Infrastructure Plan Ignores Peak Oil


The Government has released its second infrastructure plan covering the next 20 years.

It talks of $6.5 billion on roads and $1.5 billion on rail services.

It’s a direction not a list of specific plans -and hints at finding private public partnerships and funding.

It wants more money on roads - but ignores the issue of peak oil.

Green Party co-leader Dr Russel Norman said the document demonstrated the Government did not have a coherent vision to develop a smart green economy to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

“The plan states that we need to consider global trends that will affect the economy, including climate change, but then it prioritises fossil fuel production and irrigation to expand dairy production, both of which will increase our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Dr Norman.

“It states that we need to consider peak oil, yet it plans for growth in traffic, despite the fact that the last few years have seen no increase in light vehicle trips and a decrease in freight tonnes per kilometre.

“It plans to spend billions on new state highways, even though it states that we need to find more cost effective ways of using the infrastructure that we have, particularly in urban areas.

“It also seems to be laying the groundwork for more privatisation for the provision of social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.”

On vehicle demand ahead the report says:
“Based on historical trends, light passenger vehicle kilometres travelled are projected to increase by 14.4 percent in the 20 years to 2030. The Ministry of Transport modelling uses historical and projected data for fuel and vehicle prices, GDP, inflation and population.
With just one percent higher annual growth in real GDP, vehicle kilometres travelled could increase by 27.4 percent over the same period. If transport patterns change, the situation in 20 years could be very different to that shown here.
It is difficult to translate these overall trends into infrastructure pressures and appropriate responses, as the latter are location specific. In general, increases in light passenger traffic lead to increased costs from building n ew roads, maintaining the existing network and enhancing traffic management infrastructure such as traffic lights and traffic islands.
Over the same period, freight tonnes per kilometre travelled are projected to increase by 27.7 percent. Under a higher growth path the increase could be as much as 61.1 percent. This reflects increased movement of goods in a high growth economy.

Increases in freight movement will put pressure on New Zealand’s road, rail and port infrastructure. Developing these networks to provide the right level of service in the right location, and support the export sector will be a key focus for transport infrastructure providers.

Today’s Infrastructure Plan says the government encourages “greater involvement of the private sector, as investors in economic infrastructure and as partners of government to deliver social infrastructure. In addition to investment, the private sector provides skills and expertise in planning and design,

construction and asset management.”

It says Auckland’s  infrastructure needs large scale investing and consideration of the approach for this..

On the Auckland Plan it says:

“To work, the Auckland Plan will need to acknowledge and reinforce central government’s objectives for New Zealand, and complement central government interventions, funding and decision-making processes.
At the same time central government will need to consider changes to current policy settings or funding scenarios if the Auckland Plan demonstrates that there are better ways of achieving things.

Central government’s spending decisions should always be informed by the best available evidence, and there is opportunity for the Auckland Plan to bring useful evidence to light. There is an expectation that government agencies will, as part of  good business case development and overall decisionmaking, consider the Auckland Plan (and the landuse,
growth and infrastructure strategy it contains) in their own investment decisions and strategies.”

On the CBD rail link:

“To facilitate economic growth, Auckland will need large scale investment in key projects. The government will work with the region to analyse and evaluate future large projects to ensure that appropriate investment decisions are made and that the infrastructure is built at the best time to achieve optimum uptake and value.

Currently the Auckland CBD Rail loop and an additional harbour crossing are topical, however, as the spatial plan is developed other projects may become apparent. Projects such as these will also need to be considered in the context of other infrastructure priorities for the region and the period over which they will be required.

The Government says its” focused on creating the most efficient mix of transport options that benefits all New Zealanders and contributes to improved productivity and economic growth.”

Its philosophy is for a  public transport system that is robust and effective and offers a range of user options that will attract a greater percentage of long term users.

“Increased public transport reliability and patronage will be  supported through investment in public transport in major urban areas, where analysis suggests it is most needed. Specific examples are bus ways, park and ride facilities, bus lanes, bus priority information systems and integrated ticketing systems.
And a rail system that enables the efficient movement of freight and complements other modes of passenger transport and freight movement.

On Metro rail:

“To ensure that the strategies for the Auckland and Wellington metrorail networks are well-aligned with other regional priorities, the government has clarified governance arrangements and is pursuing a metrorail operating model, whereby regions have greater autonomy and responsibility over these operations. The model is predicated on regions
taking responsibility for the standard of service they wish metrorail to deliver. The government will then signal the role that it expects metrorail to play in the overall network’s ability to move people efficiently and will support local government in its decision making.

The report warns that infrastructure investment will be subject
to rigorous analysis and based on consistent evaluation

Future investment decisions should consider:

  • Future demand and then build extra capacity and development options into new infrastructure.
  • The value of developing networks of infrastructure.
  • Wider economic benefits including those created by more efficient land use and resource allocation.
  • The costs and implications of ownership over the life of  the asset/network.

On the beloved Roads of National Significance:

The RoNS are the government’s commitment to creating a roading network to support our economic growth goals. They are the major roading investment for the next ten years.

In parallel to this work theremust be a focus on using the roading network as efficiently as possible. This journey has begun with recent changes to modernise the road user charges system, the state highway classification programme and investment in ramp signalling and other forms of traffic management technology. In the future New Zealand will require a more
sophisticated road pricing system to enable management of
demand through pricing.

On freight, it says:

Most freight in New Zealand is moved by road. Coastal shipping and rail (with the improvements that the government is supporting through the KiwiRail Turnaround Plan) provide alternative networks. A more strategic approach to logistics management may result in different decisions being made in the future.

Longer term, the logistics required for the overall supply chain need to be considered alongside land use decisions.

On bigger trucks:

Changes to allow for heavier trucks, and thus fewer journeys to deliver a
given amount of freight provide a maintenance and renewal
challenge. Aligned with a more strategic approach to land use
considerations is the need to examine the resilience of our supply chains across the country. The key focus is on ensuring that each mode understands the demand pressures and development plans of the other modes and responds with their own investment decisions accordingly. Greater certainty and consistency in developed plans will allow logistics operators to operate in a more integrated way benefiting exporters, the
economy and community in general.

You can read it here




  1. Tim Gummer says:

    And walking and cycling…?
    Didn’t think so.

  2. Patrick R says:

    vehicle demand projections: based on what years? up to around 2006 I’ll bet. Won’t happen.

  3. Matt says:

    The report warns that infrastructure investment will be subject to rigorous analysis and based on consistent evaluation methodologies.

    But only for non-roading projects.

  4. Cam says:

    @Patrick - everything by the MoT seems to be worked out of historical trends up to 2006. It’s as if they are not allowed to use any data except for census data.

  5. DanC says:

    What would $6.5 billion buy NZ in railways?

  6. DanC says:

    A cycle lane beside the Eastern line from Silvia Park to the CBD would be money well spent. Also cycle lockers / racks at rail stations and ferry terminals. Also more ferries for Auckland going to more locations. Oh I could go all day….. just not more dam roads.

  7. KarlHansen says:

    DanC - there’s plans in the locker (done by NZTA, to boot!) for such routes. Just no funding. Go figure.


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