Vision vs roads

Written By: - Date published: 8:26 am, August 21st, 2017 - 18 comments
Categories: labour, national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: ,

That was a great weekend for Labour.

The campaign launch was a huge and vibrant success. Jacinda Ardern talked about ending poverty. She called climate change “my generation’s nuclear-free moment”. She talked about education, and housing, and rivers, and more. She talked about principles, and she delivered a vision.

Bill English talked about roads. $10b on roads, when we have a housing crisis, a homeless crisis, increasing levels of extreme poverty. $10b on roads when we should be building public transport and reducing carbon emissions. It’s dinosaur politics.

Tracy Watkins:

Jacinda Ardern goes for vision as National grab the cheque book

Day one and $10 billion down. National’s answer to “Jacinda-mania” couldn’t be more old fashioned – pull out the cheque book.

As a sea of red gathered outside the Auckland town hall to bask in the new found optimism and euphoria generated by new leader Jacinda Ardern, National leader Bill English was in the provinces spruiking a $10 billion spend up on provincial highways.

Ardern’s speech steered clear of spending promises but was big on vision – including making climate change “the nuclear free” moment of this generation.

Labour would not have known that National was planning to make a big roading announcement when Ardern wrote her speech. But the contrast could not have been more stark.

And while roads are always a winner with voters, reaching back into the same old bag of tricks risks making National look predictable and tired. …

$10b. What a waste!

18 comments on “Vision vs roads”

  1. Ad 1

    Regional rail and regional roads announcements coming up this morning from Labour.

    National’s announcements on RONS got crushed yesterday when Pinetree Meads fell on them.

    I haven’t seen this kind of momentum for Labour in the media in a very, very long time.






    Our Environment Centre has received more than 2000 letters and petitions from residents from Napier to Gisborne fed up with 24/7 heavy truck traffic waking them all hours and poisoning the air with diesel smells.

    People complain of overwhelming exhaust smells and heavy soot covering their homes since the rail service stopped three years ago.

    Our centre believes the environmental impacts being felt must be taken into account when considering the saving of the Gisborne/Napier rail. It is vital for the public health and well-being of our communities and future generations to retain the rail link.

    How safe is the air that we breathe?

    The two pollutants which give most cause for concern are the toxic gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5). Earlier this year, the UK’s highest court ruled the Government must take action to cut NO2 pollution.

    The UK has been in breach of EU limits for nitrogen dioxide so it (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) published a consultation on draft plans to improve air quality.

    This problem is now occurring in our cities and towns along heavy freight truck routes and rail is recognised as the answer for movement of freight and passengers.

    Governments knew this 16 years ago when they conducted a study of rail versus road freight emissions, so why has the treasury advised we close all regional rail in New Zealand?

    Evidence: the New Zealand Government in 1999 produced an “Impacts of Rail Transport on Local Air Quality” report.
    Related articles:

    The MoT Fuels and Energy Management group report shows how fuel-efficient and low-pollution rail transport really is. # 363.73926 RAI # 4037.

    The report confirmed that rail freight per tonne per kilometre travelled had extremely low NOx levels compared with trucking’s freight per tonne per km higher levels (four times) of all harmful pollution emissions.

    Quote from page 34 of “Impacts of Rail Transport on Local Air Quality” report: 5.5: Locomotive Emissions; Opportunities for Reduction.

    “Based on these inventory results, there does not appear to be a specific need to target the emissions from the rail sector in managing local air quality.

    The only emission of any significance from locomotives is of NOx but the output relative to other combustion sources is still minimal in terms of total activity measures.”

    Why the Government needs to support rail for public urban residential health & safety:

    -Evidence of much higher diesel air emissions emerging, thanks to the Volkswagen diesel scandal.

    -Doubts are emerging about our urban air quality, public health and safety and emissions of truck freight 24/7 through our urban residential zones as New Zealand has set no standards.

    -Since the VW diesel scandal, similar diesel truck emissions cheating was uncovered.

    -No safeguards for communities near truck routes.

    -We need the protection of public health agencies along with MoT oversight.

    Government, please heed our call for the reinstatement of provincial rail services, to protect the health and well-being of all our regional communities, as overseas governments are doing.

    “Bill English talked about roads. $10b on roads, when we have a housing crisis, a homeless crisis, increasing levels of extreme poverty. $10b on roads when we should be building public transport and reducing carbon emissions. It’s dinosaur politics.”

    • Booker 2.1

      One thing that’s been missing from political commentary about climate change is the adverse health effects of traffic pollution. It’s something the left should really focus on and use to their advantage.

      One analysis I saw from the US – California off the top of my head – estimated the health savings of switching to clean energy would entirely offset the cost. When people talk about switching to electric vehicles the most immediate and medium-term gains will be in health; climate change effects are a long-term benefit.

      Traffic-related air pollution causes stroke, heart disease, respiratory problems and evidence increasingly supports that it also causes type 2 diabetes. Spikes in air pollution overseas are followed by a predictable increase in hospital admissions and deaths. National’s vision of a country of car owners (likely deisel and petrol powered) will only make this worse.

    • Governments knew this 16 years ago when they conducted a study of rail versus road freight emissions, so why has the treasury advised we close all regional rail in New Zealand?

      Public transport, and that’s all rail can efficiently be, doesn’t produce as much GDP and profits as trucks do due to the higher rate of resource use that trucks engender and a higher GDP is all that Treasury wonks have been trained to look for.

      Of course, if they calculated in all the negatives from trucking properly they’d be screaming about how bad National’s policies are.

  3. UncookedSelachimorpha 3

    This dumb policy from National also mentioned funding from public /private partnerships. In others words, a key outcome will be giving rich investors an opportunity to charge rent to road users and/or the tax payer.

    Thanks National, for giving more public assets and infrastructure to rich people, so we can rent it back off them at whatever price you and your rich mates decide.

    • In others words, a key outcome will be giving rich investors an opportunity to charge rent to road users and/or the tax payer.

      Shifting money from the taxpayers to wealthy individuals is what National exists for.

  4. Bearded Git 4

    Nationals Policies:

    1. Build roads
    2. Build roads
    3. Interrogate beneficiaries
    4. There is no policy 4
    5. Build roads

  5. ianmac 5

    Clearly stated vision is what I have hoped for for a year or two. Declare the vision, so that we can agree or not but then battle to make it happen. I’m grateful for Jacinda’s vision. Can’t tell what National’s vision is but it seems to be based on the dollar.

  6. Fred H 6

    It’s not bad if you’re an undertaker, coffin manufacturer or private hospital? More motorways without making arterial or rural roads safer will lead to the continued increase in the road death toll, I believe the road transport forum is probably receiving some funds from the funeral home and southern cross lobby group 😉

  7. Peter 7

    Having spent considerable time in Hawkes Bay, there is no way that they need to prioritise an expansion of the link between Napier and Hastings. Other parts of NZ have real congestion problems by way of comparison. What is the real motivation here?

    • Sacha 7.1

      Soft-headed votes for candidate Yule.

    • CLEANGREEN 7.2

      Study this peter.

      We did the study in 2005 when truck volumes were 985 each 24 hr period going through Napier at Kennedy Rd over bridge and now the truck traffic has increased to 2400 each day in our own video studies every 24 hours.

      We live alongside the expressway so this is to truck intensive and this report by the Parliamentary commissioner for the Environment recommended on page 22/23 for more use of rail, but in 2012 Government took away our Kiwi rail maintenance funding for Auckland rail and a storm washed one km of rail out as the drains were blocked.

      We are now truck gridlocked and dying here in Napier as everyone is suffering to the Port of Napier. The truck volumes have almost trebled since 2005, and are predicted to climb to another 2.5 times by 2040.

      We say bring our rail back because Government caused the rail damage and reduce the truck volumes as the PCE report recommends.

      KiwiRail admits lack of maintenance led to wash-out
      Thursday, 14 February 2013, 1:35 pm
      Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party
      Phil Twyford
      Transport Spokesperson
      14 February 2013
      KiwiRail admits lack of maintenance led to wash-out
      KiwiRail has admitted that its failure to maintain old and damaged culverts was behind the wash out that closed the Gisborne-Napier line, while cuts to its maintenance budget are putting the network at further risk, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

      Stupid Government wont listen, as they are owned and driven by corporates and the trucking industry. Our health is not regarded as worthy of consideration.

      Vote national out of office on 23rd September.

  8. Ad 8

    Labour have now committed to passenger rail between Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, and potentially Rotorua:

    Plus a whole bunch more money for smaller regional roads.

    Plus a big conference in the first 100 days of office about roads and rail with Mayors and regions.

  9. McFlock 9

    A bit of a glance seems to suggest that quite a few of the proposed “Roads of National Significance are actually more like Roads of Marginal Electorates.

    I’m just not sure how many people still believe the promises after nine years of them.

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