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Petrol taxes hiked by 9c a litre over three years

The NZ Herald reports:

The Government will increase petrol tax by three cents a litre each July 1 for the next three years.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said road user charges would also be increased by an equivalent amount.

He said the increases were required to deliver the “Roads of National Significance” programme and other roading projects to the timeline set out in the Government’s land transport funding policy.

“Excise increases in recent years have helped maintain the real value of the Land Transport Fund. These latest increases will also achieve that, and allow for continuing investment in the Government’s state highway building programme and other transport projects,” Brownlee said.

In particular, the extra money would allow work to begin on the Rangiriri and Tamahere-Cambridge sections of the Waikato Expressway, the Mackays to Peka Peka section of the Wellington Northern Corridor, and the four-laning of the Groynes to Sawyers Arm section of the Western Corridor in Christchurch.

“We have considered innovative ways to deliver the RONS [Roads of National Significance] programme, agreeing to the procurement of Wellington’s Transmission Gully project through a public-private partnership and asking the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) to investigate tolling the route.”

NZTA chief executive Geoff Dangerfield said the certainty provided by the increased funding had allowed the NZTA board to approve construction funding for projects.

“The certainty that this guaranteed funding stream provides means we can proceed with confidence in developing and delivering these and other major projects which will enable economic growth and provide safer journeys for New Zealanders.”

This pretty much confirms the impact of lower than expected fuel sales over the past few years have been hurting the transport budget more than the government has admitted. This is a fairly significant increase in fuel taxes, for projects of pretty debatable merit. I wonder how it’ll go down with the general public.

Edit by Matt: I was just working on a similar post, here is what I was about to say:

Well it wasn’t too hard to see this coming. The government has announced that fuel taxes will be increased by 3c a litre for the next three years with road user charges increasing by an equivalent amount. The increases are largely to cover a shortfall of $1.7 billion that is being brought about by road building binge that the government is on with its Roads of National Significance programme. One of the key reasons for the need of this increase is finally starting to be addressed by the MSM, that the expected growth of traffic is not occurring. This is leading to less money in the kitty to pay for these projects, many of which have such poor economic returns that they shouldn’t even be considered. On the TV one news piece about this, Andy Foster from the Traffic Institute, had this great quote:

“They’ve been predicting a significant amount of traffic growth and therefore significant revenue growth, [but] the traffic growth hasn’t been happening.”

The problem of course is that just like here, all around the world traffic demand is dropping off. This latest announcement of tax increases are only likely to put even more people off driving which will further impact on tax revenues. In a way it seems that traffic volumes are now heading into a bit of a death spiral, less are driving requiring taxes to be raised to which in turn leads to even less people driving. And these tax revenues have turned out to be fairly important as also today Bill English has announced that without the increases, the government would not have reached its goal of getting back into surplus.

There is of course one thing that could really help out here and that is cutting back the RoNS but that is the one thing that the government simply refuse to even consider.

106 comments to Petrol taxes hiked by 9c a litre over three years

  • George D

    This is a great policy. It will decrease carbon emissions, reduce congestion, increase public transport use, reduce noise and pollution in our cities, save lives on the road and the long-term cost of injuries. Congratulations to our forward-thinking Government.

    The only pity is that the money is being diverted to massive new roads which will not be needed..

  • Angry Bob

    “traffic volumes are now heading into a bit of a death spiral”

    A touch Hyperbole?
    Festive madness?

    It’s Christmas, struggling to be angry,
    Bob

  • kyotolaw

    Another issue is that the car fleet is becoming more fuel efficient. More miles travelled on less litres of petrol. Combined with higher oil prices and higher taxes, it will drive the consumer to value fuel efficiency in cars, which will mean the need to raise petrol taxes again…

    • The ‘fleet’ isn’t getting much more efficient, those that can afford new more efficient cars are contributing less per Km. Those at the middle and the bottom are getting stuck with older less efficient vehicles for longer… unable to upgrade because they are spending more on fuel and the cheaper dwellings are all further away and often poorly served by Transit…. little choice but to drive because all investment by the gov is in gold platted duplicate highways…

      And we aren’t driving more Kms.

      • Matthew

        I think it is fair to say National’s transport policy is in absolute tatters.

        9c petrol tax increase
        Otaki to Levin gold plated motorway scrapped
        Investigating PPP and tolls for Transmission Gully because there is no money for TG

        The country simply can’t afford to build uneconomic duplicate highways. There is no (increase in) demand for them, there is no need for them, and there is no money for them.

        They are going to look mighty stupid scrapping most of the RoNs, but they are looking mighty stupid now anyway.

        • bbc

          “I think it is fair to say National’s transport policy is in absolute tatters.”

          I wish I could agree but is it really? They are forging ahead with their motorways and enough of them will be signed off in the next couple of years such that a change of government will likely have to proceed. There remains a complete lack of real discussion in the media about the RoNS and National has successfully controlled the conversation in regards to projects like the CRL.

          They appear to be failing to convince people about the Holiday Highway though, several longtime ACT/National voters I spoke to recently also didn’t see how that highway would do anything but get John Key and his mates to Omaha more quickly.

      • And the fleet has never got more efficient. Sure engines have been getting more efficient for decades, but the market response is bigger cars (i.e. SUVs and softroaders), with more weight, stronger aircon and more electrical gadgetry. The fleet still uses as much fuel per km than it did in the 1970s. The base model Mini City from 1980 got 53 mpg. The base model Mini One today gets 44mpg.

  • Matthew

    Is 9c enough to make even the most ardent apologists for the happy motoring brigade to question how daft some of the RoNS are?

    With diesel excise going up to match, food prices are going to go up as well, and if the food prices go up, then the GST take goes up too.

    This I guess is not the kind of road diet the blog advocates right?

    The Herald cartoon was also pretty funny. See http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10854686

    Yeah, yeah, yeah it’s a link not a loop.

    And lastly when the NZ dollar softens, with oil costs going up, and add on the 9c are we starting to look like closer to $3 a litre in 3 years time? What’s that going to do to vehicle miles? And with falling demand the RoNS are going to become ever more marginal.

    He’s starting to look more and more like the Mad Hatter than the Fat Controller.

    • jonno1

      Matthew, your prediction of $3 per litre within 3 years may well be accurate, but we musn’t overlook the emergence of shale gas as a big player over the next decade. The US and UK at least will be self-sufficient before too long, as could NZ be if we didn’t have so many luddites around. Still, it’s probably better to be fast followers rather than leaders in this area, and let others do all the hard developmental work. Apart from cost, the other driver of course is to eliminate dependence on middle east oil, as that part of the world becomes increasingly unstable.

      Your comments about flow-on effects are dead right too. It behoves any of us with any influence at all to encourage development of these new technologies – and, yes, to critique the expenditure side too.

      • Matthew

        “The US and UK at least will be self-sufficient before too long” – hilarious. As if that is really going to happen. I reckon those claims from the fracking boosters are about as trustworthy as the PRT boosters who think we’re all going to be riding in our pods come this Xmas.

        • jonno1

          (Sigh) I do try to be polite Matthew, but you’re a hard man to please, or even to engage with! Did you not notice that I agreed with most of what you said? Or is there something in the Horowhenua water that enhances negativity? So let’s revisit the subject in 2022: if I’m wrong, I’ll buy you a beer. And if you’re wrong, I’ll buy you two beers.

          PS What’s a “PRT booster”? (I presume “booster” means “advocate” based on your previous usage).

          • Matthew

            I’ll take you up on the beer Jonno, as if there’s something wrong with the Horowhenua water. Actually spending $5 billion on a 2nd harbour crossing or $2.whatever billion on the rail link is all well and good, but in Shannon they still have to boil their water because it ain’t fit to drink. When it rains the Shannon shitworks overflows into one lucky farmer’s paddocks and then into the Manawatu River. All the giant infrastructure spends in Auckland are a bit rich when basic water and sewerage infrastructure isn’t up to scratch in the provinces. As for the negativity, I was thinking you must have read somewhere that fracking was the key to oil and gas self-sufficiency, which is one of the bigger loads of crap I had heard from the US and its oil industry boosters and hadn’t thrown a critical eye over it and by booster I mean an advocate with self interest and financial gain at their heart, conflated with a technonarcissism (the opposite of a Luddite, where instead of being completely against a technology they become a believer in that technology to the point where they no longer are on Planet Earth anymore). (As for anti-frackin “Luddites” in NZ – they’re not cranks, but being sensibly cautious) For the reality about the non-conventional oil and gas refer to the graph in the post of Patrick’s below. For the US the increased output through non-conventional gas is barely a blip, and doesn’t substitute much of their imports, because their demand is so high. World demand is growing, supply is diminishing. The cost of recovery is going up. The amount of energy spent to recover a barrel of oil is going up which means the carbon intensity of oil is going up, and this is at a time when we really need to be going the other way. At this point in time further locking us into oil dependency with extra (and duplicate) motorways seems completely, completely daft. Messing up Taranaki’s ground water, desperate to get the last calorie of energy, ain’t going to save us from those economic realities.

          • jonno1

            Thanks for that Matthew. You’re quite correct, there’s no single solution, however humankind is incredibly innovative and so far we’ve found solutions to pretty much everything. BTW, as an engineer I’m as sceptical of over-optimism as I am of pessimism.

            That’s a shocker about your local water supply; I totally agree that we need to get the basics right before indulging in optional extras.

      • How much of a game changer is Tight Oil really? Have a look at this view from the University of Texas:http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9619#more
        Good perspective with the little Shale bump on the way down, especially that first chart.

        Although I agree it and Iraq look likely to keep the world on the plateau for a few more years yet. Oil independence for the US and UK? No. Gas maybe. NZ, ha!.

        • jonno1

          Fair point Patrick, I shouldn’t have conflated shale gas with oil; what I meant was fossil fuel energy sources. I’ve read your link before – I must admit I had a hard time figuring out what the author was getting at initially! And while we probably have different views on fossil fuels, I’m sure you’ll agree that “peak oil” is a bit like “child poverty” – because it’s defined as a ratio it will always exist but is a moving target.

          • No. Child poverty is a renewable resource; oil is finite.

            What is Dr Patzek saying? Two things mainly:

            1. The improvement in the US position re imported oil is primarily because of recent ‘demand destruction’ [using less]. But that this doesn’t suit various vested interests nor some deep stories Americans like to believe about themselves, so is not the story that is in the MSM but is the best hope for the future:

            “In 2011, we consumed 18.8 MMbpd of petroleum products, less by 1.6 MMbpd than our consumption of petroleum products in 2005.”
            “Why isn’t this achievement front-page news? We finally use less crude oil! We are more efficient! This incredible news is evidently not as sexy as making up imaginary “oil” to be on par with the Saudis. Have we gone mad?! I take it back: Have we stumbled even deeper into the destructive imperial madness that has infected us for the last 11 years?”

            2. The bump in Tight Oil is real but has to make up for declines in old conventional fields, and is probably of short duration [very steep declines in fracked fields]. And when the production rate is increased [decline rate slowed] the depletion rate is increased, ie sucking faster on the straw just brings the end nearer. Fracking and other expensive extraction techniques has not ‘made’ new oil; this is no game changer, just more stealing from the kids. And frying the atmosphere quicker.

            So it goes.

          • jonno1

            I’ll keep trying to find something we can agree on Patrick, but it’s not looking good, maybe we occupy parallel universes (shades of Red Dwarf).

            Oh, how about “the NZ Herald newspaper is crap” – can we agree on that?

          • Well I agree with you about our daily rag. But you’re not seriously contending the facts mentioned above are you?

            Here they are broken down for you:

            1. Child poverty is renewable
            2. Oil is finite
            3. The US used less oil in 2011 than 2005
            4. That it should learn to do more with less in the future [believe me it will- willingly or otherwise, and it can, huge amount of waste]
            5. Tight Oil is not a technological creation but known geological resource now being accessed because it is now, just, profitable to do so
            6. Tight Oil is finite
            7. Conventional oil is in decline in the US
            8. Slowing the decline rate raises the depletion rate [bit technical I know, but this is a simple fact of field depletion]
            9. Adding long stored carbon to the atmosphere driving the truck to the gun shop is affecting the biosphere

            So what do you score out of nine?

          • jonno1

            Sorry for the delay Patrick, have been entertaining the neighbours! I can generally agree with you on points 1-8, with the caveats that (1) is unacceptable as far as I’m concerned (by that I mean that this is a construct of the welfare (entitlement) society and a direct consequence of irresponsible parenting), and (2) depends on what you mean by “finite”; true in an absolute sense but in how many millenia from now? And I’m sorry but I don’t know what you mean by “tight oil” – I’m guessing more costly extraction; if so then currently that’s a fair assessment too. But that makes your points (2), (5), (6) & (8) make pretty much the same. Ditto points (3), (4) & (7).

            But your no. 9 is absolute rubbish (assuming you mean carbon dioxide where you say carbon), and I’m sure you know that in your heart of hearts. Cognitive dissonance is always a tricky thing to handle. Have a look at the leaked IPCC draft AR5… it’ll be interesting to see how that gets spun by those living high on the gravy train at the expense of us mere taxpayers.

            But hey, 89% ain’t bad, plus agreement on the NZ Horrid. OK, only 75% agreement if we reduce your unique points to four, but still not too bad notwithstanding the caveats above.

        • Ultimately unsuccessful in 2012 (as well as 2011), but I don’t think President Obama is going to let up.

          http://news.yahoo.com/obama-seeks-halt-tax-subsidies-oil-industry-100325515.html

          Most people are blissfully unaware that the Oil industry receives massive subsidies. How much do they receive in NZ?

          • Luke C

            Probably not nearly as much in NZ, as our tax system is much cleaner. However MoBie (formerly Crown Minerals division of Ministry of Economic Development) is doing some initial mineral and oil’s surveying for free, and then auctioning off blocks.
            I guess main subsidies are hangovers from the 70′s/80′s Think Big projects where major capital was spent on projects with no economic return, however that did include Clyde Dam as well as fossil fuel projects.

          • Patrick Reynolds

            Jonno you are funny: I guess anyone who can’t accept that oil is finite will struggle with other unpleasant thoughts like how we are altering the biosphere by burning the stuff, but there you go. You really believe there’s more money in climate research than the fossil fuel industry? Then you really are desperate/naive. The science of climate change a grand conspiracy of nerds in sandals for financial gain?; too funny.

            And on the finite thing you know that oil production peaked in the US in 1970 don’t you? Why would that be the case if there weren’t geological limits? Another conspiracy? Is it those pesky scientists again trying to get a few more grants out of the government hiding the stuff so well that not even Exxon Mobile can’t find it?

            Tight Oil is a more precise expression for what is often called Shale oil, the stuff they are fracking out of Marlstone in North Dakota and Texas right now- It’s tight because it isn’t in nice easy to suck out deposits but actually imbedded in the rock and has to be forced out at great effort and expense.

          • jonno1

            Happy to make your day Patrick. Earlier I resisted pointing out the fallacy that if you believe fossil fuel sources to be finite, then you cannot logically be concerned about unfettered global warming [as you appear to link the two beliefs via CO2]. But you’ve forced me to do it.

            I fully concur with your disdain of Big Oil. I’m sure you are aware that, after governments, Big Oil is the greatest single industry group contributor to climate research and “green” technologies; why do you think that is?

            Thanks for explaining “tight oil”, I hadn’t come across that term before. I must admit my mind initially wandered to something completely different!

  • This is the crazy thing, instead of seizing on this opportunity to scale back their frantic road binge they are doubling down. There is no revenue problem; it’s just that this government are spending on roads like Drunken Sailors in an overpriced brothel… and what’s worse we’re the ones going to be left with the hangover and the clap in the form of unnecessary duplicate highways and a debt burden. And still insufficient investment in our Transit networks.

    Have they tried to blame the CRL yet?

  • In addition to the 2c already added this year.

    • Also, as GST is added to the end price, GST on fuel will by default go up as well. Not a big amount in the small picture but overall a nice little earner for IRD.

    • JohnP

      But the 2 cents rise was after putting off rises for the last few years – usually, the excise has been increased at the rate of inflation, but they stopped doing that once the recession hit. I’ll try to crunch the numbers sometime but even the 9 cent increase probably won’t increase things that much in inflation-adjusted terms, compared with the pre-recession level.

  • Interesting also that they keep using the excuse that it was an election promise to build the RoNS. What that really says is they don’t care about the outcomes of this but just want these roads built regardless. They want as many of the projects underway in the next few years so they can’t be stopped and will soak up all of the transport funding for at least the first few years of the next government. I also wouldn’t be surprised if this isn’t just the first of many increases that will be needed to keep these projects on the books.

  • George D

    I’m not in NZ at the moment, what’s the approximate price of a litre of 91?

  • bbc

    According to CardLink (http://www.pricewatch.co.nz/pricewatch.aspx) the average price in Auckland for 91 is just over $2 a litre (between 2.05 and 2.18$)

  • And of course, people might drive less due to the fuel prices and there will be even less income. Time for a new strategy. The rest of the world is coming to grips with this as well. I think an RUC type of charge (km’s driven) on all vehicles is in our future.

  • TAX

    I really think we could start to tax cyclist and pedestrian who are pro rail infrastructure, it could be called “walking & riding tax”, payable each month and measured by stepometers. This would create a tonne of revenue to fund projects of this nature.

    ohh the irony of it all!

  • Luke C

    This announcement here gives the reasoning away. http://www.nzta.govt.nz/about/media/releases/2359/news.html
    Issued only 15mins after the tax increase press release.
    This makes it clear that without this increase the Waikato Expressway would miss the 2019 deadline, the Kapiti Expressway and part of the Christchurch airport motorway would have been delayed.
    In other words what this blog has been saying about NZTA running low on money because of RONS is totally true.

    • George D

      Hardly subtle, are they?

    • The Waikato Expressway will reduce travel times between Auckland and Tirau by about 30 minutes

      Google maps has the distance from downtown Auckland to Tirau as 179km, which will take 2 hrs 13 minutes. Take 30 minutes off that and the trip would take 1hr 43. Assuming the new route is, say, 10 km shorter, that means an average speed of 98km / hr, up from the current average of 80 km/hr. Hmmmm…. If true how can they claim fuel costs will reduce? Travelling at a higher speed is worse for fuel consumption on a per km basis, not better.

      • bbc

        They claimed the Mangere bridge would reduce travel times by 10-15 minutes if I recall, they also made ridiculous claims such as the Victoria Park Tunnel being a great way to reduce CO2 emissions.

      • Dan

        The headline time savings are full of bullshit like that — like the Western Ring Route somehow saving 20 mins on an airport to CBD run. Quite how they get away with these cliams, I have no idea. I’m at a loss as what to do about it though.

      • I’m guessing because at the moment the vehicles don’t travel constantly at the 80km average speed, but slow down for 50k zone through towns and then speed up again to nearer 100Km for other sections,

        You would probably really need to know the actual speed profiles and acceleration periods before and after to make any judgements on overall fuel use

        • jonno1

          Dead right greenwelly, it’s consistent speed that counts, although granted fuel consumption creeps up slightly with higher average speed. For example, my 3 litre car averages around 8 l/100 km with cruise control set at 105 km/h between Auckland and say Taupo (or Turangi via the back road) at an average speed of around 90 km/h, but nearer 12 l/100 km to, say, the Coromandel at an average speed of 80 km/h, even though part of that route is still motorway. Oh, and 15 l/100 km consumption at an average speed of 8 km/h within the CBD. But fortunately the distance involved there is not great!

      • If the business case model those sort of time savings then the BCRs must be much higher than what they really are. To be honest SH1 is not congested all that often and even if it went from congested to free flowing, 30 minutes is definitely very optimistic.

      • Joshua

        It’s normally about traffic and not pure distance, calculated by average traffic flowing speeds.

  • Sam

    This could be good. Drive people outta cars and on to PT and boost our stats….wait sorry I forgot the govt. ignores all credible stats nevermind

  • Dave

    National Govt illogic: It’s all fine and dandy to impose a national fuel surcharge to help pay for the RONGs, even though many payers will rarely be users.
    However, remember what a complete no-no it was to let Auckland Council levy a regional fuel surcharge to help pay for the CRL! Apparently it was unfair that people in Rural Rodney should pay for something they would rarely use.
    Govt simply makes and breaks the rules to fulfil the pipe-dreams of a few misguided ministers.

  • Peter H

    The 30 minute time must be an update From the NZTA Waikato Expressway page. “reduce travel times between Auckland and Tirau by 35 minutes”
    Soon we will be back to Transits time savings. “Typical travelling times will be cut by at least 20 minutes (Cambridge to Mercer) and 10 minutes (Hamilton to Mercer).”

    • Luke C

      Note also the 35 min time saving includes the whole 103km Waikato Expressway, so this includes the upgrades done under the last government that have been complete for the best part of a decade. Also these were the most dangerous, cheapest (no Waikato River crossings) and therefore least stupid bits.
      The just complete Te Rapa section is actually just a bypass for congestion caused by the mad ‘Base’ mall that was built on SH1.
      Part of the Cambridge bypass will be ok as it brings traffic out of the centre of town, however will just get full of commuters from Cambridge rather than real SH traffic. So time saving benefits will look good but will actually be illusory.
      The Hamilton bypass is the real shocker as there is already multiple bypasses. SH 1B is a bit dodgy, but isn’t especially heavily trafficked, could be fixed up real nice with $10 million or so. Then there is the expressway standard bypass that Hamilton City are building to the east, these two will be a good bypass for Hamilton for the foreseeable future. Time saving benefits don’t take any of this into account.

  • KBilly

    “A touch Hyperbole?”

    The whole site is like this. Such sad bitter people.

    • I’m not sad or bitter. I just want to make Auckland (and NZ) as great as it possibly can be.

    • Sad – no. Bitter – possibly but only because the government continues to build gold plated roads rather than invest heavily in PT or active travel even though in most places road traffic volumes are stagnant or falling. The number of positive comments, compared to negative, in the Herald about the CRL are indicative that those who would like to use PT in order to get around is a growing percentage of the population.

    • NO, we are optimistic, polite and forward thinking. If you want to see sad and bitter, go to Whaleoil. Try and disagree with people there and see how much personal abuse you can rack up in the first 10mins, though I guess it depends whether you view “socialist” as personal abuse.

  • KBilly

    The CRL makes perfect sense. The rail network can’t operate to it’s potential with Britomart being a terminus.

    Unfortunately it needs to wait in line behind the AWHC.

  • Matt Lee

    It is also inflationary, and increases the tax burden of (car owning) low income households, irrespective of ability to pay.

  • Kent Lundberg

    Risky proposition with the NZD at these heights.

  • Look it’s completely crazy but that simply reflects the crazies that are in charge at the moment. Their time will pass.

  • TheBigWheel

    Agreed. Petrol is a fairly inelastic commodity, people aren’t generally in a position to change cars on the short term or even to drive less. So these tax hikes are recessive, disproportionately affecting the inflation rates of low income households. Of course cars, and petrol, were once relatively way more expensive than they are now.
    What really sucks about the policy is the explicit linkage of the additional income to roading projects, which do nothing to address this conundrum, and abjectly fail to meet the likely transport needs of future generations.
    On the contrary, all those billions are nothing short of a *tragic* lost opportunity cost (said without a hint of hyperbole).. well it would be tragic if it all goes ahead. Which it might just not.. if we can get our voices heard and make our votes count at every possible opportunity and before each investment decision gets passed the point of no return. Sad, KBilly? Mad more like.

    • George D

      Petrol isn’t highly elastic, but it has enough elasticity that we see changes in demand due to price shocks. 3c/L won’t do it in any one year, but over time if PT costs remain relatively static you’ll see a shift.

      Unfortunately, we’ll probably see these taxes incorportated into non-rail public transport fares, along with increases well above inflation. Cycling is unlikely to increase in cost.

      • Yes George here’s a sort of ‘have it both ways’ view: fuel use is highly ineleastic in the short term but rather more elastic over a longer period. Given a chance to make other arrangements we will often find a way to do so. Even in Transit poor Auckland. One example is the bidding up of properties in more central suburbs, especially those that are either well served by transit, within walking and cycle distance or at the very least don’t require motorway use.

        These FED increases will make a difference over time.

  • KBilly

    “And why would if have to wait in line behind the AWHC?..”

    Because the Harbour bridge needs to be replaced soon. How do you expect that will be able to take place without being able to divert traffic onto another crossing? Just make everyone take the Ferry? Build some more clip-ons?

  • KBilly

    “NZTA has said the central span is strong enough indefinitely while the clip ons have about 30 years but could go much longer with management of them”

    This must be the first time you agree with anything that NZTA has said. I suppose you’d wait right up to those 30 years before replacing a critical transport structure that has limited redundancy in the event of failure?

    • Mr Anderson

      No. What NZTA have plainly said is:

      1) We’re OK doing what we do now for 20-30 years.
      2) After 20-30 years we need to either restrict trucks from using the clip-ons or we need to replace the clip-ons.
      3) For the foreseeable future the original bridge (the middle four lanes) is fine and can continue to handle trucks.

      I think the “let’s let trucks on the clip-ons for another 20 years then ask them to use the middle lanes” option is much preferable to “let’s spend $5 billion to flood the CBD with cars” option. Just personally.

    • Joshua

      The bridge is absolutely fine, the advantage of it being a steel structure is you can strengthen and replace erroded sections. If it were a concrete structure then it would have a limited lifespan. The clipon’s and the entire bridge are monitored on a yearly basis by the bridge engineers, hell they are painting the damn thing on a daily basis minus stat days…

  • KBilly

    P.S. Nothing lasts indefinitely

  • JeffT

    I noticed the AA spokesmen in a Herald article tagging on the end of his comments that some of this will be spent on public transport. Sod all will be spent on PT sir. Yes buses run on roads but mostly on local roads with much maintenance spending coming from rates.
    This petrol tax increase is not going towards rail provision (as we know), just highways, motorways. Disingenious, AA.

  • Ejtma

    This discussion is pretty irrelevant, at the end of the day the biggest impact on the price we pay at the pump is the nz/usd exchange rate. When the us economy recovers which it will, and the usd strengthens, which it will and the nod/usd cross rate regresses to the mean which it will, then 9 cents will not mean much as the price of petrol will go up by around 50%. The only glimmer on the horizon is that the long term futures contracts for oil suggest a price of around $80 a barrel.

    @Kbilly I agree with you this site has become very negative, more than it ever has been. I think the continual uncontructive comments won’t be doing much to further the argument for what Auckland needs and which I agree with.

    • Filde

      Er you think KBilly’s comments are constructive? The negativity is well, perfectly justified don’t you think? No matter what ideological approach you have (right or left) this governments is absolutely bat crap insane. More than the rest.

      But you are right in terms of exchange rate etc.

      • US83c and shedding just over half a cent at the moment looking at the Live Boards. Hmmm if the US does take off and the rate hits US75c that would be enough to put how much onto 91 – around cent for cent isn’t it currently? So a 3 cent tax rise followed by a possible 8 cent rise in gas kicking it back to the 2.18 – 2.20 Heck that will but downward pressure in either road usage or tax take as consumer and producer spending tighten back up again (something we dont need).

        If our exchange literally bombs and hits 67cents I can hear the exporters jumping up and down and come Cin Cin but it isn’t going to do much for me at the pump or Pak n Save in one hell of a hurry… Although it will be a bastard to try and move through the trains again in Auckland :P

        But as Filde said: No matter what ideological approach you have (right or left) this governments is absolutely bat crap insane. More than the rest. Got that right

  • KBilly

    Well Filde, to be honest it’s hard to take this site seriously (and most of the people who post here) when there’s such obvious bias towards public transport. Just name it “public transport blog” and be done with it.

    As for being constructive… Wikipedia states that the northbound clip-on will have a life-span of 10-20 years. Well actually 7-17 years because this was 3 years ago. So factoring in how long it will be for the AWHC to get traction, funding, and built, the replacement bridge probably won’t get built before the worst-case scenario of the northbound clip-on falls into the harbour.

    P.S. Stu Donovan. I’m right, you’re wrong.

    • For one Wikipedia is hardly a good source of information, “let’s spend $5 billion because Wikipedia told us to”.

      As for “bias”, what does that even mean? How is an opinion, bias? It’d be like saying that National is “biassed” towards asset sales, or that Labour is “biassed” against asset sales. Blogs are sources of opinion and analysis.

      PS: KBilly sounds like Riggles in disguise

    • NZTA actually claims the clip on strengthening works will “ensure they stay in good condition for the next 30 to 40 years” without truck restrictions, and indefinitely with truck restrictions.

      http://www.nzta.govt.nz/network/projects/auckland-harbour-bridge-box-girder-strengthening-project/index.html

      (quite why trucks would be using the clip ons is beyond me, seeing as they only go to Ponsonby and Fanshawe St, the port motorway connects to the central lanes).

    • Harrymc

      First off Kbilly complains about “hyperbole” – and follows that up stating that with the clip-on lanes will fall into the harbour. Pot. Kettle. Black.
      Then, hilariously, he complains of negativity! Try looking in the mirror.
      Anyway Kbilly is Cameron Brewer and I claim my $10 etc……..

    • Matthew

      “Well Filde, to be honest it’s hard to take this site seriously (and most of the people who post here) when there’s such obvious bias towards public transport. Just name it “public transport blog” and be done with it.”

      So you want some form of balance with daft ideas as well as any good ones?

    • “I’m right, you’re wrong.”

      A graduate of the Gerry Brownlee School of Rhetoric? Possibly we have a PhD on our hands here.

      If you find this site hard to take seriously, then I suggest you go to Whaleoil and look at the in depth and analytical discussions there on transport. Basically it consists of “only socialists want public transport” and “I like driving a car”. I am sure you will find it much more to your taste.

    • Stu Donovan

      There’s heaps of (self-interested) websites that already talk about roads, e.g. AA, RTF, NZCID etc. If we’re biased then it’s only because I think there is a need for balancing the debate.

      That said I for one would welcome guest posts about road topics that were of a suitable standard. I’m not anti-roads/cars; I just have not owned a car for ten years so are not really interested in them.

  • Ari

    this site is negative because we are in a negative environment where people ignore reality even when it is slapping them in the face. the whole ” we need to raise petrol tax to cover the costs of building more roads and because people are using the roads less….” situation is ridiculous. what else can you do other than point out the stupidity of the situation? should we rather just hold hands and sing kumbaiya with our collective heads in the sad while rome burns?

    PS 91 has been $1.97 in south Auckland for the past week or two. and I think it was $2.15 in st heliers the last time I drove through. very big difference.

  • Ari

    fracking is an environmental nightmare that we should avoid. it is also ONLY a stopgap measure. we should be reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, not swapping one for another. nz has a wealth of renewable energy that we haven’t tapped into yet. methane from natural gas is also several times worse than CO2 in terms of global warming properties.

    • Exactly. People say we cannot afford electrification of rail. I say we cannot afford not to. The future, unless the mythical fuel fairy comes along, is in electricity. Most of NZ’s electricity comes from renewable sources but we can do a whole lot better. The ‘solar roof’ revolution is happening overseas and we need to embrace it here.

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