All aboard for awesome public transport

Written By: - Date published: 10:03 am, November 30th, 2017 - 40 comments
Categories: local government - Tags: ,

‘It’s less fuss, take a bus’ is a tagline for public transport campaigns from Hamilton to Northampton. And it’s true, buses, trains and ferries are not only better for the environment, if run well they are cheaper and faster than being jammed in motorway gridlock and fighting for carparks. Public transport options are also vital for the young, the old and those without the space, money or ability to own a car.

A good public transport network makes a huge different to your quality of life if you either choose not to, or can’t, add to New Zealand’s 3.6 million motor vehicles already on the road.

If you’re one of the 34% of New Zealanders who use our local public transport networks, you have probably noticed that the people working hard to keep us moving aren’t entirely happy. Union members have had to take or consider industrial action in both Wellington and Auckland to protect their terms and conditions of work, and in some cases minimum safe staffing for passengers. Transdev, the French rail operator in Auckland is proposing introducing ‘driver-only trains’. Unstaffed services are several hurdles away from reality, but nonetheless concerning to those with decades of experiencein passenger management and industrial engineering. In Wellington the bus drivers are holding a stopwork meeting to discuss how they can protect their income and employment conditions when our bus services are taken over by a new provider. In Auckland, drivers have already had to take pay cuts after a changes to bus service contracts, despite the ticket price for commuters staying the same.

The best thing about public transport is it’s ours – funded by taxes and rates, it’s a great example of how things just work better together. We pool our money and give it to central government or councils to get the best value for money while getting us from A to B reliably and safely, without clogging up our roads with taxis or private cars. But unfortunately under the last Government, councils became less free to pick the operator that best reflects the local values of their region, or a service model that ensures quality experiences for commuters.

Under the ‘Public Transport Operating Model’, which is just a fancy name for the ‘rules’ to choose who runs your services, councils are forced to tender for companies who can ‘reduce reliance’ on ‘public subsidies’ – which is actually the point of a publicly funded service. What this means in reality is if you are an existing local company,  even a big established one like Kiwirail, you can be squeezed out by competing tenders based on lower wages, like those from big multinationals Transdev or Hyundai Rotem. As our need for public transport increases, these giant companies can easily scale a business model by screwing down local employment conditions and often sending the profits from ratepayers offshore. If the financial bottom line is the primary decision criteria for council members, then of course it’s harder for local providers who respect good wages to win tenders.

But the people who take and fund public transport in New Zealand also live and work in our communities. They don’t want a bargain basement bus or train service with all the expected delays caused by skimping on train guards and quibbling over weekend rates. One can only imagine the level of care that goes into safety and maintenance if getting cash back to the shareholders is the company’s whole reason for being. Rather than a Scrooge McDuck tendering system, we think that if you want to play with our public rail set you have to promise to treat it carefully including guaranteeing fair wages and conditions. And that locals should be able to tell the Council what they want out of their pooled money.

If we are going to meet our international climate change commitments, or our vision of people-friendly cities, we’re going to have to fast-track the expansion of clean, affordable and reliable public transport services. There are fantastic models overseas where you don’t even need to check the route or timetable, you just turn up at the station knowing the next service will be along soon. In Japan, they apologised recently for a 20 second deviation from the train schedule! This kind of quality model requires highly valuing the skills of everyone employed to deliver it. And that’s less fuss for us all.

If you support people working on trains, you can sign up to keep train carriages safe on All Aboard here.

If you want to say ‘Thank you driver’ to our bus staff in Wellington who are facing an uncertain future with a new employer, you can support them here.

You can support your local bus drivers in Auckland and find out more about the tendering issues on First Union’s site, Bus Fair.

 

~ Sam Huggard (courtesy of Together)

40 comments on “All aboard for awesome public transport ”

  1. cleangreen 1

    We as a community NGO support all rail services be they either; “freight/passenger/tourism/excursions activities.”

    Earlier today we posted an article on TDB on why we need rail services returned to all our regions.

    I would like to post it here as a rail based article.

    Our response was also placed at parliament earlier and clearly supports this article, so I offer it here as we have already sent it to the labour coalition ministers at parliament this morning.

    30th November 2017.

    Dear Ministers;
    On our current truck routes through our regional towns/cities; we do not want it four lined roads as that will only “encourage more trucks and other vehicle use – we need return of rail freight and passenger services.

    Our communities are badly in need relief for the East Coast regions below for ‘truck gridlocked’ routes & road mitigation through our city’s residential zones in HB/Gisborne.

    As the rail closed in 2012 truck freight increased dramatically through Napier on the “so called HB Expressway” we do not want it four lined as that will only “encourage more trucks and other vehicle use.

    We need our rail services returned to our regions firstly please. Regarding road improvements, we do not want or need more road building as it only promotes more truck use and less rail use.

    On our current truck routes through our regional towns/cities;

    We just need ‘lower speed zoned residential locations’ with noise walls and all residential areas be given back our previous (OGPA) “low noise road surfacing” the former Labour Government placed in 2006 (at our request) now removed savagely in 2014 by the last National Government.

    Here is our today’s blog on this issue;
    Todays blogs. 30/11/17.

    Over on The Daily blog we responded to a similar article on the future rail improvent/actions ec’t.

    Our response was placed there earlier and clearly supports this article, so I offer it here as we have already sent it to the labour coalition ministers at parliament tis morning.
    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2017/11/30/guest-blog-mike-lee-fear-and-loathing-auckland-transport-and-the-super-city/#comment-409470

    “The so-called ‘Super City’ it must be remembered was Rodney Hide and Steven Joyce’s baby and was imposed on Aucklanders without any vote.”

    Thank you Mike for placing the blame rightly on two evil politicians who during their time as “public servants” did nothing meaningful for all NZ of our “public communities” and instead imposed their own personal style of uncaring nasty hardships of less services and more taxes on us all for their own ‘grandiose plans’ for ‘highways to nowhere’.

    These ‘highways to nowhere’ must really be seen as just very ‘extravagant ’yet more public taxpaid roads just to their own beachside properties, and not for other any benefits for other NZ regions, which now must be investigated by the labour coalition Government in the coming months.

    For instance our Napier/Hastings/Gisborne regions has for many years been damaged by poor roads and declining road maintenance and mitigation measures such as “low noise road surfacing of (OGPA) ‘open graded porous cement’ on truck routes and noise barriers for all our city’s residential zoned roads that are now being impacted by a massive increased amount of truck freight traffic that is now harming the health and wellbeing of many thousands of those residential property dwellers/owners.

    http://www.pce.parliament.nz/media/pdfs/Hawkes-Bay-Expressway-Noise-and-air-quality-issues-June-2005.pdf

    One example is the shoddy built highway known as the “HB Expressway” built to a lowest cost standards then without any noise walls or smooth road surfacing as the trucks pass through residential zones at the time of building the roads, and any improvements in mitigation was only made after some residents spent many years fighting for their rights to fair mitigation as the residents on “the highways to nowhere” received. Sadly in many cases when we look back now most of the urgently needed mitigation requested by those residents were ignored by NZTA or the former Transit NZ and even some of the smooth road surfacing has now been replaced by cheaper noisier rough chip road surfacing, and the residents have still no relief from increasing truck noise, vibration and air pollution brought to them by steadily increased freight truck movements through their residential areas.

    These same politicians Steven Joyce and Rodney Hide actively promoted closing down regional rail services in these regions at the same time making matters far worse now.

    This is pure corrupt politics by two of the most “devise politicians NZ has witnessed in our history, which now must be investigated by the labour coalition Government in the coming months.

    The current lot of NZTA regional managers who allowed this to happen must be sacked as a result of a sadly woeful lack of services offered to these regional communities so badly affected by their inactions.

    Warmest regards,

  2. roy cartland 2

    And just on cue, what the Public Transport supporters have feared is coming to pass:
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/news/99327881/travel-times-in-and-out-of-wellington-getting-slower-despite-new-expressway

    $650 million. On a road that just clogged up again after a few measly months. Imagine if that eye-watering sum was spent on public transport for the region.

  3. The best thing about public transport is it’s ours – funded by taxes and rates, it’s a great example of how things just work better together. We pool our money and give it to central government or councils to get the best value for money while getting us from A to B reliably and safely, without clogging up our roads with taxis or private cars.

    Cooperation is always better than competition. Competition costs us more while providing less.

    Under the ‘Public Transport Operating Model’, which is just a fancy name for the ‘rules’ to choose who runs your services, councils are forced to tender for companies who can ‘reduce reliance’ on ‘public subsidies’ – which is actually the point of a publicly funded service.
    If the financial bottom line is the primary decision criteria for council members, then of course it’s harder for local providers who respect good wages to win tenders.

    This is the most expensive way to provide government services. There are added expenses in:
    1. The tendering process
    2. The extra bureaucracy needed for the ‘competition’
    3. The dead-weight loss of profit

    If the councils did it all in-house then we’d either get the same services for less or better services for the same cost.

    The idea that the private sector can always do it better is a load of bollocks.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21929310-200-state-of-innovation-busting-the-private-sector-myth/
    http://neweconomics.org/2017/01/railways-failed-next/
    http://neweconomics.org/2017/03/big-care-providers-wasting-taxpayers-money/

    I haven’t seen anything to indicate that privatisation would be any better in NZ.

    • Marcus Morris 3.1

      Spent three weeks in Kuala Lumpur recently – what a fabulous public transport system. Handy to our apartment was an elevated railway which was very cheap (for us anyway), very modern and we never waited longer than four minutes for a train to KL Central (except Sundays). It was fully automated so no drivers!!.

      Spent last weekend in Sydney – another wonderful public transport system – $2.50 all day on Sundays for buses trains and ferries. They are actually re-laying a light rail track (where the trams used to be) out to the S.E suburbs (Randwick et al). For too long our government has been in the pocket of the Road User Association although it is interesting to note that the two biggest companies, Main Freight and Toll are strong proponents of rail.

      • Grey Area 3.1.1

        Same experience Marcus. We visited KL a couple of years back and found the public transport extensive and reasonably priced. The rapid rail to and from the airport was brilliant. We enjoyed the novelty of the monorail (as you do) and found the commuter rail services regular and convenient.

        We visit Melbourne a bit and always use the trams and rail services extensively.

        I’m sure with the current government we will see a significant shift away from the myopic vandalism of National and New Zealand will move ahead. I doubt we will ever catch up with many overseas cities when it comes to public transport and transport infrastructure but things should improve markedly.

      • halfcrown 3.1.2

        Well said Marcus. One of the arguments I have heard about our public transport system is the lack of population. Adelaide with a population of about 1.3 million to Aucklands 1.5 million has a far superior public transport system with buses and rail to the outer suburbs plus the last time I was there in 2008 the Adelaide O-Bahn where buses run on a special track from suburb to suburb

        • feels surreal 3.1.2.1

          That’s what a friend told me – regional rail would never work as the population was too small. But when I countered that then the same logic goes for duplicate motorways up north or wherever, he didn’t have an answer.

      • greywarshark 3.1.3

        Marcus M
        Fully automated so no drivers. How naice for you. Soon you may be able to enjoy a virtual experience with headmask on by your computer in your comfortable living room, and never have to mingle with the hoi polloi. Put it on so real, like being there, and there won’t be any need for infrastructure to be built the experience will be fully technologised, so no passengers as well as no drivers.

        It would be good if people who have a bit of money can find enough in their pockets to interact financially with the people who live where they gather and mingle. The wealthy paying tips to waiters, buying street food, taking rickshaws, looking for ways to be part of people supporting themselves. If tourists then they are not cutting people out of the tourist poster leaving person-sized gaps.

        When one goes to one’s bach it would be good to go to the local shop and buy some of what they have for sale, be part of the throng, the people, wherever you are and let’s not go for automation as a forward move.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.3.1

          Fully automated so no drivers. How naice for you. Soon you may be able to enjoy a virtual experience with headmask on by your computer in your comfortable living room, and never have to mingle with the hoi polloi. Put it on so real, like being there, and there won’t be any need for infrastructure to be built the experience will be fully technologised, so no passengers as well as no drivers.

          /facepalm

          You really are a technophobe aren’t you? You seem to think that all technology is bad.

          Passengers don’t meet the drivers on trains so automating them doesn’t remove the socialisation that you seem worried about. Does make them more reliable, safer and cheaper to run though.

          And getting more people on to trains through better services is probably better for socialisation as well.

          • greywarshark 3.1.3.1.1

            Oh dear. I am concerned about people having a place in society with a job or something that earns them a living and carries respect, but may be not. The chap that emptied the effluent in the old days wasn’t respected but that was a very important task for health and sweetness. So we probably will always be snobs and call some people slobs. That’s why it is important for people to have a job they get paid for, so they can have pride in themselves. You gloss over that in your Great Schemes DTB.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.1.3.1.1.1

              That’s why it is important for people to have a job they get paid for, so they can have pride in themselves.

              There’s better jobs available. No point wasting time doing stuff that can be done better by machine.

    • cleangreen 3.2

      Hi Draco,

      Privatisation was a plan to take away any public owned services and rort the system nothing alse was planned to imoprove our services it was to actually run them down as we saw happen with our privatisation of our rail system the Labour government have saved and now intends to build our regional rail up again.

      Now as was seen this week UK is now reversing the years of loosing a third of their rail services also to “privatisation” (Beecham) and are now taking the closed rail lines back and beginning to restore them too.

      This is finally hope for our rail system we have all bee waiting for since 1993 but never came under two innings of national Governments who since 1993 have proven they wanted rail dead.

      • Privatisation was a plan to take away any public owned services and rort the system nothing alse was planned to imoprove our services it was to actually run them down…

        Privatisation is a way to shift public money into private profit and have that profit government guaranteed because the government couldn’t let the services fail.

        …as we saw happen with our privatisation of our rail system the Labour government have saved and now intends to build our regional rail up again.

        We’ve seen it in more than just rail. Telecom and power come to mind.

        • cleangreen 3.2.1.1

          Yes Draco, 100% there,

          Selling our State Electricty generaters & our Community trust power networks also to privateer’s is shameful here.

          I lived in Canada and Florida for 11yrs from 1987 to 1998 and all electricty providers were either provinncial owned or state owned respectively and I came home again and everything is getting bloodywell privatised here!!!

          And so it will be household water next as ‘privateer’s’ set about by privateers already pushing for metering all homes in NZ now, so we expect they will move to take off Municipal autorities our water supply then, and then charge the premium per litre for what is our natural elemental right to have free water.

          Stop the sale of our “life sustaining essential services” Government please!!!!!!

        • halfcrown 3.2.1.2

          “Privatisation is a way to shift public money into private profit and have that profit government guaranteed because the government couldn’t let the services fail.”

          How true Draco. Branston(as in pickle) Branson is a typical example. He gets massive subsidies from the Taxpayers for running Virgin Rail Then the fun-loving prick salts it all away in a tax haven.

          https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/10/truth-richard-branson-virgin-rail-profits

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businessclub/10376341/Ive-been-a-tax-exile-for-seven-years-says-Branson.html

          I do love that word “entrepreneur,” In other words another cheating fraudulent limelight seeking fucking spiv.

  4. savenz 4

    Excellent post by Mike Lee about Auckland council and Auckland Transport.

    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2017/11/30/guest-blog-mike-lee-fear-and-loathing-auckland-transport-and-the-super-city/#comment-409509

    For example at Auckland council Recent disclosures about an unbudgeted blowout on staff salaries amounting to $42m, ‘communications’ costing $45.6m per year, and $1.3m spent on business class travel and luxury hotels… while having a 15 per cent public satisfaction rate with the council’s performance and only 17 per cent trust in the council to make the right decision.

    And most of the rates money going to AT who provide an appalling service with poor wages for staff that actually do the work driving the buses and trains while paying themselves handsomely, and are completely unaccountable to rate payers.

    • For example at Auckland council Recent disclosures about an unbudgeted blowout on staff salaries amounting to $42m

      Depends upon how it came about.

      That said, the top pay rates are far to high but I doubt that cutting them to where I think they should be would save more than a few million.

      ‘communications’ costing $45.6m per year

      Communications happen to be really important. Like consulting with with the public and informing people of projects and stuff.

      and $1.3m spent on business class travel and luxury hotels

      They’re going to need some people to travel and stuffing them into the cargo hold and a show box will get less work done while they travel.

      while having a 15 per cent public satisfaction rate with the council’s performance and only 17 per cent trust in the council to make the right decision.

      I suspect that’s more to do with people’s ignorance than anything else. If things were really that bad our city wouldn’t be functioning at all. This is the problem with perceptions based upon ignorance.

      And most of the rates money going to AT who provide an appalling service with poor wages for staff that actually do the work driving the buses and trains while paying themselves handsomely, and are completely unaccountable to rate payers.

      Except that the service provided is actually pretty good and getting better. Still, the low wages and unaccountability are a problem and need to be addressed.

      • Stunned Mullet 4.1.1

        lol comedy gold.

        • savenz 4.1.1.1

          The terrible Auckland council performance of the supercity is one of the few things that the righties and the lefties agree on.

          • greywarshark 4.1.1.1.1

            The RW having a go at Auckland Council is part of their trickster, malicious approach. They made it, they took it out of people’s hands and said we know how it should be, so STFU and now things that were very likely to happen because of their choices and methods have happened, and the RWs don’t accept responsibility.

            Their closest to that would be to say that it is their fault for not cutting harder and faster and closer. And to blame poor productivity (a regular cry which nobody really understands but it implies slack workers), drugs and bad choices by customers or something. I have nothing but contempt for Hyde and the cream-skinning sycophants that gather like wasps around meat.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.2

          Got anything other than stupidity to show?

          • Stunned Mullet 4.1.1.2.1

            Let’s face it when it comes to showing stupidity we must all defer to your complete mastery.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.2.1.1

              Still no argument? Still just throwing out ad hominems?

              Yep, still showing your pure stupidity.

              • stunned mullet

                I am in awe of your bespawling.

                • It is truly amazing at how you RWNJs consider trolling and belittling people to be high-conversation.

                  • Stunned mullet

                    Not as stunning as your intellect you cumberground.

                    • In Vino

                      Hi Mullett A mullet is not all that bright in the first place, and apparently you are also stunned – an additional handicap. Your idea of comedy gold is an illusion you may want to cling to, but I think that you are basically wasting the useful life of your keyboard, and that you would be better advised to spend your time on other activities than ineffective trolling.

  5. bwaghorn 5

    Instead of striking and pissing of the very people the workers want on their side . is it possible to run the vehicles but not charge the passengers.

    • Probably not. All electronic.

    • cleangreen 5.2

      Shit bwaghorn,

      Piss off us?

      We have just been through the last nine terrible black years of our lives, where everything has been flogged off around bus all, dont you think we have already gotten used to being “pissed off”?

  6. McFlock 6

    A good public transport network makes a huge different to your quality of life if you either choose not to, or can’t, add to New Zealand’s 3.6 million motor vehicles already on the road.

    Even if you do have your own vehicle, good public transport is awesome. You can park farther out, rather than in the inner city. You can go out for works drinks without worrying too much about how to get home. You have a backstop if your vehicle breaks down. Visitors can come straight to your place or town, rather than you going to pick them up at the airport and being reamed for a cuppa while you wait.

  7. Chris 7

    9Wellington has excellent public transport

    Probably the best in NZ when it comes to citys

    We don’t even mind the workers striking if it is for a fair cause. Which it looks like it is.

    It is just the annoyingly short notice that is a pain in the ***se

    But all good

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why the Biden “peace plan” for Gaza is doomed
    After months and months of blocking every attempt by the UN and everyone else to achieve a Gaza ceasefire, US President Joe Biden is now marketing his own three-stage “peace plan” to end the conflict. Like every other contribution by the US since October 7, the Biden initiative is hobbled ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    3 days ago
  • Raised crossings: hearing the voice of vulnerable pedestrians
    This is a guest post by Vivian Naylor, who is the Barrier Free Advisor and Educator at CCS Disability Action, Northern Region, the largest disability support and advocacy organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand. She also advises on AT’s Public Transport and Capital Projects Accessibility Groups. Vivian has been advocating and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    4 days ago
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
    So kiss me and smile for meTell me that you'll wait for meHold me like you'll never let me go'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet planeDon't know when I'll be back againOh babe, I hate to go“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Tuesday, June 18
    The election promises of ‘better economic management’ are now ringing hollow, as NZ appears to be falling into a deeper recession, while other economies are turning the corner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The economy and the housing market are slumping back into a deep recession this winter, contrasting ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Scrutiny week off to rocky start
    Parliament’s new “Scrutiny” process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to a rocky start. Yesterday was the first day of “Scrutiny Week” which is supposed to see the Government grilled on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • The choice could not be more stark’: How Trump and Biden compare on climate change
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady Illustration by Samantha Harrington. Photo credits: Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, European Space Agency. In an empty wind-swept field in Richmond, California, next to the county landfill, a company called RavenSr has plotted out land and won ...
    4 days ago
  • Differentiating between democracy and republic
    Although NZ readers may not be that interested in the subject and in lieu of US Fathers Day missives (not celebrated in NZ), I thought I would lay out some brief thoughts on a political subject being debated in the … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 17
    TL;DR: Chris Bishop talks up the use of value capture, congestion charging, PPPs, water meters, tolling and rebating GST on building materials to councils to ramp up infrastructure investment in the absence of the Government simply borrowing more to provide the capital.Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon wants to double the number of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • You do have the power to change things
    When I was invited to come aboard and help with Greater Auckland a few months ago (thanks to Patrick!), it was suggested it might be a good idea to write some sort of autobiographical post by way of an introduction. This post isn’t quite that – although I’m sure I’lll ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    5 days ago
  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
    On the turning awayFrom the pale and downtroddenAnd the words they say which we won't understandDon't accept that, what's happeningIs just a case of other's sufferingOr you'll find that you're joining inThe turning awayToday’s guest kōrero is from Author Catherine Lea. So without further ado, over to Catherine…I’m so honoured ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
    Hi,Tickled was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me (and I feel like a lot of crazy things have happened to me).So ahead of the Webworm popup and Tickled screening in New Zealand on July 13, I thought I’d write about how we made that film and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
    Hi,I’m doing a Webworm merch popup followed by a Tickled screening in Auckland, New Zealand on July 13th — and I’d love you to come. I got the urge to do this while writing this Webworm piece breaking down how we made Tickled, and talking to all the people who ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
    One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company’s overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or less dependent on the Chinese market. But Hurrell is ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    5 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    5 days ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    6 days ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    1 week ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    1 week ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    1 week ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    1 week ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    1 week ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on how moderates empower the political right
    Struth, what a week. Having made sure the rural sector won’t have to pay any time soon for its pollution, PM Christopher Luxon yesterday chose Fieldays 2024 to launch a parliamentary inquiry into rural banking services, to see how the banks have been treating farmers faced with high interest rates. ...
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Thursday, June 13
    In April, 17,656 people left Aotearoa-NZ to live overseas, averaging 588 a day, with just over half of those likely to have gone to Australia. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Thursday, June 13 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Our guide to having your say on the draft RLTP 2024
    Auckland’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2024 is open for feedback – and you only have until Monday 17 June to submit. Do it! Join the thousands of Aucklanders who are speaking up for wise strategic investment that will dig us out of traffic and give us easy and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • The China puzzle
    Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrives in Wellington today for a three-day visit to the country. The visit will take place amid uncertainty about the future of the New Zealand-China relationship. Li hosted a formal welcome and then lunch for then-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in Beijing a year ago. The pair ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Fossil fuels are shredding our democracy
    This is a re-post of an article from the Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler published on June 3, 2024. I have an oped in the New York Times (gift link) about this. For a long time, a common refrain about the energy transition was that renewable energy needed to become ...
    1 week ago
  • Life at 20 kilometres an hour
    We are still in France, getting from A to B.Possibly for only another week, though; Switzerland and Germany are looming now. On we pedal, towards Budapest, at about 20 km per hour.What are are mostly doing is inhaling a country, loving its ways and its food. Rolling, talking, quietly thinking. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Hipkins is still useless
    The big problem with the last Labour government was that they were chickenshits who did nothing with the absolute majority we had given them. They governed as if they were scared of their own shadows, afraid of making decisions lest it upset someone - usually someone who would never have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Exercising with the IDF.
    This morning I did something I seldom do, I looked at the Twitter newsfeed. Normally I take the approach of something that I’m not sure is an American urban legend, or genuinely something kids do over there. The infamous bag of dog poo on the front porch, set it on ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Helm Hammerhand Anime: First Pictures and an Old English ‘Hera’
    We have some news on the upcoming War of the Rohirrim anime. It will apparently be two and a half hours in length, with Peter Jackson as Executive Producer, and Helm’s daughter Hera will be the main character. Also, pictures: The bloke in the middle picture is Freca’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Farmers get free pass on climate AND get subsidies
    The cows will keep burping and farting and climate change will keep accelerating - but farmers can stop worrying about being included in the ETS. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Wednesday, June 12 were:The ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Six ideas to secure Te Huia’s Future
    This is a guest post by our friend Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which features “musings about public transport and other cool stuff in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and around the globe.” With Te Huia now having funding secure through to 2026, now is ...
    Greater AucklandBy Darren Davis
    1 week ago
  • The methane waka sinks
    In some ways, there may be less than meets the eye to the Government announcement yesterday that the He Waka Eke Noa proposal for farmers to pay for greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped. The spectre of farmers still having to pay at some point in the future remains. That, ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • At a glance – Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Farmers get what they wanted – for now
    Since entering office, National has unravelled practically every climate policy, leaving us with no effective way of reducing emissions or meeting our emissions budgets beyond magical thinking around the ETS. And today they've announced another step: removing agriculture entirely. At present, following the complete failure of he waka eka noa, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Presumed Innocent?
    The blue billionaireDistraction no interactionOr movement outside these glazed over eyesThe new great divideFew fight the tide to be glorifiedBut will he be satisfied?Can we accept this without zoom?The elephant in the roomNot much happens in politics on a Monday. Bugger all in fact. Although yesterday Christopher Luxon found he ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago
  • Gordon Campbell on our doomed love affair with oil and gas
    What if New Zealand threw a fossil fuel party, and nobody came? On the weekend, Resources Minister Shane Jones sent out the invitations and strung up the balloons, but will anyone really want to invest big time in resuming oil and gas exploration in our corner of the planet? Yes, ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    2 weeks ago
  • Building better housing insights
    This is a guest post by Meredith Dale, senior urban designer and strategist at The Urban Advisory. There’s a saying that goes something like: ‘what you measure is what you value’. An RNZ article last week claimed that Auckland was ‘hurting’ because of a more affordable supply of homes, particularly townhouses ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    2 weeks ago

  • Reserve Bank chair reappointed
    Professor Neil Quigley has been reappointed as Chair of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Board for a further term of two years, until 30 June 2026.  “Professor Quigley has played a key role in establishing the new Board after the commencement of the new RBNZ Act on 1 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
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