NZ Green Party
Fuel for thought – the future of transport fuels: challenges and opportunities

Such is the name of a report released today by the Future Fuels Forum, an initiative led by the Australia’s CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship. The Age summarises the bad news:

PETROL prices could reach $8 a litre [~NZ$10 per litre] within a decade if oil production peaks and Australia is not ready to shift to alternatives, according to a CSIRO analysis.

The new modelling, to be released today, also projects that a rapid decline in oil supply coinciding with a lack of alternative fuel vehicles could force Australians to cut passenger and freight travel by up to 40%.

This would trigger a drop in GDP of at least 3%, with the tourism and mining industries the worst affected.

Russel has responded, saying:

Petrol at that price would make the Government’s entire motorway building project a white elephant – modern day Easter Island statues. Our new motorways would be monuments to short sightedness and profligate waste of resources.

Governments even contemplating building motorways like the billion dollar-plus Transmission Gully project in Wellington or the $2 billion Waterview tunnel project in Auckland are seriously out of touch with reality, Dr Norman says.

We need to rapidly and urgently invest in decent public transport in our cities, towns and provinces. It is expensive but no more so than building useless new motorway projects.

Meanwhile, as Sue Kedgley reported earlier:

Reports today that the cost of Transmission Gully cannot be met by the local and regional councils come as no surprise to the Green Party, Wellington Transport Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

The gully route is an insatiable drain on transport funds and no one is willing, or able, to stump up with such vast amounts of money. I predicted this situation just two weeks ago,� Ms Kedgley says.

It was reported yesterday that Wellington’s city council has observed a 20 percent drop in traffic on Wellington roads. Perversely, this is being used as a reason to can planned bus lanes. Yet, those 20 percent of commuters are now on bikes and in buses and trains. And where is the money going? Onto motorways.

It is absurd for the Wellington Mayor to suggest that even more Government funds should be poured into such an obvious white elephant as Transmission Gully.

White Elephant or Easter Island Statue? Either way, the Greens have been telling it like it is for years. How many more reports need to be published before the major parties wake up?

61 thoughts on “Fuel for thought – the future of transport fuels: challenges and opportunities

  1. “Petrol at that price would make the Government’s entire motorway building project a white elephant – modern day Easter Island statues.”

    Hardly an accurate comparison – Easter Island statues are cool.

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  2. In case Russel hasn’t noticed, last time I looked most buses, bicycles and taxis actually ran on roads. A high quality motorway will reduce traffic congestion, reducing the time spent idling in traffic, lowering travel times and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It will also provide a good road for future public transport to use. Reducing traffic congestion will also make bicycling safer, and nice wide roads mean there is room to put in a bicycle lane.

    Yes, rail might be more efficient. But we don’t have a very extensive rail network. It would cost far more to put rail round everywhere we want public transport. For the moment we are best to stick with putting in good roads, then finding efficient ways of travelling on them – bicycles, buses, electric cars, skateboards, pack llamas… the sky is the limit!

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  3. I have thus far been a keen supporter of Transmission Gully, although I live neither in Wellington nor on the Kapiti Coast. I see the coast road as being very limited by nature, with much of it vulnerable to big stormy sea surges, (or, of course, a rise in sea levels).

    Surely the inland route would easily shift workers by buses from the coast to work in Wgtn?

    Yes, of course the railway line, for passengers and freight does need upgrading.

    But that is as things stand now.

    Are younger folk, (not grannies like me) predicting a huge social change in our work, sporting and recreational environment, with thriving small hubs in dwelling areas?

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  4. Mr Dennis is right.
    There is this curious notion around that roads have only been built since the invention of the motor car.
    Romans built roads and we still use them. Roads have a multitude of functions in urban areas.
    All of Auckland city’s major roads were built long before the invention of the car.

    All that has happened in recent times is we have increased the road surface by about 3% with motorways.
    Trains are much less fuel efficient than modern rubber on road system and buses and other rubber on road systems have the advantage of flexibility.
    Trains services are always stuck in their rut.
    Good bus systems need motorways too. And if a natural disaster strikes an urban area (such as New Orleans) elevated motorways provide the best way out.
    Transmission gulley could save huge numbers of lives in an earthquake or tsunami.

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  5. # Mr Dennis Says:
    July 11th, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    > For the moment we are best to stick with putting in good roads, then finding efficient ways of travelling on them – bicycles, buses, electric cars, skateboards, pack llamas… the sky is the limit!

    The transmission gully road isn’t actually necessary to get people anywhere you can’t get to on the current roads. The only reason it is judged to be necessary is to increase capacity, and the current road capacity is not insufficient for the number of buses, bicycles, skateboards and pack-llamas you are likely to get. In fact, rising petrol prices will probably reduce the number of cars to the point where there is no congestion on the current route.

    The point about most forms of transport needing roads is valid as a justification for building new roads linking points that are not currently linked by roads, or new roads that provide a much shorter route than the old ones, but surprisingly few of the new roads being planned at the moment fall into either of those categories.

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  6. kahikitea:
    But with a nice dual carriageway, all the slow electric buses, scooters, bicycles and pack llamas have a left lane they can stick in without causing congestion, while the faster traffic can flow freely to the right. I was driving a scooter to work in Ireland for the last couple of years. I found the bigger the road the safer for slow (economical) traffic, small busy roads were nasty, especially when there was a poor road surface. If you reduce congestion you are more likely to be able to get people actually using bicycles and scooters, as it will be safer to do so.

    You can get everywhere eventually at the moment. Transmission Gully will allow you to get there faster, safer and more efficiently, with less risk of the road collapsing into the sea.

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  7. joy Says:
    July 11th, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    I have thus far been a keen supporter of Transmission Gully, although I live neither in Wellington nor on the Kapiti Coast. I see the coast road as being very limited by nature, with much of it vulnerable to big stormy sea surges, (or, of course, a rise in sea levels).

    > Surely the inland route would easily shift workers by buses from the coast to work in Wgtn?

    The existing coast road can do that just as well (probably better, as it’s not as steep).

    And the railway line is more efficient for transporting people between Kapiti and Wellington – it just needs longer trains and more sidings to provide sufficient capacity. Buses are necessary for getting between places that are not linked by railway lines, but Kapiti and Wellington already are linked by railway lines.

    > Are younger folk, (not grannies like me) predicting a huge social change in our work, sporting and recreational environment, with thriving small hubs in dwelling areas

    I think that rising petrol prices will lead to Wellington and the Kapiti coast becoming more separate, with more workplaces on the coast to make use of the workforce living there. That might seem like a dramatic change from what’s happening now, but if you think about it in proportion to changes that have happened in previous decades there’s nothing that dramatic about it. It’s not that many decades ago that the idea of people living up the coast and commuting to Wellington would have seemed radical.

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  8. The problem with you anti-transmission gully folks is that you are omitting the fact that THIS road is a new “route” and that roads have been part of human civilization for many thousands of years pre-dating motorcars. The routes laid down by the Roman road systems remain in use to this day. It is silly to limit ourselves to one that is destined to go underwater and to build infrastructure along it and infrastructure that relies on it.

    It is simply wrong to have the entirety of Wellington relying on the mercy of storm surges and the goat track that’s been optimistically re-labeled as SH-2. Since the trains run in those SAME routes there is ample scope for both road AND rail to be cut by sea level rises.

    Nor is there any reason to leave it all dependent on the provision of petrol and diesel for fossil fueled motorcars. It is clear that some of us WANT the demise of this transportation modality, the private vehicle, and can’t wait to change over to some other model of civilization. This is not the way to approach the question and it is CERTAINLY not a good way to consider transmission-gully.

    Wellington currently has one dead-certain way to get in and out of the city if the weather turns savage and that is diesel trains through the tunnel to the Wairarapa. Somehow this seems a bit limiting to me, possibly because it IS limiting…. of course a sea level increase of any magnitude puts most of the rail-yards in Wellington at risk as well, but that’s another problem.

    I’ve stated before that the correct pattern is to develop no more major infrastructure less than 18-20 meters above sea level… (why ? because that’s a pretty fair limiting step point… dumping the WAIS and the GIS into the sea is less than that and any further sea level rise takes more actual melting and a lot longer time to accomplish ).

    That leaves out further development or continued reliance on the coast road. It’s a fair road for some of its length, but between Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki it is too vulnerable to be used in a major storm even now.

    Kahikatea, this is NOT about linking Kapiti and Wellington. It is about linking Wellington with the rest of the country robustly, something that is not the case now. Rising petrol prices will keep people from commuting from Kapiti to Wellington by car, but that is NOT the major purpose of SH-1, it is only one purpose.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  9. Well the reason to oppose Transmission Gully is not because roads will become empty (which is quite simply nonsense, as fuels will change rapidly if oil gets higher), but because it is a ridiculously over the top project that has costs that surpass the benefits. It remains one third more expensive compared to upgrading the current road.

    Owen, I’m curious why you think Wellingtonians would climb Ngauranga Gorge, meander along the motorway to Tawa and drive north after an earthquake, or why a motorway built along a fault line is more secure than one built along the coast. Why do you need to drive a long way out in the first place? It isn’t a predictable event. The entire Hutt Valley is accessible from Wellington by a 4 lane highway along a fault line that is far more vulnerable than SH1. At the moment there is one bridge over the Waikanae River, one over the Otaki River as well, why aren’t the Transmission Gullyphiles fighting for more bridges here as well, or is Paraparaumu the haven for the capital? During the worst storms in Wellington’s history, did people flee north? Hardly.

    If the issue was providing alternative routes, then tarting up Paekakariki Hill road and Akatarawa Rds could be done for less than half the cost of this cargo cult road. Tolling wont pay for it, its construction will be a massive subsidy to property owners and car commuters from Kapiti to Wellington. The “problem” it is meant to fix is basically a nonsense. There isn’t a serious safety issue anymore and the congestion is modest (and probably an economically efficient level).

    I reject the Green argument that more public transport use should mean more subsidies, it should mean less as it is more economically efficient – but Transmission Gully is not a good investment, it is network goldplating of the kind I’ve seen in Japan.

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  10. Wait a second if you guys are worried about this coast road in Wellington.
    What about SH-1 in the south island near Kaikoura, could that also not be at risk of sea level rise and storm surges.

    Of course Wellington will forget the south island. I swear one of these days us Mainlanders are going to have to just cut the cable and let you guys loose :)

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  11. LibertyScott…

    There is no “tarting up” of the Paekakariki hill road that I can imagine allowing a truck to run on it. It is worse than SH-2 though not so high, a goat track at best, and unsuitable for heavy vehicle traffic on its best day without rebuilding it completely at a cost I have NO doubt would come to look a lot like the cost of TG.

    The point about Earthquake fault lines is poorly taken in that there isn’t a major route anywhere near Wellington that doesn’t come near a fault line. The city is built on a maze of the things and if there’s anything I am sure of it is that we don’t know where all of them run. The only way to get security from those events is to have more and different ways out of town, but the fact is that Wellington has a very nice harbour and an Earthquake isn’t LIKELY to close it off from the ocean. Which means that coastal shipping can work for some of any emergency access of this nature.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  12. We should have never let Maui drag them out of the sea in the first place turnip28. Lets file a historic grievances claim with the Waitangi Tribunal.

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  13. Heh Turnip28 – just wait a bit until we can get a few more wind farms running down here before you cut them loose. We’re still importing more electricity than we’re exporting.

    Trevor.

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  14. Turnip28

    My comments apply to all roads that run along the beachfront. It isn’t reasonable to assert that global warming is going to raise sea-levels a couple of meters and then work to ensure that we remain dependent on routes and roads that are at risk of inundation from such a change.

    respectfully
    BJ.

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  15. By my calcs oil would have to reach US$900 a barrel for petrol to be that expensive. This must be some kind of joke. Even environmentalists in their wildest dreams couldn’t hope for that.

    This is beginning to look like the tech bubble. How do I short oil?

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  16. People in the Green Party were involved in the successful MMP campaign. I think we need a similar high profile campaign for free public transport in NZ.

    A nationwide, multi-organisation, campaign for free and frequent public transport could be the breakthrough campaign that kick-starts urgent action on climate change and peak oil.

    Hundreds of thousands of people in NZ angry at rising petrol costs would see the sense of such a demand if it came from a wide range of respected mass organisations like political parties, unions, environmental groups, and churches.

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  17. “How do I short oil?”

    Simple, make your way to the local Futures Exchange, and purchase contracts for lower priced oil.

    Being serious though, what sort of public transport improvements are you looking at? You Greenies always say, xyz motorway is so bad, but where are the suggested viable improvements to the public transport system? I would like to see a list of what you would do instead of Transmission Gully and how it would reduce congestion on SH1.

    Indeed, I would be keen to see a list of all these public transport improvements that you are suggesting.

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  18. Says Sue: “Yet, those 20 percent of commuters are now on bikes and in buses and trains.”
    Says the commuters of Wellington: “Not true.” See page 18 of:
    http://www.gw.govt.nz/story_images/5399_PTSurvey_s10880.pdf

    The GWRC states that “In a typical month over 800,000 trips are made by train in the Wellington region” That’s an average 25,000 per day. “over 10,000 passengers arrive at Wellington Railway Station by train on a typical week day morning between 7 am and 9 am.” That’s 400,000 trips per month. If half of Transits 55,000 vehicles at Ngauranga interchange southbound are also travelling during the peak period then a 20% reduction should have put an additional 11,000 people onto bikes, buses and trains. A 100% increase in rail commuters would have made the front pages of the papers so we can safely assume the increase has been only a few percent.

    So where did those 10,000 missing motorways commuters go? I’ll bet they haven’t gone anywhere. They’re still there… as passengers. It only requires three cars in ten to be carrying a passenger instead of just one car in ten and you get 10,000 fewer cars carrying the same 60,000 motorway commuters as last year.

    Hasn’t anybody told Russell that most of these motorway projcts are just completing the projects that were cancelled in the 1970s because “we wont need them now that petrol is so expensive.” In reality even when real petrol price continued to climb, reaching $2.50 in 1985, traffic volumes never actually declined for more than a single year (1979). By contrast oil imports plummetted during the 70s and 80s. People didn’t respond by driving less km – they responded by driving less car.

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  19. Maybe the $8 per litre includes inflation (The Age’s summary article was not clear on this point)? If inflation averaged just over 7% per annum for ten years, the price would double, even if nothing else changed. Increasing oil prices are likely to increase the inflation rate, and in any case, inflation has reached much higher levels than 7% in the past.

    A 7% inflation rate over 10 years would make $8 per litre equivalent to $4 per litre in todays terms. Add the effect of increased demand and inadequate supply, the effect of carbon taxes, emissions trading schemes etc, and the value does not look too unbeliveable.

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  20. With regards roading in Wellington (and limited ways in and out of the city in the event of a natural disaster), why not move the capital to Palmerston North?

    On second thought, leave the politicians within sight of a major fault line, and move everyone else.

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  21. Much of the Hutt Rd is built on land that was underwater until the Great Wairarapa quake of 185? (0 or 5, take your pick).

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  22. samiuela, if the capital was moved somewhere else Wellington would stop getting a disproportionate share of land transport funding. Wellington got it’s commuter rail electrified but Auckland didn’t. Wellington didn’t have to pay for it’s main motorway but Auckland did. Christchurch paid for motorways but never got them, it probably paid for commuter rail and didn’t get that too but I can’t prove that particular claim.

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  23. Kevyn lets go back to the provisional government model and remove the power of Wellington. Allow local people to make local choices.

    Since the creation of New Zealand the south island and the south islands resources have always been used to fund the north island.

    The otago gold rush
    The hydro electric power stations
    The timber.
    The farmland.
    The westcoast coal
    The westcoast gold
    The potential Oil fields in the great south basin, where will the profits from that go, will it be funding infrastructure in Auckland???

    Hell i’m starting to feel like the scots in the united kingdom and their call for a greater say. We don’t call for this on racial grounds we call for it on local grounds, if i’m paying tax dollars in chch shouldn’t that money be going back into chch.

    1/2 the land but 1/4 of the people. How many of you people have actually been to the south island or say the west coast, they have nothing on the west coast it was all taken from them and sent to christchurch and then sent north.

    Hell if Vogel hadn’t moved the capital from Auckland to Wellington the south may have gone it alone anyway.

    The greens supposedly support local solutions however we have not heard a thing from them about removing the power base in Wellington and moving it back to the regions.

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  24. Coastal routes are subject to tsunami.

    All routes are subject to earthquake. It it unlikely that both will strike at once.
    Therefore it is useful to have two routes out which share different risk profiles.
    As for using coastal shipping for emergency exit I suggest you study the Katrina story. PUblic transport of any kind played virtually no role because the operators would not allow people to bring their pets and other treasured belongings.
    The car was far and away the most successful mode and indeed the people left behind were almost entirely the car less. New Orleans had spent a huge amount on public transport and low wages kept New Orleans with the lowest car ownership in the US.
    Dense city areas are difficult to survive in after a major disaster. Light timber frame houses are safe from earthquake. Lifts are closed and indeed residents are not allowed to re-enter most high rise buildings of any kind. So there will be a flight to friends and family in rural low density areas.
    It makes some sense to plan for this – especially in Wellington.

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  25. turnip28 Says:
    July 12th, 2008 at 5:28 am

    > Hell i’m starting to feel like the scots in the united kingdom and their call for a greater say. We don’t call for this on racial grounds we call for it on local grounds, if i’m paying tax dollars in chch shouldn’t that money be going back into chch.

    > 1/2 the land but 1/4 of the people. How many of you people have actually been to the south island or say the west coast

    I lived in Dunedin for 20 years – does that count?

    But I think most people in Dunedin would say that rule from Christchurch would be as much foreign rule as rule from Wellington, and that the power stations and tourist attractions are part of the deep south and have no more to do with the shallow south than they do with the north.

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  26. Agree so we should look at provincial governments and limit central government

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  27. “Says Sue: “Yet, those 20 percent of commuters are now on bikes and in buses and trains.â€?
    Says the commuters of Wellington: “Not true.� See page 18 of:
    http://www.gw.govt.nz/story_images/5399_PTSurvey_s10880.pdf

    The GWRC states that “In a typical month over 800,000 trips are made by train in the Wellington regionâ€? That’s an average 25,000 per day. “over 10,000 passengers arrive at Wellington Railway Station by train on a typical week day morning between 7 am and 9 am.â€? That’s 400,000 trips per month. If half of Transits 55,000 vehicles at Ngauranga interchange southbound are also travelling during the peak period then a 20% reduction should have put an additional 11,000 people onto bikes, buses and trains. A 100% increase in rail commuters would have made the front pages of the papers so we can safely assume the increase has been only a few percent.”

    Your sums are a little out. You forgot to divide those 55,000 vehicles at Ngauranga interchange by two (the half you mentioned). That would mean that you would only have an additional 5,500 people on bikes, buses and trains.

    You also assumed that they would all become rail commuters; some would become bus commuters, others would move to bikes, and of course, a number would move to carpooling as you mentioned. An additional 1,000 passengers during peak hour into Wellington station would be likely, and that would take up nearly 20% of your lost vehicular passengers; that would be a mere 10% increase in peak loads, and a mere 7.5% increase in the passenger count – that certainly fits into what has been seen in Australia.

    “So where did those 10,000 missing motorways commuters go? I’ll bet they haven’t gone anywhere. They’re still there… as passengers. It only requires three cars in ten to be carrying a passenger instead of just one car in ten and you get 10,000 fewer cars carrying the same 60,000 motorway commuters as last year.”

    They have gone to carpooling, trains, buses and bikes – as I said above, your mathematics was a little out; plus you assumed that all the passengers would flock to rail – something that is near impossible. Certainly in Auckland, we haven’t just seen an increase in rail patronage, we are also seeing more bus passengers – some routes that were already nearing capacity are now struggling to fit in the additional demand.

    “Hasn’t anybody told Russell that most of these motorway projcts are just completing the projects that were cancelled in the 1970s because “we wont need them now that petrol is so expensive.â€? In reality even when real petrol price continued to climb, reaching $2.50 in 1985, traffic volumes never actually declined for more than a single year (1979). By contrast oil imports plummetted during the 70s and 80s. People didn’t respond by driving less km – they responded by driving less car.”

    Yes, while I can see your point, nevertheless, some serious money needs to be spent on the public transport systems of Auckland and Wellington. Kevyn, if you are ever in Auckland, I challenge you to take the 7:00 or 7:15 services from Papakura, or the 5:10 service to Papakura and you will see why. We have trains that are carrying more passengers than they are designed to take; we have buses that are leaving people behind because they are full, and then you can understand my comment about serious money.

    Nevertheless, I am still waiting for a Greenie to suggest what public transport projects should money be spent on instead of Transmission Gully and the Waterview Tunnel.

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  28. Hmmm… this discussion has morphed quite strangely into a local vs central government debate… except nobody is on the side of the central government :-)

    Lets not divide the country any more, OK? I have enough trouble getting around without needing a passport to go from town to town… or had you geniuses considered just what degree of difficulty you’re going to cause the country. One hand we want to be invaded by Oz because then we become THEIR problem (and get another holiday) and on the other we want to split into individual fiefdoms too small to effectively manage their own affairs?

    :-)

    respectfully
    BJ

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  29. Reminds me of an earlier post by frog where the Greens are anti private and for public transport.

    But have no costed, financed, or cast into stone as election policy ANY PT proposals to date.

    Comes back to the foresight, planning and implermentation of ideas so sadly lacking in all parliamentarian parties.

    With the latest carbon emmision costing model under pressure

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/3/story.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10492121

    where to the Greens in the future?

    Like the oil drum, they are sounding pretty hollow. Totally bereft of workable ideas.

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  30. Sam Buchanan – Easter Island statues may be ‘cool’ but they are a relic of a failed civilisation that consumed it’s resources mindlessly without a thought for tomorrow. Furthermore, according to the experts, they then proceeded to implement policies that were doomed to failure – ring any bells???

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  31. Gerrit – when are you going to realise that reports such as that quoted in ‘the herald’, (one of the worst newspapers, I would suggest, in the whole of the OECD), are stubbornly staying with the rediculous thinking that ‘growth’ and ‘ in the top half of the OECD’ will be meaningless phrases in a very short time, if not already.
    To survive this shock we are in the early stages of, we will have to change our economic model. It won’t be a matter of choice but extreme necessity. I sincerely hope that organisations like ‘the herald’ will die with it and then we may be served by Real Newspapers.

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  32. BigBluKiwi,

    Are you saying that the Labour party has abondoned that policy? The one they were elected on? Havent heard Helen or Michael declare that. Secret agenda anyone!

    I dont mind it they did, because like you, I dont think it is feasable for the future.

    But do the Greens still support the Labour party on that statement?

    I havent seen a definative statement from the Green party leadership to the effect that achieving a growth rate and standard of living to the top half of the OECD is not feasable or sustainable?

    frog perhaps could clarify that position?

    While the Herald might be one of the worst newspapers in your (humble) opinion. I find it refreshingly honest.

    But then again I seek the truth from many sources. Not ones dictated to me by yours truly.

    Please direct me to the “best” newspaper/blog/magazine presenting the “correct” news as deemed permissible by bigblukiwi so that I can be “informed” on the “correct doctrine” to follow.

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  33. Mr McShane – ‘Trains are much less fuel efficient than modern rubber on road system and buses and other rubber on road systems have the advantage of flexibility’.

    I want to know where you get these curious ideas ?

    Transport Efficiency is scenario dependent. For the present scenario there may be some truth in your statement but that also depends on what, where, how quickly goods need to get where, what is the weight to volume ratio and many other factors.

    For example it is far more efficient to move coal from the mine to the power station by rail than to do it by road transport, even if the mine is quite close to the p-station. It is more efficient to move multi drop goods short distances by road than by rail. There are lots of categories of goods in between these extremes – some rail win win, some road.

    That ignores the future probable scenario where fuel is very expensive, not to mention tyres, lube oil, the cost of manufacturing the vehicle etc. etc.
    Can I suggest that the scenario is rapidly changing as we blog, and who knows where we’ll be this time next year ?

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  34. And bigblukiwi,

    What is your economic model for 2020? . Please explain how we transition from the one we are in now to yours?

    The Coke, Pepsi, Astroturf and Tribalists parliamentary parties have not put any forward so yours will be most enlightening.

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  35. bigblukiwi,
    YOur general observation is correct. There are horses for courses, but I made this point in the context of a debate on urban transport policy and the role of passenger rail. I have seen trains in the US which are real trains – two miles long and carrying a single cargo in dedicated container wagons over thousands of miles. BUt even the UK intercity passenger trains are inefficient and there are serious proposals to turn them into road beds for the generation of “itrucks” or “etrucks” if you prefer microsoft.
    Coal is a good example of where trains can work. Low value, high volume and point to point without modal transfer. If we decide to electrify the whole vehicle fleet then rubber on road becomes incredibly cost effective on current calcs.
    But back to the beginning. THese kinds of models deserve little credence. They incorporate multiple inputs and the modellers chose to vary a few and keep others constant – normally to get the output they want. IN reality these are chaotic systems where tiny changes in inputs spend systems spiralling into a new future. Economic modelling of this kind hardly ever survives the reality check. Look at Stern. He didn’t predict these increases in oil prices and he did not predict the impact of biofuels on food prices. These occurred within two years of his start point and yet people are still taking his 150 year forecasts seriously.
    The only planning which is worth while is planning to enable change and to enable us to respond to change. Don’t make choices which lock us into today’s “certainties.”
    THe Green’s used to promote “think small”. I suspect that think small has never been more well advised than now and yet the Greens seem to have been seduced into encouraging a mindless rush to the centre of big cities with centralised massive public transport systems for passengers and freight.
    I suggest you go to the new web page of my friend and colleague Joel Kotkin and also read his essay on “Opportunity Cities”.
    http://www.newgeography.com/
    John Banks may not be too happy with it all – but our arguments suggest that the future lies with small cities and in the US the future may already be here.

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  36. john-ston, I stand corrected on the number of missing motorway commuters. I used the traffic counts at Ngauranga because having lived in the Hutt in the past I know the only real transport option into wellington are the motorway and railway. When I lived there buses were largely confined to meeting commuter needs within the three cities rather than between them. Of course that might have changed. Hence the focus on trains.

    There is no mention of reduced traffic volumes on any government transport web sites but the media reports suggest that the drop in traffic volumes in March is an abrupt drop not a gradual drop. US highways also had an abrupt drop in March. Such a sudden increase in PT use would have been newsworthy do the absence of any news of such a sudden huge surge in PT or cycling is a good indicator that it didn’t happen.

    I can’t see myself ever travelling on any PT service in Auckland which makes it all the more annoying that I’m forced to pay 17 cents towards it every time I buy a litre of petrol for my lawn mower or car.

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  37. turnip, 1/2 the land, 1/4 of the people, 1/3 of the roads. Yet we still have to subsidise their roads the same as we had to subsidise their land wars. Actually, the land wars were mainly in and for the benefit of the Province of Auckland. But winners write the history and in this case the winners want all New Zealanders to share the guilt and the compensation costs. Typical of the folks that live in our most consumerpolitan province. A miniature version of Yankee imperialism.

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  38. Kevyn Says:
    July 13th, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    > turnip, 1/2 the land, 1/4 of the people, 1/3 of the roads. Yet we still have to subsidise their roads the same as we had to subsidise their land wars.
    > Actually, the land wars were mainly in and for the benefit of the Province of Auckland.

    It stretched wider than that – prisoners from the Taranaki land wars were used as slave labour to build railways, roads and shipping lanes in Otago. The only one of the 6 original provinces that I can believe may have been blameless is Canterbury.

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  39. Kevyn Says:
    July 13th, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    > But winners write the history and in this case the winners want all New Zealanders to share the guilt and the compensation costs.

    None of us hold any guilt for the land wars. But the crown has inherited the moral obligation to pay compensation. This comes from all taxpayers, including Maori and recent immigrants, because all taxpayers have potentially benefited from the wealth that was stolen through the priveleges paid for with it.

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  40. ergh, cut it off at the bombay hills and sell them the energy and everything else they need.

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  41. kahikatea, Good response. I hadn’t heard about the slave labour in Otago. Was that imprisonment with hard labour? I’m surprised Canterbury didn’t take advantage of it too. I do know a number of Cantabrian’s whose family wealth can be traced back to the Taranaki land grants their ancestors recieved as payment for serving in the Government militia during the Taranaki “insurgency”.

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  42. “ergh, cut it off at the bombay hills”

    Include the fibre optic cables and all those head offices will have to move south, killing the Auckland economy and boosting everybody else’s.

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  43. Kevyn,

    I am not sure but all the communication cables to the outside world (phone, internet, etc) leave New Zealand just south of the Whangaparoa peninsula (where the no anchor channel is for the communication cables)

    Better save up soem money for the wireless system or a new fibre optic cable leaving Nelson?

    Also the main new Zelaand sattelite station is where?

    Oh, at Warkworth did you say, and where is that? South of the Bombays?

    Mind you if you cut the power cables we dont have those facilities, so I guess we are about even.

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  44. Curious that Mallard’s revelation of the source of funding to rebuild and subsidise the railways was screened on TVNZ with no follow-up questions from the interviewer. The funding is to come from the land transport fund, the one that is so starved of funds for road works that the government had to increase RUCs by three times the rate of inflation.

    To quote M. J. Savage “At the present time we are discussing a form of taxation upon motor-vehicles for the purpose of raising money for the upkeep of our roads.” pp 452 Hansard Vol. CCVII On the question, That the House agree with the Committee of Ways and Means in the resolutions amending the Customs Tariff to provide for a duty of 4d. per gallon on motor-spirits.

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  45. Gerrit, That’s alright – we’ve got Waihopai ;)

    You’ll be alright as long as the Bombays aren’t another Pinatubo :shock:

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  46. we can always tap into the line the aussies are running to singapore :P much more potential than our current access, and we wont have those jaffas hogging all the bandwidth. be a big boost to our economy. poor auckland.

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  47. It seems Hawaii is getting ready for a world withour oil.

    “The state of Hawaii has become the first in North America to require solar water heaters in new homes. The bill, signed into law by Republican Governor Linda Lingle this week, prohibits issuing building permits for single-family homes that do not have solar water heaters.”

    http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1830/83/

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  48. ^^ Except they rely on oil for 80% of their electricity! (The rest is geothermal) They had several expensive wind farms which have now been abandoned after never working properly.

    Regarding Wellington public transport, the trains running from Kapiti are now hugely crowded, with the park and rides totally full by 7am every day. I imagine passenger numbers will be through the roof, given that it now costs about $100 more to drive than catch the train in fuel costs alone.

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  49. samiuela, if the capital was moved somewhere else Wellington would stop getting a disproportionate share of land transport funding. Wellington got it’s commuter rail electrified but Auckland didn’t. Wellington didn’t have to pay for it’s main motorway but Auckland did. Christchurch paid for motorways but never got them, it probably paid for commuter rail and didn’t get that too but I can’t prove that particular claim.

    You do realise that Auckland gets by far the most disproportionate funding for roads, right?

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  50. “You do realise that Auckland gets by far the most disproportionate funding for roads, right?”

    Actually, I would dispute that. Assuming that population is the measure of fuel consumption; Auckland would foot anywhere between a quarter and a third of the fuel tax bill. Now tell me that Auckland has gotten that amount of the spending.

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  51. john-ston, According to Land Transport NZ’s National Traffic Database Auckland’s traffic generates 27% of land transport revenue. Auckland has 10% of the nation’s roads. Between 1960 and 2000 it received 15% of maintenance funding but this has increased to 20% since 2000. Between 1960 and 1990 Auckland accounted for an average 22% of National Roads Board revenue and thus 22% of all traffic, during that period Auckland received 22% of the funding for highway improvements. During the 1990s Auckland averaged 25% of the nation’s traffic and 32% of the nation’s spending on highway improvements. In the last three years Auckland has had 27% of the nation’s traffic and 50% of the highway improvement funding. You have to go back to the 1950s to find Auckland receiving less than it’s fair share.

    Even when expressed simply as the percentage of the money that Auckland pays into the fund that actually gets spent on it’s own roads, averaged for the whole last half of the twentieth century Auckland is beaten out of third place by Taranaki. The 15 cents in the dollar that Auckland lost over that half century pales beside the 25 cents in the dollar loss for the Waikato region and the 33 cents in the dollar loss for the Canterbury region.

    Consider yourself told. The actual regional figures from the annual reports to parliament are available in a spreadsheet at my website.

    Part of the reason Auckland never was actually deprived of improvement funding is that it’s maintenance costs were so far below the national average because it has such a small amount of roads per ratepayer that the National Roads Board was able to allocate most of that surplus maintenance contribution from Auckland to Northland and still have enough left over to give Auckland more improvement funding than it could afford to give to any other region (except Wellington). Canterbury and Waikato were not so fortunate. They have lost both maintenance and improvement money. It is no coincidence that Waikato highways are known as killer highways. They have had to be pushed beyond their design life and have carried enough traffic to justify divided highways for decades.

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  52. Kevyn,

    Could you define the “Auckland” area?

    Is it just Auckland central or does it include Rodney, North Shore, Waitakarie, Manukau and Franklin?

    Does this roading expenditure just cover the earthworks and asphalt, or does it also cover traffic control systems such as traffic lights?

    If traffic control systems are included then I would expect Auckland with its denser traffic patterns to be higher (more need for lights).

    Does your equation allow for the higher traffic densities? A country road with very little traffic requires a lot less repair then a state highway with a 40 tonne B train running on it every 30 seconds or so).

    I guess the answer is to have each region raise its own roading funding. Take the central government tax of petrol and return to the regions to adminester road funding. Allow regional tolling if required.

    Somehow cant see a socialist government such as this Labour/Green one allow that to slip back to the regions.

    Would be too much control away from central command and control.

    Control that included getting roading infastructure build to get votes (Tauranga second harbour crossing).

    In Auckland we have motorway onramp traffic lights to control flow onto the motorway. I cant find out to much history on these and how much the cost was. They dont seem to be all that effective as most people ignore them and when the motorway is fully gridlocked they are useless.

    Was this a national road board decision and how much did it cost?

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  53. Gerrit,

    “Somehow cant see a socialist government such as this Labour/Green one allow that to slip back to the regions.”

    Actually it’s the Greens who want regional transport taxation and funding. It’s National who opposes it. And the Greens are not a member of the current govt: it’s a NZF/UF/Labour govt.

    Good point regards tolls. But tolls are much trickier.

    I like the idea of tolls and congestion-charging on roads. Most Greens do – it’s a classic example of polluter-pays and of making people pay to use a resource (which is how you encourage them to use less). The problem is doing it efficiently is really hard – you end up spending all your toll money paying for your toll booths and attendants and enforcements and meanwhile the congestion at the booth slows down everything. That’s why this option was rejected for Transmission Gully.

    And you have to toll every practical side-route or congestion will spill onto the tiny side-roads as people spend $3.50 on petrol to avoid a $4 toll. London-style camera-operated systems as very cool, but you need really, really high traffic density to cover the costs.

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  54. Soon every car will come with a chip in the window to interrogate the toll system just as they will soon all come with GPS.

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  55. Gerrit, The three district councils are included in the Auckland land transport region. The NLTP includes maps of all the regions. Yours must be a common question.

    Roading expenditure covers anything expended on roads or administration. In the good old days there were tables with columns for each type of road work – seal extension, reseal, rehabilition, deviation, bridge reneweal, etc. Today all we get is output classes, but at least non-roading expenditure is clearly identified.

    Traffic accounts for less than half the cost of damage to our roads. I haven’t done any detailed calculations for pavement or bridge renewals to see how strongly traffic influences lifespans in each region because its a bit tedious to work out the age profile of when they were first built.

    But how long tarseal lasts before being resealed is a good indicator of how small the traffic effect can be. The difference in traffic between state highways and local roads is as you describe it. Below are the average reseal intervals in years for state highways and local roads. Note that South Island state highways are resealed 25% less often than those in the North Island even though they carry 75% less traffic, but there is no difference at all for local road resealing despite the same traffic difference. Essentially environmental damage to tarseal is greater than the damage from the volume of traffic on most local roads and most South Island state highways.

    Short answer to your question is – not for maintenance (road km is better), yes for construction.

    Northland 9 10
    Auckland 5 13
    Waikato 7 13
    Rotorua/BoP 8 12
    Gisborne 7 10
    Hawke’s Bay 9 13
    Taranaki 9 14
    Manawatu 12 12
    Wellington 11 16
    Nelson/Marlb. 10 12
    Canterbury 10 15
    West Coast 10 13
    Otago 9 14
    Southland 9 12

    Your suggestion of regional funding is what National’s RAG suggested in the late 90s, but with only six regions not the current 14.

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  56. icehawk, Even in the 1920s the Taranaki toll gates earned four times more than they cost to operate. The Auckland Harbour Bridge and Lyttelton Tunnel seemed to do ok and the Tauranga bridge tolls were a goldmine. Doing it as efficiently as collecting the petrol tax from 4 oil companies is the really hard bit.

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  57. Kevyn,

    Thanks for that. One final question.

    Are the traffic management systems (traffic lights specifically as they would be the most expensive) included in the costs?

    If they are one would expect that a denser populated region (Auckland) would require more funding to put in traffic lights.

    While a place like the West Coast would require less.

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  58. Yes traffic lights are included 50% funded on local roads, 100% on state highways. Christchurch city has the same number of traffic lights as the Auckland region. The rest of the country accounts for the other two-thirds, Dunedin has more per capita than Auckland. I think Auckland’s motorways reduce the amount of traffic on other arterials (relative to not having motorways) so that there are fewer intersection where traffic volumes require signal rather than roundabouts or good old fashioned give way signs. Christchurch of course is a city that has expanded in concentric circles rather than along ribbons of highways or railways. There might be quite a few smaller cities that have more traffic lights per capita than Auckland for that one reason.

    Traffic lights on motorway on ramps is known as ramp metering. This is the sort of results that encouraged Transit to introduce them:
    http://www.dot.state.mn.us/rampmeterstudy/

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  59. PS traffic lights cost about as much as passing lanes, from $100,000 for a simple installation to over a million when it is NZ’s busiest roundabout that is being replaced. A tenth of the cost of grade separation but only a tenth as safe and a tenth as green as a flyover. But then NZ’s busiest roundabout isn’t in Helen’s electorate, or Winston’s (formerly) or Peter’s- hence the cheap and nasty option.

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