Student Green Card: Our investment in students

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Today I was excited to be at Auckland Uni campus for our student launch for this election – free off-peak public transport for all tertiary students and apprenticeships. A Student Green Card will give everyone enrolled to study at a university, wānanga, polytech and PTE’s, as well as apprentices training through the NZ Apprenticeships scheme, […]

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On the freedom of cycling

This is a cross post from The Daily Blog, originally published 20 November 2013. The automobile is often cast as a great liberator. The power to travel long distances at great speed, free of the tyranny of timetables or fixed routes. There is no question that a car can be a very useful tool for […]

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Why Transmission Gully doesn’t stack up

The project is outdated and has a large opportunity cost. It’s money that won’t be available to spend on transport projects with greater benefits. Wellingtonians of a certain age seem to be completely convinced it will save the region, but all the evidence from around the world shows that urban highways aggravate traffic, result in people travelling longer distances and having to spend more money just to get around. That’s not good for the economy, and it will diminish Wellington’s natural character and advantages as a compact, public transport friendly region.

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Transport and social equity: Part 2 Fares

(This is a cross posting from The Daily Blog, originally published Tuesday 29 October.) There is no question, public transport fares in New Zealand – generally speaking – are too high. Especially in Auckland. Our fares are much higher than most comparable cities, which offer better services and have higher patronage. Two factors may be […]

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Transport and social equity: Part 1

This is a cross post from The Daily Blog, where it was originally published Tuesday 22 October. Transport is often the third largest item of expenditure for a household. It is on average between 10-15% of the household budget, surpassed only by food and shelter. But it can be higher for low- and middle-income households. […]

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National’s PPP swindle

This is a cross-post from The Daily Blog. Originally published here http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/09/17/trainspotting-nationals-ppp-swindle/#sthash.zmiNsxG2.dpuf Yet another round of financial difficulty for a private toll-road in Australia highlights the utter folly of National’s plan to lock us into PPP’s (public-private partnerships) for some of their worst motorway projects. Sydney’s Cross City tunnel is in voluntary administration, while the […]

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Paul Mees will be missed

Paul Mees, an expert and great advocate of smart, green transport in Australia (and New Zealand) died this week. We hosted him as the keynote speaker at our Smart Transport for New Zealand conference in 2011. It was a hugely interesting and entertaining talk. You can watch it below. [yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkHVNzFxEtI&noredirect=1']        

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A motorway to save “dying” Wellington?

Recently, to shrug off blame for the Wellington region’s contraction in employment per capita, the government has taken to blaming the city council’s opposition to roading. As I have mentioned before, National has big plans to spend billions (perhaps as much as $5 billion, if we include the $2.4 billion interest on the private loan […]

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Basin flyover won’t solve traffic woes

Some influential people in Wellington (including the editorial board of the Dominion Post) seem to have an unshakeable faith that a four-lane road from Levin to the airport, including a motorway bridge at the Basin Reserve, will solve substantial traffic problems in Wellington and support economic growth.   Late last week, Wellington City Council split […]

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The fight to save Gissy rail

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Getting accurate information and good decisions on transport at the moment is a bit like pulling teeth. It’s painful, frustrating and can be very pricey. This is why it was such good news to hear Gisborne City Councillor Manu Caddie telling Morning Report this week that nearly $14,000 has been raised to pay for an […]

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Buses can be sexy

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Leave it to the Danes to make the best public transport ad I have seen so far. [yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75F3CSZcCFs&feature=player_embedded']   The ad essentially uses the same techniques ubiquitously applied to sell cars, and applies them to the bus. Given that car ads seem to be about one out of every three or four shown on […]

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What Greece’s motorways mean for NZ

Greek Motorway

No one could say that Greece’s heavy spending on motorways directly caused their default crisis. I’m certainly not saying that. There were many factors at play, though certainly borrowing to pay for projects that were not the best at reducing transport costs certainly didn’t help. From 2000 to 2006 alone Greece spent nearly half of […]

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More, not fewer bicycles will reduce fatalities

Forgive me for thinking that the Coroner’s goal is to reduce cycle deaths by reducing the number of people willing to travel by bicycle. New safety rules to avoid cycle deaths mooted during the Coroner’s inquest include innovative ideas such as mandatory high-vis clothing and compulsory use of cycle lanes. A few years back, a […]

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Public servants go on scrapheap while consultants cash in

Tough financial times? Not if you’re a consultant working for the National Government on one of its poor priority pet projects. Today’s revelation that the Government has spent $200 million in the past three years for transport consultants to work on its roads of national significance reveal a stunning waste of money. The roads are […]

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The fight to save TVNZ 7 isn’t over yet

On June 30th 2012 the Goodnight Kiwi said farewell from TVNZ 7 and then TV One ‘Plus One’ kicked in. You might consider having “plus” in the title something of a misnomer – and you wouldn’t be wrong. TVNZ 7’s closure means the end of almost any commercial free public broadcast television in New Zealand […]

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The death of public broadcasting?

There is something important and terrifying happening, mostly without notice. It is the death of public television. We’re about to lose our only non-commercial free-to-air broadcaster (with the notable exception of Maori TV). Last week I attended at the first of a series of public meetings to save TVNZ 7, but it started out with […]

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On housing affordability and transport: it’s the parking, stupid.

There are two parallel debates going in Auckland that really need to be combined. On the one hand, we have a housing affordability crisis. The solution, we are told, in the very disappointing  Productivity Commission draft report, is to free up more land for development on the fringes of the urban area. This will presumably bring down […]

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Day 6 – just 110km or so to go

I’m nearly in Southland, having traversed coastal Otago, and headed west into the strong winds this evening. I left beautiful Karitane this morning, after an incredible breakfast that included gluten free pancakes made by my exceedingly generous hosts. The morning was cool and overcast, perfect conditions for cycling, and still very beautiful. The ocean was […]

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