Transport discussions in Parliament this week

This week in Parliament the government have been using patsy questions to talk up their recent transport announcements about the City Rail Link and East-West Link. Both are entertaining in their own ways. On Wednesday there was almost a bit surreal when Transport Minister Simon Bridges got asked a series of patsy questions by Botany MP and former councillor Jami-Lee-Ross about the CRL. This extended to a couple of questions from other members in the house. What I found most interesting is watching Bridges now defend the decision to allow construction to start in 2018 after he and his predecessors spent so many years defending why they wouldn’t make that a decision. While we’re …

Minimum parking requirements in Parliament

Minimum parking requirements have been getting some long-overdue attention at central government level after the release of the Productivity Commission’s report recommending their removal from district plans. Finance Minister Bill English has also expressed his support for binning minimums. So last week Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter – a longtime advocate of removing MPRs – asked Housing Minister Nick Smith whether the government had any plans to legislate to remove them from district plans: Smith’s responses were a bit evasive but there were still a few interesting points raised in the back-and-forth: Smith said that it would be complex to legislate to remove MPRs as they are in …

Caption Competition: Gerry and Julie

On Friday Night Prime TV’s Prime Time with Shaun Plunket hosted a debate on transport with Gerry Brownlee, Julie Anne Genter, Cameron Pitches and Ken Shirley (CEO of the Road Transport Forum). You can watch the discussion here. There wasn’t anything new that came up from the discussion however perhaps my favourite part of the whole thing was before the cameras started rolling. The picture below emerged on twitter from before the debate showing Julie Anne and Gerry in a discussion. I find this picture fantastic in so many ways and it has one of my favourites of the election (so far). So lets have some fun with a caption competition. Comments to …

Election Transport Debate

Last night was the Transport Election Debate and so this is a recap of what happened. Unfortunately it wasn’t filmed so we can’t put up a video for you all to watch. If I miss anything important please add it in the comments. I want to say thank you to the candidates that turned up. There was Denis O’Rourke from NZ First, Julie Anne Genter from the Greens, Phil Twyford from Labour, David Seymour from ACT, Damian Light from United Future and surprisingly as a late addition current Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee. All up there were probably about 150 people that filled the room to hear the candidates speak. This photo …

Free off-peak PT for students?

Yesterday the Green Party announced a policy of providing tertiary students and those undertaking apprenticeships with free public transport during off-peak periods. The details of the policy are: All tertiary students and apprentices will get free off-peak travel on buses, trains, and ferries with a Student Green Card. All students attending universities, wānanga, polytechnics and Private Training Establishments, as well as those training through New Zealand Apprenticeships, will be eligible for the Green Card. This will benefit up to 325,000 tertiary students, as well as approximately 28,000 people training under the New Zealand Apprenticeship scheme. Off-peak travel will be free between the hours of 9am and 3pm, and from 6.30pm …

Brownlee admits they ignore economic analysis when it suits them

Following on from the Greens walking and cycling to school policy last week, Julie Anne Genter was again asking about it in Parliament yesterday and the answers from Gerry Brownlee were quite insightful to the governments thinking while some were also quite comical. You can read the transcript here. To me there were three interesting parts in the exchange. Firstly the primary question which is based off this written question. JULIE ANNE GENTER (Green) to the Minister of Transport: Can he confirm that by the end of this fiscal year the Government will have spent $1.5 billion on work classified as having a “low” benefit to cost ratio under its …

Steven Joyce on the CRL in Parliament

Julie Anne Genter questioned Steven Joyce in Parliament today about the City Rail Link. Perhaps the most laughable comment is when Joyce claims they are speeding up the project, not slowing it down. If they were speeding it up then at the very least they would be looking to have it started at the same time the council is wanting for it to happen.

Antarctic transport policy?

Wow there’s so many bits of news I want to comment on today and I don’t have time for them all so as it kind of relates to my post this morning I’ll go with this one. In parliament today Green MP Julie Anne Genter asked Gerry Brownlee about his stance on emissions and transport. It was following this news story from TV3 where he said” I think climate change is something that has happened always, so to simply come up and say it’s man-made is an interesting prospect So here is the debate today The transcript is here. This was what I thought was the best bit. Julie Anne …

CRL and the CFN in Parliament

Gerry Brownlee was asked in Parliament today about the City Rail Link and the costs of delaying it. The fact that Brownlee claims it the project isn’t being delayed is staggering. The council and Auckland Transport have for a long time being planning for construction to start in 2015 and to be completed with trains running in 2020/21. The government’s announcement in June that they would support it was that they won’t even start a new business case until 2017 and won’t start construction till 2020. That represents a 5 year delay and as Julie Anne pointed out, adds a cost of $100 million per year to the total of …

Understanding changing travel trends

At a national level we charging ahead with a few hand picked mega roading projects that will tie up our transport spending for the next decade or so. Unfortunately it doesn’t get much better locally with billions upon billions of dollars of ratepayer and taxpayer money proposed to go into transport projects over the coming decades, pretty much all of them relying upon significant traffic growth to be justified. We’ve discussed changing travel trends on this blog for quite some time now, in particular the plateauing of traffic growth for an extended period of time since roughly the middle of last decade. Here’s a nice graph that Stu put together looking at vehicle kilometres …