Petrol Prices Sky High: Why More Motorways?


Russel's unhappy with motorway madness

Petrol prices are at their highest in 18 months, with 91unleaded costing between 180.9c and 182.9c a litre.

The Greens say this makes it economically irresponsible to continue to invest in new roading infrastructure, instead of light rail and bus lanes.

Greens co-leader Dr Russel Norman said the government has outlined an additional $21 billion of investment in roads after 2012.

The same National Infrastructure Plan lists only a further $0.7 billion investment in alternatives to roads. “Such a one-sided investment approach to managing our future mobility is economic mismanagement. There is no other way to describe it. “

For the person on the street, this will mean they’ll have next to no alternative options for getting to work when oil prices become unaffordable for everyday transport,” said Dr Norman. “And this could happen very soon.”

He said that this week, Shell CEO Peter Voser joined a growing chorus of voices announcing the end to cheap oil. When asked about whether the theory of “peak oil” was dead — the theory that oil production will no longer be able to keep up with demand — Mr Voser said “I think what is dead is cheap oil.”

“This Government is placing all their bets on electric car technology to keep us moving in the future. But the new cars are expensive, their uptake will be slow, and they don’t solve the problem of congestion or where the power will come from,” said Dr Norman.

In response to a Written Question, Transport Minister Steven Joyce has estimated that there will be 300 light electric motor vehicles in the fleet by July 2013.

By 2020, this number is estimated to reach 5% of the vehicle fleet according to the New Zealand Energy Strategy.

“In the short-to-medium term, we should be investing in proven technology like light rail, busways, and better walking and cycling facilities. We need to move smarter and build resilience into our transport systems.”




  1. Jeremy Harris says:

    Absolutely right, what Joyce is doing is so one eyed it can be accurate described as future economic vandalism…

  2. Cambennett says:

    Well we all kind of knew that Joyce was leading us towards a brick wall. When even the CEO of an oil company is saying it’s the end of cheap oil the government really should be listening. Too bad they’re not.

  3. Matt L says:

    While all very true and we should be spending far more money on public transport than are.

    We also have to remember that Shell have their own reasons for saying cheap oil is over. They are moving out of retailing and into exploration so it is in their interst for the prices to be high.

  4. Richard Leckinger says:

    Your right about their move Matt, but the reasons are reversed. The reason Shell is moving out of retailing is because the margins are being squeezed to death by the end of cheap oil. At the exploration end, high prices are a good thing. I don’t think Shell is talking up prices. They are going to be very volatile going forward - following the death throws of our perpetual economic growth paradigm.

  5. rtc says:

    Can anyone name any other country that has its funding priorities so road based? At 30:1, this means National is investing $1 in alternatives to roads for every $30 it spends on them. They then justify this by saying that that is the mode people use. I honestly wonder how they can be so one sided, what situation they really believe this will leave us in 20 years time?

  6. ejtma says:

    And of course we call know that the Greens policies are well thought out, you just have to listen to some of the thoughts of Keith Locke

  7. ingolfson says:

    “They then justify this by saying that that is the mode people use.”

    Even under that logic, they should be spending more on PT, because our PT mode share is about 4-5% nationwide, plus some 1-2% for cycling and 10-15% on walking (correct me if I am wrong - it depends anyway on whether you look at all trips or just commuting, so numbers change some).

    So in fact they are actually underspending even the existing mode shares, massively. It is like Steve Joyce actually wants to ENCOURAGE more people to stop walking and cycling and using buses.


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