Houston and the cost of sprawl

Written By: - Date published: 10:15 am, June 16th, 2013 - 51 comments
Categories: housing, infrastructure, transport - Tags:

The Right’s favourite sprawl example at the moment. Sections for $50,000. Wow! But they haven’t asked why new sections in Houston are so cheap. They’ve just assumed its because Houston doesn’t have tight zoning rules. In fact, they do – but their rules encourage sprawl. And, while the land may be cheap, it means much higher living costs – particularly transport.

Take a look at this graph:

Revised_petrol_use_urban_density

New Zealand’s use is 25 GJ of petrol per person a year.

So, Houstonites are using more than three times as much petrol per head as us and its inextricably linked to their sprawl. If you’re all spread out you’ve got to drive further.

If New Zealanders used so much petrol, it would add $5,000 a year to the average household’s annual bill.

And the price of petrol has been rising at an average of 8% a year for a decade.

So the cost of sprawl in terms of energy use is massive. Add to that the cost of all the motorways, which spend most of their time largely empty and heavily congested for a couple of hours a day (Houston has the fourth worst congestion in the US – you just can’t build enough roads to get ahead of the traffic demand generated by sprawl on that scale)

WEST-HOUSTON_600

Houston is partially hedged against that rising cost – it is the centre of the Texan petro-state – the world capital of oil. When oil prices rise, there’s more work and higher incomes in Houston, which counters the higher cost of petrol (which is lower near the Texan oil fields anyway). Auckland doesn’t have that hedge.

The cost of burning more petrol. The cost of building more roads (and leveling existing houses to do it). The cost in transport time on congested roads. All those transport costs are costs that a person takes on when they buy a section on Houston, or in any sprawled city. Yes, the price tag on the land might be cheap, but the cost of owning it is anything but.

h/t Auckland Transport Blog

51 comments on “Houston and the cost of sprawl”

  1. Rogue Trooper 1

    Auckland: The Lone Far State.
    and then there is all this National Party Social Media Roading Propaganda.
    Oil Supplies may tighten up as early as 2015 according to The Guardian.
    Duplicating all that Infrastructure and Amenities.
    Lost Productivity due to commuting.
    Isolation.
    Alienation.
    Was listening to the husky tones of Georgia (or Angel) consoling those Aucklanders stuck in a jam on the Southern Motorway for two hours this week. To requote Key and Brownlee, “hope they’re tuned to a good radio station. (The Prisoner is not from Piece of Mind, Mikey: Love your work).

    • AmaKiwi 1.1

      How can we get more New Zealanders to live and work in a foreign city which has a good public transportation system?

      Once you have, you appreciate the joy of not being enslaved by your car.

      OK, comedians. I know we are exporting our best and brightest. How do we win them back?

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Wait for those other spots to start collapsing faster than we are. The other possibility is by creating a country with clear leadership and a social vision for an Energy depleting future.

        Sprawl makes us just the same as the worst around the world.

        • Rogue Trooper 1.1.1.1

          carry on, unwinding the skein.

        • mickysavage 1.1.1.2

          The best example is Cuba. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ending of cheap oil Cuba had to reform dramatically. Car use went way down and physical health improved dramatically, and organic community gardens that did not rely on fertilisers appeared everywhere. There is a lot of information out there on the phenomenon but a starting point is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organopónicos and http://peakoil.com/generalideas/the-power-of-community-how-cuba-survived-peak-oil.

          • Bill 1.1.1.2.1

            True that Cuba did manage to survive the post USSR period. The problem I have with it is that it was probably only possible due to the fact that Cuba was a command economy. And relatively benign as Castro was/is in terms of dictators, the loss of political freedom and general agency that comes with a command economy is too high a price to pay. Far better than being directed by a dictatorship of one form or another (state or corporate) would be for us to empower ourselves to make the necessary changes

            • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.2.1.1

              Well, command economies come in all shapes, shades and sizes. NZs responses during WWII and during the 70s oil shock for instance. Muldoon era economics.

              One thing which we know is very helpful in collapse, whether gradual or rapid: social capital. You want to build lots and lots of it, and to do so early on before you need it. The details of the administrative systems can then build on that advantage.

              Nicely, it is something which makes local democracy function very well.

              • weka

                My understanding is that alot of the agricultural/horticultural changes that happened in Cuba post-Soviet support were managed collectively, not just via the dictatorship (it’s been a while since I read that history though). I agree with what you say in general Bill, but given Cuba was in that state before the loss of cheap oil, they did very well. It’s not like we would ever be in that same situation. For NZ, I see the potential for us to lose democracy very quickly if the wrong people are in power when the wrong crisis hits at the wrong time. Can you imagine Brownlee in charge if we were to have sudden ongoing food and power shortages brought on by an oil crisis?

                So, empowering ourselves. We should be doing this now, yeah? I agree with the idea of building social capital. And I think we need to be developing systems of inter-relationships and local governance too. If the current undermining of local authority by NACT continues we will be in a very sad state when the shtf. How liberals and conservatives work together strikes me as crucial, which is why the microcosm that is ts is interesting (albeit pretty depressing too).

          • Macro 1.1.1.2.2

            Interestingly Cuba is the only country in the world still that not only has a high level of equity, but also lives withing it allocated carbon foot print per person. It is the living example of a steady state economy. It has a well developed health and education systems, far better for the average person than the USA.
            It is a glimpse of what the future will be like post oil – without the – the modern technologies

            • weka 1.1.1.2.2.1

              Macro, what are you meaning by allocated carbon footprint? I would guess that Cuba still uses more resources than its landbase can sustain over time (ie it’s total environmental footprint is still too high), and that it’s carbon emissions are relatively low compared to the big hitters (wiki says Cuba and NZ are on par for carbon emissions).

  2. happynz 2

    It isn’t just Houston.

    Here in the fast “developing” state of Kedah in Malaysia the car rules. Here’s why. New housing developments, called tamans, pop up out in the former rubber and oil palm plantations like mushrooms after a night’s rain. The usual taman will have several thousand terrace houses packed into a couple hundred hectares. Not so bad, but these tamans usually have no services such as shops, restaurants, clinics, supermarkets, or places of entertainment. (OK, there’s often a mosque nearby so people’s spiritual needs are met.) If anything needs to be done, it’s a case of getting in the car and travelling. It’s just too hot and sweaty (not to mention dangerous to one’s health and safety) to trek down a highway to pick up some bread and the papers. A car or motorbike is a necessity as public transport is totally shit in my city. The only saving grace at present is that petrol is relatively cheap at RM1.90 per litre (NZ$0.75).

    With the combination of housing sprawl, lack of amenities in the farflung housing estates, and cheapish petrol, yeah, cars rule (and traffic usually sucks).

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Nothing like a good mix of property development and political corruption to get the best housing outcomes for citizens. What is the financing for these new houses like?

      • happynz 2.1.1

        If you’re a Bumiputera (Malay) you’ll get a nice 5-10% discount right off the top. As for financing, I can’t say. There’s a bewidering (to me anyways) array of financial tools that are used. The Islamic banks don’t use interest as paying interest or usury is not halal or sumthin’ (I’m not all that up to speed on Quranic studies obviously) so mortages are adjusted in some manner or rather. For us non-Muslims I’ve read somewhere that mortgages go for around 6-8%. I have a sneaking hunch that a significant number of houses and apartments are purchased with cash with the cash coming from savings, family whiparounds, wedding gifts of cash, and erm…seed money from informal sources.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    All those transport costs are costs that a person takes on when they buy a section on Houston, or in any sprawled city.

    And that’s just transport. On top of that you’ve also got the extra costs to provide basic services such as sewage/storm-water/rubbish collection and even parks.

    Sprawl is massively expensive once you take everything into account.

  4. Paul Campbell 4

    Don’t forget that Houston is hot and humid as hell – a bunch of that cost is due to running your car’s air conditioner for much of the year, without that expense (and home air conditioning too) Houston wouldn’t be particularly habitable at all

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      The massive power failures the US experienced last summer was very little fun for a people used to being cooled by their 140 energy slaves.

  5. Bill 5

    So okay, it’s true that more car journeys are undertaken when peope are ‘sprawled’. But local ammenities could be incorporated into housing plans – shopping precincts constructed that are central to each cluster of housing. Fairly souless – but a solution of sorts. The UK tried this post-war, with the construction of its New Towns.

    But people still commuted to main centers to get to their jobs. And that, it would seem to me, is the principle problem; the jobs. Companies have centralised their operations and rely on transport to solve any potential location problem. Meanwhile, the days of ferrying workers via company buses are long gone. (Let’s not bother mentioning the farcical public transport system in NZ) An obvious point to make is that most jobs are utterly pointless – beyond their capacity to make money for the owners/shareholders and their promise to afford workers the means to participate in society via access to cash.

    But with the likely massive increase in fuel costs (alongside other factors) putting onerous financial pressures on workers already subjected to quite deliberate incremental impoverishment, we arrive at a problem that probably won’t be solved within a market context.

    The only way I can see to solve the problem of where people might reasonably live, is to get to grips with the multiple problems/expectations associated with our job culture. I’d argue to simply get rid of it. There is no reason not to develop systems based on worthwhile production. There is no compelling reason why we couldn’t/shouldn’t allow ourselves to pursue a meaningful life free from social pressure that would have us shackle ourselves to meaningless jobs for years on end.

    Is a social wage one solution? I don’t know.

    But without the pressure to have any job at any cost, the population of NZ could spread itself throughout the country. There are many small towns with ample housing. The principle problem is the lack of meaningless jobs in such places. But when meaningless jobs are seen as such, and a reasonable life not reliant on being shackled to one…

    • The first thing you do is you upgrade public transport and if you have a transport system that does not rely on oil you make sure it is in as good shape as possible in preparation for the day oil starts disappearing and the price soars.

      For instance if you had the chance in your major city to double the potential throughput of your electricity fuelled train system by digging a tunnel you would do that immediately.

      Wouldn’t you?

      • Bill 5.1.1

        For instance if you had the chance in your major city to double the potential throughput of your electricity fuelled train system by digging a tunnel you would do that immediately.

        Wouldn’t you?

        Well, no…I wouldn’t bother to be honest. The way we live determines our dispersal – or lack thereof – and it simply isn’t sustainable. What I’d do is begin the get the country ‘ahead of the curve’ in terms of reconfiguring our living arrangements and working lives to cater for the upcoming post peak world. But it’s not up to me. And it’s not up to you. It’s up to policies emanating from numerous, deeply conservative institutions. And that means there will be a panic – a flurry of inadequate policy reactions somewhere off down the track – and absolutely nothing in terms of visionary pro-active policy now.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          If we had actually conservative institutions, we’d probably all be better off. Things engineered to last, strong back up plans and redundant systems, spare capacity and a well trained competent staff.

          The most conservative people I know have 3-4 years of firewood stashed up…”just in case”…of what I’ve never quite figured out, but its simply a way of looking at things and making design choices.

          • weka 5.1.1.1.1

            +1.

            Avoiding sprawl is a good idea if you think that energy supply will increase over time but you want to be prudent financially and resource wise. If you think energy/resources will decrease, then Bill is right. We can afford to spread out a bit and rearrange to localise pretty much everything – food production, energy production, jobs. Some manufacturing still makes sense to be more centralised, but lots can be taken back to the local level.

            Even within large cities this makes sense. Chch would be better off as a series of interlinking towns and villages rather than centralising everything. Around and between the towns would be food growing space that wasn’t being done within the town. If people think that commuting is going to be an issue in the future re transport fuels, take a look at the real costs of food miles and how fragile our current food production system is (and by that I mean what we get to eat, not whether farmers can make money exporting kai).

            There is no reason why making a living cannot be localised for most people too.

            Except as Bill points out, we’re not in charge 🙂

          • RedLogix 5.1.1.1.2

            +1. CV

            Actually what you’ve described is the difference between ‘cautious’ and ‘reactionary’. Far too often the word ‘conservative’ is used to mean the latter when it really means the former.

          • Ad 5.1.1.1.3

            well said

      • Jimmie 5.1.2

        Where does the electricity come from to fuel this public transport nirvana?

        Coal/Natural Gas/Oil? = Bad
        Nuclear = Evil
        Wind and solar = Wonderful but ineffective and minimal out put and bad for the environment (especially wind)
        Other = ????

        Saying that it is powered by electricity is all very good but you have to figure out where that electricity is to be generated from.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.1.2.1

          Oh noes! We might have to figure it out!!!

          You missed out a couple of categories of power generation. I expect that’s just you being a fuckwit.

          • weka 5.1.2.1.1

            Seemed like a valid question to me.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.1.2.1.1.1

              Sounds like a banal, bad faith question to me. When did the need to plan for the future suddenly become such a huge problem? When did wind and solar power become ineffective and minimal?

              When did drill it mine it sell it RoNS groupie Jimmie start to give a toss about public transport?

              • Jimmie

                Well duh – wind and solar output is intermittent at best, requires large battery storage (bad for environment), subsides to make it cost efficient, and in the case of wind turbines they kill thousands of birds every year – including rare eagles in the US.

                http://news.yahoo.com/ap-impact-wind-farms-pass-eagle-deaths-072316007.html

                I didn’t mention hydro as though it works well the red tape hupla to jump through to get new projects approved is ridiculous and many countries don’t have the water sources available.

                Geothermal is great too but is available in very limited quantities.

                So yeah for all those who want to jump on the electricity band wagon need to provide suitable cost effective generation options otherwise tis all for nought.

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  Yes, Jimmie, future transport options will require planning and not a little adaptation, because continued fossil fuel use will cease to be an option.

                  I note your cheer-leading for RoNS utterly fails to acknowledge this.

                • lprent

                  The most well tested and simplest way to store excess generated power is to simply pump water uphill into a dam. Small hydro lakes don’t fit because you may as well use the power directly rather than spilling. But there have been numerous examples around the world of high ponds, lakes, and dammed valleys used for the purpose.

                  http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped-storage_hydroelectricity

                  Why bother with batteries?

                • Colonial Viper

                  and in the case of wind turbines they kill thousands of birds every year – including rare eagles in the US.

                  As if deep sea drilling, shale fracking and tar sands operations don’t kill massive amounts of wild life as well. The deep sea horizon spill…well the loss of wildlife there was devastating.

                  Don’t see nature loving you campaigning against deep water drilling though, strangely.

              • weka

                “When did drill it mine it sell it RoNS groupie Jimmie start to give a toss about public transport?”

                Ah, so you know him already. I was taking the comment at face value.

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  It even motivated him to argue his case a little more coherently, but as usual, we need better wingnuts.

  6. The plan is just build road after road, basically handing over cash to Fletcher to build roads to nowhere.

    • Rosetinted 6.1

      That’s what the roading authority in Naples did – with the Mafia. So we were told in the 1970s.

  7. millsy 7

    Proponents of urban sprwal never bother to consider things like services and amenities…

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      No profit just costs for private developers considering that ‘unnecessary crap’

  8. Macro 8

    Houston will die with the collapse of oil. It is completely unsustainable.

  9. Ad 9

    Would Julia Ann Genter quickly release an alternative Government Policy Statement for Transport please.

    If there really is to be a good crack at this from late 2014, the whole industry need to know how tight the turnaround is going to be.

    Auckland has one of the highest levels of car ownership in the world, in part because it is one of the most motorway-and-road dominated cities in the world. Can it be turned around? Is there really the will?

    Without a fresh and reversed GPS, Auckland Transport and its partner NZTA Auckland will continue to do the (LTMA) job of reconciling the Auckland Plan with the current GPS. Which is a whole site better for public transport than what is in Auckland now, but it’s also a whole lot more roads.

    Julie-Ann, I know what you don’t like, and I know you like the CRL. But do you have the policy chops to turn this supertanker around? Why not come on the site and tell us.

    And could Russell please confirm that she will indeed be the Greens’ preferred transport minister, rather than presuming any Greens caucus member can do any portfolio.

    • karol 9.1

      The Greens Policy on transport is mainly a series of bullet points at the moment, with a general outline of policies for Auckland and Wellington.

      • Ad 9.1.1

        If it is going to be a Green Minister of Transport by November 2014 – and that’s a whole bunch of if’s – they will need to come in hard and come in fast.

        That means telling MoT and the transport Briefing to Incoming Ministers to get lost …

        … and having one of your own ready to go. Slapped down on the table.

        Given MoT’s running Ministerial interference for the current Minister on the City Rail Link, the new Minister should rehearse a line like: “You do not have my confidence.” ie piss off and get me a progressive police wonk who can deliver me the goods.

        Then the Minister would need to review the entire makeup of the NZTA Board. Particularly a chat about which motorway budgets can be cut for the same productivity and safety benefits.

        Then the Minister would need to have fully pre-written their own Government Policy Statement for transport … slap it on the table and start disseminating into MBIE and Treasury.

        Then have a sit down with the major City mayors for a heart to heart.

        And of course presume that the entire transport construction industry, car industry, trucking industry, and the AA – together with their media access, lobbyists, and fully vested interests, would have their guns ready for prolonged trench warfare.

        It will make the housing lobby we have seen in action over the Auckland Unitary Plan look like a walk in the park.

        Should the Greens get the transport prize in November 2014, buckle in.

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1

          she’ll need powerful allies – and you’ve not listed any

          • Ad 9.1.1.1.1

            The progressive Mayors, Transportblog, a few media reporters on National Radio, NZHerald, Campbell Live, the usual NGO’s … and if the new Minister frames it well enough, every driver in a queue, and every public transport commuter with unsatisfactory performance.

            The playing field is tilted hard in favour of the status quo … which is why the new Minister would need to come in hard and fast, install their own people, and get the hard moves done fast inside the first 100 days.

  10. infused 10

    I find it pretty bullshit… take LA for instance. I was staying on the outskirts. It was a good 20-30 minute drive in to town, but I only went once. We had shopping complexes and everything we needed in walking distance.

    Walmarts were everywhere.

    Americans all have V8’s too. Everywhere I went. I think I saw two jappers. Hummers there, fully kitted out are only 20-30k usd.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 10.1

      Say, that sounds really swell*, just a couple of questions:

      What’s a litre of gas (that’s what Americans call petrol) going for over there these days, and how much do they use?

      *transparently disingenuous.

  11. Rich 11

    Why not take Detroit as an example – you can get a section for $100 with a free house thrown in.

    http://au.businessinsider.com/cheap-detroit-homes-2011-6

    Beats 50k in Houston. Ok, you’d need to spend a few grand on guns and bullets to shoot all the neigbours, and there isn’t any paying work within 500 miles, but cheap is cheap.

  12. Kiev 12

    So that graph would be a lot more helpful if,

    a) Auckland was on it
    b) It was current – that graph relates to a 1989 report/study.

  13. Lloyd 13

    If you want to get data on the relationship between urban density and energy Google “Newman and Kenworthy”.

    Every person who wishes to have input into urban design should know the relationship between density of cities and the fuel use per person that Newman and Kenworthy discovered.

    I bet Bill English has never heard of them.

    If you haven’t, look them up today, rather than tomorrow.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Hard News: Friday Music: The Return of Disasteradio
    I confess, it had escaped me that there had not been a Disasteradio album for seven years. It's not as if Luke Rowell had been idle: he's made a bunch of records as his alter-ego Eyeliner in that time. But ...
    2 hours ago
  • What to know what’s happening in Charlottesville?
    Do yourself a favour and watch this. ...
    2 hours ago
  • Kiwi petition ignored by National
    The National led government has perhaps been the most arrogant when it comes to conserving our natural resources in New Zealand. Through ignorance and greed, they've managed to damage our ecology beyond measure in their relatively short political history.Unfortunately the ...
    3 hours ago
  • Don’t You Dare, Jacinda Ardern! Don’t You Dare!
    Oi! Jacinda! No!  If Jacinda Ardern follows the advice of her advisers to scale back voter expectations and re-commit to the Labour/Green "Budget Responsibility Rules", then she will endanger everything she has achieved to date. “DON’T YOU DARE, Jacinda Ardern. ...
    3 hours ago
  • In the Name of God, Go!
    As storm clouds gathered over Europe in 1938, Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister, went to Munich where he believed that he had obtained undertakings from Hitler to the effect that Germany would not launch further attacks on its neighbours.  ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 hours ago
  • 2017 Rail Station Boardings
    For the last few years now and since electrification of the network, ridership on Auckland’s rail network has surged, jumping from 10 million trips in the year to June-2013 to 19.6 million trips in June this year (and bound to ...
    5 hours ago
  • Mark Richardson plays dirty
    The dirty politics debacle should have signalled to the right that underhanded tactics don’t usually pay off. There are some exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking New Zealander’s don’t like nastiness getting in the way of a good debate ...
    5 hours ago
  • Beyond the Beehive: Kaikohe / Whangarei
    In the lead-up to the election, journalist Max Towle is on an epic road trip taking the political pulse of young New Zealanders. The Whangarei electorate has been a safe National seat. Is that about to change? Beyond the ...
    5 hours ago
  • We are beneficiaries: I was used to feeling like a beggar
    A group of artists are continuing the conversation Metiria Turei MP started – demanding a more compassionate social welfare system. They asked artists who have been on a benefit in NZ (DPB, sickness, invalids, jobseeker, whatever) to draw a picture ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    15 hours ago
  • Metiria Turei has started something
    .   . When Metiria Turei announced her resignation as co-leader of the Green Party, on the afternoon of 9 August, it could be said that the bullies had won. The reactionary media pack – led chiefly by so-called “journalists” ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    16 hours ago
  • National would tax water as well
    Politics is a strange beast… it requires people to attack others over what they believe, usually because they think it's the best course of action to promote their party. Often those beliefs are founded on a real desire to make ...
    19 hours ago
  • Change happens when we stand together
    Tertiary Update Election Edition Vol 1 No 1 Together we have stopped National’s attempt to change the law to funnel public money to private tertiary education. Over the past few months, nearly 5,000 people have joined our campaign to keep tertiary education ...
    19 hours ago
  • Your university, pay and the living wage
    Dr. Wayne Linklater, co-president of the Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) branch of the Tertiary Education Union, discusses how paying the Living Wage would help advance the values of public institutions like VUW.  Universities are the engine of progress. They train ...
    19 hours ago
  • Mental health needs are failed by competitive funding
    Nicole Wallace from the School of Social Sciences at the University of Auckland, shares a powerful story about studying for a tertiary degree with a mental health condition, highlighting why we need to support public tertiary education for better access to ...
    19 hours ago
  • Local public tertiary education is vital for Māori
    Steven Wharehinga, president of the Tertiary Education Union branch at the Universal College of Learning, explains what impact reforms introduced by National have had on the provision of regional tertiary education and what this means for Māori, Pasifika and low income families. ...
    19 hours ago
  • Our own memorial problem
    This week we've all been made aware of the problem of the USA commemorating the leaders of the racist, slave-owning Confederacy with public monuments. Meanwhile, there's a similar problem in New Zealand. Via Twitter, I was pointed at a map ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    19 hours ago
  • No protection for whistleblowers in NZ
    There's been some debate about the need for increased whistleblower protection in New Zealand. And today, we have a perfect example of why it is needed: because the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki has just got the Employment Relations ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    21 hours ago
  • That rail plan
    The big political news this morning in Greater Auckland's proposal for Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga commuter rail. It looks like a good idea. In the southern part of the North Island we already have (limited) commuter rail between Palmerston North, Masterton and Wellington, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    24 hours ago
  • The Singles Life: The evolution of Shorecore
    Welcome to weekly series The Singles Life, where known experts Katie Parker and Hussein Moses peruse, ponder and pontificate on the latest and (maybe) greatest in New Zealand music. Photo: Florence Noble/Facebook It may have been nearly a decade ...
    24 hours ago
  • Just how bad is the Aussie NZ relationship?
    As the finger wagging continues both here and over the ditch about Australian MP Barnaby Joyce being outed as a New Zealand citizen (oh the horror!) it's probably work pointing out just how bad our political relationship with our closest ...
    1 day ago
  • Voter Motivators 2017: Water.
    Worth Protecting? The threat to the nation’s water is real and it demands action. What’s more, the Water Issue comes with a whole cast of ready-made villains: someone to take the blame. Farmers. WHO CAN FORGET that magic childhood moment when ...
    1 day ago
  • Are we all anti-fascist now?
    US neo-Nazis and fascists supporters march in Charoltsvill, USA. Image credit: Alejandro Alvarez/News2Share via Reuters Wouldn’t that be nice? What if the current almost universal condemnation of fascism by the main stream media and social media commenters were genuine.? That it represents an ...
    1 day ago
  • Beyond the Beehive: The Far North
    In the lead-up to the election, journalist Max Towle is on an epic road trip taking the political pulse of young New Zealanders. Drugs, jobs and housing are on the minds of people in the Far North.   Beyond ...
    1 day ago
  • Introducing Regional Rapid Rail
    Greater Auckland is proud to present our proposal for Regional Rapid Rail – an Upper North Island Passenger Network. This post gives you a brief summary of our staged proposal to introduce higher speed inter-city rail to the Upper North ...
    Transport BlogBy Harriet Gale
    1 day ago
  • Media Link: Second radio interview in the US travelogue series.
    There is some overlap between yesterday’s post and today’s radio interview, but there is also a a fair bit of other material as well: http://www.radiolive.co.nz/home/video/2017/08/trump–charlottesville-and-north-korea—the-latest-from-the-us.html ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 day ago
  • Whatever happened to one law for all?
    by Susanne Kemp The Metiria Turei case certainly brought a lot of mean-spirited people with double standards out of the woodwork.  People who vigorously defended John Key’s electoral fraud and Bill English’s rorting of the public purse for the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Access: The Driverless Road Ahead
    For the past decade and a bit, I've been working as a computer technician and sales rep. During that time, I've seen the desktop and laptop computer go from being the main method people get on the Internet, to an ...
    2 days ago
  • Speaker: Low-quality language on immigration
    Orcon IRL’s election special took place Sunday evening, and it was a right time. Kiri Allan mesmerised crowds in te reo. Stephen Berry knocked Rock Enrol. Chloe Swarbrick spoke of a Green future. And I disrespected Russell’s authority and went ...
    2 days ago
  • Meanwhile, in Poland
    While we're all worrying about Nazis in America, we might also want to keep an eye on Poland:Polish police broke up a feminist rally and forcefully removed activists to clear the way for a march for far-right extremists. A live ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Privacy, not “secrecy”
    Politik breathlessly reports that the New Zealand government kept information on Barnaby Joyce's kiwi citizenship "top secret":New Zealand Ministers and officials imposed a heavy security lid once they realised that they had information which could, in effect, topple the Australian ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • General Election Debate on Transport – Campaign for Better Transport
    The Campaign for Better Transport is holding an election debate with all the major parties this month in Auckland. The CBT is led by Cameron Pitches and over the years has led campaigns and advocated for many transport issues including: Airport ...
    Transport BlogBy Harriet Gale
    2 days ago
  • The Real Reason for Housing Unaffordability
    The news that the number of houses being sold is falling and that prices are rising more slowly has been greeted in some quarters with responses that are – sadly – all too predictable. The consensus is that these shifts ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 days ago
  • Renting in New Zealand (and what politicians are promising to change)
    As politicians talk up their housing policies ahead of the election, renters share stories of stress, illness and why the current system doesn’t work. Photo: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Jared Kelly / Flickr Cleaning the house of mould and ...
    2 days ago
  • National fails miserably on housing
    I don’t know about you, but I’m not very happy with all the homeless people wandering the streets and sleeping rough in the cold, some of whom are dying on park benches. But instead of blaming the victims, I think ...
    2 days ago
  • Check this out
    The Spinoff has a terrific tool that lets you see and compare the leading parties’ election policies. You can tick your favourites and then see which way you lean based on your policy choices. It is beautifully done. It almost ...
    2 days ago
  • Loading Docs: Asian Men Talk About Sex
    Eight Asian men bare all as they speak candidly about sex, love and dating.   Asian Men Talk About Sex has been released as part of Loading Docs - a launchpad for short New Zealand documentaries. DIRECTOR INTERVIEW: ...
    2 days ago
  • “Let’s Tax This?” – “Hell, Yeah!”
    "Hell, Yeah!" - Labour must not retreat before National’s “Let’s Tax This!” counter-attack. Not when a majority of New Zealanders are ready to rescue their ailing public services from further deterioration. When National hurls the “tax and spend” accusation at Labour ...
    2 days ago
  • Barnaby Joyce – Asshole of the Week
    It came as somewhat of a shock when the Australian government attacked the New Zealand Labour party and its leader Jacinda Arsdern yesterday, a personally attack over the fact that their Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, has dual citizenship and ...
    2 days ago
  • Letters from America, take three: a scab got picked.
    Donald Trump picked a scab during his campaign for the presidency and now the puss is draining out. It will be a while before the wound is cleansed. The puss is racism, xenophobia and bigotry. When I left the US ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 days ago
  • Timing is everything for Ardern & Labour
    Timing is just so important in politics, as in so much of life. Plenty of able people don't have the luck – or planning – to be in the right place at the right time. But right now, timing may ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    2 days ago
  • Pouring gasoline on the housing fire
    Yesterday, Prime Minister Bill English announced that he would encourage the Reserve Bank to remove the loan to value ratio (LVR) rules that it put in place to take the heat out of rising house prices. As reported in Newsroom: ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago
  • Inferno VII: The circle of capitalists
    "Pape Satàn, pape Satàn aleppe!" If these words ever meant anything in any language, or were otherwise intelligible to the contemporaries of Dante Alighieri, that meaning is lost. What’s left to us is the beginning of a curse, or a ...
    Bat bean beamBy Giovanni Tiso
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why Labour isn’t responsible for Barnaby Joyce
    First published on Werewolf As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our ...
    2 days ago
  • Media Release: TIME TO TURN UP THE PRESSURE ON CANDIDATES
    For Immediate Release Tuesday 15 August 2017 TIME TO TURN UP THE PRESSURE ON CANDIDATES Polls are showing that inequality is a top voter concern (Roy-Morgan and UMR Polls). The income equality group Closing the Gap is urging New Zealanders ...
    Closing the GapBy Marino Smith
    3 days ago
  • Ardern stands up for kiwis
    Today politics seems to be dominated by Australian ridiculousness, after the Australian government blamed Chris Hipkins (rather than hard-working Australian journalists) for exposing Barnaby Joyce as a New Zealand citizen, and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop interfering in our election ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Editors put the boot into National
    There is no question that a resurgent Labour party has closed the National party out of the media limelight. What else could Bill English do but pander to his ageist supporters by proposing boot camps and spot fines for the ...
    3 days ago
  • Civil Disobedience Against Big Irrigation
    Construction has started on huge irrigation schemes in Canterbury. When they start working, it’s going to be disastrous for our rivers - most of which are already struggling. More irrigation means more cows and that means more pollution.A few weeks ...
    3 days ago
  • Climate change: The Cullen fund divests
    Climate change is now undeniable, and if we are to survive it, the fossil fuel industry has to die. And now the Cullen Fund has recognised that fact, and started divesting its risk:The New Zealand Superannuation Fund has sold shares ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Dirty farmers
    Surprise, surprise - Waikato's dairy farmers are failing to comply with their resource consents:The Waikato Regional Council says dairy farm effluent compliance rates are heading in the right direction despite less than one quarter of farms monitored last year deemed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • National’s policy hardly Christian
    It’s often amazing to see the ill-conceived political arguments that make it to print in New Zealand sometimes. Perhaps one of the least canvassed areas of voting preference is that of religious beliefs, and where those beliefs coincide with a ...
    3 days ago
  • “As soon as reasonably practicable”
    The Official Information Act requires agencies to decide on requests "as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case not later than 20 working days after the day on which the request is received". But over the decades that the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Wijkontsluitingsweg
    This is another post about my recent trip to the Netherlands. The Netherlands has a standard road classification system with ideally three types of roads: flow roads (motorways), distribution roads (arterials), and local roads (residential roads). This system does not ...
    Transport BlogBy Kent Lundberg
    3 days ago
  • Eyewitness report from Charlottesville by Redneck Revolt
    REPORTBACK: CHARLOTTESVILLE: August 13, 2017 by Redneck Revolt members The situation on the ground in Charlottesville, Virginia, is still developing and unstable, but a few of our Redneck Revolt members on the ground took some time to provide the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Treating young people differently
    The Labour party has hit the ground running with Jacinda Ardern. Not only has she shown immense capability as leader, the Labour party has clearly got its game on and returned to its core values, values that once made New ...
    3 days ago
  • Looking to the past to understand the Politics of Love
    We need to transcend us vs them struggles, writes Philip McKibbin.   Image: The Prophet Te Whiti Addressing a Meeting of Natives from The Graphic (1881) In 1881, the peaceful village of Parihaka was invaded. Fifteen-hundred men, led ...
    3 days ago
  • Power imbalances in local vs central government
    Local government in New Zealand is a creature of statute, so it’s subservient to powers bestowed upon it by central government. From the creation of its mandate and structure, to the reforms imposed through time, local councils are, and will ...
    Briefing PapersBy Christine Rose
    3 days ago
  • The Greens’ Campaign Reset: Normal Ideological Transmission Is Resumed.
    Who Loves Ya Baby? “I didn’t come to Parliament to act like other political parties. But this week that’s where we ended up. We have not been our best selves, and for that I am sorry.” But who are your best ...
    3 days ago
  • Victory on Victoria
    The Victoria St Linear Park has been saved from the clutches of Auckland Transport. You may recall that we’ve been concerned about ATs plans for the future of many of the streets in the city centre for some time. In ...
    3 days ago
  • MSM catches up on Unemployment stats rort
    .   . The mainstream media – or at least one clever journalist working for Mediaworks/Newshub – has finally caught up with a story broken by this blogger last year that unemployment data from Statistics NZ was no longer reliable; ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • When is Lying Justified?
    Among the sinners the drunk porter in Macbeth welcomes into hell is the ‘equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale’. Equivocation is a theme of the play; Shakespeare is thought to have been influenced by the ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • Has National gone Full Metal Jacket?
    Is bootcamp the government's solution for hardened young criminals?   Photo: 123rf. National plans to solve the problem of serious youth offending by sending people to a remote, army-run boot camp for a year. But opponents of the ...
    4 days ago
  • Yale Climate Connections: America’s beacon of climate science awareness
    This is an unabashed endorsement of an important group. I have no affiliation with them or conflict of interest. They are great, period. The ability to convey complex climate science to a wide-ranging audience is a golden attribute, something very ...
    4 days ago
  • On Mike Hosking – Don’t Say I Never Warned You
        Hi, my name is Brian. Edwards to be precise. You may remember me. I used to be on television. Started in Christchurch on a magazine show called Town and Around. Went North to Wellington to audition for ...
    4 days ago
  • PM lied about Greenpeace spies
    The Todd Barclay affair, where the unelected Prime Minister claimed seven times that he couldn’t recall if Barclay had told him about the secret recording of a National party staffer, proved without a doubt that Bill English is dishonest!But if ...
    4 days ago
  • I watched Miss Universe NZ 2017 so you don’t have to
    Beauty queens, magic, dangly bits and nip slips - Miss Universe NZ had it all.   The top five Miss Universe NZ contestants (L-R): Shekinah Delos Santos, Sarah Hensby-Bennett, Harlem-Cruz Ihaia, Holly Waghorn and Brooke Houia. Screenshot: Miss ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ Post spied on the public
    Last night we learned that NZ Post had been spying on the public, using microphones on its delivery vehicles to record and listen to conversations between its employees and random members of the public without the consent of either party. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Aspirational fluff from Ardern 
    by Daphna Whitmore Although women got the vote in the late 19th century, now well in to the 21st century we still do not have pay equity. While overt discrimination against individual female employees is no longer legal or socially ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • National party dead in the water
    The last week in New Zealand politics has been extraordinary. But there’s one political party in particular that appears to be missing in action… the National party.The unelected PM Bill English has failed to gain any real traction in the ...
    4 days ago
  • Barnaby Joyce is a New Zealand citizen
    Over the last few weeks the Australian Parliament has been rocked by a succession of resignations and court referrals over various Senators falling foul of s44 of the Australian constitution, which bars dual-citizens from the legislature. Today, that clause appears ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Dual Modes and Axle Loads
    Last year KiwiRail made the decision to replace the 16 current 30-year-old EF class electric freight trains currently in use on the North Island Main Trunk with the procurement of more DL Class Diesel Trains. These EF Class trains use ...
    Transport BlogBy Harriet Gale
    4 days ago
  • What’s Going On? with Lucy Zee: Beervana
    Eye-popping beer infusions and drinking games with the bros. Lucy Zee heads to New Zealand's biggest beer festival, Beervana.   Produced and presented by Lucy Zee, and filmed and edited by Eddy Fifield. Made with the support of NZ On ...
    4 days ago
  • National resorts to racism on water
    National knows it can't defeat the Labour-Green policy on water charging on fairness grounds, so they're now appealing to racism, with Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson scaremongering that making farmers pay their fair share will mean reopening historic ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A Weak Man Trying to Look Strong
    Donald Trump would not be the first political leader to try to build his popularity, or divert attention from his troubles at home, by seeking a diversion – usually by means of a military adventure of some sort – overseas.  ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • Keeping tiny humans alive
    Science is helping more premature babies survive, but for parents it's still a journey marked by fear, pain and joy.   Inside of what looks like a giant Ziploc bag filled with water, the hoof of a tiny lamb ...
    4 days ago
  • The left shouldn’t fear Greg O’Connor
    When Greg O’Connor was a young Police officer he did a stint undercover and has lamented having to arrest gang members he viewed at the time as his mates. This is perhaps the main problem for the left, being that ...
    4 days ago

  • Government must apologise over rebuild debacle
    The Prime Minister owes the public of Otago and Southland an apology and then he must come up with an unredacted copy of the business case for the Dunedin hospital rebuild, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. "For too long the interests of ...
    2 hours ago
  • Government caves to multi-national tax avoiders in the shadows
    News that the Government has secretly caved in to the demands of multi-national tax avoiders come as no surprise, but will disappoint Kiwi taxpayers, says Labour’s spokesman for Revenue Michael Wood.   “It has been revealed that a United States ...
    18 hours ago
  • Cheaper to stay at The Langham than emergency housing motels
    Labour’s comprehensive plan to fix the housing crisis and ensure there’s enough state housing, means we won’t be paying through the nose for emergency accommodation like the current Government has to, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “National has ...
    19 hours ago
  • Government must come clean on water
      News that the National Government is secretly working behind closed doors on its own water charging schemes shows their utter hypocrisy on this issue, says Labour’s water spokesperson David Parker.  “They have been carping on about Labour’s plan for ...
    23 hours ago
  • Government pays twice the price for emergency housing motels – with two more on the way
    Under Labour’s plan to build at least 1000 state houses each year, New Zealand wouldn’t be paying more than double the valuations for motels to house Kiwis needing emergency housing, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “Under questioning today, ...
    2 days ago
  • HAM shows country needs Labour on housing
    The latest Housing Affordability Measure report shows affordability dramatically worsening for Auckland first home buyers, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 days ago
  • Canterbury kids get more support for mental health
    Children in Canterbury and Kaikoura will get dedicated mental health support to help them overcome the trauma of the earthquakes, says the Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “We’ll fund an extra eighty mental health professionals for the next three ...
    2 days ago
  • Statement on Julie Bishop’s comments
    It is highly regrettable that the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has chosen to make false claims about the New Zealand Labour Party. I have been utterly transparent about this situation. I stand by my statements this morning that I ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour stands with Pike families
    A Labour Government will stand with the families of Pike River and reaffirm its commitment to safe workplaces by ensuring there will be a Minister responsible for Pike River, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “The Pike River disaster ...
    3 days ago
  • Yes to Sallies – Labour will build more state houses
    The Salvation Army’s latest report ‘Taking Stock’ shows why New Zealand needs a Labour-led Government committed to a massive house building programme, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “When the Sallies say the country needs 2000 extra state houses a ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealanders deserve better than scaremongering over water
    New Zealanders need to hear from National about how they will fund the clean-up of our rivers and lakes for future generations. Instead, National has broadened its scare-mongering, says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. ...
    4 days ago
  • School Leavers’ Toolkit to equip young people for adult life
    Labour will give school leavers the practical skills and knowledge they need for adult life with a new School Leavers’ Toolkit, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “Our teachers and schools do a great job of teaching our children ...
    4 days ago
  • Pay equity to be a priority for Labour
      Labour will make sure that the country’s mental health workers are a priority when it comes to pay equity negotiations, says the Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “It is very important for me to right the wrong created ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s positive education plan
    Today’s announcement on learning support is more tinkering and proof that only a Labour Government will deliver the resources that schools and parents are crying out for, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “We have a positive vision for a ...
    7 days ago
  • Pike footage raises questions over government’s actions
    The Government’s seeming determination to turn a blind eye to new questions about what happened at Pike River Mine is troubling, says Labour’s West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor. ...
    7 days ago
  • Solution to rent rises lies in building houses and stopping speculators
    The spread of rental increases from the big cities to the surrounding regions shows why we need to get on top of the housing shortage build homes our families can afford, and lock out the speculators, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • Clean rivers don’t cost $18 a cabbage
    National is falling into a bad pattern of promising the world and not saying how they will fund it, says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. ...
    1 week ago
  • Time for honest answer on transport funding
    National needs to explain how they will fund the $6 billion funding gap in their 10-year Auckland transport plan, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • Time for true numbers on overseas speculators
    It’s time for the Government to give accurate figures on the number of houses being bought by overseas speculators, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Raymond Huo. ...
    1 week ago
  • Fair and sustainable trade: A Green Party vision for New Zealand’s trading relationships
    Trade is a cornerstone of the New Zealand economy. It provides us with the things we want and need, and enables us to pay for those with exports that generate business opportunities and jobs. However, it should be recognised that ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    1 week ago
  • Clean rivers for future generations
    Labour will lead a nationwide effort to restore our rivers and lakes to a clean, swimmable state, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand really can do better on health
    Labour’s commitment to affordable access to high quality healthcare will provide a better service for New Zealanders than the current Health Minister, who will not apologise for statements that he made that wrongly criticised hard-working staff in the Southern DHB’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan the answer to motorway chaos
    Labour’s plan to build a light rail network and improve heavy rail and bus services across Auckland is the only answer to the kind of motorway congestion Aucklanders endured this morning, says Labour Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to build rail to Auckland Airport
    A world class city needs a rail connection from the CBD to its international airport – that’s why Labour will build light rail to Auckland Airport as a priority, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “Let’s get Auckland moving ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Is pay equity just too hard for this Govt?
    You are hard pressed these days to find someone that openly admits their misogyny, that men should still be paid more than women. Politicians proclaim that they want to see women paid more, but do their actions back it up? ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s commitment to our Rainbow nation
    The Labour Party has reaffirmed its commitment to New Zealand’s rainbow community with its 2017 Rainbow policy, featuring the goal to end HIV in New Zealand by 2025. Grant Robertson says Labour continues a long and proud tradition of advocating ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s vision for Auckland more than reheated roads
    Labour is more ambitious for Auckland than the reheated set of transport projects proposed by National, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Waiting urology patients are the tip of the iceberg
    The 10 patients waiting for urology surgery at Dunedin Hospital are just the tip of the iceberg, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.  "Hundreds of patients are waiting for follow-up appointments, but they are not deemed serious enough to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Maori Landowners Misled by Maori Party
    Māori landowners are being misled by Government hui being held throughout the country promoting the troubled Māori Land Service (MLS), which underpins the Crown’s unpopular Ture Whenua reforms, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government’s Johnny-come-lately approach to multinational tax won’t wash
    It’s a case of baby steps for a Government that still allows multinational companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. “After nine years in government, five years after the issue of multinational ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Auckland congestion up there with the world’s worst
    Traffic congestion is costing Auckland up to $2 billion in lost productivity according to the latest report from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Michael Wood.  “This is a disaster and underlines the need for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Experience in Youth Parliament 2016
    Being a Member of Youth Parliament was an unexpected, but fabulous opportunity for me. It provided me a way to connect with other young people who have some things in common, and to learn what it is like to be ...
    GreensBy NZ Green Party
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour backs renters’ call for warm, healthy homes
    80 per cent of renters wish their home was warmer and drier, and that’s what Labour will deliver, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • We can – and must – do better for Kiwi jobs
    Labour has the plan to get more young New Zealanders into jobs and tackle concerns raised in the latest statistics which show an extra 3000 young Kiwis are neither earning or learning compared to the same time last year, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Statement from Jacinda Ardern, Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party
    I want to start by giving my thanks to Andrew. His announcement today and the situation we have found ourselves in is not what anyone expected or wanted In my time working with Andrew I know one thing to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Better homes for Maori under Labour
    Labour’s vision is that Māori enjoy an equal playing field and have the same home ownership opportunities as non-Māori, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “Today Labour is proud to announce a detailed Māori housing policy from South Auckland’s ...
    3 weeks ago

%d bloggers like this: