Russel’s first Oral Question in the House today…

To: Annette King, Minister of Transport

Can she confirm that yesterday the Government announced in this year’s National Land Transport Program a public transport budget of $325 million and a roading budget of $1.94 billion, in other words six times more for roads than for public transport?

I’ll report on the answer later today.

newtown traffic

Photo Credit:  jemsweb

20 Comments Posted

  1. Ari, Road user fees are just that – fees for using public roads. Income tax isn’t a user fee paid by those using public jobs. The petrol tax paid to the Main Highways Board was equivalent to toll charges paid to the Post and Telegraph Department and kw/h fees paid to the Electricity Department. The fact that Transit is the only one of those three that hasn’t been privatised or SOE’ed doesn’t alter the point that the dedicated petrol tax is a user fee to fund roads, not a general tax (there’s a separate Crown petrol tax for that purpose).

    Perhaps more interesting is why politicians keep referring to the Land Transport Fund as “Government funding”. The funds are appropriated by statute and LTNZ is statutorily independent so, legally, there is no government involvement with the fund aside from the perfermance agreement between the Minister and the Board, and the strings attached to Crown contributions.

  2. The Optimist: So I take it out of principle you are also opposing Transmission Gully for dipping into public funds beyond the petrol tax? Similar situation.

    Should GST only be invested into economic development? Should income tax only fund labour policies? Your views of taxation and public expenditure in a social democracy like New Zealand’s seem very out of whack.

  3. Hi Bryan,

    Thanks for pointing out that blog – it looks great. Really pleased to see someone challenging the environmentalists who seem to have lost the plot on so many of these issues

    In ChCh I know that subsidies are about the same as fares, and that excludes the massive bus exchange and changes to the street outside. It also excludes the cost of proposed bus lanes which are going to make everyones life a misery.

    When will this lunacy stop? How hard is to it understand that people like their cars and don’t want to take the bus?

  4. Interesting post on Demographia on this topic:

    “In response to Alex Marshall’s June 1 Place article, “Idealism Takes A Wrong Turn,” in which he criticized my views on cars and transit:

    Marshall deludes himself about a bias toward highways and against mass transit. Indeed, government transit spending per passenger mile is nearly $0.95, while all government spending on roadways is less than $0.04. Some bias. Transit spending is 25 times highway spending. This does not consider the fact that roads carry a large share of the nation’s freight. Transit carries none.

    Further, government highway spending is principally from gasoline taxes on drivers, not subsidies from non-users. In contrast, more than 75 percent of transit spending comes from non-user subsidies.

    Ending the bias would require transit to be funded by taxes on transit fares. This, of course, would be the end of transit.”

    http://demographia.blogspot.com/2008/06/alex-marshalls-delusions-about-anti.html

  5. > Low population by failed economic theory standards……. not necessarily so when a more holistic analysis is applied

    Can you explain that please? What do you mean?

  6. I am still gob smacked by the audacity of the greens to sidestep the NZ electoral system and push their co leader in to the house

    and u wonder why the majority of kiwis want a referendum into MMP

  7. >It is high time that the myth of public transport in this low population low density country is busted.

    Low population by failed economic theory standards……. not necessarily so when a more holistic analysis is applied

  8. This is a shocking waste of $325m. Roads are required to be self-funding through taxes, why not public transport? This means that actual govt. expenditure on public transport (as opposed to just spending income) is an infinite multiple of private transports.

    This is a disgrace, particularly in view of the $1b committed to the train set.

    Perhaps 5% of people use public transport. For them to get paid to do so is outrageous. It is high time that the myth of public transport in this low population low density country is busted.

  9. The ‘train set’, as you call it, cannot reasonably be called a public transport system. The Labour Government have bought a freight operating service that has some passenger train services in Wellington and Auckland. I believe that the main thrust of the upgrade costs you cite ($600m or so) is in fact targeted at allowing freight operations to leave the roads and join the rail – and not in fact to provide public transport options for New Zealanders as you suggest.

  10. >>they are the work of Satan don’t you know…..

    Apparently.

    It is highly amusing to watch the cognitive dissonance of the Greens who are still stuck on the idea that we will need neither roads or cars just because oil might be pricey.

  11. But wait, there’s more…

    “Just after Tesla CEO Ze’ev Drori announced Telsa’s plans to build the Model S, Elon Musk began discussing its development of electric car tech to get the price of future cars to (and below) $30,000. When asked when that technology would be commercially available, Musk said that it shouldn’t be any more than four years from now. Granted, a $60,000 car is affordable but still quite steep for most buyers — but a vehicle mass-produced at half the price is essentially mainstream, which could have a substantial impact on the automotive world.”

  12. BTW:

    “Tesla Motors make an announcement today. The company has just introduced a fully-electric, five passenger sports sedan dubbed the Model S, which will be selling for $60,000, and will manage 225 miles on a full charge.”

    Next will be the low cost sedan version.

    Hurry up with those new roads and electricity generation. We’ll be needing it soon.

  13. StephenR: clearly not working hard enough if they can’t afford a car or the petrol to run it. Just heard a figure that each passenger train trip in Auckland/Wellington is subsidised on average $10.

    Which explains our economy crippling tax burden.

  14. “a public transport budget of $325 million” thats $325 million more than should be spent. Public transport is just another form of income transfer from the hard working to the indolent.

  15. HAving spent in excess of $600 million this morning buying a train set, and having committed to spending another $600 to get the train set to work and compensate the non-Toll carriers for the preferetial treatment they promised Toll in the deal, I believe they have committed more to public transport than to roads. Or doesn’t the train set count as public transport?

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