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Climate transition transport and the rural road tumbleweeds

Written By: - Date published: 6:05 am, June 16th, 2021 - 69 comments
Categories: climate change, sustainability, transport - Tags: , , ,

The Greens put out a press release a few weeks ago, “welcoming the Government’s renewed commitment to safe walking and cycling across the Waitematā Harbour, but warning that new highway investment puts our response to the climate change emergency at risk.”

Good stuff for where New Zealand is at (we want the government to take action on climate change but we don’t want anything to really change). The Greens are pushing for more cycling, walking and trains, less roading infrastructure that prolongs our excessive car culture.

Living in the rural South Island, I don’t follow closely.  Nearly everytyhing I see discussed is about big cities up North. Not being familiar with the terrain much of the discourse seems abstract and I’m ok to let people get on with it, while waiting for the confluence of events that will push New Zealand to more radical change.

Obviously there’s a population density in the North Island, especially in the big cities, and there’s the idea that our climate response must be quantified first by population. Get emissions down, and the best way to do that is via the largest or most problematic emitters (don’t mention the dairy war!). But this misses that our crises are the result of such reductionist thinking and it’s the inability to consider the relationship between all things that both causes climate change and prevents us from taking the necessary but entirely possible right action. If the solutions to climate and ecology crises necessitate a big number counting approach, they also require us to learn about the connections that make radical change possible. In other words, dropping emissions to x level is necessary but not sufficient, and we haven’t gotten to the sufficient conversation yet.

All of which is why I’m starting to get antsy about the almost complete focus of transition on cities. If the push is to end car culture, how do people conceive of rural people getting around? Will rural areas be able to set up public transport systems? Is central government going to leave this to local bodies? Will country folk be the only ones enabled into retaining car culture? Or will country people have their own replacement for car culture, not modelled on what Auckland and Wellington can imagine? Country pioneers are already leading the way.

Which also brings me to the whole EV thing. Is the intention that lots of people will still own cars, they just won’t drive them as much. How does that work in terms of the embodied energy that goes into mining, manufacture, pollution mitigation, and eventual disposal, not to mention the fossil fuels used and GHGs emitted in all of that*? How do we justify, or even pay for, such embodied energy to sit in the garage for most of the week? Or is the current focus a stepping stone to new models of collective car ownership that we haven’t thought of yet? (If we can share a bus why can’t we share a car?)

Underlying all this is two things. Whether our actions are close to being adequate even with the move in the right direction? And if we need to accept changes to our lifestyles, who gets to decide what is fair? The place with the most people?

That last bit was prompted this week by a Gen Zero champion going hard core Aucklander on twitter by saying that nobody needs a ute or 4WD. In the ensuing discussion there was an assertion that ignoring the outliers was understandable when producing policy. Yeah, townies calling rural people outliers is really going to go down well. And a ton of Aucklander’s owning SUVs they don’t really need isn’t a reason to deny those that do need them.

Thing is, if the solution to Auckland’s large emission profile is working with the dominant classes of emitter, then rural solutions are going to be all about community, and in that, individual people actually matter. We won’t have the numbers to afford commuter trains, and the geography and weather mean that cycling solutions will look very different. The country is ripe for models driven by local needs.

Lest this seems too anti-city, I’ll point to the South Island’s largely rural based tourism sector that still thinks we’re going back to the way we were pre-covid, as if the pandemic was a blip rather than the entree for the climate crisis. Although to be fair, while Wanaka managed to block the council plans for airport expansion, it’s Christchurch that’s pushing for a large airport on the banks of the Clutha River near Tarras. This is obviously completely bonkers (don’t mention the flying war!), but is it any more nuts that the rest of New Zealand thinking green tech BAU is going to be enough (an EV in every second garage, and visions of happy cyclists on the Harbour bridge).

All of which is to say we’re a long way from home Toto. We’re still stuck in the capitalist nightmare hoping for the best and few are willing yet to talk about such things as relocalising economies so that staying close to home makes sense, that we can move less instead of building more and still be happy. Imagine that!

I don’t think the Greens are on the wrong track, we have to do something about infrastructure and they’re doing a good job all political things considered (current policy sitting in the context of the previous Labour/NZF government and the currentl Labour majority one). But green tech BAU is the least we can do and it’s a mistake to think it’s the solution rather than the stepping stone. The real question here is how long and what is it going to take to grasp the nettle of the kind of societal restructuring that will drop GHGs fast and far enough while also rebuilding a fair society that is meaningfully sustainable and resilient rather than greenwashed on the way to collapse?


*let’s not mention the child labour either.

69 comments on “Climate transition transport and the rural road tumbleweeds ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    When you're searching for the pathway through a quagmire, your first few steps will be hesitant and taken in directions that might not be the one you eventually decide upon following. Standing still in a swamp, though, can result in getting bogged-down and sinking.

    • lprent 1.1

      Pretty much what I think. Some kinds of change can't be planned. Technology disruption and finding out what works in practice over decades targeting a direction is what you can do.

      In this case I would see several things that can be done over the next couple of decades – most involve cities.

      Incidentally the localisation is getting pretty advanced in cities like Auckland. I work close enough to work to ride there easily. A compete change from when I used to drive 40-50 a day to commute. Congestion is a great convincer.

      • weka 1.1.1

        Don't disagree with much there. Would be nice to see the Greens at least signalling they're also thinking about rural networks.

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    Gotta start gathering evidence to support the Government's latest move – EV's good, gas-guzzlers bad!


  3. Beyond the cycle/car/PT wars.

    [Deleted a spurious “1” from user name]

  4. GreenBus 4

    Double cab utes are everywhere. Nice paint, big mags and luxurious interiors and a tiny, pretty useless deck behind the cabin. This can't have been designed for farming. Real farmers coming into our timber yard usually have a flat deck single cab 4WD with big mud grip tyres and plain very basic interiors usually plastered by muddy boots and the dog etc. Most of these Double cabs are status symbols for sales reps and townies going to the beach. Surely Ute manufactures could convert Double cabs to EV's easily they are mainly used same as cars. Proper farmers utes same deal. I can't see too many problems that technology won't solve. What does worry me is how does the country generate enough power to drive all these vehicles in the near future? I don't for 1 second believe coal and other dirty energy will be used. Oh well we can let the Gov't sort that out that's what we pay them for.

    • Shanreagh 4.1

      In the last year-18months we have had an explosion in numbers, to my eye, of these huge double cab utes, here in urban Wellington. Clearly a status symbol of some sort, perhaps we should investigate the joke about the relation of penis size to the size of these unnecessary purchases. It may have some truth! But perhaps the rort of being able to register them as tractors perhaps using a mates rural address may be at work here.

      They seem to come with a lack of road courtesy. I did a thoroughly unscientific survey of road manners on my way north from Wellington to Otaki a couple of weeks ago. We are having road works and this involves zip merging and other situations involving road courtesy. Not one of the double cab ute drivers acknowledged people who let them in, just barged in with no friendly wave. Of the car drivers all but one made some acknowledgement eg wave, blinkers, lights.

      These large vehicles make our urban roads function more dangerously. Previously cars could park close as legally possible on corners. Because they were low you could see oncoming traffic. Now if one of these huge vehicles parks close to the corner drivers are forced out onto the road to see around them. One council in Aus has parks on the streets near corners restricted to cars so as not to restrict visibility.

      Status symbol double cabs should be looked at for EV. Bet the sales would plummet. I have a feeling that the drivers of status symbol double cab utes are not 'into' minimising the effects of fossil fuel use – whether petrol or diesel..

      Then you see them lining up to collect kids from school with kids car seats in the back and they are not being used for work purposes, The tradies I know have vans mostly.

      • RedBaronCV 4.1.1

        Some of those double cabs are surprisingly cheap – don't know if that has anything to do with it.

        • weka

          also, they're actually useful and easier for some urban lifestyles than a station wagon. Think throwing bikes on the back vs putting them in the back of a wagon or the hassle of using a bike bar. There's a whole post there about how bike culture contributes to car culture 😉

      • weka 4.1.2

        if we dismiss it as simply status, we miss finding out how to shift people buying them to getting to buy EVs instead. I agree about attaching social fluffies to EVs ownership, but I think for people that aren't thinking about climate or future proofing ignoring how double cab utes are useful in cities limits our ability to influence behaviour change.

      • greywarshark 4.1.3

        Shanreagh You make all the points I have been thinking of for some time. Really good to see them aired.

    • weka 4.2

      One group of people that buy double cabs are families where the ute is used to transport kids. We'd do better at this debate if we stopped thinking in caricatures.

      The power needed for BAU is the elephant in the living room. Often city people want to visit nature, but they want nature put into reservations so the rest of it can be used for resource extraction. This is the dominant world view driving our current response to both the climate and ecological crises. We're going to hit a crunch point because the conservation part of NZ won't allow any more big dams on South Island rivers. Which leaves us with solar and wind farms (and maybe some wave action, my least favourite due to our quake/tsunami risk), both of which bring their own issues of resource extract and space usage.

      Which brings us inevitably to the need to use and build less and make do with what we have. Conservation at this level would help a lot.

      Part of the solution here is decentralised power generation alongside learning how to use power when it is most available. Off grid solar people know this already, you make hay when the sun shines. It's a behaviour shift. Decentralised means solar panels and solar hot water on every new build, and local wind farms where the community decides what and where it wants them built.

      But none of it will allow BAU EV use as if the only issue here is the internal combustion engine.

      • GreenBus 4.2.1

        You make some very good points Weka, behaviour shift is a major and key to the whole CC issue. I would like to see a change away from vehicles purchased almost solely for travel to work and only 1 person usually. Big waster. I do it as does most people. Work car parks full of single person cars. Buses could be used as this is the intended purpose of buses. I like to see business and employee partnership into bus for coming/going to work. From vans for small business to huge 60 seaters when required would get a lot of traffic off the roads and save heaps of energy. A system change to maximise shift start/finish times similar would make this more economical. Same with school trips. It's not impossible and the energy saving huge.

        • greywarshark

          It might be good to have the option of having a car for work, but parking areas restricted to the small type, two-seater with 'jump' fold-down seat at back and small boot high enough to put a small bookcase in etc. A car provides so many benefits, but they need to be paid for by the driver, as mass transport systems are what to go for.

          Does anyone know if anywhere in the world rail systems is there a flat base for transporting cars, say side by side driven on with say 6 cars in all, while the driver travels in the train carriage? That would reduce congestion for those needing a car at the other end of the trip.

          • GreenBus

            47 yrs working so far, all but last 5 I've ridden a motorbike as my little bit for the planet, but I came a gutsa, now in a car but looking to get back on a bike soon now my body has mended. It's a comfort zone thing for most people. It's not nice riding to work in winter and possibly dangerous, ice got me. Not for everybody but every bit helps and others will do it there way.

            • greywarshark

              The ice got you, yes that's a hazard. Keeping on using the bike means a tacit reliance on medical or hospital systems, someone to care for your needs if incapacitated. When one tries to live without these boons, then death can result much earlier in life than expected. So, more than a comfort zone, the solid frame protects, as also those put on farm bikes and tractors. As I said to bwaghorn, you’re worth much more than you’re paid.

    • bwaghorn 4.3

      I have a double cab ute, I'm not a real farmer I'm just a shepherd, but I cart 5 dogs to work every day, sometimes I have 3 people in my ute due to that fact that as I'm not a real farmer i can't afford a car as well, also trying to put groceries in my dog box is a no go , plus luggage if going away,

      Unfortunately all utes come as wellside model's so its expensive to throw the wellside away and buy a flat deck to replace it

      • greywarshark 4.3.1

        bwaghorn, cut the self-deprecation even ironic, you are not 'just' a shepherd. You are a skilled man versed in handling sheep and dogs (as Fred Dagg would say 'get in behind'), and you are important to 'real' farmers who may just be adept at handling money which is a set of marks on some surface these days. You are one of the real people doing real work, in a world of key-tappers, theoretical modellers, planners and computer-generated holograms.

  5. RedBaronCV 5

    Your are quite correct Weka and a lot of what you say applies to outer suburbs of the main cities and even south auckland. For the moment larger hybrids non plug in are about the best that the rural sector has to look at.

    But I do see the rural sector as having one largish advantage when it comes to EV. Most of them have the space to put up a modest array of solar for cheap charging of work vehicles without having to climb on the roof.. And i suspect that same cost could be tax deductible to the extent that it provides power for working vehicles.

    As to the central cities cycleways – per MS post a lot of our current cyclists are somewhat aggressive middle aged males. The sort of people who vote on the right really.

    On a wider scale I am absolutely baffled as to how labour treats it core voters – women and lower income. These Auckland cycleways pander to demographics and electorates that barely bother to vote for them. I could understand improved transport links in South Auckland though. Way to burn political capital – not?

    • weka 5.1

      I'm confident that once EV utes/4WDs are available, the cashed up farmers will buy them. I'm less clear what happens to prices in the secondhand market for low income rural people, and let's remember that not all people in the country are farmers.

      I haven't followed the Auckland cycleway thing so don't understand the politics there. Maybe it's something about the Greens and what they could get, as well as who has the lobbying power. Not excusing Labour though.

      • theotherpat 5.1.1

        as a note….rural is not just farmers….i live in a small {under2k popn} town in canterbury…..most of us work in a city say 70km or more away….a lot of us cannot afford an EV that will do the required return trip…140km for me even 2nd hand they are costly and have a limited life…..there are thousands like me….even the EV subsidy would not help enough…..rail perhaps but not enuff timetable to suit hours outside the norm. presently id drive a small car that in 15 years i have racked up over 400000 kms because i believe in servicing and not feeding the eternal production demand for new new new…….i run solar and grow a lot of my food…..i am a long way short of well off but have what i call a responsible to the planet as i can be lifestyle…..better up wages before i can try and do better

      • Cricklewood 5.1.2

        The secondhand market is going to be problematic for those on lower incomes, my earlier cars I purchased with over 100k on the clock and drove them to death, had a little Mazda I paid 5k for that got to 300k problem free before it was rear ended and written off.

        At this point in time you just wont get that sort of mileage out of a battery and new batteries are big lump sum investments, yes long term prob still works out ok compared to putting gas in but not so good living week to week and putting just enough gas in to get to work wtc.

        • RedBaronCV

          If the subsidies are set correctly hopefully we will get second hand imports of non plug in hybrids to help fill the gap for those who have unsought "range anxiety"
          Or even ex fleet vehicles of that sort which get to 120K in 18mths to 2 years

  6. Pat 6

    Seems to me the best of a lot of bad options is to increase (electric ) public transport where possible and encourage the conversion to electric private transport where its not….the fact that electric utes are not currently available is a red herring as the intent is that there is a years long transition and the replacement rate for vehicles is relatively long.

    We are a market of 5 million and we will have to adapt to whats available unless we develop our own supply which is unlikely and certainly not going to happen overnight.

  7. One group of people that buy double cabs are families where the ute is used to transport kids. We'd do better at this debate if we stopped thinking in caricatures.

    And this puzzles me. I have noticed them doing the school pickups. Huge unwieldy vehicles driven on urban streets makes no sense at all and used at pick ups and shopping carts……

    • weka 7.1

      I was talking about country people. The implication above was that real farmers buy single cabs with more room in the back. I'm sure they do for farm work, but that's not the only thing going on in rural areas.

    • I Feel Love 7.2

      I live in South Dunedin & trying to navigate these tiny streets with obnoxious Rangers & the like, utter madness, can barely squeeze my little Mazda through.

  8. Adrian 8

    The double cab has replaced the station wagon for families, for the manufacturer the Dcab covers two markets as the station wagon is bit useless on farm tracks. You pretty much can’t buy a SW these days.

    There was mention that Hiluxes aren’t needed as they didn’t exist 20 years ago which is a bit of bullshit, the Hilux has been around for over 50 years and even date back over 70 to the original Holden Ute, and prewar with Ford a Chev looking very much like an older version of today’s vehicles. The Holden Ute was the origin of the name, before that there were Jeep’s and Landrovers .

    why is Toyota not going electric, yes it will when it starts losing market share. There is something funny going on in Japan, they seem to be sold on hydrogen as a fuel and are doggedly holding out until the world comes around to their view. It won’t happen, hydrogen is a wasteful dead end. They may just be bullshitting, Toyota have won the Le Mans 24 hour race and the World Endurance Championship for the last few years with an electric hybrid, with Kiwi Brendon Hartley as lead driver, so they are doing the research. They move when they have to.

    • greywarshark 8.1

      Japan being keen on hydrogen may have been behind the NZ interest and possibilities touted recently? It might be good to get us to invest in it and then it would be our loss if it didn't work out. I think these days we need to be septic sceptics!

  9. Rosemary McDonald 9

    Been giving this some thought over the past few days after my initial reaction to the Freebate announcement. (Pretty much…'You can tell these are city folk.')

    Even up here in the Far Far North we have public EV charging stations…although I've only ever once seen one in use. That was in Kaitaia a couple of years ago when the industry was holding an information day and had a demo car hooked up.

    Decided to educate myself about EVs and the various options for charging and it appears that 'topping up' at the public charge points will shorten the life of your batteries. And it takes time…and we're all short of that.

    If you're driving down from Te Hapua to Whangarei in your fully charged- at- home EV for a hospital appointment you'd better have enough time up your sleeve for a complete recharge along the way, and a maybe quick top up to get you home. And think twice about running errands whilst in the Big Smoke…you simply won't have the time for that and charging too.

    Add to this the generally appalling state of rural roads which are particularly unforgiving on electronic componentry (We've written off a few inverters and smart chargers in our Bus over the years) and I don't think the EV vehicle thing is going to be a goer in the more rural parts of NZ in the near future.

    Tough- as- nails hybrids maybe…

    I agree that for some the double cab ute is a tool for compensating for inadequacies in other areas rather than a practical necessity, and the size of some of the trays does leave a lot to be desired…loadwise.wink

    Up here the vehicle of choice tends to be a Prado or Pajero wagon with roof racks, a towball, a snorkel, a winch, fishing rod holders and the occasional roll out sunshade. They have to have big, booffy tyres… and lots of mud.

    Wings would be handy at times also…

    Ten years ago CBEC in Kaitaia was running the buses on recycled cooking oil…but that's gone by the board.

    There's going to have be be more thought given to this scheme, all schemes to lower emissions and reduce fossil fuel dependancy, so that the urban/rural divide is not irreparably widened.

    • greywarshark 9.1

      That cooking oil story dates back to 2009. What happened? Can't find further news.

      2010 – More general details – https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/fed-up-public-open-to-fuel-change/HAQK2ESWLVSJN47ZPALKS4Y3WE/

      2010 https://www.pce.parliament.nz/media/1307/thinking-strategically-about-biofuels.pdf Some biofuels are better than others: Thinking strategically about biofuels
      (www.pce.parliament.nz … Indeed​, Henry Ford said, “The fuel of the future is going to … The Sustainable Biofuel Bill in 2009 was a private members' bill that was … New Zealand cannot take us very far. … from sugarcane, corn, vegetable oils, animal fats, wood, or even algae.)

      In 2007 – Canterbury based – https://www.bioenergy.org.nz/documents/resource/CaseStudy-leopard-coachlines-switch-to-biodiesel-nov-2010.pdf (Was for a school bus – and this sort of progressive outlook could have been stranded by the regressive neolib approach of seeking lower prices with retendering every few years.)

      Oct.20 – https://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/123055937/geraldine-man-seeks-used-vegetable-cooking-oil-to-keep-his-motor-running


      March 2016 https://www.ruraldelivery.net.nz/stories/Green-Fuels-Biodiesel

      2021 https://southernbiofuels.co.nz/ – What really sets us apart is that we recycle and refine waste cooking oil from Canterbury restaurants to create our own ecologically friendly biofuel, B20 Biotherm.
      We manufacture B20 in house at Southern Biofuels where it has been designed for burners, boilers, furnaces, and some central heating units.
      We work closely with our sister company, Southern Heating Fuels Limited who deliver B20 to retirement villages, schools, business and homes.


      Otago – 2014 Transport Transitions in New Zealand: A Scoping Study – Report prepared for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA)

      2008 – NZ Energy Information Handbook (3rd edition)
      New Zealand Centre for Advanced Engineering
      University of Canterbury Campus
      Private Bag 4800
      Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
      e-mail: energyhandbook@caenz.com

      There are a lot of headings from these keywords – nz Far North cooking oil fuel pilot

    • weka 9.2

      I’m assuming by the time ice cars get banned there will be both longer distance capacity in batteries and more charging stations. Free charging at places like hospitals would make sense.

      • cricklewood 9.2.1

        We also need to move quickly on electrical generation, we are importing and burning huge amounts of coal at Huntly currently and it seems counter productive if we don't get cracking on increasing generation and getting to 100% renewable.

        I imagine a fleet of say 150000 electric cars in Auckland will present challenges to electrical supply and pricing as I suspect this will happen at a faster pace than we can build the infrastructure to cope.

        We'll also have to look at what to do as the excise tax take plummets which will no doubt put a huge hole in the govt's coffers when it comes to road maintenance etc.

        Probably best to remove the tax component from Petrol asap and bring in RUC's across the vehicle fleet.

        • weka

          do you know if the government is forward planning power generation to meet EV demand?

          • Cricklewood

            Im sure someone is thinking about it, but actual real progress is well down the track.

            I get the feeling sometimes that this govt is very good at making and announcing 'feel good' policies but delivery of the actual meaningful infrastructure needed is lacking.

            We've had in the last little while, a cycleway announcment and ev subsidy schemes these are squarely aimed at uppermiddle class voters able to afford the toys.

            Real change would sit with sorting public transport ie making it free, increasing frequency etc Wellingtons buses are a mess, the North Western in Auckland badly needs a dedicated bus lane all the way into town, the Northern busway could even dedicate a bridge lane to it… all of this could be paid for instead of subsidizing what are still very expensive cars.

        • RedBaronCV

          The wind farm outside Palnerston North seems to be getting more turbines.Of course operating for profit companies really don't get the right sort of signals to increase capacity.

          EV.s but not hybrids are being charged RUC charges ( thanks Andre) but and I find this infuriating – the RUC charges for EV's for a 1000km of usage have been set about 20% higher than the equivalent tax they would pay at the pump for a 1000km of petrol driven mileage.

          And it's pretty regressive – small cars use far less petrol than larger vehicles to travel a 1000k so previous small car drivers are the ones being slammed with the biggest increase. Honestly , did they think no one would ever notice and why on earth penalise small car drivers who do the good thing and go electric..

    • greywarshark 9.3

      Why couldn't sonmeone keep watch on the car while you shop? see 9.

  10. We are doing a job at Lake Ohau 230kms round trip with trailer of roofing products. The trip I did, there was snow on the ground. On this trip we used a van which is full of tools etc oh and also pies from Fairle Bakehouse. Left at 6am, home 7pm would an EV cut the mustard at the moment?

    I forgot a stop below the salmon farm for 10 minutes fishing on the way home.

    For us a van and ute are tools of the trade( they are a travelling workshop) and based in Timaru we service Fairle, Tekapo and Twizel. Lets not forget the lack of public transport in South Canterbury. The roll out of the EV's seems to show a lack of connection with the rural community.

    • RedBaronCV 10.1

      Lack of communication with most of the urban population too. Unless you are one of the country's 17000 urban cyclists. Not much off street parking in parts of Wellington so there is going to have to be something like a builders power box at the road edge if numbers of cars are going to be charged overnight. How are they to be installed and used and paid for? They won't need to be fast charged

      • Rosemary McDonald 10.1.1

        I envisage City Folk not owning cars in the main. Public transport, walking and bikes will be the order of the day for most…with a few exceptions.

        People with disabilities, because the mainstream doesn't often work.

        Tradespeople..for obvious reasons.

        Delivery vehicles, couriers,taxis etc…..big opportunities for this sector as EVs should be cheaper to run than stop/start petrol or diesel. Might be able to bring prices down.

        Non car owners will rent for out of town trips…

        • RedBaronCV

          Mmm if a city or town is functioning without new road building or major traffic jams and the ICE cars go to EV then why do we make people catch public transport? That's the sort of ideological stance that loses votes because the ew status quo is green and viable.

          • greywarshark

            People gaily talk about public transport, walking and biking being the future. If I got the bus into town which wouldn't be hard, or walked it for 15 minutes (can't at the moment as I have a heart valve operation pending), then do I have to walk right across town to get to the various shops?

            No way will I bike at my age, running the risk of a fall and slow healing, and I remember one of my boys being knocked off his bike by a car (misunderstanding what he would do at an intersection where he had the right of way).

            The above trio of transport can be achieved I think, if mobility carts are available for very cheap hire in town, then I could buzz around like a bee, but there would need to be parking for them. Also motorised scooters, with requirements for courtesy from users for both them and the carts. Business will drop off quickly if people can't use cars in towns for ease of transport, but would recover if the above was put in place. The outcomes of these theoretical policies suggested needs to be thought out.

            The big box retailers and supermarkets know that they exist because of their car parks, and they suck up much of the trade that individual businesses could and should have. So fewer cars could be good but getting to those individual businesses needs to be facilitated as I have suggested.

    • Robert Guyton 10.2

      Mad Plumber: your situation is unusual and can't be used as a typical criticism of the Government's new requirement. In any case, why are you not planning to keep and use the vehicles you have now? You are not required to buy new and if, in fact, your vehicle is stuffed, why not buy 2nd-hand?

      • Mad Plumber 10.2.1

        Do not get me wrong there will be change but we have our doubts over EV's, the life of the batteries especially in second hand EV's and are they the only answer. It seems that there is this big rush because previous governments have kicked the can down the road. What about road transport and rail. There are those that say recycle batteries etc but look at our track record in that field it has been far from stellar

        • Robert Guyton

          Yes, you're concerns are valid. Oh that we had a vibrant light-rail network across the country!

        • greywarshark

          Would a hybrid be ok to suit your case? Are there the hybrid vehicles suitable? That would reduce fuel use and cope with the EV limitations and seeing you have such a wide district to operate in with lots of kms that would be good. And tradespeople need to be considered as important parts of the practical network that keeps the country operating.

    • Rosemary McDonald 10.3

      …a stop below the salmon farm for 10 minutes fishing…

      Pushed the nostalgia button there Mad Plumber, I can hear the tinkle of the bells already. Rather than park alongside the dozens of other motorhomers parked opposite the salmon farm, we'd set up our possie around the corner. Took longer than 10 minutes…but well worth the wait.wink

      I agree there seems to be a lack of connection with rural communities on this, as well folks seemingly unaware that there's not always charging facilities to utilize whilst on the job. Some places there's no mains power at all.

      Does anyone know if its necessary to have a power point specifically for charging an EV…will any power point do? Do EVs come with an adaptor to perhaps plug into a standard domestic power point? (We have similar to plug in our Bus if no caravan point available.)

      • Mad Plumber 10.3.1

        What about all those special campsites next to Lake Benmore and Lake Alexandrina which are kms from anywhere some of which have no power.

    • joe90 10.4

      would an EV cut the mustard at the moment?

      With vehicles already in production and a multitude in the pipeline, I doubt you'll have long to wait.


      All F-150 Lightnings will have a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive powertrain. The standard-range F-150 Lightning will have a combined output of 426 hp (318 kW) and an estimated range of 230 miles (370 km), and the extended-range Lightning will get a combined 563 hp (420 kW), with an estimated range of 300 miles (482 km). Both versions produce an identical 775 lb-ft (1,050 Nm) of torque.


      A standard-range Lightning on 18-inch tires can carry 2,000-lb (907 kg) loads in its bed or tow loads of 7,700 lbs (3,493 kg). Extended-range Lightnings have a reduced cargo rating of 1,800 lbs but will be able to tow 10,000 lbs (4,536 kg) if fitted with the extended-range battery and the Max Trailer Tow package.



    • Graeme 10.5

      Here you go, up to 800km range and 6 tonne tow capacity Website says they are taking orders now.

      Just because Toyota can't be arsed doesn't mean others won't come to market with viable electric utes and vans. But for us in the South the solution is more likely to come from North America, or manufacturers after that market, than Japanese market imports due to the range requirements.

      • Rosemary McDonald 10.5.1

        From your link…


        Cybertruck is built with an exterior shell made for ultimate durability and passenger protection. Starting with a nearly impenetrable exoskeleton, every component is designed for superior strength and endurance, from Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless-steel structural skin to Tesla armor glass.

        Those Mackenzie Country folk are tough…but that's a bit OTT, don't you think?

        Very Mad Max.

        • Graeme

          It's about getting a safe workable vehicle at the size of an American market pickup. Ladder chassis and EVs aren't a good mix, you end up with the battery to high and the driving dynamics tend to go all rolly polly. Mono-coupe construction like a modern car or SUV gets the battery down low but is a bit flimsy in a pickup, so Tesla have gone totally utilitarian mono-coupe structure to get the battery as low as possible and the thing strong enough.

          Expect a EVs to start looking very different to the cars we're used to.

  11. Stuart Munro 11

    I cannot help feeling that the true post carbon transport solution lies in reviving, wherever possible, an old and valued relationship:

    Where is the horse and the rider?
    Where is the horn that was blowing?
    They have passed like rain on the mountains,
    like wind in the meadow.
    The days have gone down in the West,
    behind the hills… into Shadow.

    • Rosemary McDonald 11.1

      Funny you bring that up. Been trying to weigh up the pros and cons. We can comfortably graze three sheep…might be able to feed a stocky cart pony on the same ground. Won't taste as good though.

      Heavy Horses, move the land under me
      Behind the plough gliding — slipping and sliding free

      Now you're down to the few
      And there's no work to do
      The tractor's on its way.

      Let me find you a filly for your proud stallion seed
      To keep the old line going.
      And we'll stand you abreast at the back of the wood
      Behind the young trees growing

      To hide you from eyes that mock at your girth,
      And your eighteen hands at the shoulder
      And one day when the oil barons have all dripped dry
      And the nights are seen to draw colder

      They'll beg for your strength, your gentle power
      Your noble grace and your bearing…

      • joe90 11.1.1

        Heavy horses. Yes please.

        • greywarshark

          We've got Clydesdales in Nelson.


          https://www.ngataonga.org.nz/collections/catalogue/catalogue-item?record_id=67561 – About Fergus O'Connor – Says in 1981 only 200 Clydesdales in NZ – Fergus had 30)

          Dannevirke – https://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/when-times-get-tough-turn-to-your-horses/QIKBDULRIOV2S4UXGHPFML4JDI/

          (Says 650 Clydesdales only in NZ 2020)

          https://fgr.nz/documents/download/5265 – Clydesdale Logging


          Erewhon Station Clydesdale Stud https://erewhonhorsestud.co.nz/

          Put a ride on a Clydesdale on your bucket list. : Saddle Rides – Erewhon Station https://erewhonhorsestud.co.nz › Rides

          14/09/2020 — Despite their size the Clydesdales are gentle giants and perfect for people lacking confidence. They are very intelligent and know how to put a grin on people's …

          Bookings are essential for these activities. We run as booked but due to the busy farm schedule we require a minimum of one weeks’ notice for bookings, sometimes longer if we are away up the river mustering! Also note that this ride climbs up a hill and can be windy and cold even on clear days so dress for all seasons. Our good saddle horses are also our good work horses so are unavailable for saddle rides at various times of the year if fed up on chaff and in highly energetic work mode. Wagon rides are our main ride focus and will always take priority over saddle ride bookings.


          [too many links again that triggered Auto-Moderation. Please dial it back a bit, thanks]

          • greywarshark

            I think I counted nine links. What would be the tops for the right number? I keep finding interesting stuff when I'm looking up things and add them to the comment but try and narrow them down. At one time I thought it was ten links tops. What would be right – what you prefer?

            • greywarshark

              Clydesdales – A Strong History of Service – great images and info

            • Incognito

              I counted 10 links 🙂

              • greywarshark

                I asked how many links would be too many? 10 No, 9?, 8 ok, 7 better for mods and the system? That's what I need a steer on.

                • weka

                  One link and some commentary from you. Not an absolute but a guide. We’re not a link drop site. Less is more especially if you can share something about the link, how it’s relevant to the discussion and so on.

                  if you’d dropped those links on the first day of the post I’d have culled most of them.

                  • greywarshark

                    Your direction to me makes serious limitations and I think you do this blog and the reach of the discussions here a disservice weka.

                    Nzrs need to know more about what is going on and understand it if they want to make any breakthrough in getting changes to improve the country. So much needs to be done, and informed calm people need to stick at it. We actually have to rethink our future, and need to draw on all available knowledge, and we can get that from others who share their info with us, as I have tried to do for those who haven't the time to do the searching for the background information. I have put it up for those who have enquiring minds that go beyond agreeing or not with others.

                    You want people to feed thoughts here and give a link as to where they saw or heard it. Why only one link plus some commentary from me or anyone, just a response to something that somebody else has said or done? I think the object should not be just to chat, or discuss something from one of the Parties, but to analyse and suggest other possible avenues.

                    Why say it should be relevant to the discussion if it is on Open Mike where we are invited to put up our thoughts, topics. 'Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.'

                    It seems to me you want to control the site to suit practices that were deemed appropriate for the 20th century, which has been the biggest time of disappointment for future-thinkers. They were not able to make break-through to our minds and ways and now it is essential we bring information to people who care about the way our future is going, not limit it because of personal preferences.

                    As I said at the start I think this is a serious matter, and the blog leading group need to get a policy about this. It should not be left for individual moderators to limit the amount of knowledge through links, to a style that has been the norm on other sites or places, but does not meet the needs of this important political forum in this era of uncivilisation.

                    I understand this comment criticises, goes against the rules. It is important that I say it though even knowing you may ban me. I appreciate all you do here so sorry to upset you.

  12. Robert Guyton 12

    "This weekend the government announced it will be following countries like Norway and Germany in incentivising the purchase of electric vehicles, in an effort to make them accessible to more New Zealanders. To fund the programme, fees will be added to higher emission vehicles (including many utes and SUVs) from January 2022.

    Valid concerns about costs were immediately raised by people who need utes and the like to do their job. The good news is that there are already electric van options, and the range of EVs on the market is widening fast, so it’s only a matter of time before we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to electric-powered utes and light trucks. In the meantime, here’s hoping that the Remuera Tractor trend dies out."


  13. RedBaronCV 13

    Weka you asked another good question about what exactly the government wants on the green transport, less transport axis.

    So if I could wave a wand and suddenly every ICE vehicle in the country was electric and we had enough power to run them and no range anxiety what would come next:

    – continued transport building so that everyone who wants to travel in what ever manner can do so – although I think this highly unlikely.

    – a basic halt to continued road creation and with the existing space being rationed between the various groups of users with public transport being given priority over private users, and bulk public goods shifting being given priority over private goods shifting.

    – a reversal of the private usage of cars only, because public transport is good for us or we should ride a bike because that is good for us. So we favour public transport for ideological not congestion reasons and favour some private users for ideological reasons over others? Which seems to be pretty much what we are getting.

    For some reason there seems to be a fixation on something closer to the third option. And I see no faster vote loser than insisting people use public transport "just because we know it is good for them" rather than for clear reasons including banning private usage at certain times and places so public transport can operate efficiently.

    But I would really like a better fix on this.

  14. All this talk about electricity leads me to wonder about the viability of our hydro lakes, given the uncertainties of climate change. There has been a distinct shift in weather behaviour, seasonally in the past few years in my area of the lower north island.

    Covid and climate change effects are going to take generations to adapt to. Quick fix changes to ev is nonsense. There are major problems with batteries, mining and disposal being the most obvious.

    One of our 3.3 thousand litre rain water tanks can no longer fill a bird bath, let alone water bowls for hens (4), cats (1) dogs (1). They also have other water sources. The bird bath needs regular topping up as it much used.

    Mid winter is on the shortest day (june 21).

    No climate change?

    We burn coal to provide electricity?

    No climate change?

    We want to change to ev and we do not have enough electricity to supply our demands now?

    For the first time in my life (I am 78) I am not sad at not having grand children. I would fear for their future.

    • RedBaronCV 14.1

      I think we need to have enough wind farms and solar so that the dams become our back up batteries for when we have no wind blowing or sun shining. But to give the power companies the right signals we may well need to do a very solid restructure of the industry.

    • weka 14.2

      South Island hydro seems reasonably robust to me in that Central Otago is meant to have more rain but longer times in between. I assume this is from the same weather patterns as the headwaters get filled from. Will check if this applies to the Waitaki headwaters.

      this means enough water but we will have to change behaviour away from excessive first world use on demand. We should be talking about this now, especially with demand on the grid from EVs and population growth.

      big vulnerability in SI generation is that the overdue big quake is likely to take out the control dam that supplies the Clutha hydros, as well as shutting down the grid. I gather the Waitaki dams are less vulnerable.

      anyone who lives in a cold climate and is building a new house and doesn’t put in passive solar, panels and hot water is mad. Although councils aren’t making this easy, and yes the electricity industry needs to be nationalised or at least regulated to future proof.

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