Cases of syphilis are increasing in Auckland. You read that right, syphilis! RNZ reported today that rates of syphilis have increased by 71 percent (between 2013-2015). We have known about the increase in syphilis figures for a while, but nothing seems to have been done about it. Staggeringly, in Auckland where rates are highest, the […]
Did cutting the top tax rate in 2010 (to better align it with the trust and company tax rates) eliminate the widespread tax avoidance occurring around the top tax threshold?
John Key is in Laos today attending the East Asia Summit. Laos has been called the land of a million bombs. During the Vietnam War, the US dropped roughly 270 million cluster bombs. Approximately 80 million failed to detonate. Peterkim Manithong was 16 years old when he picked up a cluster bomb while walking home […]
The European Commission has ruled that Apple owes €13bn in back taxes there. It’s likely that Apple owes New Zealand our fair share of back taxes too. The New Zealand Government collected close to $11 billion in taxes for companies last year. If New Zealand companies paid the tax rate Apple does in Europe — […]
The National Government admitted last week that it will not be taking any responsibility for KiwiSaver funds that invest in cluster bomb, landmine, and nuclear weapons manufacturers. New Zealanders care deeply about whether or not their money is being used to do harm elsewhere. It’s time the Government did too.
Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists).
Council staff have prepared a 600+ page document responding to Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) recommendations on Auckland’s Unitary Plan.
The Unitary Plan is going to shape the future of Auckland. Here are 4 reasons you should care.
We need to talk about Bill English’s repeated accusations that planning is responsible for stratospherically high house prices and inequality, and about the opportunity the Auckland Unitary Plan has to get housing back on the right track. Ever since he wrote the forward to Demographia’s 2013 annual housing affordability survey, our Minister of Finance has […]
When my parents first visited me in Auckland ten years ago, they remarked on how there were no homeless people on the streets. Coming from Los Angeles, they were used to seeing the impacts of horrendous inequality and a lack of a social safety net: people living under bridges, in cardboard boxes, people who may […]
A state in southwest Germany, Baden-Württemberg, held historic elections last week. This was the first time in Germany that the Greens came in first in a state election. They won over 30%, and the popular Green Prime Minister has been re-elected. Just two elections previous, in 2006, the Greens were on 11%, the third party […]
The National Government today announced long-overdue support for an earlier start to City Rail Link (CRL) project. The CRL will double the capacity of the entire rail network, allowing trains every 5 minutes at peak times and enable the extension of rail to the airport and to the North Shore. But the CRL hasn’t always […]
There are many shortcomings a committed climate hawk (of which, I am one) could find with the COP21 Paris agreement. There is no legally binding commitment to reduce climate pollution, for example. But the agreement is nonetheless a landmark event. All the countries of the world have signed up to an agreement to limit global […]
I and many others here at COP21 fasted today. Why go hungry? Fasting is a simple, very personal, action we can take to show our commitment to stopping dangerous climate destabilisation and create a better world. I fasted in solidarity with the millions of people who are already suffering from severe weather events due to […]
On 1 October, the Government’s Bright Line Test came in to force, despite the fact the legislation has yet to be passed into law. It is still being considered by the Finance and Expenditure Committee. When it is enacted, sometime before the end of the year, it will be retrospective. This is National’s too-little-too-late attempt […]
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, […]
While in Christchurch last week, I realised that parking is still an ongoing and contentious debate in the rebuild. Christchurch developer Stephen Collins was quoted in The Press recently saying “the reason the malls are so successful and the central city was in decline is because you can go to a shopping centre, park right […]
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 […]
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.
(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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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′]
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 […]
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 […]
Last night, as I left Auckland for the first week of Parliament for the year, I did something quite foolish. I was waiting for my bus to the airport (the stop is literally right in front of my apartment building — I can look down from my bedroom window and see it), when I realised […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
There’s things going on all over the world at the moment that tell us that using bicycles for transport is more than just a fad – it’s a growing phenomenon that offers all sorts of solutions to our transport woes. Cycling is a win-win-win for transport. It reduces congestion. It reduces fuel use. It makes […]
So much is happening in transport that it’s a bit hard to keep up and put out an informed post on each happening, so here’s a round-up: First, the bad news: The Napier—Gisborne line is hanging by a thread after being washed out. This is a huge blow to the regional freight line, which thanks […]
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 […]
This is how the story ends. Yesterday I took apart my bike and crammed it into the small rental car of a friend attending the festival. We drove back to Dunedin airport, where incredibly helpful people gave us materials to pack up the bike. Upon arrival in Wellington, I unpacked it, put it back together […]
For those of you who have followed my journey, I figured I’d better let you know that I made it safe, sound, and not even too fatigued at the Keep the Coal in the Hole summer festival south of Mataura. A bit anti-climactic, isn’t it? I woke early this morning, and headed for the hilly […]
I’ve cycled 120km in one day before. Once, when I was 23. It was exhausting then, though I didn’t have much weight on my bike and hadn’t spent the previous week cycling five to eight hours a day. Oh, and I was probably fitter, too. Eight years later, I thought if there were enough hours in […]
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 […]