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Brownlee’s head in the sand, looking for cheap oil

Written By: - Date published: 7:17 am, April 4th, 2012 - 64 comments
Categories: Gerry Brownlee, sustainability, transport - Tags: ,

Rookie Green MP Julie Anne Genter, a transport planning expert before entering Parliament, gave Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee, whose qualification for the job is that he used to teach kids to make wooden toy cars, a sharp lesson in transport policy in the House yesterday. It’s rare for a newbie to show up an old tusker like that. With petrol prices at record levels, I hope someone in the government’s listening.

(transcript at end)

So, let’s review the facts:

We’re spending over $8 billion a year importing oil. Essentially the same as what we have to put on the nation’s credit card each year because our outgoings exceed our incomings (the other huge factor is the $10 billion a year outflow in profits from foreign investment here). Logically, reducing our oil imports would be a great way to cut our current account deficit (oh and help the environment too), especially as the cost of our oil imports has skyrocketed 500% in the last 15 years.

Petrol is at record levels. MED’s series shows that petrol is the most expensive it has ever been for this time of year and only a fraction of a cent below the all time record that was briefly touched in May last year. Petrol prices have a seasonal element, running up ahead of the Northern ‘driving season’ in June-July made worse this year by the sanctions against Iran. Experts say we’ll see petrol hit $2.25 a litre this year. If there’s war with Iran, then who knows how high it will go. Brownlee says petrol prices are cyclical. Well, yes, they spike and send the world into recession, then fall, and then spike again as soon as there’s a glimpse of an economic recovery (how long have my predecessors been talking about that on this site?) but oil prices are never going to go back down to the low prices that the RoNS are costed at on any long-term basis.

We’re driving less. Traffic volumes peaked in 2008 and are back to 2004 levels. They’ve continued falling during the ‘recovery’, no bounce back in sight here. Those NZTa numbers suggest that we’re driving about 8% less per person, a figure backed up by MoT numbers compiled over at Auckland Transport Blog. And Auckland Council’s public transport patronage shows that numbers are increasing at 10% per annum – services are fit to bursting, with rapid increases every time new capacity is added. As I’ve said before, at an individual level we’re responding to the signal from petrol prices – we’re trying to adapt to peak oil.

Yet the government, at the same time as it is racking up record debt is spending $14 billion over the next decade on highways, many of which make no economic sense even on NZTA’s modelling and certainly don’t make sense when actual traffic flow growth (or lack thereof) and oil prices are taken into account.

Would we had an actual transport expert as Minister of Transport, and a government that was building towards the real future of a peak oil world, not a fantasy where the pixies at the bottom of the garden are about to strike cheap oil.

Update: Genter v Brownlee on Breakfast just now. I don’t think we’ll see the woodwork teacher taking on the transport expert over transport policy again, if he can avoid it.


7. JULIE ANNE GENTER (Green) to the Minister of Transport: Why is the Government prioritising State highway projects with low benefit cost ratios, given that traffic volumes are back to 2004 levels and the Crown is borrowing $12 billion a year?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Minister of Transport) : There has been a slight fluctuation in measured traffic volumes over the years, but it is not enough to show a trend that would mean that this Government would abandon its proposals for the ongoing road-building programme. Taking no action to improve our roads would assume that our roads were at their optimum point in 2004. The previous Government did not believe that, we do not believe that, and we are going to go ahead with our programme to build roads, because of the economic benefit, the social benefit, and the safety benefits for New Zealanders. The assertion that the Government is borrowing for the roading programme is wrong. That is paid for by the Land Transport Fund, which is funded by road users.

Julie Anne Genter: Why does the Government claim that the roads of so-called national significance have been selected because of their economic importance, when the projects were announced in early 2009, well before the business cases had been undertaken?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: I think the point is that a Government comes in with a programme and does what it thinks is necessary to create the environment for economic growth. There is not a successful economy in the world that has achieved results by stopping roading progress.

Julie Anne Genter: What evidence supports the claim that the roads of national significance will increase economic productivity, given that they have not been updated to reflect the reality of higher oil prices and stagnant traffic volumes?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: I think the roads of national significance are going to have a massive effect on economic growth in New Zealand. And I think it is very hard to argue against history, where you would find not one country in the world that has abandoned roading projects and achieved economic success.

Julie Anne Genter: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My question quite clear. It said “What evidence supports the claim … ?”. It did not ask for an opinion. The Minister did give his opinion—he thinks these projects will be good for the economy—but I asked—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Because I could not hear the member’s question very well because of the noise—mainly on my left, I must confess, on this occasion—I invite the member to repeat her question.

Julie Anne Genter: What evidence supports the claim that the roads of national significance will increase economic productivity, given that they have not been updated to reflect the reality of higher oil prices and stagnant traffic volumes?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: Those last two criteria are very cyclical, so there is no reason to believe that in the long term, they would make a difference to the business case.

Julie Anne Genter: Will he review the plans to prioritise the roads of national significance, given warnings from the New Zealand Transport Agency and the Ministry of Transport that the programme could lead to a budget blowout of billions of dollars?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: No, but I will challenge him to make sure that does not happen.

Julie Anne Genter: If the economic situation is so tight that the Government will be announcing another zero Budget, why does it still have money for motorways that, on the Government’s own numbers, will never pay for themselves?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: Largely because New Zealanders use them and they pay into the fund, and that is where the money comes from.

Julie Anne Genter: Given that New Zealand’s current account deficit of $8.5 billion matches nearly exactly the amount we spend each year on importing oil, and that the cost of importing oil has risen 500 percent in the last 15 years, is it a good use of the Crown’s resources to lock us into a future where our transport system is even more dependent on oil?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: We are not doing that. If the member is going to rely on fluctuating vehicle movements, then the member would have to accept that the oil price is a very sensitive point in people’s decisions over which mode of transport they use. We are investing a huge amount of money, $1.6 billion, in electrification in Auckland. We have got the very, very large commitment to the KiwiRail rebuilding programme. We have also got huge amounts of money going each year into public transport across the country, and, what is more, the public transport operating model has been widely accepted and welcomed by regional councils throughout New Zealand. We are by far and away leading ahead of any other Government before us in this matter.

Julie Anne Genter: How is it balanced to spend $14 billion, over 75 percent of all new transport infrastructure spending in the next decade, on a few motorway projects, with increasingly shoddy business cases, that will not help motorists, will not help freight, and will not help New Zealanders avoid rising oil prices?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: Working backwards, it will help New Zealanders minimise the cost of their transport if they use cars, it will help freight, and it will help general passenger movements. The member makes these assertions as if she is an authority; she is not.

64 comments on “Brownlee’s head in the sand, looking for cheap oil ”

  1. Ed 1

    I just caught the tail end of an interview on TV One this morning – poor Gerry was doing badly there.

    • alex 1.1

      Not hard to see why he was flailing though, Genter is one of the best new Green MPs, she is incredibly well informed on transport issues. Makes a nice change to have politicians who are experts on something other than getting elected.

    • infused 1.2

      How do you take this as him doing badly?

      • Georgecom 1.2.1

        he wasn’t able to provide much of a credible defence to rebut the questions asked of him.

        • Colonial Viper

          But surely, as infused is implying, this is not an example of Gerry performing “badly”, this is an example of Gerry performing “as usual”.

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    Not only was Brownlee an ‘unqualified’ Woodwork teacher- unless you count time as a pupil- he was all so Maori language teacher.

    • felix 2.1

      I don’t understand why people bring up his past as a woodwork teacher as if it were something to be ashamed of.

      ffs it was probably the last time he did something useful with his life.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 2.1.1


      • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1.2

        Im thinking of the poor students, having a reject from the family timber business foisted on them. You would have to say woodwork teachers weren’t the brightest spoons in the draw, as far as high school teachers go.

        JH seems to over-egg Genters qualifications, a MPP does not mean transport planning expertise as this blurb from Auckland University for MPP course shows.
        “Design, community and economic development, settlements, environmental science, law, policy, infrastructure and cultural perspectives. A comprehensive studio programme integrates knowledge and practice.”

        The referral to the consultants web page indicates multi disciplinary planning practice , not that one person was an expert in all areas. A graduate degree in Transport Planning, MPP is not.

        • Shane Gallagher

          Her expertise is in transport planning however and she worked at McCormick
 Cagney in Auckland as a transportation consultant – so she does know what she is talking about. She is young and hasn’t had many years of experience but she does know her stuff.

          • ghostwhowalksnz

            No, shes not an ‘expert in transport planning’.
            There are specialist degrees and graduate diplomas from NZ universities or to go to the very top level eg MSc in Transport Planning at London School of Economics.
            Her planning degree is a generalist one for people who all ready have a non planning first degree. I know of people at MRC ( or its predecessor) who had specialist degrees in transport planning and her expertise would appear to be report writing and general planning issues

        • freedom

          sorry Ghost if you had some poor woodwork experiences and i mean no offence, but “woodwork teachers weren’t the brightest spoons in the draw” is a rash generalization and borders on being an unnecessarily ignorant statement. It appears to be a prostration to the academia-oriented view our society puts so much unproven faith in. I think back to the woodwork teachers throughout my own life and they were easily as smart and often far more wise than most form-filling busy-work Automatons i had to suffer. An ability to regurgitate data does not prove an ability to think, solve problems and find real world solutions.

          perhaps if Gerry and his co-horts were encouraged to remember some of the fundamentals that working with wood teaches, then we would be a lot more confident in his abilities.
          Measure twice , cut once springs to mind.

          • McFlock

            The finish is rougher if you plane against the grain than if you plane with the grain.
            Make sure the piece is firmly secured before you turn on the lathe.
            Cut away from yourself, not towards.
            Each tool should be in its proper place.
            and possibly most important for a government minister:
            Don’t leave a messy bench for the next person. 

          • Swampy

            Gerry’s background was as a builder in carpentry, there are some clever builders I accept but it is a blue collar occupation. His family background was sawmilling.

            I think Brownlee does not come across as particularly smart or clever and I doubt that has ever been different.

        • Jilly Bee

          I have been following this thread during the morning and after ignoring ghost’s drivel about woodwork teachers, I’ve decided to take the bait and tell him that my partner’s City & Guilds qualifications were recognised as the equivalent of a B A. He also taught math, electronics and was part of the team in the music department for many years, before retirement. Gerry Brownlee may be a buffoon and not a very ‘sharp spoon in the drawer’, but please don’t lump all Technology Teachers in the same category.

          • ghostwhowalksnz

            Technology may be what it is now, but back in Gerrys time ( and mine) a trade certificate was all that was required.

            • Andrew McKay

              I’m no fan of this elitist nonsense. Woodworking is a highly skilled profession, no matter what certificate you have to get. You would think on a pro worker site like The Standard we could get away from looking down our noses at those that never went to university.

              • freedom

                what i have trouble with is if university folk are so smart, how come the student body didn’t vote against fees in 1990 when there was a very real chance to actually stop the whole debacle in its tracks. If memory serves there was only a 30 % turn out for the final STA vote and thusly no formal process could be entered into to politely tell the banks thank you, but we’ll pass.

                To this year the banks have reportedly made close to $12 Billion from the selfish decision made by every student in 1990 who did not vote.

                With last year’s election result exposing a similar suicide by democracy, let us hope the outcomes are not the same. Relativistically speaking that would be a very bad thing.

                One thing i know for sure from woodworking
                whenever you start to think you are clever,
                it has a way of putting you firmly in your place.

            • felix

              Oh so you’re not just denigrating teachers of technical subjects, but anyone who works with their hands as well?

              Real cool, ghost.

      • Lanthanide 2.1.3

        I have heard from people who were in his classes or friends with those who were, that he was a very poor teacher.

        • infused

          I heard from a friend who knows a friend who told his other friend that he says everything you say is a load of crap.

          This is fun.

  3. One of the better QT exchanges (albeit not difficult to achieve), from a holding the government to account perspective. But it’s not going to change anything.

    In my lifetime we have changed sigificantly to a nation addicted to private motorised transportation. It’s hard to see how that will be easily changed. Fuel prices have increased significantly and near empty buses are still common here. Change may be forced eventually but until then it’s foot down as usual.

  4. outofbed 4

    “The member makes these assertions as if she is an authority; she is not.:
    Actually she is

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1

      No shes not. But then neither is he as discussed above.

      If she chose to study for a Graduate diploma in Transport Planning rather than the generalist MPP , you might be right. But Im sure she doesnt make that claim herself.

  5. Nice crisp questions by Genter and Brownlee’s answers were utter drivel.  Other parties should take note how it is done.

    • Sanctuary 5.1

      “…Nice crisp questions…”

      It certainly shows the importance of recruiting SME’s who are outside the political class and are not sycophants to the business elites – National and Labour need to take note.

  6. Salsy 6

    Spectacular, the greens have some real talent atm – I can see this crop as the foundation to substantial party growth..

    • squirrel 6.1

      I agree entirely, I have been thinking for years that political parties need to actively recruit/attract skilled professionals rather than drawing from their own membership of political activists.

      This of course has to be balanced against watering down the parties political philosophy.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        I have been thinking for years that political parties need to actively recruit/attract skilled professionals…This of course has to be balanced against watering down the parties political philosophy.

        Skilled professionals can have very strong and congruent political philosophies, can they not?

        And how much is there to fear? It seems that the Labour Party’s political philosophy is well watered down and compromised towards neoliberalism anyways.

  7. Craig Glen Eden 7

    “The member makes these assertions as if she is an authority; she is not.:

    Gerry loosing the plot and then scoring a big own goal. Interesting how bullies rely on derision when they loose the debate.

  8. bad12 8

    Points to the Greens Genter obviously deservedly so from that little debate with Brownlee,

    We dare tho offer a little criticism,and,this is said without knowing who was in the House at the time of the exchange between Brownlee and Genter,

    At the point where that lump of lard claimed Genter had no expertise in the field a point of order should have been sought and extracted from the Speaker of the House requiring Brownlee to withdraw and apologize for having made such an assertion,

    In the ego driven minds of Government Ministers being made to publicly withdraw and apologize for making such a comment seriously dents their self image and is likely to result in a ticking off behind closed doors from the ”leader”,

    Good work from another of the Green,s new intake of MP,s tho for extracting the points in the exchange,making the targeted Minister squirm and withdraw and apologize on live TV tho is the ”art” of politics learned from experience,

    Our advice is check out some of the points of order from NZFirst,s Winston Peters,note how He interacts with the House Speaker and,be ready to clash with that Speaker on occassion He might then stop condescending to the Green Party as if they were earnest little children with no real world experience…

    • Craig Glen Eden 8.1

      I thought exactly the same bad12, a point of order should have been called, Brownlie would of had to withdraw and apologise and it would have been total job done on him.

      • bad12 8.1.1

        Aha,while the Greens have traditionally been loath to drag the debate down to the usual carve up that goes on in the Parliaments debating chamber we dont think that they should allow either Government Ministers,the House Speaker,(or anyone else for that matter),to condescendingly treat them as recalcitrant little children who will soon learn how the real world works,

        Our view is that Lockwood Smith in particular exhibits this trait in the debating chamber quite often,and,there was an interesting exchange between Crusher Collins,and,Labour,s Charles Chauvel where Crusher had made reference to ”the liars in this place” earlier yesterday and Smith totally poo pooed Chauvel,s point of order,

        Until that is Winston Peters climbed into Smith with a further point of order pointing out that if Crusher were not implying that the ”liars in this place” were not from within the ranks of the opposition which standing orders would have insisted that Smith order Crusher to withdraw and apologize then Crusher must have been referring to the MP,s and Government Ministers on Her side of the House,

        Clever bugger that Peters,the House Speaker,Lockwood Smith,perhaps not wanting to spend another afternoon having His feathers ruffled and at times extracted,or,more to the point perhaps not wanting to give Peters an opening to turn Crusher inside out immediately made Crusher apologize,

        Points also must go to the Greens leadership for putting some of the new intake up front to stick the pins into the rump of the over-indulged Executive and letting some of the new green MP,s front foot issues in front of the TV cameras…

  9. marsman 9

    Great questioning. Shows Brownlee up for the bumbling fool he is.

  10. ScottGN 10

    Was that Key I saw scuttling off about 2.25 in? Even he couldn’t be bothered to hang around to listen to Brownlee’s drivel.

    • alwyn 10.1

      Where on earth were all the Green MPs to support their colleague?
      Two thirds of them would seem to have been missing by my count. The most senior one would seem to be the little squirt Hughes from Wellington.
      If John Key leaves, and he at least has something important to do we are meant to care but if the Green MPs don’t bother to turn up it’s irrelevant?

      • deuto 10.1.1

        This extract from Today in Politics on Stuff anwers your question


        The near-empty space in Parliament where Green Party MPs normally sit caused some to fear a nasty bug was sweeping the caucus.

        Only five of the party’s 14-strong caucus were in the House for Question Time, and the front-bench spots normally filled by co-leaders Russel Norman and Metiria Turei fell to 13th-ranked Julie Anne Genter and Gareth Hughes.

        Mrs Turei and Kennedy Graham were on their way back from the international Greens convention in Senegal.

        Jan Logie was also in Africa on a parliamentary visit and Dr Norman was at a wind energy conference.

        The others were away through a combination of family issues and the funeral of Hone Kaa.

        Despite being a newie, Ms Gender seems well able to hold her own as shown by her performance in QT yesterday and today, in the General Debate today, and on Breakfast this morning.

        PS – thank you for reminding me about Lockwood Smith’s possible departure on the other post.

    • jack 10.2

      I think Key has had enough embarrassement for these last few months. It looked like he went hiding. Genter made mince meat out of Brownlee. Brownlee was studdering and couldn’t answer her last question. She’s right. The future looks bleak as far as relying on imported oil.

  11. KATY 11

    Maybe Gerry Brownlee Should have investigated Genter a little bit, before saying she is not an authority in regard to transportation.


    By the look of things Genter appears to be more qualified and has a wee bit more experienced on these matters than our current Minister of Transport could ever hope to be.

  12. toad 12

    Went so badly for Brownlee that I see we have Round 2 today:

    JULIE ANNE GENTER to the Minister of Transport: Has the Government reviewed its highway building programme in light of the warning in the briefing to the incoming Minister that there will be a $4.9 billion funding shortfall if oil prices remain high and economic growth remains low; if not, why not?

    This could be as much fun as when Tolley was Minister of Education and knew nothing about her portfolio.

  13. KeepOurAssetsDon'tSell. 13

    Brownlee and Nact continue to show their ignorance of the World situation (We live in a post peak oil World and Growth has ended because cheap oil is gone forever,not only that it will keep going up in price in perpetuity, and other resources are in decline and severe environmental blowbacks are happening: ramping up climate change, dying oceans, overpopulation) and slavish adherence to their selfserving ideology of the infinite growth paradigm and throwing money to their mates at every opportunity.

    These billions could be spent helping NZ to adapt to the new paradigm on us which is: permanent economic contraction in a devastated World ,The Good times are well and truly gone.

    This government are a bunch of Morons their moronic nature is clearly shown also by their insistence in flogging of the NZ taxpayer’s accumulated wealth: our Power Company assets.
    Yet any money put to say community night classes is considered a waste of taxpayer’s money.

    Wodney was always screaming about the waste of taxpayer’s money now this wretched bunch are chucking away billions in taxpayer’s money on asset sales and motorways we don’t need!

    • KeepOurAssetsDon'tSell. 13.1

      Oberleutenant Brownlee you are an arrogant IGNORAMUS!

      You have allowed the Opposition to make fools of us AGAIN! They have penetrated our wire fence and shown us up as incompetent FOOLS!

      Next time the Eastern Front for you. Dismissed!

  14. National’s policy on Transport inconsistant with 2009 Ministerial Briefing on Oil Prices and Transport Sector Resilience & IEA reports

    go to: https://sites.google.com/site/saveourrailnorthland/home/resources/essays/inappropriate-transport-policy for links to references

    The Ministry of Economic Development’s web-site states that publications from the International Energy Agency are “broadly recognised as world-leading authoritative sources of information and analysis on energy trends and forecasts, and research and development ” and that “Credible information is of increasing importance for policy-makers because of a strong link between the energy sector, security and climate change.”

    As a member of the International Energy Agency, New Zealand contributes something in the region of NZ$125,000 per annum (see OIA release) to fund research and reports such as the 2009 Ministerial Briefing on Oil Prices and Transport Sector Resilience, (released under the Official Information Act,2010) upon which this government’s transport strategy/ policy is (presumably) based.

    As alluded to in the Ministerial Briefing (and in several interviews) the International Energy Agency has revised its earlier forecasts that peak oil wasn’t expected until sometime after 2030 and is now telling us that, based on their 2008 study of 800 of the world’s oil fields, that they estimate the peak in conventional oil passed in around 2006 and can now state conclusively that ‘the age of cheap oil is over’.

    The Ministerial Briefing on Oil Prices and Transport Sector Resilience outlines some of the vulnerabilities that New Zealand is subject to because of our high dependence on imported oil and on the relative inefficiency of our aging fleet (21)and our lack of modal choice (20) and concludes that New Zealand has ‘relatively low resilience’ to both increasing oil prices and oil price volatility.

    New Zealand is currently burning through NZ$21 million dollars worth of imported oil every day, and that figure increased 22% over the 2010-2011 year to NZ$7.7 billion for that year.

    The National-led Government’s policy on provision of transport infrastructure ignores the 2009 Ministerial Briefing on Oil Prices and Transport Sector Resilience and advice from the International Energy Agency and is inappropriate to the future security of New Zealand.

    New Zealand needs a transport strategy and policies which provide real resilience against the vulnerabilities inherent in the new ‘post-peak oil’ energy paradigm.

    Halt all work on proposed Roads of National Significance and redirect funding into :
    getting the Napier-Gisborne Railway line operational
    Auckland’s inner city rail link
    building the Marsden Point Rail Link
    upgrading and extending the North Auckland Line and Dargaville Branch Line
    re-opening the Stratford-Okahukura Line

    Alan Preston ( Mangawhai )
    Save Our Rail Northland


    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      The Ministry of Economic Development’s web-site states that publications from the International Energy Agency are “broadly recognised as world-leading authoritative sources of information and analysis on energy trends and forecasts, and research and development ”

      Which is really quite amusing considering how far behind they were in accepting the predictions of the geologists about Peak Oil. In fact, they never did get around to accepting them – just admitting that Peak Oil had already occurred 30 years before their own prediction.

      Halt all work on proposed Roads of National Significance and redirect funding into:

      We should probably be halting all new roads and looking for more efficient transport options.

  15. Gotta remember Brownlee isn’t dealing with a full pack, he is being mislead by his advisors, probably from the MED, I have a letter from the dick dated June 2010 saying “Oil? no problem at least until 2030, if not some later date, we are listening to the IEA,”

    “The Government considers that the IEA provides the most credible information on the global oil market. The IEA is backed by robust information that is often commercially sensitive or is based on confidential government data. The Government’s position on peak oil, therefore, continues to be that oil production will not change significantly until 2030, or until some date beyond this.

    To contrast – Dr. Fatih Birol is Chief Economist and Head of the Economic Analysis Division of the Paris-based International Energy Agency. He is organiser and director of the World Energy Outlook series, the IEA’s flagship publication. He is also responsible for providing regular briefing to the Executive Director and Governing Board of the IEA on the economic impact of energy market and industry developments. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k22q5KZibtI&feature=plcp&context=C40124acVDvjVQa1PpcFNinfiA8tGCU2OzROL9pPR3WAtKHi8bJUs=
    Fatih said we peaked back in 2006. But Gerry is still building roads, maybe the IEA aren’t worth listening to once they started to sound like me?
    But then they are also saying stuff like BAU = extinction of humans by 2050 (ish) as long as we can find another 5 or so Ghawars to maintain BAU … and Kiwi Saver )

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      Its a problem. It could take a few more years of economic decline and politicians saying “growth is right around the corner, just wait another year for the Christchurch rebuild” before the slow thinking sheeple realise that BAU is history, and energy depletion is the new normal.

    • Attention Gerry this just out from the IEA
      “The current price levels are on average higher than the awful year of 2008, and as such have the capacity to tip the global economy back into recession,” Dr. Birol said.

      As if we came out of the last one?

  16. fatty 16

    I’m glad gerry brownstain has highlighted the fact the increased oil prices and its resulting stagnation of traffic volumes “are very cyclical”
    How many million years do we wait for the cycle of oil to come around again?…perhaps I have been wrong to suggest that National are short sighted.

  17. Georgecom 17

    Good old gerry, looking back in time to chart the future.

    “And I think it is very hard to argue against history, where you would find not one country in the world that has abandoned roading projects and achieved economic success.”

    Thats right Gerry, history. Maybe update your thinking to look forward and consider higher oil prices (and threats to go higher still) as a structural matter. Nothing that history will educate you about.

    “higher oil prices and stagnant traffic volumes?”
    “Those last two criteria are very cyclical”

    Indeed, higher oil prices are cyclical. In recent times low oil prices have coincided with a large global economic slump. Rises in oil prices are built around either expected improving global growth or political instabilities in certain areas and fears aboput the ability of oil producers to make up the difference. Oil prices are cyclical, but at a higher price threshold than over the previous 25 years of history.

    Traffic volumes are of course linked to oil prices.

    If you want to argue for more roads Gerry, at least update your arguments to try and reflect current realities.

    • rosy 17.1

      He can look at history if he likes – but far better to look at the history of building roads that are pet projects , for example, and take a lesson about how they didn’t lead to economic growth

    • Jim Nald 17.2

      How much are we taxpayers funding his wonderful ministerial lifestyle?
      My six year-old nephew would give a better argued and considered reply.
      What a bloody waste of money that is pouring into this dolt.
      An employer would pay such staff member much less or fire him.

  18. Well done to Julie Anne Genter’s effort in the House today. I saw part of it and was impressed by her knowledge and how well she stood up to Gerry Brownlee.

    That said, this Government’s head is in the sand on energy, just like its predecessors were. No one has attempted to come up with a long term blue print for energy in the country – I remember suggesting to the Labour Minister for Energy Pete Hodgson years ago that we develop a blue print. From its lack of mention in the media and the fact that we are continuing to adhere to knee-jerk reactionism as the way to go, I am guessing nothing was done.

  19. fatty 19

    did anyone check if there’s a burger king at the end of these new highways?

  20. fatty 20

    people say Brownlee is grasping at straws…of course he is, has has an extra large diet coke and needs to wash down the 4 cheeseburgers that are stuck in his throat

  21. Hami Shearlie 21

    I bet Gerry’s nickname at school was something like “Moose” or “Biff”!

  22. The National Government’s supposed due diligence exposed as incompetence:

  23. KJT 23

    Shouldn’t it be failed woodwork Teacher.

    Many woodwork Teachers are ex tradespeople who are well informed and competent. Comparisons to Brownlee are odious.

  24. toad 24

    I see we’ve got Round 3 coming up today:

    JULIE ANNE GENTER to the Minister of Transport: Did the Government compare the costs and benefits of the Roads of National Significance against those of other transport projects before announcing them to ensure that it is getting best value for public money; if not, why not?

    Poor Gerry.

  25. Roy 25

    The most valuable thing I learnt in woodwork was “Measure twice before you cut once”. In other words, get your facts absolutely correct before rushing into anything irrevocable. Now Gerry belongs to a government that seems to enjoy not getting any facts, or ignoring the facts they do get, before rushing into things that are irrevocable or at least very hard to undo.

    • Draco T Bastard 25.1

      It’s called Governing by Ideology and Belief. A staple of RWNJ governments the world over.

  26. It is time we started questioning National politicians’ obstinate intransigence in the face of overwhelming research-based peer-reviewed evidence. If it is indeed the ‘gentemen’s agreements’ that our ‘Right Honorable Representatives’ entered into in the lead- up to the 2011 General Elections, with their benefactors in the Auto-Petro lobby ( road construction and Road Transport Forum et al ) ,we need to be investigating the extent of this , challenging them on it and bringing it to the attention of the people. We are letting politics pervert the natural process by which we should be achieving the optimum win/win strategic outcomes.
    The world doesn’t have enough time to stuff around playing politics when it comes to urgent issues of long term national strategic significance.

    The National Party’s mandate is to achieve the goals as set by their sponsors, not to negotiate compromises with the pesky experts and academics.
    They don’t need to read – or respond to pesky reports, even from the organisations they vaunt as being the ‘most credible’ sources of information – such as the International Energy Agency, – which is recently warned: ‘leave oil, before it leaves you’.
    The National Party only needs to identify and make themselves available to supplicants, engender their trust and reciprocate for their munificence by creating conditions that will facilitate their enrichment.
    They are the winning bullies and they are setting New Zealand on a dangerous and dead-end path.

    Some light ( enlightening) reading : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pork_barrel

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