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NRT: The Greens on transport

Written By: - Date published: 4:24 pm, August 7th, 2014 - 41 comments
Categories: election 2014, greens, public transport, sustainability, transport - Tags:

no-right-turn-256Reposted from No Right Turn.

The Greens announced their transport policy today: a massive re-prioritization from roads to public transport:

The Green Party’s policy would prioritise getting people out of their vehicles and onto public transport by building better networks, increasing the amount of services and making it more affordable.

The party pledged to invest $10.4 billion in public transport projects and rail throughout the country over the next decade, promising more trains and buses at peak hours and decongesting the country’s roads.

It would focus on implementing the Congestion Free Network plan in Auckland by 2020 through seven key projects costing $2.2 billion.

There’s more details here. Auckland features heavily, as you’d expect – they’re our biggest city with our biggest transport problems. But they’ll be talking about Wellington and Christchurch in coming weeks, and the latter in particular has scope to reshape its public transport network in the wake of the earthquake.

There’s a strong element of planning for the future here: peak oil and climate change mean the days of cheap cars (and therefore of massive motorways) are numbered. But it also reflects the changes we’re seeing now. Road usage is already dropping, while Aucklanders are crying out for a better rail system so they can escape gridlock. The Greens will address these problems, and shift our transport infrastructure to deal with our needs. National, OTOH, simply seems to want to build more roads for its trucking-industry cronies.



See also: Labour’s Transport links


41 comments on “NRT: The Greens on transport”

  1. hoom 1

    <- Totally for this.

  2. ianmac 2

    A great plan. NZers salute you for your vision and committment.

  3. outofbed 3

    if only it got media coverage

  4. millsy 4

    And what about letting councils own and run bus services then?

    And how about those out in the provinces?

    • karol 4.1

      The Green Party Press Release mentions the “provinces”:

      A 300% increase in walking and cycling infrastructure including separated walking and cycling infrastructure in New Zealand’s small towns and big cities.

      A $423 million increase in funding to regions to contest for projects that will best serve their transport needs.

      “The regions will be the biggest beneficiaries from our funding switch from motorways.

      “Transport is the life-blood of the regions but they have been starved of funding under National. We will bump up Regional Transport funding so regions can contest for projects that will best serve their transport needs, whether road, rail or port projects.

      “We will reverse the neglect of our rail network, the transport backbone of New Zealand.

      • Chooky 4.1.1

        +100 …great policy from the Greens!…especially“We will reverse the neglect of our rail network, the transport backbone of New Zealand”.

        ..there are so many rural rail networks that once operated but are now not used for public transport..hence the overcrowded roads in a time when fuels are becoming increasingly expensive

        imo we need a fast rail from the top of the country to the bottom….and possibly other lines for local but major rural routes into cities available several times throughout the day and night

        walking and cycling facilities are very important also …and would be a great boost for tourism

        • Colonial Viper

          Need to have coastal shipping…any specific mention of that? Very efficient, low carbon way of moving thousands of tonnes of freight…

  5. karol 5

    Well, the Auckland plan looks excellent – rail for the North Shore; an extensive bus network in Upper Harbour; a bus lane on the North Western Motorway… cool ideas.

    Plus better rail between Hamilton & Auckland; passenger services (rail?) in Northland. Excellent!

    And possibly extending the Green Card to beneficiaries and those on low incomes.

  6. Ad 6

    God it’s almost enough to make me want to vote for them.

  7. fambo 7

    This really good to me as a policy to push at this moment. The Green Party isn’t holding back and is showing courage in its convictions which I think will resonate with a lot of people.

  8. fambo 8

    Should read “This feels really good etc”

  9. Bill 9

    over the next decade

    Fact. We don’t have that long.

    • Tracey 9.1

      Please lay out your plan for fdoing it quicker Bill. I suspect the Greens are talking about the quickest timeframe they think can be achieved with money and resources etc.

      • Bill 9.1.1

        Unfortunately for us all Tracey, using traditional (neo-classical) economics in the face of AGW won’t deliver. Neo-classical economics, not only views the economy as paramount (must have growth), but is incapable of allowing for any action beyond peripheral tinkering. (ie, alter a cash rate or whatever on the premise that the economy is a self perpetuating natural thing that only needs a tweak here or a tweak there when it gets out of balance)

        Meanwhile, the science is telling us that we are slated to overshoot 2 degrees (it would be a very, very long shot that would punt for dipping below that level). The science is also telling us that to avoid 4 degrees we need to peak fossil related emissions globally by 2020 and reduce those emission rates by 3.5% year on year until they are at zero. The 3.5% p.a. reduction is the maximum neo-classical economists allow in terms of preserving market led growth.

        My solution is very simple, something I’ve said before and probably the only solution that there is. It’s not easy though. Simply stop. Unless your work is socially beneficial, stop traveling to it and doing it. Unless you believe the economy needs to survive even at the expense of civilisation (and it almost certainly tubes in 4 degrees of warming), then stop paying rent, debts, mortgages etc as well as withdrawing your labour from socially pointless and climatically disastrous activities.

        • Tracey

          When did you first begin this withdrawal? How hard has it been?

          • Bill

            I wouldn’t characterise it as withdrawal, but anyway, quite a log time ago – like, years. It’s not so hard, but definitely has material repercussions. When are you getting on board?

  10. Autonomouse 10

    Had a review of the policy release that was linked to the post, it appears to be a tad light as to detail in regard to the financials, has there been any indication as of yet as to how the proposed policy would be funded? Are those of us south of the Bombays that have made a conscious lifestyle choice to avoid the rat race and associated traffic woes for a better life going to be faced with having to foot the bill, or is the likes of a region specific petrol tax being considered?

    • Tracey 10.1

      Is that how you envisage NZ? Them and Us? I have no children but I get taxed to pay for schools, and free healthcare and so on. I am happy to do so because I live in NZ, a society of people, a community.

      One way they are looking to fund it is to divert money promised to further motorways toward these projects.

      • Autonomouse 10.1.1

        Regardless as to whether or not we are utilising it, we all benefit from a society with a strong education system, we all benefit from a society with free healthcare. Aucklands public transport system is only beneficial for those that choose to live in Auckland. I’m not saying that it doesn’t need to happen, as Aucklands public transport network is woeful compared with global standards (that’s probably being rather generous too), but what I am wondering is as to whether a region specific taxation (via petrol tax) would be considered? Increasing the cost of petrol in the Auckland region could also be considered an incentive to utilise the new public transport system (win/win possibly). On another tangent, it’d be interesting to see what would happen as far as internal migration statistics if Auckland did get it’s sh*t together re public transport as a rather large proportion of non Auckland dwelling NZ’ers cite Auckland’s traffic as one of the main reasons why they wouldn’t live there, so if that issue was negated, I wonder if there would be a mass exodus away from the regions.

        • This is completely incorrect.

          Auckland having a viable public transport system benefits the entire world, in that it reduces carbon emissions.

          Yes, sorting out Auckland isn’t a priority for the rest of the country, but if you look at the actual policy, it really isn’t disproportionately about Auckland at all- there’s a lot in there for other cities, and the regions.

          • Colonial Viper

            Reducing Auckland’s fuel use will improve the entire nations current account deficit. It will also reduce our nation’s vulnerability to future oil shocks. Finally, reducing the amount of spending required on AKL motorways and on AKL personal motor vehicles will free up money which can be used elsewhere in the economy.

    • Lanthanide 10.2

      Well Autonomouse, the Greens are using the same monetary fund that National have created to fund their own roading projects.

      In fact the Greens are going to spend less in total than National is.

      So if you’re really concerned about where the money is coming from, ask National.

    • karol 10.3

      The policy release is not linked in the post. It’s on the Green Party website and it’s linked to other announcements (eg about the poor use of taxpayers money on roads by our current government.

      Also in the latest policy announcement, spending on the regions:

      “The regions will be the biggest beneficiaries from our funding switch from motorways.

      “Transport is the life-blood of the regions but they have been starved of funding under National. We will bump up Regional Transport funding so regions can contest for projects that will best serve their transport needs, whether road, rail or port projects.

      “We will reverse the neglect of our rail network, the transport backbone of New Zealand.

      “The Green Party’s transport plan will give people what they want – vibrant, greener cities, where public transport is fast, clean and affordable, and where kids can walk and cycle to school safely.

      City dwellers are tax payers, too.

      Government funds have been spent on the roads in and out of Auckland and further north, etc – yet those motorways contribute to the peak period congestion in Auckland that make it very difficult to get across the city. The rail and bus networks need massive upgrades to ease this congestion.

      Yesterday I went out of Auckland and had to leave home in peak time. It took me 35-40 minutes to get from New Lynn to the motorway. In off peak times it takes about 10 minutes. I would love to be able to go by rail, or even bus, when doing such trips out of the city, but it is just not practical right now.

      Getting to any useful public transport service out of the city from New Lynn, means first taking public transport across Auckland.

  11. Clean_power 11

    Paraphrasing the first comment: Totally against this.

  12. philj 12

    A policy to transform! I doubt/wonder if the MSM will cover any policy, in depth, in the leadup to the election. Is there a policy free zone in the mainstream media? RNZ and TVNZ are failing in their duty to our Demockary and the public of NZ.

  13. Lanthanide 13

    Gerry Brownlee used the infantile circular argument that National invests in roads because that’s what NZers use for their transportation needs, and that investing in public transport won’t improve patronage because people have to want to use it first.

  14. The Lone Haranguer 14

    “Road usage is already dropping, while Aucklanders are crying out for a better rail system so they can escape gridlock”

    If road usage is dropping (the quote is from the article above) then surely we are moving away from gridlock already?

    And I must assume that said the former road users (private motor vehicle drivers possibly?) are already patronising the trains, or buses even?

    • karol 14.1

      The drop is by about a 2% shift from private to public transport in peak times over several years.

      It’s a gradual drop, but on-going. The population is meanwhile growing. So we still have gridlock.

      Basically, most people in Auckland still use their cars to travel to work, but people are generally using their cars less.

      If public transport is good and relatively inexpensive, people will use it.

      • The Lone Haranguer 14.1.1

        So without population control (I have no idea how to achieve that) – in the main cities primarily, what will happen is that we will spend a fortune on improving public transport, and any gains will be lost to population increases.

        Then we will all say “well that was a dopey waste of money idea from the car hating Greens wasnt it” oh and the roads will be even worse because there will have been$11b diverted away…..

        Cant see that policy being a winner at all.

  15. Sable 15

    Auckland does have an God awful transport system when compare to say Sydney or Melbourne. Its very easy to use public transport in these cities but for some reason Auckland is the exception.

    Yet more good value from the Greens. Lets hope the stodgy plonkers in Labour come to see the value in an alliance.

  16. aerobubble 16

    Its not that easy. It costs non-renewables to build buses, solar panels, etc. If the solution to peak oil is algae oil then other alternatives won’t be helping the carbon pollution.

    Of course we need roads. And yes we need more public transport. And yes we don’t need more roads. But Auckland is the wrong place for a city. Build a new city to the south where there is room.
    Keep Auckland as the low building heights etc and wash our hands of it. Build an integrated new city to the South of Airport. Sure put in a loop and have fast trains between the two. But its reckless surely to keep building on a volcanic field.

  17. fisiani 17

    The Greens fanatical war on motorists continues. Not only will they pull the plug on Transmission Gully and the Waikato bypass and the Kapiti motorway and all the major roading IMPROVEMENTS up and down the country they will increase parking charges and make the roads as congested and fume filled as their billboards suggest. They want to put up the price of petrol and stop ACC lowering road tax by $135. Meanwhile they fly up and down the country to talk about carbon emissions and drive to candidate meetings to denounce car drivers. Labour wants to ban trucks from the fast lane on a few kms of motorway. All the trades people involved in building roads now have a great reason to give TeamKey 3 More Years.

  18. Griffon 18

    We need a completed motorway/highway system in Auckland, Waikato and BOP where the majority of economic growth will occur in the future. Will the Greens allow the Waikato Expressway to be completed (it started under Labour)? What about the recently signed PPP for Transmission Gully?

    Napier to Gisborne rail closed for a very good reason, it was completely uneconomic and was a blackhole for tax payer money. Why reopen a white elephant when improving the state highway from Napier to Gisborne and making it safer for all users is a far better value for money?

  19. Disabled Liberation Aotearoa NZ DLANZ 19

    Thanks for this….My question is; While the National speed limit is 100km on the ‘open’ highway, there are many ‘spots’, including winding roads. that The AA has suggested lower speeds with their yellow and black signs. Can rgese signs be made the mandatory ‘red and white’?
    There have been many accidents in these zones and Disabled are seeing the costs of ACC could be reduced if such a policy was in place…..
    This question could be asked to all Politicals for 2014
    Doug Hay

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