web analytics

$38 on highways for every dollar on public transport

Written By: - Date published: 9:49 am, May 21st, 2013 - 44 comments
Categories: transport - Tags:

Key is busy explaining that his petrol tax increase won’t just be funding his pet highway projects – the ‘Roads of National Significance’. He says it’ll go on public transport, too. Well, yeah, maybe. But the truth is that National is slashing public transport funding while pouring massive amounts into the RoNS even as traffic volumes fall and public transport demand rises.

By next year, National will be spending a jaw-dropping $38 on the RoNS for every dollar spent on public transport. That ratio was $5.6:$1 when they came to power.

So, when you ask ‘where’s our petrol tax money going?’ the answer is – on a few duplicate highways that the vast majority of people won’t use.

I’ve graphed the data from the Greens’ release:

spending rons v public transport

volumes rons v public transport



44 comments on “$38 on highways for every dollar on public transport”

  1. Populuxe1 1

    Chalk and cheese. Public transport is mostly confined to set routes within urban populations and is really only the most efficient thing to spend money on when you have high, concentrated populations – which we don’t. Inconveniently, this isn’t the middle ages and people and product must frequently commute over considerable distances between communities and resources and in this long, skinny country of ours – geographical reality. People don’t live in die within a couple of miles of where they were born anymore, and private car ownership remains the predominant transport mode of preference.
    The National party, like most neoliberal parties, is reactive and not proactive.
    I don’t have a car, and I use public transport. Most public transport in this country is commercially operated.

    • NickS 1.1

      Public transport is mostly confined to set routes within urban populations and is really only the most efficient thing to spend money on when you have high, concentrated populations – which we don’t

      [citation needed]

      Methinks you doth know sweet fuck all about how public transport works, come back when you’ve bothered doing some research sweetie.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Inconveniently, this isn’t the middle ages and people and product must frequently commute over considerable distances between communities and resources and in this long, skinny country of ours

      Most public transport is within cities, i.e, dense centres of population.

      People don’t live in die within a couple of miles of where they were born anymore,

      Which has absolutely no relevance to the public transport debate.

      …and private car ownership remains the predominant transport mode of preference.

      Yeah, that’s because we have stupid governments building for cars rather than buses and trains. The simple fact is we weren’t given the choice if we wanted PT or cars.

      • TheContrarian 1.2.1

        “The simple fact is we weren’t given the choice if we wanted PT or cars.”

        If someone asked me I’d say I’d like a mix of both. Bought my first car in 4 years just recently.

    • Murray Olsen 1.3

      I suspect you’re also changing the meaning of the word commute. Not many people travel between far flung communities on a daily basis.
      Definition of commute
      1 [no object] travel some distance between one’s home and place of work on a regular basis:

  2. unicus 2

    There is only one transport mode Neo-libs are concerned about protecting – the road transport industry which stuffed up our roads in the first place .

    New Zealands geology and topography was never suitable for the trans continental road transport model developed for the flat hard plains of the USA –

    Its simply more illogical self interest from people who have no honour no moral rectitude and no courage – and yes they are New Zealanders .

    • Populuxe1 2.1

      It’s not exactly set up for rail transport either, what with all of those far flung communities and national parks and things, and those annoying mountains in the way etc. Yes, bloody self interest, how dare bloody human beings be human beings blah blah yawn sigh

  3. tracey 3

    Cutting ten minutes off the trip from Auckland to Wellsford, assists, how? Northland remains one of, if not the, highest area of unemployment and under development in our country. Getting to Auckland quicker doesn’t seem like the best fix or use of money…

    trucking companies and holiday makers from Auckland might be happier… but the later aren’t cos they just got hammered with a big bill for their sewerage system (which they are protesting)..

    • Populuxe1 3.1

      Well for one thing it means Northland is better connected to essential services and secondary production, for another it makes sense when one of your primary industries is tourism to make it easier to get from the location of your main international airport to an undervisited place of great scenic beauty.

      • tracey 3.1.1

        Ten minutes Populuxe. Don’t overstake the cost benefit of the “getting there sooner” BS.

        “better connected to essential services and secondary production, ”

        That is ridiculous if it’s the best you can do.

        • Colonial Viper

          plenty of property developers up north would love the highway…their property price speculation would pay off for them big time.

  4. BM 4

    Costs more to take the train to Wellington than it does to fly, by a long way

    By train:
    NZ$ 198.00 one way Auckland to Wellington

    By plane:
    NZ starting from $42.00 one way

    By car:
    I’d say $150-200 on gas both ways but then you have the convenience and don’t have to hire a car when you get there.

    Who the hell would want to take a train?.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1

      The airlines are ‘starting from’ surely you dont think thats ALL you pay

      • NickS 4.1.1

        And the biggest mistake of BM’s post, ignoring urban rail completely 🙄

        Because teh trains in Auckland and Wellington so totes aren’t heavily used…

        • BM

          Aren’t we comparing highways to trains?
          Why would I want to take the train when its so much cheaper taking a plane or car.

          Also $90 one way was the highest priced airfare.

          • Colonial Viper

            Train travel is starved of volume and funding, no wonder its so expensive.

            Oh yeah you better count in the several thousand dollars you spent buying your car in the first place to take the drive.

            • BM

              Unless I could get a train ticket for $100.00 return I wouldn’t be interested in taking a train.

              Trains around town, great, between towns, hopeless.

              • TheContrarian

                The Wellington – Masterton line is pretty good, BM

              • McFlock

                kind of the point, really.

                Run into the ground to the point that airports, airport security, plane maintenance and jet fuel are cheaper than a train that can carry many times the load.

              • Colonial Viper

                Trains around town, great, between towns, hopeless.

                Currently it’s hopeless, but for investment equal to half of a holiday highway, it could be freakin magnificent.

              • TheContrarian

                And the rail system in Japan is freaking awesome.

                • BM

                  Yeah,they should do a bullet train between Hamilton and Auckland.
                  Stops at Huntly and Te kauwhata with the trip taking no more than 1/2 an hour.
                  Solve so many problems.

              • Colonial Viper

                Basically its the mark of a civilised society to be able to do public transport well.

            • infused

              It also takes 12hrs on train. You can drive there and back in that time.

              • McFlock

                Same as a bus though. And the ride’s better.

              • Draco T Bastard

                From Auckland to wellington and back in 12 hours? Possible I suppose – if you broke every speed limit and didn’t get hung up in traffic. Last time I left Wellington in a car it took four hours just to go the first 90km. Admittedly, that was just before Xmas when most people would be leaving on their holidays.

              • Clockie

                You could do Auckland-Wellington one way in about six hours in the wee hours when the roads are clear (don’t ask how I know this) but you’d better pray you don’t get caught. By the time you got there the roads would be filling up with traffic and you’d have to wait until midnight before you left on the return trip.

                PS. You’d be driving so quickly up the deserted main streets of small towns that you could see the exhaust pipe glowing bright red in the reflection in the shop windows.. (don’t ask how I know this)

                • ghostrider888

                  I know how (when it’s a 1000cc sports-bike) 😀

                  • Clockie

                    I was a naughty lad in my teens and early twenties 🙂 It’s a pity guys don’t get some brains to go with that first flush of testosterone eh?

                    • ghostrider888

                      used to sit on 140km as much as possible in the wee hours; nothing like the sound of 1000, or 1450cc of exhaust barking in the cold morning air. Got stopped after passing a po leece going the other way on Takapau Plains, over the tank, tapped out at 240k; talked him down to a modest fine after he turned and caught up with me.

    • tricledrown 4.2

      so you can see our wonderful country without crashing into something

  5. unicus 5

    ‘How dare human beings be human beings ”

    I have to admit Im not entirely familiar with the human face of greed ,corruption ,nepotisim ,and repression – but if neo-liberalisim is simply a true expression of humanisim so be it – certainly the NACT Government has it in spades .

    To my knowledge even our straight talking impeccably honest ( and loved by the Chinese ! ) Minister of Tourisim has’nt touted the holiday highway as a tourist benefit . But anyone traversing the current northern highway would find that at peak time’s – traffic on weekends and holidays mysteriously disappears after Warkworth – which of course is the turn off to Matakana and oh no – Omaha – where Key and the half of Eastern Aucklander’s who don’t own second homes in Coromandel hang out .With their friends from overseas no doubt which I guess in the stuttering mind of a neo-liberal bigot would constitute a tourist benefit.

    Can I suggest anyone interested in the egress of tourists through New Zealand take a trip on one of the more picturesque roads of the South – the Lewis Pass Highway it was purpose built for the tourist industry when New Zealand had functional governments . A long walk in the beech forest – perhaps camp the night in a pleasant distant place – you’ll be lucky to get much sleep though – the howl and hiss of giant rigs can be heard miles away from the highway – groaning up the pass and engine braking down it while they churn the road surface into something resembling a Rainbows End roller coaster track – barging German cyclists into ditches as they go .

    A final word on the history of rail in NZ – probably not much interest to you – but yes it was difficult to build . In its day the tracks and our locally built rolling stock were regarded among the worlds most accomplished feats of infrastructure engineering . New Zealands Railway system built cities and towns opened farmland and made money . Rail worked and it could certainly work again – in everyone’s interest .

    • Murray Olsen 5.1

      Rail will work again the minute that trucking companies have to pay for what they do to the roads. The German passenger rail network is amazing, and cheap, but even if we mainly used trains for freight, roads would be cheaper and safer.

      • kiwicommie 5.1.1

        Unfortunately a lot of MSM like to scaremonger and rant on about how NZ can’t afford it, even though the lack of high speed, high capacity rail from Auckland to Wellington, and Picton to Christchurch [to Dunedin] holds NZ back and increases transport costs. There is also another factor, that a lack of high speed passenger rail puts pressure on roads and airports to take passenger traffic, adding to New Zealand’s carbon emissions.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts


  • September benefit figures disappointing
    The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that ...
    3 days ago
  • MFAT officials refuse to back Prime Minister on Saudi sheep claims
    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    3 days ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    4 days ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    4 days ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    4 days ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    5 days ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    5 days ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    5 days ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    5 days ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    6 days ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    6 days ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    7 days ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    7 days ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    1 week ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Working people carrying the can for the Government
    Today’s announcement of a Government operating surplus is the result of the hard work of many Kiwi businesses and workers, who will be asking themselves if they are receiving their fair share of growth in the economy, Grant Robertson Labour ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Breast cancer drugs should be available
    Labour supports the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition’s campaign for better access to cancer treatments as more patients are denied what is freely available in Australia, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “In the last three years, PHARMAC’s funding has been ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Community law centres get much needed support from banks
      New Zealand’s network of community law centres, who operate out of more than 140 locations across the country, have today received a much needed boost, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “After more than 8 years of static funding ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Just 18 affordable homes in Auckland SHAs – It’s time for KiwiBuild
    New data revealing just 18 affordable homes have been built and sold to first home buyers in Auckland’s Special Housing Areas show National’s flagship housing policy has failed and Labour’s comprehensive housing plan is needed, says Leader of the Opposition ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika wins big in Auckland elections
    The Labour Party’s Pacific Candidates who stood for local elections in Auckland came out on top with 14 winners, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio. “Our candidates have won seats on one ward, four local boards, two ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seven7 hikoi to stop sexual violence
    2 weeks ago
  • Road toll passes 2013 total
    The road toll for the year to date has already passed the total for the whole of 2013, raising serious questions about the Government’s underfunding of road safety, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “According to the Ministry of Transport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay principals slam charter school decision
    A letter from Hawke’s Bay principals to the Education Minister slams the lack of consultation over the establishment of a charter school in the region and seriously calls into question the decision making going on under Hekia Parata’s watch, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to act on voter turnout crisis
    With fewer than 40 per cent of eligible voters having their say in the 2016 local elections, the Government must get serious and come up with a plan to increase voter turnout, says Labour’s Local Government Spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inquiry presents solutions to homelessness – Govt must act
    Labour, the Green Party and the Māori Party are calling on the Government to immediately adopt the 20 recommendations set out in today's Ending Homelessness in New Zealand report. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A good night for Labour’s local government candidates
    It has been a good night for Labour in the local government elections. In Wellington, Justin Lester became the first Labour mayor for 30 years, leading a council where three out of four Labour candidates were elected. Both of Labour’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More contenders for fight clubs
    Allegations of fight clubs spreading to other Serco-run prisons must be properly investigated says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister runs for cover on job losses
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s refusal to show leadership and provide assurances over the future of the Māori Land Court is disappointing, given he is spearheading contentious Maori land reforms which will impact on the functions of the Court, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    3 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago