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Greens push for large intercity rail infrastructure to ensure sustainable post-COVID-19 rebuild

Written By: - Date published: 10:26 am, April 19th, 2020 - 122 comments
Categories: climate change, covid-19, economy, greens - Tags:

Press release from the Green Party.

_____________________________________________________________________________

The Greens are highlighting fast intercity rail improvements as the type of climate-friendly, job-creating project that should be prioritised for post-COVID-19 economic stimulus investment.

The proposal would mean significant intercity rail investment over ten years to roll out fast, electric passenger services connecting key provincial centres with Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Over time this would see fast electric trains for passenger and freight connecting:

  • Auckland to Hamilton, Tauranga and eventually Whangarei
  • Wellington with Masterton, Palmerston North and eventually Whanganui
  • Christchurch with Rangiora in the North, Ashburton in the south and eventually Timaru.

Green Party Co-leader and Climate Change spokesperson James Shaw said today:

“The large intercity rail project proposed will provide meaningful work whilst driving us towards a sustainable, green, zero carbon future.

“Building rail creates more jobs than building motorways and helps us tackle climate change at the same time.

“If this crisis has shown us anything, it’s that the systems put in place to govern our lives can be quickly changed for our collective good.

“The Greens understand in government we can prioritise caring for people and the environment and create an economy that delivers that. This is our key focus when deciding infrastructure projects with our government partners.”

Green Party Transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said today:

“After the Global Financial Crisis, the National Government’s economic stimulus solution was a $12 billion dollar programme upgrading a relatively small portion of our motorway network.

“The Greens want a transformational infrastructure stimulus package fit for the 21st century that has economic recovery and climate change front and centre.

“That’s why we’re proposing a nation-wide intercity rapid rail programme that would bring our provincial centres and biggest cities closer together through fast, electric passenger rail. This will create real alternatives to driving or flying for people who want to travel around the country for work, to see their family and friends, or for domestic tourism.

“The decisions we make now should set a better course for the future of our communities. And we can push infrastructure projects that connect our communities better than ever before whilst looking after our environment.”

Delivering modern rapid rail in these regions could be achieved for approximately $9 billion over ten years.

The project would be rolled out in two stages:

Stage one

  • A major programme of work to electrify the rail lines between these centres
  • Targeted improvements to the existing track to allow travel speeds to increase up to 110km/h.

Stage two

  • Building new higher-speed track to support “tilt-trains” capable of achieving speeds of 160km/h
  • By-passes to create faster, more direct routes (e.g. around Whangamarino wetland north of Hamilton).

122 comments on “Greens push for large intercity rail infrastructure to ensure sustainable post-COVID-19 rebuild ”

  1. Sacha 1

    Great policy. It needs to happen faster than 10 years to play a meaningful role in reducing NZ's carbon emissions. Business cases publicised for all investments must start including climate costs and benefits.

  2. Ad 2

    Funding for an Auckland to Hamilton service of $90m was already announced.

    It's due to start in August this year and its called Te Huia.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/411593/hamilton-to-auckland-rail-service-to-start-in-august

    Also the Ministry of Transport is already investigating options for a rapid rail service between Hamilton and Auckland.

    The Bay of Plenty Regional Council started investigating passenger rail for Tauranga to Auckland early last year.

    https://thespinoff.co.nz/the-bulletin/02-04-2019/the-bulletin-tauranga-moves-closer-to-golden-triangle-train-dream/

    Personally I hope MOT actually does a demand study of who now intends to use any new train service in a perpetual virus context.

    We are about to complete a full expressway system from Auckland to Hamilton and past Cambridge and then most of the way to the Kaimai Ranges. It took us most of a decade to do.

    I'd prefer we spend scarce rail capital on the full electrification of the main trunk line from Invercargill to Mardsen Point.

    • millsy 2.1

      I actually dont really think this service is needed, given that the pandemic has shown that a lot of people can actually work from home, and the Waikato Expressway, has made driving between Auckland and Waikato bascially smooth sailing.

      The $90m could go comfortably towards bus related infrastructure with change left over for something else.

      And I am still pro rail as I ever was – we have just had new possibilities open up that werent before,.

    • kejo 2.2

      Invercargill to Marsden point. An excellent and economical starting point.

  3. Stunned Mullet 3

    Will be interested to see a fully fleshed out plan as on the face of it the cost and timeline seems very optimistic. I'm doubtful that the cost/benefit for the smaller population areas would justify the expense (Rangiora/Ashburton etc)

    Certainly a link from Auckland to Hamilton is worthwhile and would be an improvement on the current farce that has been proposed which takes twice as long as by car and is many times more expensive.

    • millsy 3.1

      You could double the fibre capacity to Rangiora and Ashburton for a fraction of the cost, and give businesses (ie call centres, etc) a rates holiday for relocating there. Telework has offically killed off any case for commuter rail outside of Wellington and Auckland.

  4. bwaghorn 4

    Wouldnt double tracking be the first thing to do.?

  5. millsy 5

    Trains are good, but COVID has shown that it is possible for many people to work remotely, away from any central office (I actually wish that I had chosen to work from home instead of taking annual leave).

    That $9bn would be better off being poured into telecomms infrastructure, so more people can work from home, freeing up transportation infrastructure (ie less money will need to be spent on it).

    • Yes, the Covid lockdown has proven how easy it is for many people to work mainly or totally from home. A lot of the comms infrastructure is already in place. I can work as well from home as from my office in the CBD. Our NW wide phone system was already online so we just moved our office phones home and plugged them in to home networks, and clients noticed no difference.

      Keeping people working from home is a more sustainable option than revving up more transport options that may or not be utilised, and it's far cheaper.

      It is probably harder to package as a stand out campaign policy though. I have seen Greens more interested in marketing than effectiveness in policies before – when they launched a solar energy policy I asked them why they didn't include double glazing to reduce energy needs in the first place, and they said that wasn't a chosen priority and they wanted a simple policy.

      • millsy 5.1.1

        "It is probably harder to package as a stand out campaign policy though. I have seen Greens more interested in marketing than effectiveness in policies before – when they launched a solar energy policy I asked them why they didn't include double glazing to reduce energy needs in the first place, and they said that wasn't a chosen priority and they wanted a simple policy…"

        Double glazing doesnt really make any difference to home tempratures. Just makes work for the glaziers.

        And before you get worked up, I am sceptical about solar as well — only really good for applications which require low voltages.

      • millsy 5.1.2

        "Keeping people working from home is a more sustainable option than revving up more transport options that may or not be utilised, and it's far cheaper. "

        Would also allow people to relocate to the provinces.An Auckland based insurance agent could work from Ohura for example — taking advantage of low house prices down there.

      • weka 5.1.3

        GP policy puts retrofitting and solar pretty close together.

        6. Support and expand programmes to make existing buildings more energy and water efficient, including extension of funding and eligibility for the Warm Up New Zealand insulation/clean heat scheme, and partnerships with mortgage providers to establish a facility for low interest loans.

        7.Encourage the installation of solar power (see Energy policy).

        https://www.greens.org.nz/housing_policy

        • Pete George 5.1.3.1

          Greens have promoted insulation and clean heat for years. But I haven't seen any mention of double glazing.

          In the last ten years I've increased ceiling insulation, added floor insulation, installed a clean wood burner, installed a heat pump and last year installed double glazing. Only the ceiling and floor insulation was through a government subsidy.

          • weka 5.1.3.1.1

            It's implied in "make existing buildings more energy and water efficient". They're not going to go into detail like that in a major policy overview.

            Double glazing is already mandatory in new buildings and renovations.

          • KJT 5.1.3.1.2

            Because it is already required, in the building code.

            Unless you can show you can get similar overall insulation standard, with single glazing.

          • Grafton Gully 5.1.3.1.3

            Your clean wood burner emits fine particulates that contribute to respiratory diseases including asthma and lung cancer, breast cancer and dementia. The Lancet article is informative and others are accessible from PubMed.

            https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S2213-2600%2818%2930414-4.

    • weka 5.2

      Trains are good, but COVID has shown that it is possible for many people to work remotely, away from any central office (I actually wish that I had chosen to work from home instead of taking annual leave).

      That $9bn would be better off being poured into telecomms infrastructure, so more people can work from home, freeing up transportation infrastructure (ie less money will need to be spent on it).

      Looks like a both/and situation to me. Less travel but making the travel we do do better in terms of the climate/environment.

      • Sacha 5.2.1

        People seem to think the roads will be busy in an oil-constrained future. Cutting down on the billions we spend importing petroleum each year would certainly help the economy in any case.

    • alwyn 5.3

      "That $9bn would be better off being poured into telecomms infrastructure, so more people can work from home, freeing up transportation infrastructure (ie less money will need to be spent on it).".

      Where would the $9 billion be spent. The Broadband installation we did over the last 10 years didn't cost anything like that did it?

      What more is needed?

      By the way. Have you all thanked Stephen Joyce for getting it done?

      • Dean Reynolds 5.3.1

        Alwyn, Joyce could achieve the broadband rollout only by establishing a new, Government owned SOE, Crown Fibre Optics – Socialism gave the country broadband

        • alwyn 5.3.1.1

          Where did I ever mention "Socialism" and what does that have to do with it? You surely don't regard any of the Parties represented in the current Government Cabinet as being "Socialist" Parties do you?

          However. Can you imagine what would have happened if we had put one of the current lot of idiots in charge of getting anything like a National Broadband Project constructed?

          Twyford or Clark say? Geniuses that they are they would probably be still trying to decide whether to call it KiwiBroad or KiwiBand. and the expected finish date would be out to 2050.

          It wasn't a Government only project anyway was it? A Joint venture between the Public and Private sectors as far as I remember. It seems to have worked quite well. Why do lefties refuse to have anything to do with such arrangements?

          • Peter 5.3.1.1.1

            Why do righties rubbish anything they think has any hint of socialism at all about them until there is some scheme involving elements of socialism about them they like and want.

            Having got whatever it is they then go into their braindead 'socialism bad' mode until they find they need to push their "except when …" button again.

    • …COVID has shown that it is possible for many people to work remotely, away from any central office…

      It's certainly shown that it's possible, sure – I'm doing it myself. It's also shown that while it's possible to do this during an emergency, if you're part of a large organisation it makes your work a lot harder and you do less work than you would otherwise. Also, a lot of organisations are like mine in that there are some people who can theoretically work from home regardless of whether there's a pandemic or not, and some who need to be in the building dealing with customers. Letting some work from home while making others come in is a recipe for poor morale.

      TL/DR: I'm picking not that many companies are going to be switching permanently to working from home once this is over.

      • millsy 5.4.1

        "TL/DR: I'm picking not that many companies are going to be switching permanently to working from home once this is over."

        Im not saying that, I'm saying that option may be taken by a large number of staff in the future.

  6. RedLogix 6

    I commuted on the Masterton service for much of five years, and then lived in Ballarat with it's 160km/hr tilt train VLine service for the next five years.

    The local experience is proof positive that even with adventurously aged infrastructure, the demand is absolutely there. Build it and they will come.

    The Australia experience is proof of just how pleasant modern trains can be. It was a delight, reliably just over the hour into Melbourne (the Masterton service takes almost 2hrs for the same distance) and very smooth, comfortable and quiet.

    Electrify the whole lot and you have the trifecta! Damn I might have to vote Green again. wink

    • alwyn 6.1

      Wouldn't we have to enlarge every railway tunnel in the country if we got tilt trains? I wonder what that would cost?

      The track gauge in Victoria is much wider than New Zealand as well. That must make higher speeds much easier to attain and be more comfortable I should think. What was the gauge to Ballarat?

      • KJT 6.1.1

        Most of Oz is standard gauge.

        Queensland is mostly narrow gauge. Victoria is about half standard gauge and half broad gauge. Interesting when they change bogies on passenger trains.

        Melbourne/Ballarat, I think from memory, was broad gauge.

        Queensland runs tilt trains on narrow gauge.
        Actually why tilt trains were developed, to get higher speeds on narrow gauge lines.

        • alwyn 6.1.1.1

          So the Victorian trains are either 1435 or 1600 mm, while we are 1067.

          From memory, and from a long time ago, the wider gauge is much more comfortable for travel.

          The comment about tilt trains was meant to suggest that if the tunnel is not straight then we would have to widen them quite a lot for a tilt train. We have tunnels on just about every railway line I would think. The cost of widening them would be high surely.

          I guess you could have a tilt train that could be arranged not to tilt if it was in a tunnel but that would seem to be rather messy.

          • KJT 6.1.1.1.1

            Only need to tilt on curves.

            Tunnels are usually straight.

            Passenger, freight electric rail is definitely a more climate friendly option, than building ever more roads.

            With reduced export industries, for some time to come, I would think even the right wing, can see the benefits of reducing oil import, costs?

            Not forgetting that all but one of our export/industrial centres, are also, ports.

          • KJT 6.1.1.1.2

            Yes. We use the same as Queensland.

          • Graeme 6.1.1.1.3

            1067mm is good for 160kmh in Japan, Taiwan and Queensland, and that's all pretty old technology. The limiting factor is that metre gauge lines were generally built to get tighter curves in difficult terrain (along with economy) and it then gets difficult to increase the radius of the curves.

            With tunnels you drop the bottom down, rather than enlarge the top. It's quite simple and most rail tunnels in New Zealand have had this done to allow newer wagons and / or electrification.

    • I used to use the Palmerston North-Wellington service for a while in the early 90s. Diabolical – stuffy and overheated, 80 kph at best, upwards of 2 hours travel time, lots of bumps and clanks from the tracks. These days my daughter uses it occasionally and neither the locos nor rolling stock (nor tracks) look significantly different from 30 years ago. We really, really need to upgrade that shit.

      • RedLogix 6.2.1

        I used to call it the Hogswart Express … magic if it DID arrive on time. devil

        • Psycho Milt 6.2.1.1

          Oh right, that too. The times my daughter takes it we breathe a sigh of relief if we arrive at the station and the train's actually there.

      • RedLogix 6.2.2

        On the Masterton carriages, if you know where to look on the bogies you can see the manufacturers nameplate stating they were made in South Korea in 1954. (The carriages are much newer, but the running gear is older than I am ….)

        • Graeme 6.2.2.1

          The steam hauled express services of late 50's early 60's went along as fast, or faster than current diesel passenger services. I can remember being passed by the South Island Limited around Rangitata in mid 60's, we were doing highway speed and the train went past in the same direction heading north like we were standing still. It was an amazing spectacle with the Ja flat out and a lengthy train behind. It probably would have been doing 70 – 80 mph.

          • pat 6.2.2.1.1

            snap..i can remember racing the steam locos down that stretch as well…60 mph was nothing for them

          • alwyn 6.2.2.1.2

            Of course they had to stop every 50 miles for water and every 100 miles for coal.

            Or something like that. I never did like steam trains. If you had a carriage window open when you went into a tunnel you were asphyxiated.

            • Graeme 6.2.2.1.2.1

              They also stopped every 50 – 100 miles to pick up passengers and freight, providing a service that built our country.

              • RedLogix

                You may well know better than me, but it was my impression that the poor speed constraints on our rail network was due more to the state of the track than the rolling stock.

                • Grumpy

                  Correct as usual Red. Another limitation on the NZ rail system is the abnormally narrow gauge. Very skinny by international standards and limits locomotive and rolling stock choice.

  7. pat 7

    There must be case studies filed somewhere from the 'Think Big' period when the full electrification of the national rail network was investigated (and started)…although much of it will be dated there should still be a wealth of useful information that can be used to accelerate any project

  8. Policy Parrot 8

    Rail needs to be looked at in more than just as a pure business case – as it currently – the muddling through, non-committal viewpoint.

    You either totally mothball it and close it down where it is not profitable, perhaps maintaining links so that rolling stock can be transferred when/if needed – the TranzRail approach, or

    Reinvest as much as possible into it, and incentivise its use. This could include new lines and links: (thinking Rotorua-Taupo; Blenheim – Nelson; Chch/Dunedin-Queenstown -missing parts would be by bus initially) in certain areas, and bringing the infrastructure rated for the 1970s, up to modern standards (electrification, double-tracked, tilt-train, increased speed, high-cube capable, heavy freight capable lines.)

    At the same time: heavily encourage its use, get the heavy trucks and foreign tourists off the roads where possible (since they are responsible for a disproportionate amount of road damage and/or injury respectively). This increases the carrying capacity of our transport system and makes best use of existing infrastructure – train stations in small towns.

    Back in 2016, if there was a capacity to ship fuel oil by rail instead of by truck during the fuel pipe failure, much economic damage may have been averted by having a capacity.

    • Graeme 8.1

      A rail link into Central Otago from Canterbury would be a welcome and timely move. Coming down from Christchurch would be much better than trying to come across from Dunedin both from and engineering, and freight / passenger movement perspective

      Currently there are well over 100 trucks a day making the trip bringing freight in to sustain the Central economy. It is a place where people choose to live and the population is growing very strongly. With the acceptance of remote working from this pandemic response I don't see the place emptying out as much this recession, in face we could see growth as people seek to live somewhere better and take their job with them.

      There's also a very constrained air service through Queenstown which will become even more constrained with the distancing requirements and associated cost increases of dealing with this pandemic. People have also got very used to not having a jet through the basin every half hour and may not like them much when they come back. Modern passenger rail would set the tourist industry up to move forward very strongly over the next 50 years in a sustainable way.

      • weka 8.1.1

        This is a very good idea.

        Is that 100 trucks all up? Do you know how many from the Chch side?

        • Graeme 8.1.1.1

          A driver who does the run told me that, but it rings true, his company that has 20 trucks on that run, spread across the day, and going to different parts of Central. There's three companies of that size plus smaller operators, couriers and the dedicated supermarket trucks.

          Also just checked the NZTA counts and that gives a similar figure, Tarras had an average of 2103 vpd in 2018 with 15% heavy, so 315 trucks both ways, some of that would be local, so somewhere over 200 linehaul movements would be about right.

  9. Climaction 9

    Pie in the sky thinking. When is post-Covid 19? This government can’t eradicate it. The sloganeering around this is almost criminal. At least an amazing exercise in propaganda and fake news. It looks like this virus will always be with us in some format.

    saying you can eradicate it and maintain any semblance of society is akin to Gordon Brown pre gfc claiming to have eliminated boom and bust.

  10. Rosalene Bradbury 10

    NZ needs aa ten year project equivalent to Kennedy and the Moon shot. Would energise the country make us proud AND hugely motivate the (re) development of the country's manufacturing sector.

    BULLET TRAIN TOP OF THE COUNTRY TO BOTTOM! BULLET TRAIN TOP OF THE COUNTRY TO BOTTOM! BULLET TRAIN TOP OF THE COUNTRY TO BOTTOM! BULLET TRAIN TOP OF THE COUNTRY TO BOTTOM! BULLET TRAIN TOP OF THE COUNTRY TO BOTTOM! BULLET TRAIN TOP OF THE COUNTRY TO BOTTOM! BULLET TRAIN TOP OF THE COUNTRY TO BOTTOM! BULLET TRAIN TOP OF THE COUNTRY TO BOTTOM! BULLET TRAIN TOP OF THE COUNTRY TO BOTTOM! BULLET TRAIN TOP OF THE COUNTRY TO BOTTOM! BULLET TRAIN TOP OF THE COUNTRY TO BOTTOM! BULLET TRAIN TOP OF THE COUNTRY TO BOTTOM! BULLET TRAIN TOP OF THE COUNTRY TO BOTTOM! BULLET TRAIN TOP OF THE COUNTRY TO BOTTOM! BULLET TRAIN TOP OF THE COUNTRY TO BOTTOM! BULLET TRAIN TOP OF THE COUNTRY TO BOTTOM!

    [lprent: Don’t SHOUT!. I will fix your anti-social stupidity once. I expect you to not act like a moron, or don’t leave comments here. ]

  11. Wayne 11

    I agree on electrification of rail, but not much else of the Green rail plan.

    The completion of the four lane expressway between Hamilton and Auckland will mean it will be very hard for this service to be remotely economic. The completion of the expressway has made the road trip quite easy, and of course that is for buses as well as cars.

    In fact the completion of the 4 lanning provides a very good case to extend this from Whangarei to Tauranga, and from Wellington to Palmerston North, and from Christchurch to Ashburton.

    Frankly I would just go for a 10 year plan to 4 lanning the road from Whangarei to Dunedin. With lots of electric charging points.

    • millsy 11.1

      That will mean that the entire Northland rail network is summilarly be closed down.

      Which is your desired outcome.

      • arkie 11.1.1

        Evidently Wayne has never heard of Latent/Induced Demand;

        Latent demand has been recognised by road traffic professionals for many decades, and was initially referred to as "traffic generation". In the simplest terms, latent demand is demand that exists, but, for any number of reasons, most having to do with human psychology, is suppressed by the inability of the system to handle it. Once additional capacity is added to the network, the demand that had been latent materializes as actual usage.[7]

        The effect was recognized as early as 1930, when an executive of a St. Louis, Missouri electric railway company told a Transportation Survey Commission that widening streets simply produces more traffic, and heavier congestion.

        • lprent 11.1.1.1

          Latent demand

          It is pretty damn obvious in Auckland.

          Put a busway down the northern motorway. Less than 10 years later you have not only exceeded estimated demand for the next 25 years, but have nearly exceeded capacity. It has exactly three problems. The C&R pushback against putting park & rides means that the streets around the bus stations have a major parking problem. Because of the busway there is no simply need to put in a tunnel for the foreseeable future – which was the ‘urgent’ problem 15 years ago. And finally the idiots who opposed this “white elephant” forever look like complete idiots to commuters on the North Shore.

          Then exactly the same thing with double tracking and electrifying the auckland rail network. The motorways now are no more crap than they were 12 years ago because a lot of commuters have a viable alternative.

          Put in fully separated cycle lanes like the north-western. And yep, they’re exceeding the expected increases in usages by almost double. These days the pedestrians on it are complaining about the numbers of cyclists. It should have never been made shared. We need a separated pedestrian walkway.

          Put in a new motorway and tunnel at SH20. Works well for a while and then only a few year later – it becomes full during rush hours because cars are a completely inefficient way to move people – they take up too much road space and parking space when there is only one person in the car (ie as happens 90% of the time on Auckland roads).

          Dimwits who didn’t understand latent demand and its mechanics are the permanent dimwits of transport policy debates.

          • Wayne 11.1.1.1.1

            Iprent,

            Try and stop the insults for a while.

            I am obviously aware of latent demand. It really is impossible to have a sensible debate with you if your first recourse is insults, simply because I have a different view to you.

            • lprent 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Try and stop the insults for a while.

              Dimwits who didn’t understand latent demand and its mechanics are the permanent dimwits of transport policy debates.

              Why exactly? That was a general observation and by the sound of it you’d agree with it. It wasn’t even directed at you.

              The rest of my comments was just observations on the transport policies related to latent demand. Offhand I can’t even see any of them that I couldn’t readily substantiate.

              If you are referring to a previous exchange in another post about the measures for deciding changes to the lockdown, so far you have stated what your view is. You haven't stated or explained why you formed that view, why it was applicable to NZ or from where you formed it apart from vaguely hand waving towards aussie and using dubious statistical ‘reckons’. All you have done is made simple assertions which is what I've challenged and that you appear to be trying to avoid dealing with.

              If you formed your opinions with the same process as Mike the Moron (ie without thinking about why you have that opinion nor by debating them with anyone because you're cloistered broadcaster) – then please just state that when you write your unsubstantiated opinion.

              //—

              BTW: Please read the policy and ponder on the phrase "robust debate". It doesn't mean that debate must be nice and polite. Nor does it means that you can't run away when your points are challenged by crying 'insult'.

              This phrase and many of the other policy points was extensively debated by the people who originally wrote for the site and helped formulate the policy back in 2008/9. It and other parts of the policy still get debated regularly by those running the site now. Commenters get to vote with their feet. But setting the policy is reserved for the people who directly contribute to the running of the site.

      • Wayne 11.1.2

        millsy,

        Why would that be the case? Both have their uses.
        I support both the upgrading of rail to The North and 4 lanning the road. All serious ports have a rail link. If you want to really boost The North, you do both.

        • solkta 11.1.2.1

          If you want to really boost The North, you do both.

          Can we please just do one.

          • Wayne 11.1.2.1.1

            Only if we never have another National led government.

            • solkta 11.1.2.1.1.1

              You would get laughed back to Bayswater were you to come up here and try and tell people that Nact had any inclination to sort the rail.

              • Enough is Enough

                You would get laughed back to Bayswater were you to come up here and try and tell people that a Labour/Green had any inclination to sort the road.

            • Tricledrown 11.1.2.1.1.2

              Wayne no bridges National 10 bridges an election bribe by National. Cut police numbers cut health funding to pay for roads.Now our health system has been run down.The road toll went up so Nationals answer was to cut road police numbers by 20% while the numbers of cars on the road doubled. Increased accidents over loading hospitals facing funding cuts by stealth under National.

    • weka 11.2

      "Frankly I would just go for a 10 year plan to 4 lanning the road from Whangarei to Dunedin. With lots of electric charging points."

      This is a big sustainability fail when compared to rail. Which I'm sure has been pointed out to you before.

    • Sacha 11.3

      Do you believe that individual cars will be our main form of transport in say 15 years time?

      Do you have any idea how expensive it would be to build to 4 lanes as you are suggesting?

      • Wayne 11.3.1

        Yes, just about everyone will have a car in 15 years time, just as they do now. Though all new cars will be electric.

        For instance I live in Bayswater, Auckland. My wife catches the ferry to work, but we still have two cars. And as far as I can tell just about every one over 18 in Bayswater has a car. It would be absolutely impossible for buses and taxis ever to replicate the convenience of the car.

        As for the cost, it is about $600 million per 20 km (based on current projects), so the total cost would be $15 billion, though traffic volumes between Picton and Christchurch would pretty hard to justify 4 lanning, so more like $12 billion. That might also be the case for Taupo to Palmerston North. Overall not much more than the Green Plan. With more robust costing because we already have much more reliable numbers on the cost of 4 lanning, compared to the Green plan.

        And it will be way more useful from an cost/benefit ratio.

        The current government has already agreed to do about 60km, maybe 80 km of the total of 600 km required to be done in their most recent roading plans.

        • Sacha 11.3.1.1

          It would be absolutely impossible for buses and taxis ever to replicate the convenience of the car.

          Personal convenience will no longer be the main priority of responsible decision-makers confronting climate change. It will cost a lot extra, making other forms of moving around way more attractive when their prices reflect all the real costs involved.

        • millsy 11.3.1.2

          "Though all new cars will be electric."

          Not until we get a Henry Ford-like disruptor who will build electric cars that are afforable to the average wage earner.

          • Sacha 11.3.1.2.1

            And even he had to cheat by raising the wage of his own workforce first. 🙂

    • Cantabrian 11.4

      I think Meg Lanning is an Aussie cricketer Wayne! What does she have to do with roads or rail?

    • mauī 11.5

      Frankly I would just go for a 10 year plan to 4 lanning the road from Whangarei to Dunedin. With lots of electric charging points.

      New Zealand's current fleet of electric cars is less than 0.5% of our total car fleet. On current trends, in 10 years time once your "National Road of Sustainability" is built, EV's might have increased to 2% of the fleet. Leaving 98% of all cars still running petrol on 4 lanes of bitumen stretching the country. Solves nothing.

  12. Dean Reynolds 12

    Thank god the Greens are starting to announce forward looking, environmental & job creation proposals. I hope they googled Bernie Sanders Green New Deal website & that they'll now progressively roll out more worthwhile policy based on his well researched ideas.

    Reading the above readers' comments, I'm struck by how many come from small minded people whining about trivialities, such as 'where's the money coming from?' & 'how are we going to widen old rail tunnels? etc. Wake up people! Inside 12 months, society as we know it will be swamped by a Tsunami of post covit chaos in the form of poverty, mass unemployment, etc. unless our Government, in the next 3 months, hits the ground running with a comprehensive plan of which the Green Party rail proposals will be a significant part.

    We have short memories – the first Labour Government in 1935 inherited a bankrupt economy based on free market fallacies. In the next 14 years, they not only transformed our economy & society thru intelligent, humanitarian, left wing policies but also fought a World War where, per capita, we had more people involved in the war effort than any combatant country. We finished the War with no Government debt. Whatever is socially & economically desirable, can be financed thru the resources of intelligent Government action – never forget that. The Covit crisis will finally spell the death of moronic neo liberalism & the constatnt whining for tax cuts, balanced budgets, etc.

    • rod 12.1

      Well said Dean, welcome aboard.

    • alwyn 12.2

      "We finished the War with no Government debt"

      That statement is total rubbish. The New Zealand Government debt at the end of WW2 was about 150% of our GDP. Not zero but 150%

      Have a look at this document. Look at figure 8 on page 8.

      https://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/default/files/Past_recessions.pdf

      There is an alternative graph here of New Zealand Public Debt.

      https://www.google.com/search?sa=N&q=what+was+new+zealand+government+debt+in+1945%5C&tbm=isch&source=univ&ved=2ahUKEwj91cjw2vPoAhXL4zgGHQq0C3Y4FBCwBHoECAoQAQ&biw=1680&bih=939#imgrc=xbj3iXiWa5MgNM

      • KJT 12.2.1

        Interesting how quickly the debt was reduced after WW2, wasn't it.

        Despite the continuation of big State spending and "socialist" welfare and labour policies. Or, was it, because of.

        • Poission 12.2.1.1

          Leaving aside the war debt,look at where it was spent in 46,Railways,hydro,housing bnz,reserve bank shares,forestry,state advances etc.

          https://www3.stats.govt.nz/New_Zealand_Official_Yearbooks/1946/NZOYB_1946.html#idsect1_1_132097

          • alwyn 12.2.1.1.1

            When I was looking for some data on New Zealand Government debt in New Zealand I forgot about the New Zealand Yearbook.

            I used to buy copies from about 1964 on. Right up until the end in 2012. I have since discarded them but didn't think of them having been digitised and that they would have the numbers I wanted for my criticism of the claim that debt was zero.

            Oh dear. The things we forget to consider. I will know where to look in the future. Thank you for reminding me of their existence in cyberspace. They used to have everything you might want to know..

        • alwyn 12.2.1.2

          Actually, and I agree it is fairly hard to see on those graphs, the drop only started in about 1950 after National became the Government. The took over after the election on 30 November 1949.

          So I guess we will have to finish you final sentence with something like

          Or, was it, because of National becoming the Government.

          • KJT 12.2.1.2.1

            Who kept all the Government services and welfare that Labour introduced.

            The debt, of course was due to a little problem called a war.

            Note. That NZ did not, go bankrupt.

            • alwyn 12.2.1.2.1.1

              I was not complaining about it at all. And of course it was because of the war.

              What I was objecting to was the totally ridiculous statement that Dean Reynolds made that we finished the war with a zero debt. How silly can a viewpoint be?

              Out of curiosity can you tell me of any country that has actually gone bankrupt? And I mean bankrupt, not just not repaying debt? A country refusing to repay debt is quite common. But actually going bankrupt? I'm not even sure it is possible.

          • Tricledrown 12.2.1.2.2

            The Price of Wool was the reason for debt reduction.I have read all the economic figures going back to the beginning of records National govts have had lower GDP growth and higher unemployment.except for the time of the Canterbury earthquake rebuild because of the $80 billion injection into the economy of insurance payouts about $66 billion and the extra borrowing the govt put into the economy.accidental Keynsian policy.

      • Dean Reynolds 12.2.2

        Alwyn, I stand corrected. I should have clarified that 'we finished the War with no foreign Government debt.' On your second attachment, there's a graph, 'Breakdown of NZ Government Debt,' showing that in 1935, both external & internal government debt, racked up by the National Government of the great Depression, totalled 250% of GDP. By 1945, at the end of WW2, the chart shows that 'Net foreign currency debt', (ie. Government assets minus liabilities) was zero – the thick blue line across the bottom of the graph is on zero in 1945.

        The graph also shows that 'NZ government securities on issue', (ie. internal government debt, represented by government borrowing from the Reserve Bank, selling war bonds – government stock- to the public, etc) was 150 % of GDP in 1945 & down to 100% in 1950, when Labour lost office. Thus, by 1950, Labour had financed economic recovery, the introduction of Social Security, the war effort & simultaneously reduced overall government debt by 150 percentage points. No National Government has ever achieved anything remotely approaching that.

    • weka 12.3

      I think there are still many people who think we will be going back to normal, even if it means a bit of a recession to recover from. It takes time for human brains to process things too big for them to get quickly.

      Btw, having a quick look at Sanders' New Green Deal page, it reads like Green Party policy of the last 3 decades 😉

      • Poission 12.3.1

        Hows Genter's wgtn light rail to the airport holding up? is this a redistribution of resource eg say where unemployed consultants need to go to work in the wairarapa from wgtn to pick fruit etc,

        • weka 12.3.1.1

          Lol, now there's a thought.

          (I live in the rural South Island, and don't follow the detail of projects up north very much).

      • Sacha 12.3.2

        Sanders had to get his ideas from somewhere. 🙂

        • alwyn 12.3.2.1

          Given Bernie's age, and the fact that he seems to have been promoting his ideas since Adam was in nappies it might be the other way around.

          Could he be the source of the New Zealand Green Party Policy of 30 years ago?

          • weka 12.3.2.1.1

            The NZ Green Party grew out of the Values Party and the international Green movement.

            Here's the Values Party manifesto from 1975,

            https://www.globalgreens.org/green-party-platforms-programs-and-manifestos/nz_values_1975

            • alwyn 12.3.2.1.1.1

              I was in fact a supporter of the Values Party at the beginning, in 1972. I never quite got round to joining though. God it is a long time ago, when we were all young and innocent. I knew Tony Brunt. I don't remember any of the later Green Party members such as Jeanette Fitzsimmons being involved though. I wasn't seriously into the Organisation of course.

              It was the only time I ever had anything to do with a political party. So near to breaking my vow never to join a party.

              • Sacha

                You will recall then that it was the first green political party in the world, just ahead of the Germans. Good to see the US finally catching up.

              • Dean Reynolds

                You don't need to join a political party, Alwyn, to demonstrate your ill informed, Right Wing bias

                • alwyn

                  After your little blue regarding New Zealand's national debt in 1945 I'm not sure I will accept that you are a competent judge on whether someone is "ill informed"

                  • In Vino

                    Personally, I am disappointed that neither of you correctly hyphenated ill-informed… Be aware, Dean Reynolds that alwyn is meticulous to the point of punctiliousness. I suspect he keeps a written record of things so as not to forget them – something I should probably do.
                    By the way, alwyn, I also sympathised early on with the Values Party, and knew Reg Clough. Water under the bridge now..

                    • alwyn

                      I am hurt old chap. How could you say such things about me?

                      I don't point out any but the most egregious errors. For example I didn't bother to point out that Dean's comments about a "National" Government during the Great Depression (in the comment at 12.2.2) was clearly impossible. Quite impossible.

                  • Dean Reynolds

                    Alwyn, the central fact remains, Labour's financial management from 1936 – 1949 was superb & far surpasses anything that subsequent National Governments have managed. That is historic, irrefutable fact & no amount of obsessive nit picking by you makes any difference to that.

  13. Ken 13

    Lots of jobs, money injected into our economy, less emissions into the environment, less wear and tear on our roads, less trucks clogging out highways.

    What's not to like?

    • Peter 13.1

      Not like? Apparently people love to be stuck in their cars in traffic. Apparently people love roadworks for holding them up. Apparently people love the cost of new roads which hardly even keep pace with the growth.

      The newbie on the block is 'everyone will work from home' scenario. The 'there are hardly any cars on the road so I'll take the car' trick!

      Vancouver greater area population = 2.4 million. Commuter rail began 1985. Gradually got to 3 lines. Daily ridership 526,000. I'm sure they'd rather have all those people on roads.

      Buses for commuters in Vancouver? Average weekday boardings: 895,380

      New Zealand and Auckland is being driven by the Hoskingesque attitude that public transport is bad. And a lifetime of bitching about roads, roading and the number of cars.

  14. Carl 14

    They would be better off building a rail link tunnel under the cook straight linking the two Islands

    We even have the tunnel boring machine in Auckland

    China could also build it cheaply and quickly with part of their belt and road initiative

    Could get Elon Musk and his boring company to do it (they would love to showcase it like that battery he built for Australia)

    • RedLogix 14.1

      The geology under Cook Strait is abysmal. The Pacific and Australian tectonic plates are locked in a crossover configuration producing multiple active fault lines. The continental shelf is around 200m deep with canyons plunging to 500m.

      You might be able to drill a tunnel, I very much doubt it could ever be made safe.

    • Tricledrown 14.2

      The tunneling machine is only able to cut through soft sedimentary rock.

  15. Tricledrown 15

    Alwynger you a nearly as good as Donald Trump at blame shifting.Considering you were making alarmist false comments on the levels of Gov't debt. Now you are making claims that the National Party didn't exist pre 1935.After a trouncing in 1935 the conservative parties of the day United to rebrand as National.The politicians remained the same the policies also remained the same.After the War Micheal Joseph Savages policies were adopted by The National Party conservatives.

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