousands of peak-hour car trips to the roads every day, and the massive opportunity for getting people out of traffic is blindingly obvious in the “school holiday effect”. (Likewise, around 2/3 of everyday trips involve one person wrapping themself in a large vehicle to go a small distance – when we were asked to only drive for essential purposes, roads cleared up, and so did air quality.)

    Many parents are currently trapped in the daily drive. Kids are keen to walk and bike, they fret about climate change, and they hope to live low-carbon lives. They’re ready to play their part, and they all deserve more freedom to choose how they get around.

    And yet, in the line about funding safety for walking and cycling “where demonstrated volumes of pedestrians and cyclists already exist”, the Minister has created what might be a world-first policy.

    It appears to say: if parts of your neighbourhood, town or city are currently too dangerous for a child, or anyone, to cross the road and/or comfortably walk, bike, scoot or roll a short distance – to school, to catch a bus or train, to a shop – this government says it must stay that way.

    This is deadly. It also seems to be wild overreach into local decision-making.

    1. Alternatively: does the statistical value of a life (NZ$12.5m for each life lost or saved on our roads) count as “clear benefit for increasing economic growth”?

      In which case, this GPS is saying: build all the safe crossings and bike networks you can, as quickly as you can. Unfortunately, it’s not providing the budget to meet the need.

    2. The free PT for under 16s has made using the bus a very easy and real option for school students. No holdups because of insufficient money on the card, just pile on. I recently saw a double deckers in a provincial city with a full standing load, mainly schoolkids. The value of free fares in getting school traffic must be many times the cost. But out it goes in favour of potholes.

    3. Absolutely. I had thought that the line that “no one swimming across the harbour did not stop them building a bridge” was pretty obsolete in a more enlightened age (!) Simeon Brown demonstrates that their are still people out there who think walking and cycling numbers are not related to the feeling of safety required to do it.

    4. Funny. I think if you polled the older ones you’d find most kids want a license and their own car not to walk and bike everywhere.

    5. Simeon was home schooled and only went to a high school for year 13 (maybe year 12) so i guess they won’t be doing school runs either

  16. It is an astonishing document showing of a profound lack of intelligence, evidence and knowledge. I guess election have consequences and NZ got what it wanted and deserved. Looking forward to a NZ put under concrete (except for the areas the rich and powerful reserve to themselves) and 5 degrees of warming in 2100.

  17. Love your work Matt. But.

    Look my issue is that many of those RONS really need doing.
    The Brynderwyns have surrendered to its underlying geotech chaos.
    The Vic Park Tunnel is well overdue after a century of inaction.
    A proper triangle of state highway between Hamilton, Tauranga and Auckland simply reflects where New Zealand travels.
    Sure Mill Road and East-West are flat dumb, agree.
    But most of them aren’t.
    My main disappointment is that congestion charging across Auckland doesn’t appear to be accelerated.
    On rail, if as Robertson suggested they were going to gut IREX anyway, Kiwirail were in for a hiding no matter who the government was.

    1. Work back from achieving our 2030 goals on emissions, social and environment goals instead, Ad. If you do so, you’ll see that none of those things you’ve suggested are part of the low-VKT, sustainable future we need.

      They’re climate bombs. And they also strip funding from the things we need to do.

      It is through really poor transport planning – road building and an imbalance in funding – that NZ has ended up with the highest car ownership levels in the world, and an extraordinarily high vkt/capita rate. What you’re suggesting is simply more of the same. It’s time to implement the findings from international work on how to decarbonise transport systems. Not to continue with an outdated paradigm.

      1. The idea that we are changing paradigms is false: NZ is addicted to cars and PT investment only takes the edge off that dominance in Auckland and Wellington.

        Actually surviving the storms that are already smashing us is more important than what vehicle we drive. We are spending billions on TREC and the Brynderwyns from landscapes collapsing. The state highway network is together with Transpower the only thing now that physically connects us as a country.

        Of course I’m sorry that most regions’ cycleways just got torched. But highway investment for vehicles is at the core of our stability as a country. Rail certainly doesn’t claim that.

        1. Speak to your own addiction, Ad, and don’t assume the same applies to everyone. More than 20% of adults, and all children, don’t even have driver’s licenses, and this is higher in damage-hit areas. Plenty more do but can’t or won’t drive. Far from being ‘addicted’ these people are simply extremely poorly served, and NZ’s transport planners are failing to provide them with the basic rights of mobility, safety and health.

          NZers drive so much simply because of the kind of bad transport planning that you’re supporting here.

          NZ has way too small a population to have invested so heavily in a monomodal road network. Other countries can afford an extensive road network and lots of suburbia because they have enough population to pay for it, and because so many of the trips are meanwhile being taken on other, more affordable modes. NZ isn’t in that situation – our population means we needed to have invested instead in public and active transport. These are far more cost effective. The renewals for all this excessive roading is now an albatross around our necks, with storm damage looking to impoverish us completely if we don’t change tack immediately.

          Storm damage will keep coming. Anyone who believes we should continue to strip funding for safety, walking and cycling each time the storms hit, to pay to repair our poorly-conceived high carbon roading network, is a fool. And a destructive one at that.

          I’ve been pissed off for years about the transport sector’s documents from the last fifteen years or so that claimed good resilience planning was underway, when it wasn’t. Now that it’s clear the documents were pure bullshit, it would be good if the sector was a little humble about their failure.

        2. What a ridiculous comment. The two forms of transport probably most resilient to when the “storms smash us” are walking and cycling (or maybe horseback).

          How many people actually go over the Brynderwyns in a normal day?

        3. …highway investment for vehicles is at the core of our stability as a country…

          we seem to be working hard to sacrifice our countries resilience and climate reputation to this thinking. Oil and Vehicle manufacturers would love our addiction to be “to the core.”

        4. “the only thing now that physically connects us as a country”

          Nobody uses telecommunications or the interweb..

        5. Heidi do you really think that just because people don’t bother to get licenses that they don’t drive?

          And which has proven to be more resilient after storms? Roading with its much greater number of alternate routes and often an ability to within hours get things to be at least passable by a 4wd or unimog for relief efforts or rail links that take months to get back to a passable state? It took seven months for the Napier Hastings line to get back to operational. Who would have wanted to wait that long for the first relief convoy?

        6. Jerry you’ll see more people using SH1 at Brynderwyn in an hour than you’ll see on the northwestern cycleway at Te Atatu in a day. The average daily usage of that part of the cycleway is about 7-10 busloads of people. And the amount of freight each carries no doubt differ by many many orders of magnitude. Walking or cycling may get you down to the end of your street in a disaster or worst case help you make a one way trip to the nearest functioning road out of the area but it’s not going to bring in tonnes of relief supplies.

          Mixed use paths are nice to have recreationally but as an environmental strategy pretty useless compared to telling the same number of people to catch a bus.

        7. Ah the classic old no one uses bike lanes.

          When you have a full country road network that means someone can literally drive from their front door to another location hours away on a sealed surface designed and huge amounts of $$ spent on it versus a join the dots cycle “network” with only a few kms of actual protected separated infrastructure and you wonder why people do not cycle more?

          Imagine if SH1 just stopped.

        8. I remember the Kaikoura earthquake wrecked both the state highway Nd the rail line but the rail line was up and running first by far. Usually a lot more narrow corridor etc to sort.

        9. Grant not only was the Kaikoura damaged rail line repaired faster it was insured so it paid for its own repair costs whereas the cost of repairing the damaged state highways came from central government. This is because the road network/NZTA is not required to be insured (the government – so essentially the ordinary taxpayer self-insures roads from earthquakes, floods and other disasters) while the rail network is required to be insured. This road network bias may lead to NZ’s freight rail network collapsing.
          The insurance issue has huge implications because post the Kaikoura earthquakes the various insurance companies that KR uses insisted on massive upgrades to rail and port infrastructure – such as 70m deep piles for the Wellington port upgrade. A major reason for the blowout in the Irex project cost and its cancelation under this new National government.
          Some transport experts such as Richard Prebble (who is also a former leader of ACT so clearly biased right not left) have written that it has been long known by transport policy experts if the inter-island rail link fails then that will cause the rail network as a comprehensive nationwide system to also fail.

        10. “Ah the classic old no one uses bike lanes.”

          No, the actual measured result that compared to other modes hardly anyone uses bike lanes.

          And a ‘few’ km? The northwestern cycleway is 20km long just on its own and almost completely protected infrastructure. There are now hundreds of km of cycleways in Auckland. At what point are you expecting their usage to ramp up to the 12,000 movements per hour per cycleway that proponents promise that they will handle?

          Grant, rail outages have typically taken months not days to repair. In the Kaikoura earthquake an alternate route south by road was up and running in days, rail took how long, nearly a year? And how about the Swanson line? Most places have more than one road going there and don’t have the same potential for single points of failure taking any way in or out of town down for months. On past performance most places in New Zealand are likely glad rail is not their lifeline to the outside world.

    2. “A proper triangle of state highway between Hamilton, Tauranga and Auckland”

      So that is 3 highways to form a triangle. I get Auckland-Hamilton and Hamilton-Tauranga but Tauranga-Auckland?

      This “Golden Triangle” thing is a nonsense. For whom is it golden? The people?

      Please stop using the phrase; it panders to the plunderers.

      1. Indeed. It is nonsense. The most useless road to get between Tauranga and Auckland is indeed State Highway 2. There’s little chance of four-laning through the Karangahake Gorge.
        It’s actually quicker to go via Hamilton with the expressway now.

  18. Something also missing that came up in discussion online

    National policy pre-election, and repeated when discussing the introduction of RUCs for EVs, was that all light vehicles would be paying RUCs

    It is pretty much the only way to make it fair, as at the moment zero-emission vehicles will pay $76 per 1000km – which is significantly more than something like an Prius ICE hybrid on per 100km basis.

    Conspicuous by absence when looking at a 10 year plan, is any mention of this.

    I suspect National are going to quietly try and bury it, as most NACT supporters were happy to see EVs’s paying the same RUC rate as high emission Utes, but seem quite unaware that they would be paying RUCs as well. I suspect a very unpopular change in particular for the older National/NZF voting demographic

    There were comments from people trying to make a decision about whether to buy a hybrid or full EV, and the RUC thing was making them swing to the hybrid option, as they were unaware that RUCs were coming for petrol vehicles. That the government has not announced a date for introduction is worrying as quite simply it is comically evil to providing disincentives for zero-emission vehicles.

    Even worse; Simeon claimed the RONS would not increase emissions as most cars will be EVs so no emissions; but then has systematically removed incentives for zero emission vehicles.

    I really feel the government is being run by people who want to see the world burn, and so inept that they can’t/won’t read the evidence

    1. I don’t believe that was policy, it was the stated direction that things would go in but a formal transition to RUC for all light vehicles was not an formal immediate policy.

      1. There have been conflicting reports as to the policy.

        1. All vehicles to be using RUCS (instead of fuel taxes) by the end of the decade (usually given as an aspirational goal.). Which has been the plan for some time now.

        2. A mention made this week (Brown was quoted as saying) “Brown wants RUCs for all [petrol] vehicles in by the end of the current term”.

        Which when you think about it, bring in RUCs for petrol cars would then remove the need to have all those fuel taxes increases from 2027 onwards – there won’t be any petrol taxes to speak of for funding roads (there will be plenty of fuel taxes still just not those collected for paying for the roads).

        The big question is then, whats stopping bringing in RUCs for all vehicles sooner than later – why wait til the end of the decade?

        Seemingly the issue is, I gather, that the RUC back office system is not actually fit for purposes/up to snuff – so much so that NZTA were loath for quite some time now to implement RUCs on EVs or Plug in Hybrids especially with the split regime for EVs and PHEVs due to come into force.

        I think the officials were [well, since forever anyway] hoping for some automated technology based GPS car mounted system that billed you monthly for your distances driven. Hasn’t happened. Can’t see it being a reality anytime in the next decade due to privacy and all other kinds of issues.

        And they want this to avoid the need to fix up the current (clearly limited) RUC back office system.

        Clearly the fuel tax collection system now is dead easy (for NZTA) – they get told how much fuel each petrol company has sold (i.e. has been delivered into the petrol tanks in each fuel station), and pay the fuel taxes on that in bulk to the Gov’t.

        The money then gets parcelled out to NZTA. Gov’t and NZTA do almost no work to collect the taxes – the petrol companies do it all for them.

        Its efficient and difficult to avoid and collects the tax before the travel paid for (and presumably, resulting road damage), is undertaken.

        Unlike RUCs – which is almost the exact opposite currently. And its initiall paid up front [on your honest declarations of odometer readings], but then actually corrected in arrears via a messy “Washup process” at COF/WOF checks. But it then requires a lot of enforcement to keep everyone honest.

        Moving everyone to RUCs is seemingly a backward step in everyway. A bit like the new GPS.

        1. Main reason we have RUCs is the rural lobby, who tend to fill up their Hiluxes etc rom the arm tank. In many/most other countries diesel is taxed at the pump and off-road diesel is coloured with a dye that will contaminate the tank of any vehicle illed with untaxed fuel. Roadside dip checks tahat may catch such cheats see vehicles seized.

  19. They have slipped in the misdirecting use of percentage statistics “…71 percent increase in Crown/NLTF funding for public transport…”

    When public transport is so underfunded and the starting base of investment is very low, you can increase by 70% or 100% or even 200% and still be in a position that there still isn’t enough investment. E.g. if I only “invest” $50 each month towards a house deposit, I can increase that by 500% and still end up nowhere close enough to ever buy a house.

    These parties are supposed to be the clever buisness brains, but it seems like they only use their business training to use all the tricks to confuse their constituents. Especially since, as pointed out, alternative modes always have better business cases than RONS.

    As an aside, clicking the link for submissions lands on a page with a large image featuring a cyclist, pedestrians and a bus, with cars only obscured in the background. What an intro to a draft policy that aims to drastically reduce these!

  20. I cant believe how cheap car registration is back home and how people can whinge at an increase of $50.

    I pay £570 a year (NZ $ 1140+). If National really wants to waste more money on unneeded roads, make the users pay for it, especially HGVs who are getting away with blue murder at the expense of the kiwi tax payer and KiwiRail.

    Congestion charging in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch CBDs should be the same as central London time wise and it should cost a lot more then a gold coin donation (eg $25 a day for London). That extra revenue will improve public transport no end and remove unnecessary journeys benefiting the important ones (buses, disabled transport, freight etc). Win win.

      1. Yes ACC was reduced, so regos went down – but only because the ACC portion of the rego was previously hiked massively (by National) due to a chicken little “the sky is falling” impending disaster of allegedly unfunded future costs in the motor vehicle accounts of ACC.
        Which needed an immediate and urgent correction.

        Of course we all forget the ACC hike in the first place when comparing Rego costs. but it wasn’t that long ago [maybe a decade or more] that regos cost several hundred dollars a year. In total.

        And now we bristle at paying $50 a more a year. Because we believe the narrative that regos have not gone up for decades – the NZTA portion of the rego mightn’t have, but everything else about registering and warranting [and fuelling] your vehicle have risen massively thanks to all those Gov’t taxes since 1994.

        Not the least of these tax hikes is the last [John Key led] “no new taxes” National governments GST hike to 15% from 12.5%.

        Seems when it comes to introducing hikes that weren’t discussed in the election campaign [to fund soon forgotten and ill-advised by Treasury tax cuts], this government is clearly standing on the shoulders of John Keys Government.

        1. Regos are tiny. Car owners don’t pay their way. What’s the point of all this detail, Greg?

        2. I don’t mind the increased registration fee so much and the money could be used well. (It won’t, but ok.) In my opinion, it shifts the financial burden away from those people who drive a lot to those who own a car but also use other methods to get around.
          Also their claim that they are not breaking any promises because they never campaigned on not increasing the registration fee is ridiculous. They clearly campaigned on easing the cost of driving. While car ownership does not equal driving, it is a key part in the process. So while screwing over people who want to drive less and incentivising more driving, they are also dishonest to their key votership.

          On the other hand, is there now hope since they have not campaigned on NOT building a Gisborne – Tauranga – Akl highspeed train?

        3. Yes Regos [and WOFs and insurance] are, in the scheme of things a tiny part of the cost of driving vehicles – and of course, only actually affect those who bother to pay these things in the first place. As many don’t have Regos, WOFS or insurance now, hiking them won’t make much of a difference.

          The huffing and puffing about regos going up is, however swamping the much bigger picture of whats at stake.

          The point of the detail is, because:

          Its been stated by many others that in essence “if you don’t learn history you’ll be doomed to repeat it.”

          We should all see lots of about to repeat history here, from the well worn yet, poor, reasoning from time immemorial, appearing in this GPS.

          I read and hear the equally poor excuses by the Minister as to why we as a country need to do some (less urgent) stuff immediately, Almost right this very minute in fact.
          While much other (and very more important) stuff is left to be done some time in the never-never when all the roads are built.
          And wonder, where have we heard that argument before?

          Poor value choices equals penny pinching in the wrong areas.
          And this false need for urgency and equally false need for extreme austerity go hand in hand – and will continue to reverberate for decades to come.

          As Patrick Reynolds has stated here many times, its as much about what you choose *not* to build as it is about what you choose to build.

          By pursuing many of the [short term] goals like Moar Roads (and Moar [Gold plated] RONs) as per this GPS we are allowing this government to make these very poor choices for us.

          And more to the point, by doing so, we are precluding being able to make much better transport spending choices and achieve much better transport (and other) outcomes – because we can only spend each transport fund dollar once. So we should spend it wisely.

          Too many of these “choices” presented in the GPS are presented as a variant of the lame “there is no alternative” excuse – i.e. you can either have higher petrol, RUCs, Regos – you name it, and also accept fewer walking and cycle projects or you don’t have these nice RONs to drive on without potholes. There’s no alternative!

          No one in Government it seems bothers to ask (or want to admit) that perhaps it might be better if we not do some of these things at all?

          So maybe not build all those RONs to allow us to also have walking and cycle projects and continue to allow NZTA to be creative in how is maximises the benefits to the country as a whole for the scarce funds it has to spend. So it can pay for non-road projects from roading taxes if thats the best way to deliver the outcomes.

          And lastly, no one asks the elephant in the room question – how come we have all these pot holes? We never used to have them this bad.

          In large part it because 10+ years ago they raided a decades worth of NZTA future road maintenance funds to fund the last lot of RONs and then the same government then allowed unfettered ultra heavy trucks on the road – without allowing for the commensurate road repair work (and funding to do so) that these heavy trucks then required.

          So its a double whammy – take away pothole money, while allowing even larger and heavier pothole makers on the roads, then pretend “who knew” when the reality of potholes for Africa bites.

          Yes, higher regos are the small end of things – but they are the obvious tip of the iceberg – and when you’re looking out for ice bergs – so you can try and avoid hitting them – thats all you can ever hope to notice.

          The rest of the berg is below the waterline, but its what is below that waterline that is what gets you into trouble.

          The higher rego fees is but a minor warning of the more disastrous things to come – if we don’t heed its presence and take action.

    1. Because registration is an incredibly dumb way to fund road infrastructure. It’s effectively a transfer from people who own a car but do few kms, to those that do a lot of kms.

      It decreases the incentive to drive less. Its like parking minimums, you’ve paid the upfront charge, might as well get as much use out of it you can.

      The point of the rego charge, aside from the ACC component (which should be per km anyway), is to fund admin stuff like the Motor Vehicle Register and nothing else.

    2. Because we have ACC, NZ is one of the few countries where third party insurance is not compulsory – adds to the mayhem.

  21. I’ve been too frightened to read the actual document yet so thanks Matt for this summary.

    Re: “It is unfair to ask people using the roads to fund rail infrastructure. ” – is it not the case that roads have been progressively subsidised by general taxation? A pro-road person might argue that this is to catch up with earlier underinvestment, but the same is true of rail, PT, and walking and cycling. It would be good to get a long-term view on this. How are the RONS to be paid for given that National is not giving them much more funding than Labour were planning?

    Heidi’s comment about the GPS not aligned with the Emissions Reduction Plan is concerning. There are actions in ERP1 (2022-2025) that are there to lay the groundwork for ERP2 (2026-2030). If governments are free to ignore ERPs, is that not a flaw in our climate response? As I understand it, the Ministry for the Environment makes periodic reports on whether we are on track to meet the emissions budgets, but surely this should be done BEFORE policy changes are considered, not after they are enacted.

    The budgets in ERP1 are pretty easy to meet, and were made easier thanks to Covid. (working from home etc). They basically only require to stop making thing worse. ERP2 will be much harder.

  22. There’s a one page summary of the outcomes the government is trying to achieve with this draft GPS. Laughable they think they can get away with saying they’d achieve these things with their Moar Roads approach when the evidence is stacked against them.

    The really big change is this: the draft GPS no longer links investment to achieving outcomes for New Zealanders. It just outlines what the Government wants built/done, so it takes agency away from WK to use the evidence for how to achieve those outcomes. Gone is the Transport Outcomes Framework for WK to plan the programme around. WK hardly embraced this approach anyway, because they like to build roads, but we were making some headway.

    A National-led government with integrity would have modified the Transport Outcomes Framework, democratically, and would have continued to require WK to improve their practices around meeting those outcomes in line with the evidence.

    National could govern in line with an evidence base. They’re just choosing not to.

  23. “If the government were to give the GST revenue back to local councils, as advocated by the New Zealand First Party and others, it would greatly improve the situation. This would allow for more local control over our neighbourhoods, rather than being directed from the top-level.”

    1. Certainly this would allow the Waikato area to continue to fund the Te Huia for example. I suspect they may continue anyway as they have invested so much effort/money into it already.

      1. Unless Simeon legislates against it/enshrines in law how the money can be spent – e.g. not on cycleways.

        He threatened Auckland with the same on the fuel tax money left over.

  24. Almost a hundred days of this government, almost one hundred backwards steps.

    Does GPS now mean Grotesque Political Seismology?

    The dedication to destruction is comparable with a two year old in a porcelain shop, or a fascist in 1920s Italy.

    Fingers crossed we are dealing with wilful ignorance rather than malevolent intent.

    1. funding pothole fixes from the safety budget
      raising of speeds, or cancelling of safety related reductions (eg schools)
      removal of walking and cycling infrastructure from renewals.
      These all talk to an identifiable increase in DSI – particularly amongst our kids, and vulnerable road users.

      Simeon and Co are not ignorant, but i believe professionally negligent.

      Officials implementing some of these changes may be in breach also.

  25. Have Kiwirail got enough money to reopen the North Auckland line its being closed for over a year now.
    Hopefully they will buckle down and concentrate on carrying more freight. Then just maybe the coalition will feel like investing more. There’s no reason why they can’t carry more they have got rid of most of their old rolling stock and new locomotives for the South Island is on the way. Also, what happens to Te Huia carriages if it’s scrapped more tourist trains could be an opportunity.

    1. A large number of the Passengers on the 2 mid day trips are Aucklander’s going to the Waikato for the Day and Tourists heading South for a cheaper journey than what it costs on the Northerner .
      A large number may be Pensioners using the Gold Card part of their Bee Card which is also helping pay for it , unless Simpleton and his cronies find out and don’t reimburse them for their travel .

    2. Travelled up to the Bay of Islands last week and could see a lot of work being done along the North Auckland line. New ballast is being laid in many places and there are new stacks of concrete sleepers laid out alongside the tracks even well north of Whangarei. I think refurbishment and upgrading is going on even though we don’t hear much about it.

  26. And the Fat Controller had to learn to travel with the Great Unwashed today as his private plane provided by the RNZAF is still sitting on the Tarmac at Wellington Airport , broken down again poor poor Fat Controller .

    1. I heard there were too many journalists on the left wing for it to safely take off. Not enough balance.

      But he did campaign on finding a better alternative to those planes so he can’t complain too much.

    2. Plane is serviceable but RNZAF will not fly planes with defects unlike all commercial airlines.

      Their maintenance is so overkill nothing gets off the ground (talking as aeronautical engineer by trade).

  27. I wonder how many of those who voted for the present coalition partners didn’t actually want these outcomes, but foolishly ignored the ‘writing on the wall’ about what a NACT coalition would lead to?

      1. My guess is the government is rising in popularity due to its Treaty policies, not this. This transport approach will bite them on the backside with Aucklanders.

    1. Brexit comes to mind here.

      Change for changes sake, no thought given to what might happen in the hads of the mad right.

      1. Brexit was change for democracy’s sake, not just for change. It was known that there would be consequences, as the EU was always going to try to punish the Brits for daring to leave in order to scare everyone else from trying to follow. But the democratic price of staying in was too high.

    1. I voted for Winston because I thought he would provide a handbrake on the anti rail stuff. Turns out I was wrong.

      I couldn’t vote for the left because of other equally troubling issues for me. Problem seems to be the electorate in NZ likes doubling down on car dependency and the politicians will always chase the votes.

      1. We are all in a dilemma as to how best to vote, when usually no single party fully represents our wishes. I voted Green as they seemed to be the only ones with a sensible transport policy and a willingness to face-down the populist ‘moar roads’ cult. However their apparent pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel stance may put me off voting for them again. As for Winston, I fear that he has few ideas of his own (apart from clinging on to the baubles of office), so is largely reliant on others to generate policy-initiatives. At present there seems to be no-one in NZF advising him to support rail and put the handbrake on NACT’s roads-only prescription. If nothing changes between now and the next election, I will be struggling to know how to vote.

        1. I didn’t know how to vote ether, I ended up voting green, but I don’t agree with some of the extreme stuff that comes from the greens but labour had wasted way too much money, got nothing done, I don’t think they know what they wanted to do either, hence all the consultants.
          But where does that leave us? Labour will need to completely change it’s face, so goodbye Hipkins, maybe labour needs a famous puppet, someone who is taken seriously.
          Otherwise we need a new middle class party, that builds infrastructure for our city’s and towns.

      2. It’s all in the bigger picture and all the policies [social, environmental, economic, educational] need to work in concert – but you can’t get progress on any of them without the economic activity that generates funding for them. Alternatively, we can all go back to the savannah in Africa and share a few caves together. Or we could set up a communist utopian system and we all know how well that [doesn’t] works.

  28. “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is there to me, if the dead rise not? “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Re-written by Govt as “Let us smoke and drive, for to morrow we die.”
    Rushing into the RONS before finding as value capture mechanism to fund them instead of the overseas mortgage for next generation to pay is paying the consultants, not the road builders. Nothing to see for all the money for ages, especially if redesigns are on the cards.
    Probably a couple of billion dollars washing around spare for each of the first two years that could at least be spend on building a workstream of existing road pavement renewal (Preventing Potholes properly spent). That would give a head start on catching up the Infrastructure Deficit and give immediate results, leaving time to work out the RONS investment framework and carry out Benefit/Cost studies to “justify” the investment programme (if they can).

  29. Our political situation is extremely strange, in most countries a political party will generally only build infrastructure to areas containing there voter base, the type of infrastructure doesn’t change, an example would be that labour would be more likely to build a road serving south Auckland but national would be more likely to build a rapid transit line to east or south east Auckland.

    1. National electorates served in RoNS:
      Kaipara ki Mahurangi

      Rest of NI/SI:
      Taranaki-King Country
      Bay of Plenty
      Hutt South

      Non National electorates:
      Wellington Central

    2. John M – it seems strange for some because it is actually an objective strategy to build the economic base so we can pay for essential services. Alex F, below, might want to consider that Labour didn’t retain many of those seats because it wasn’t doing what people wanted and needed?

  30. Instead we get this culture war where the elected party forces things community’s don’t want down there throat, it would be like me building an elevated heavy metro straight through Milford Takapuna and Devonport across the harbour to Parnell Remuera and Meadowbrook and making sure it’s passes over the rooftops of all the Mini mansions tennis courts and over the swimming pools.
    I’m sure the wealthy would have a thing or two to say about that.
    But instead many lower income neighbourhoods get stroads cut through there areas.

  31. If the last week has told us anything it is that the way to get these guys to change their mind if is not to make submissions but to get the ZB hosts on your side…only partially joking sadly.

  32. That’s to give National far too much credit. To say their policies are ‘ideological’ is to suggest that they are in any way based upon a set of logically coherent principles.

    They’re simply responding to the desires of lobbyists.

    They’re framing it as an ideological approach so that they can say they’re trying to appeal to voters.

  33. In their apparent U-turn on public spending etc, the Prime Minister and his Transport Minister announced hikes to car registration fees to help pay for a $20 billion plan mostly to build more RONs – roads of National (perceived) significance, and fix potholes.

    Why car and other light vehicle owners should pay for the potholes is beyond me. It’s trucks that do the damage, not light vehicles.

    Reducing the numbers of trucks, particularly the H-plated variety, would be a start to significantly reduce the incidence of potholes. According to those in the engineering world, the wear and tear inflicted by a loaded 43-55-tonne truck is equivalent to that done by 9000-10,000 light vehicles. For what it’s worth, New Zealand’s maximum truck weights are among the highest in the world

    I live adjacent to one of the nation’s main state highways and see a constant stream, day and night of such trucks pass by. Many are loaded with cargoes, such as export containers or logs bound for ports, which would be better for all of us if they were consigned by rail. Maybe the government could charge such consignors a significant extra stipend if they insist on sending such freight by road.

    And while we are at it, I’m not sure our exporters, or even our wonderful new Government have read some o the recent international trade agreements we’ve signed up to? Like the one with the European Union (a likely benchmark or others). A clause stipulates that we must achieve our Paris Emissions targets by 2030 or all bets are off. And with Europe’s farmers back at the barricades, their politicians are likely to make tougher demands on us, not ease them.

    And then there are the ferries… The clever decisions of the newly minted Finance Minister must rank alongside Rob Muldoon’s scrapping of the Kirk Government’s superannuation scheme – recently described by former National Justice Minister Chris Finlayson as the dumbest post-WWII political act.

  34. This GPS is completely disconnected from any of the basics of good economics and reality. A toxic combination of obfuscation and denial.

  35. I would hope that local government continues with MDRS, when old houses a bowled and 6 townhouses take its place, there’s not much any road can do to fix congestion,
    It might force national to start thinking about public transit.
    But again I don’t know why there is no long-term plan for rapid transit, it’s well known that city’s will grow in population, so should be planned in advance, any route for transit water or electricity should be planned decades in advance, and the routes protected, properties in the area should have details added to the Lim report. Govaments should be able to pick up a project and run with it without excessive planning, so you end up with the Auckland light rail disaster.

  36. Seems to be a lot here against what the National led coalition are proposing.
    As a comparison can someone tell me how much was spent on Aucklands Light Rail to the Airport, Light Rail to the West, Auckland Harbour Bridge pedestrian clip ons, the New Auckland Harbour Pedestrian Bridge,. Once you have revealed all of those costings can you then tell us what we received from all of those projects.
    Thats Auckland. Now lets do the same for Wellington. Lets Get Wellington Moving – costs and benefits.
    And there will be others where they talked up a great game but went missing when it came time to produce anything tangible.
    What is worse, spending millions and getting no outcomes? Or spending money and getting outcomes that you may not like, but from which many others enjoy the benefits.

    1. If the government was only proposing to spend millions, I don’t think there would be such concern.

      This is not to deny Labour screwed up with their excessive planning and consultation and lack of actually doing anything, but the point is we’re talking probably at least 3 orders of magnitude difference in what’s going to be spent, so it’s hard to say claim it’s so simple as ‘at least they will do something’.

    2. or spending billions to not get the outcomes you were told you would (safer, quicker, no congestion) then your kids and grandkids spending even more billions maintaining the things they never asked for and might not even use, whilst also paying off the interest on all the PPPs used to build the roads when all they wanted was to have transit like all the other Cities they’ve seen on their OE and thought were really useful?

    3. Unfortunately, the outcomes will make stuff worse for a lot of people and encourage the wrong behaviour.
      Less PT subsidy -> More cars
      Less options to walk/cycle -> More cars
      More cars -> More congestion
      Less rail funding -> more trucks
      More trucks -> More potholes
      More potholes -> Even less money for PT and active modes.
      Less money for PT and active modes -> more cars, more trucks

      Rinse, repeat.

    4. There has been plenty of criticism levied at all those mentioned projects and their failed execution on this blog, I don’t think you will find anyone arguing with you there.

    5. What Joe said.
      The worst outcome is spending billions, and committing future billions, to projects that will make our lives, cities and country demonstrably worse. The current Government’s GPS on transport is so unbearably wrong-headed it’s actually scary to see just how much damage they could do to NZ while in office. How many communities will suffer greater severance and traffic danger; how many more people will die or be injured severely on the roads; how many people will have fewer transport choices and less independence.
      With the aid of their Fast Track Bill, the purpose of which is to accelerate their pet projects beyond the point of no return while avoiding scrutiny, they’re worse than ignorant – they’re actually dangerous.

  37. Just watched a Q&A interview with some guy analysing NZ’s approach to infrastructure.

    Interesting that the biggest spend is roading ($700 p/p, every year for the last 10yrs) and Hospitals was $140. Although there were reasons for roading being so much larger because it provides more impact to more people. But here was the kicker (paraphrasing):

    “NZ has a tendency to try and build its way out of congestion. Billions have been spent in Auckland over the last 20yrs and car travel times have got worse. It doesn’t work”.

  38. That big public awareness campaign Labour’s cabinet authorised about how the National Land Transport Fund is for transport, not just roads, must have come to naught. Oh well, at least they tried.

  39. All I see is a correction of priorities to match spending with where the funding comes from.

    When you fill up your tank you shell out $100+ toward transport funding. You quite rightly expect your money to be used on the infrastructure you are using your vehicle on.

    Cyclists, bus riders, train riders, and pedestrians are paying nothing. They don’t walk into a petrol station and volunteer a hundred bucks every week toward funding transport infrastructure. Instead, they ride on the coattails of the motorists paying $100+ per week.

    Motorists are paying for their own mode and everybody else’s. That’s not fair, so we are now seeing the funding go to the mode that is paying it.

    The good news is that other modes can start doing the same thing at any time. Perhaps payment kiosks beside cycleways as one example. If motorists can for out thousands every year to fund all transport modes, so can others.

    1. Funding alternative transport directly benefits car drivers. If more people are cycling, taking the bus or train, or walking then that obviously means fewer people driving and therefore less traffic on the roads. There are limits to improving travel times through building roads, especially in a space constrained city built around an isthmus, and those limits are far below what is achievable through a mixed modal approach.

      Never mind the fact that plenty of people who cycle or use public transport also have cars, myself included, and therefore contribute through registration and taxes. I am more than happy for my contributions to be used for cycle lanes 🙂

    2. The $100 of fuel that is all imported, cost of which goes straight on to our chronic current account deficit. Wantonly burning an irreplaceable fossil fuel resource while releasing lots of greenhouse gas. And on and on. What really is the real cost of that $100 tank of gas you’re so proud of?

    3. Roads still take up the bulk of the National Land Transport Fund, motorways in particular take the highest share, active transport and public transport are still minority recipients, yet users of these mode directly benefit motorways by not contributing to congestion and other externalities that come with a high social cost. Furthermore motorists don’t even pay their share solely from the pump (or road user charges), as spending for roads in local councils are topped up by a 50% share of rates, which everyone pays (including cyclists, pedestrians and active transport users).

      If you want a more user pays scheme, you’d be well in support of targeted toll roads, especially as the economics for many of these Roads of National Significance come with a BCR less than 1.0.

      1. Sounds like Fair Funding is another one who doesn’t understand the ways in which driving is significantly subsidised in NZ.

        Whats good for the goose should be good for the gander.

    4. If they corrected the funding model, they should fund maintenance on all council owned roads also, instead my rates are paying for roads when there are much more pressing issues in Auckland, like the lack of transit, makes no sense that the city council pays for roads when there is clearly a lot of money coming in from fuel taxes.

  40. There’s a lot of sense in not siphoning off money paid by road users in road use taxes of various forms to pay for other projects that should be funded by their actual users

    Busways could be funded by a special tax on bus tickets, cycleways by a tax on new cycle purchases, lycra and soy lattes or adding bikes to the RUC scheme as all other vehicles soon will be. Who here wouldn’t like to kick in $1000 on each bike purchase they make to help fund cycleways or pay $100 for a cross town bus ticket to help cover the cost. I know you’re going to say that those taxes even at those levels could never raise enough money to sustain and support the services but I’m sure the right level could be found over time.

    1. A couple of points. The majority of roads in the country are council roads which are 50 % funded by rates, there is plenty of funding going into the road network that is not user pays.

      Secondly, surely if the cheapest way to keep your motorway flowing was to build a busway or a railway then you would prefer paying for this by fuel tax, rather than more to widen the motorway only to move the choke point further down the road!?

      There are a couple of excellent examples of this in NZ. For $280 million the Northern busway has pushed back the need for a much more expensive extra harbour crossing by years.

      Also in 2013 the Hutt Valley rail line was out of action for a week due to storm damage, the Hutt Rd ground to a halt. It was clear the railway was doing an excellent job of keeping the road functioning.

    2. Your username says it all. Total user pays schemes don’t work as they fail to consider the externalities caused by creating barriers for some users. More cars on the road leads to more congestion, and productivity losses. It also increases safety risks leading to higher probability of collisions. It increases vehicle exhausts, leading to worsening health through poor air quality. These are all measurable economically.

      Ideally, walkers and cyclists would receive credits for their mode of transport, given the health and wellbeing benefits alone generate a positive contribution to society, even without taking into account they could be substituting a car journey.

      1. Alex cyclists have a lot of injuries and accidents per km driven, many more than cars do, including a high percentage of single vehicle accidents that don’t involve cars so don’t try the ‘but if we eliminate cars’ argument, the numbers would still be worse. Car accidents claimed with ACC are decreasing and cycling accidents are increasing. Cycling is becoming less not more safe. Motorcycling is probably the only more dangerous mode you could choose on a per km travelled basis. An ACC levy on each cycle sale would need to be quite high to cover the rate cyclists injure themselves at. Cyclists have a fairly high rate of traumatic brain injuries compared to other modes which extract a lifetime productivity toll. A full analysis would likely show cycle commuting to be net negative for productivity, rehabilitation and healthcare costs, especially if compared to riding a ZEV bus instead.

        Injuries aside, If walking and cycling were truly more productive every vehicle fleet owner would have their people walking and cycling instead. But they don’t.

        Tailpipe emissions are at best a medium term problem as the world moves to ZEVs. Long term planning won’t need to consider ICE car tailpipe emissions, eliminating one fudge factor that modellers seem to love.

        1. And so we come full-circle to the reason for installing segregated and protected bicycle infrastructure. It’s the unholy mix of cyclists and motor vehicles that makes the cycling mode dangerous. have you any convincing data for “single-vehicle” (i.e. bicycle-only) accidents occurring on cycleways? You need to consider that many bicycle accidents are triggered by motor-vehicle behaviour that doesn’t necessarily involve a collision, or by inappropriate roading infrastructure designed for motor vehicles not bicycles. Give the cyclists vehicle-free bike lanes and the whole picture changes. And the more this is done, the more cycling increases, particularly with e-bikes now in the ascendency.
          The other unfortunate cause of many bike accidents is trail-riding and mountain-biking. Can’t blame cars for these, but this is not the type of cycling that cycleways are intended to encourage. Eliminate cars from the cycling environment and serious accidents will plummet.
          Meanwhile, the overall road toll stubbornly sits between 300 and 400 with no convincing downward trend for at least a decade
          And serious injuries seem to track at 5-10 times the fatality figure. Cyclists contribute only 2-3% of this, and are generally not the party at fault in accidents involving motor vehicles.

        2. “It’s the unholy mix of cyclists and motor vehicles that makes the cycling mode dangerous”

          No you miss the point. At least half cyclist deaths in the Netherlands are single vehicle deaths. That’s with substantially better cycling infrastructure than here so a good model of where things would get to with better infrastructure. They publish that data regularly, the result is not in dispute. This is because humans are not well evolved to hit things at speed and cycles offer little protection in that situation. Also apparently people fall off bikes and hit their heads a lot and even a non moving fall from head height can kill you.

          Separated infrastructure will deal with some classes of death but not all.

          Also well under 3% of kms driven in New Zealand are bike kms. The injuries per km are much higher for bikes.

          And I’m all for totally separating cycle traffic off some roads and fining cyclists for not using cycle lanes and paths where one has been provided to help them in the making that safer choice. Just don’t be overselling the likely benefits in terms of cyclist death reductions or trying to make the case that cycle lanes actually save motorists time and money. Nor are they likely to move the needle much environmentally. As noted elsewhere the time, money and environment saving option is for cyclists to take a ZEV bus instead.

        3. Some details around your comments and fact checks – so a quarter not a half of the fatalities were single vehicles

          “A total of 291 riders died on the roads last year, the highest for the 27 years since records have been kept.

          This was 84 more than in 2021.

          In 2022, a total of 737 people in the Netherlands were killed in traffic collisions, 27% up on 2021, and the highest since 2008.

          Remarkably, more than half of the road deaths among cyclists were 75 years of age or older. And 85% were aged over 50.

          The figure of 150 deaths of riders aged over 75 was an increase of 84 over the previous year.

          The data was released by Netherlands Statistics.

          Almost half of the number of bicycle deaths (141) occurred after a collision with a car or van.

          In a quarter of fatal bicycle accidents, there was no collision with a vehicle or an object, rather riders had died after falling or slipping.”

        4. Vinny you seem to be confirming the numbers not refuting them, by your reference about half hit a car or van, a quarter hit some other object and another quarter just fell over..

          So at best if we achieved the Netherlands level of infrastructure we could expect half of bike deaths to not involve other vehicles. Again not an argument against separated bike paths, just it refutes the incorrect argument made above that they will eliminate most cycle deaths.

        5. Userpays: What interested me was the age of those deaths. How many 75 years in NZ actually cycle anywhere? How many of 85 years old? And how many of 75 year olds and 85 year olds in NZ died an earlier death because they get hardly any exercise in part because they don’t dare cycle or walk anywhere? Or maybe they can’t even cycle anymore, and walking is very slow and painful or at least difficult in part because they didn’t dare cycle or walk when they were younger either.

          Despite occasionally attempts by ACT especially to push it in that direction, the NZ health system has very little user pays, so we know the cost of those health problems cause by the lack of exercise is definitely something we the tax payer are paying.

          I won’t deny the actual cost is complicated, because superannuation and other things means it’s can cost us more if people live longer even if they are healthier in general, however even ACT isn’t willing to sell that as a reason to discourage investment in stuff which leads to longer lives.

    3. Yes for the most part I agree, also all local roads should be maintained by general fuel excise tax.
      So if it’s in the public realm and you can drive a car on it fuel tax pays for it, the side walk any cycle paths any garden’s should be paid for by land tax.
      But I don’t think land tax alone should be responsible for public transit, local bus services should but rapid transit needs to be funded from ether general tax or similar to healthcare education and defence force.

      1. Or from fuel tax if there is a clear benefit to the road network from building and running the rapid transit route.

    4. User Pays isn’t interested in a user pays discussion. Certainly not for cars.

      He drops in, is questioned about massive driving subsidies, then disappears for a few days.

    5. You had to reach hard to find a bike-related transaction to tax, didn’t you?

      Imagine funding motorways only from vehicle purchases. It would make the ‘Ute Tax’ look like loose change.

      Part of what makes urban bike infra worthwhile is that you don’t need an expensive bike to get moving, nor expensive fuel to keep moving.

      Every kid who can scooter to school, every adult who can ride a bike or bus to work, is less pressure on the roads and intersections.

      That’s an investment in my driving pleasure and I demand a happy ending.

    6. None of the above is really an argument against users pays.

      The northern Busway buses use the same roads to get across the harbour as other vehicles do. You could argue not making it a separate busway on the bridge (or giving up a lane for walking or cycling) has actually pushed back the need for an upgraded crossing compared to having extended the busway over the bridge.

      And where it has a dedicated lane it’s so lightly loaded in that lane that it’s clearly not a good use of real estate in the corridor compared to the same buses just joining the rest of the traffic flow in an extra T2 or T3 lane. There is nothing wrong with dedicated busways. Heck imagine of the money spent on the CRL was spent on modern busways instead.

      And symmetrically with your Hutt example, what if the roads were out of action, would the trains have kept up with demand? I doubt it.

      But arguing they help motorists so motorists should pay for their construction is quite humorous. You could equally well argue that motorways and local roads stop buses and trains being overloaded so bus and train users should pay for motorways.

    7. I cycle as often as I can for local journeys or to nip down to the shops and have done so for many years.

      I can assure you I have never in my life worn lycra or drunk a soy latte.

    8. jakeysnakeypastabakey Ways to charge vehicles with reasonable proxies for mileage exist and soon every vehicle but cycles will be on RUCs which will make that even more precise. I’d be all for registering bikes, issuing licenses and charging them RUCs and appropriate non compliance fines. Mandatory licensing would probably also increase the quality and safety of cyclists. However right now today calculating an average cost and adding it to the bike purchase price up front would seem to be a more practical path.

      And mode shifting all those cyclists in buses and eliminating cycle lanes is going to give you more throughput and less congestion if thats your measure of success.

      1. I’d love them to introduce a bike fee or RUC for their contribution to damaging the environment, others and themselves in all aspects of the word. I would welcome the amount we would get paid to cycle.

      2. Barely used cycleways have a sunk carbon and financial cost that may never be recovered and negatively affect the overall efficiency of the network. Cyclists of course should bear all those costs.

        Chomping down the world’s limited supplies of food is not the best way to fuel a vehicle and isn’t green compared to a ZEV bus running on clean energy.

        Road to Zero is gone but on the basis of injuries per km cycling would have been one of the first modes to be completely eliminated to reduce the associated death rate, health and disability costs.

        Fitness? There’s safer and less socially expensive ways to achieve that.

        Given the ledger is stacked pretty heavily towards the downside costs, what are the upsides of cycling that would mean you didn’t have a substantial bill owing to society instead?

        1. UserPays have you remembered the embodied carbon and environmental cost of lithium mining? Seems pretty deceptive to compare someone eating food, something they would be doing anyway, with an EV as if the batteries just appeared out of thin air.

          You have a lot of points to make, maybe you can make a well sourced post on this blog so we can review the facts and numbers you are presenting?

        2. The lithium and other metals in batteries are recyclable. But in analysing any mode I agree you do need to include its full lifecycle CO2e cost including the first time that metal is mined. Today most modelling imputes that completely to the first vehicle the materials are used in so likely overstate that impact.

          There’s plenty of analysis of the extra food needed to cycle. Humans are not capable of producing extra energy out of nothing so you can’t just eat what you would have otherwise and cycle. In the long term you will need to eat more. We are very inefficient ‘engines’ compared to electric motors and production of food is substantially more environmentally damaging than producing green electricity. This makes e-bikes an environmentally superior alternative to pedalling yourself when you do that full lifecycle analysis and EVs when fully loaded can actually beat old fashioned bikes in terms of full lifecycle environmental impact depending on the cyclist’s dietary preferences.

          But don’t let actual analysis get in the way of your dogma.

        3. “But don’t let actual analysis get in the way of your dogma.”

          Correct. Just keep missing the point to push the big metal boxes uphill by making some minuscule points missing 90% of the overalls downsides. But hey, if you make certain fixed assumptions, and ignore all the other stuff – you can “prove” that cars are greener than bikes, and better for you and society.

          “Less socially expensive ways” – oh sure, simply argue that because we screwed up our world to make it hard to live healthily, and it will be a big shift to fix it again – it’s cheaper and better to simply give up, or maybe subsidise some gym memberships. That’s another example of simply ignoring all the other benefits are better system of infrastructure would give us. Other countries, particularly in Europe, have managed to turn this process around. But Kiwis are different?

      3. Riccardo, Cycleways cost up to 15 million a kilometre. That amount needs to be mostly spread across a few thousand high volume users of the network and a longer tail of occasional recreational users. So I suspect you’re more than a few orders of magnitude off in what you will owe.

        But if it’s really $2 over a decade lets assume all kiwis are cyclists, and using your numbers have the government throw a million a year towards cycleway construction and maintenance nationwide, pass a law to cap spending on them at that and call the job done. I think you could get some pretty substantial support for that proposal.

        1. Australian Transport Assessment and Planning reckons about 1.5 to 3 million per kilometer as a reasonable estimate for pedestrian and cycle paths, based on results from various cities in Oz, but yes, you could spend a squillion dollars on anything.

          Walking and cycling along the street was fine until motoring made it intolerable.

          Protected paths, lanes, crossings and barriers to protect people, public spaces and even buildings from driver behaviour and error are a cost of motoring.

          Like you says, user pays.

      4. The problem with that is that walking and cycling on the road is by right, not by permit.

        When I walk or ride, I can do very little harm, so I pay nothing beyond my rates, income tax, ACC and GST.

        I would agree that rural drivers don’t get much value from active modes, so long as they stay out of town.

        Perhaps there could be a charge for driving in an urban area, which you could largely opt out of by living and working elsewhere. Feel free to visit, though.

  41. It seems no one on this anti car blog understands the science of CO2 emissions.
    Just because transport in NZ are accountable for about 22% of our total CO2 emissions does not mean that we need to restrict motorised transport to solve climate change.
    While the ETS is flawed – mostly because the carbon is undervalued and free credits – it can work. NZ can do its bit though buying offshore carbon credits and keep our physical carbon emissions the same as they are now.
    CO2 is a global phenomenon, reducing carbon emissions in Portugal has the same benefit as reducing carbon emissions in Picton (it’s the same atmosphere).
    We will never meet our targets through walking and cycling, this is a total fantasy. We will also not stop farming, so the road to net zero for NZ will involve offshore offsetting.
    If you really want to do your bit for the planet, eurhanise your pets and limit how many children you have. Owning a dog or having 3+ kids is much more carbon selfish than driving a twin cab.

    1. Wanting to reduce the number of new humans so that you can continue your resource intensive lifestyle would be the very definition of selfish.

      Irrespective of CO2 emissions, widespread car use makes our cities inefficient, which puts a significant drag on the economy.

      1. I’m not against reducing the global population but who’s going to pay for the pension. And change those adult diapers when we get old.
        So it’s not a bad idea to start thinking about sustainability regarding population growth.

    2. Wow so just drive over your pet in your Ranger to save the planet – maybe cut down some local children at the same time? The state of the commenting on this blog is really improving lately.

      1. Using a handle name that is the same first name(s) as a particular politician whose views are the polar opposite. Clearly a troll commenter, and not the only one too.

      2. Gee exercising my dog is the only reason I walk past my letter box, other then putting out the bin there really isn’t any reason to leave my property without a car, the shops are a 30 minute walk down the road, without my dog, I would likely end up being a burden on the healthcare system.

    3. Personally I don’t really care for CO2 emissions, as many say there are other countries that can do less than us and achieve much more regarding CO2 emissions.
      My reason for being pro transit is to help fix the poor urban urban fabric Of our city’s, and also to reduce the awful traffic problems we have.
      People need to take there rose tinted glasses off and see how bad Auckland is, on any street, there are cars whizzing by, the loud tyre noise, you can’t even have a conversation on my local road.
      Cars are the prominent feature on most streets in Auckland, the houses are set back to allow for car parking.
      My house has enough parking for 7 cars, it’s a 4 bedroom house, that is ridiculous, it’s not my fault I didn’t design it, it’s from the 70s

      1. In addition to CO2, there is also the rubber from the tyres. That is left on the road, washed down the drain, into streams, rivers and the sea and then eaten by smaller animals, entering the food chain and ending up on your plate.
        This alone should be a huge incentive to reduce VKT.

      2. With the elimination of tailpipe emissions some new bogyman will be needed. Do you know most EVs emit 5G radiation and we all know how dangerous that is. If cycling near EVs it’s quite important to cover your hemet with tinfoil to avoid any ill effects.

    4. Julie – Why the sole focus on C02 emissions?
      I don’t think any1 on this blog would say that walking and cycling would meet NZ’s CO2 reduction targets.

      However, a truely multimodal transport system would have plenty of other benefits.
      Walkable neighbourhoods, cleaner air, less noise, less water pollution, less financial burden of maintenance, children with more independence, safer streets, less financial burden on households (perhaps not having to own multiple cars) etc etc.

    5. Also it’s not just the footprint of those 3+ children. it’s the footprint of their children, their children’s children and so on. The more you breed and the faster you do it the broader that pyramid gets. One of the best climate policies would be to impose a child carbon tax rather than handing out child credits.

      Someone who buys a Ranger and has no kids is much more climate responsible than someone who breeds. That’s the inescapable math of the situation.

      1. Exactly my point.
        Who is the real carbon thief? 1 child Bob driving his range rover or Heidi cycling her 3 kids in a cargo bike?
        The science is simple – having a large family is the biggest cause of climate change.

        1. …be better air to breathe and less noise too. Not to mention more space for houses instead of housing the Range Rover.

        2. The space required for the yearly food needs of any one child are greater than the space required to park a Range Rover. That’s not even counting the other negative effects of that food production or their other environmental impacts.

          Also kids are really noisy and it seems to be a non linear function of the number you have. After the baby stage one on their own is quite quiet but throw two or three together and the noise level quickly ramps up well past what any Range Rover will typically make.

        3. Room for food can be in the rural areas but parking your Range Rover may likely be in a more constrained urban environment. Time to start cycling, scootering and walking in these areas.

        4. I’d have thought it’d make more sense to simply relocate the three children to a rural area and set them to work on the collective farm growing their food. Once they become strong enough they could be hitched in teams to plows and other agricultural implements avoiding the carbon footprint of tractors. Meanwhile their parents could attend struggle sessions for their part in overpopulating the world. It could be a great leap forward for society.

  42. There’s no chance of improvement in this country. The right are obsessed with cars and the left are obsessed with wasting their political capital on social issues without resolution.

    I feel sorry for the people running this excellent blog.

    It’s going to be nothing but frustrating news for the foreseeable future.

    1. I agree. NZ is not a normal country when it comes to transport and urbanisation. Our car ownership rate is the highest in the developed world for instance. Our car dominated suburbia looks very strange when compared to pretty much anywhere else in Europe, Asia, and South America. Even Canada and Australia do multimodal transport urbanisation better than New Zealand. The only place in the world that looks similar if not worse than NZ is parts of the US (probably the parts that Evangelical Chris likes).
      Yet where is the political party doing the policy hard yards to bring the urbanisation policies that work in the rest of the world to NZ? All I am seeing is the “left are obsessed with wasting their political capital on social issues without resolution.”
      There is a political vacuum. There clearly is an appetite from a large proportion of the public who wants to support “new city” policies rather than the “old town” status quo. Joel McManus who writes about this stuff clearly has an audience.
      Yet who and what will that audience vote for?

    2. try working on the inside of the industry, Tam. Most of us will be either grey or bald three years from now.

  43. Come to think of it, I often compare driving to illicit drugs, people get hooked on them people also use them to make them more productive, it’s well known many truck drivers especially in the US use drugs to enable them to do longer hauls.
    Drugs and driving have a negative effect on health and society as a whole, obviously not to the same degree.
    My point is, when the government promises more, people jump for joy, no matter what the cost, in other words it’s a vote winner.
    But don’t dare suggest people should sober up, and go to rehab.

  44. I think the only ideology involved is:
    Publicly provided, equals bad.
    Privately provided, equals good.

    No, I think policy is almost exclusively driven by maximising party and candidate donation income to fund the election campaigns. And the result of political polling.
    Candidates too, will be looking to maximise their chances of obtaining lucrative post parliament employment with entities associated with these vested interest donors.
    The lobbiest revolving door.

    What is certain, is that the decision making is too far removed from any serious economic and social research and analysis.
    Political polling is a very poor substitute and largely accounts for the sub par outcomes of Government initiatives. From both sides of the political divide.

  45. It isn’t quite clear to me how a submission is made, or who do I lobby/talk to? The website does have an email link, but where do I send my messages for best effect?

    And would greaterauckland consider providing templates to make the process easier?

    Otherwise all I’m doing is getting angry on a PT forum lol.

    1. The PM seems to be influenced by ZB listeners and is what he openly said changed his mind on fleecing us of 52k. Don’t waste time on a submission…call in or take Kerre Woodham to lunch

      1. Point taken. I only listen to ZB on the occasions that I drive, (to get my mindset right) so will have to call next time I’m sitting in traffic.

        FWIW I emailed and this is what I got told so far:

        Kia ora,

        Thank you for your interest. We will send you a link to the consultation survey as soon as it is available.

        Alternatively, we also invite feedback as an email to

        Ngā mihi,

        The GPS Team

  46. Try writing to the Minister ( or the Ministry ( I will be.

    1. I’m worried it might go to spam, but if I’ve already typed something out, then I could send him a copy too.

  47. No inter regional rail means no Capital Connection, no trains to Masterton, and no Great Journeys trains.

    1. Great Journeys are not funded by NZTA, Masterton is in the Wellington region. But yes, I had a similar thought regarding the Wellington – Palmerston North trains.

  48. The problem is one person, Simeon Brown, who has the arrogance of youth, and an ideological conviction influenced by his religious background. He’s the most dangerous type of politician because he can’t be reasoned with. I wonder what damage he will cause across his portfolios over the next few years.

  49. Compare the 2023 safety records in similar population places of Miami & Toronto:
    358 (Miami) from all traffic deaths vrs 45 in Toronto. I know which one is more car-centric, and it outweighs their bad reputation for crime stats.
    Auckland & NZ can learn from this data.

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