Tolls for new roads

August 25th, 2008 at 7:44 am by David Farrar

on Agenda yesterday confirmed that National would look to speed up construction of new roads with private-public partnerships and tolls.

The party’s transport spokesman, Maurice Williamson, said yesterday that commuters could face bills of up to $50 a week for tolls of $3 to $5 a trip on new motorways or similar “ of national importance”.

But he believed that most people, if given a choice between tolls or queuing on free roads, would gladly pay.

Also free roads are not free. They are just funded through . I think it is vitally important that users of roads pay for them, and tolls are better at doing that, plus will allow for some roads to happen, which would not have happened otherwise.

He believed an obstacle to public acceptance of tolls had been removed by a new law requiring all money raised from fuel taxes to be paid into the national land transport fund.

“I think New Zealanders will now say, ‘Well okay, if it is going to provide a solution to a problem I face and you are not stealing my petrol tax, well then I’ll go for it’.”

Another policy Labour stole from National!

Transport Minister accused Mr Williamson of not thinking his toll plans through properly.

She said that even if the $365 million Albany-to-Puhoi toll road, to open early next year, had “maximised” use, a $2 toll would still pay only half its cost.

So what? Half is better than none.

But she said the Labour-led Government believed strongly there was a place for .

But I thought they were evil privatisations in drag?

Mr Williamson listed these possible candidates for tolls:

  • Auckland’s next crossing of the Waitemata Harbour (expected to cost at least $4 billion).
  • Auckland’s motorway tunnels through Waterview on the western ring route ($1.9 billion).
  • A 19km motorway extension to Warkworth or beyond ($1 billion-plus).
  • Completion of the Waikato Expressway on State Highway 1 ($1 billion).
  • Kopu Bridge, on the way to Coromandel Peninsula ($32 million).

Don’t forget Transmission Gully!

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71 Responses to “Tolls for new roads”

  1. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “Maurice Williamson, said yesterday that commuters could face bills of up to $50 a week for tolls of $3 to $5 a trip on new motorways”

    I have no problem with toll roads but I sometimes wonder if some of the Nats MPs really want to be in government?
    Hit me with your negative karma but why on earth would you mention “ bills of up to $50 a week” if you didn’t want to frighten the average punter?
    I have no problem with the concept – but the delivery of it again seems wanting

    [DPF: I think you will find the media used that phrase, probably not Maurice. It is a worst case scenario for someone who has to travel on a new toll road twice a day every day of the working week. And they would have the option of travelling on existing roads]

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  2. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    You’d rather Williamson didn’t give us an idea of the costs Patrick? Would reinforce the ‘lacking detail’ perception of National’s policies if he didn’t, one would think.

    $50 a week would have to save a HELL of a lot of time for commuters too – something grandiose on the horizon?

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  3. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Stephen

    it’s user choice! You dont need to highlight an extra $50 per week if you can get away with saying, a couple of dollars if YOU choose to use it.
    I’m talking about the average punter who is probably thinking; Hmmmm – how will I spend my tax break north of $50 per week -oh. thats how?

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  4. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Yeah Patrick, you’re right in that they need to highlight two aspects – new roads and choice. It’s not like any roads ARE so bad (i.e. lined with land mines) that people will have no choice but to pay the $30-50 a week.

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  5. goodgod (1,348 comments) says:

    Patrick Starr is right. Who is in charge of co-ordinating strategy in the National Party? John Key has earlier implied it was he. Well if it is he’d better take some new advice if he doesn’t want to strip off all the poll lead he has won so far. Hot on the heels of “we’re not listening to the people” (S59 referendum) he’s now allowing Maurice to say “here NZ have another tax” (road tolls).

    Think for godssake! The mind of the average punter reduces these things to easy to remember slogans: Not listening… more tax.

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  6. JamesP (76 comments) says:

    I have to agree with Patrick. There’s nothing wrong with the idea but even blind Freddie could see that it’s not going to be instantly popular with a lot of people. So it’s an idea that needs to be sold carefully. Saying cough up $50 bucks a week and you’ll be happy is NOT the way to do this.

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  7. Inventory2 (10,341 comments) says:

    Just and idle question – did Steve Maharey ever find the ditch he was going to die in if Labour did PPP’s?

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  8. kiwipolemicist (393 comments) says:

    If the government is going to have toll roads they should decrease the massive amount of petrol tax we pay; otherwise toll roads are a tax increase.

    http://kiwipolemicist.wordpress.com/2008/08/25/national-proposes-toll-roads/

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  9. PhilBest (5,121 comments) says:

    DPF: “Don’t forget Transmission Gully!”

    Agree. But why have we forgotten that the cost-benefit ratio of a multi-lane highway all the way to Wellington Airport is so good that it would be on the plans just as soon as “the people of Wellington” abandon their “opposition” to it? (By the way, the use of the term “bypass” for the new road that has been done after years of battle, is straight out of George Orwell).

    The trouble is that radical minorities have siezed the agenda for “transport”. It is all very well to say that

    “…….a new law requiring all money raised from fuel taxes to be paid into the national land transport fund……..”, but how much of that is earmarked to get blown on trains and rails and buses and “bus-only” lanes and tunnels. Bear in mind that all studies show that in a free country, all these things ever do is lose money, and do not reduce road congestion. Irrespective of congestion, petrol prices, and urban density, by far the greatest majority of people will choose to use their car, not public transport. I suggest that there are broad factors at work here after decades of evolutionary growth of our society, so that car use is virtually unavoidable.

    Because we are failing to deal with realities here, huge amounts of public money are being wasted. And Patrick Starr, it is an important point that no-one suffers more from coercive policy measures aimed at forcing them to stop using their cars and start using public transport, than lower income earners. Every time Roger Nome pops up here and starts bleating about increases in inequality, I hit him with a list of factors that cause this; including this factor. “Smart Growth” policies that force housing costs up, is another factor.

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  10. big bruv (13,901 comments) says:

    I watched Agenda yesterday morning, Williamson was bloody impressive.

    Leaving aside party politics it was great to see an MP talk about the subject at hand without diverting to petty abuse and point scoring against the opposition.
    Williamson answered every question put to him with an open and relaxed manner, he did not avoid the question nor seek to use the opportunity to have a crack at Labour, in fact I cannot remember him mentioning Labour at all.

    Contrast this with recent appearances by Labour party MP’s who answer every question with a ninth floor pre prepared monotonous scare mongering rant about the Nat’s so called hidden agenda.

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  11. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    kiwipolemicist, you seem to be assuming that everyone will be using the toll roads, not just the few that decide to use them…

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  12. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    Out of all the policies trotted out by National.

    This is the worst.

    Users pays ‘twice’ is the actual fact.

    Like toll roads in the UK, this is a throwback to ‘Turnpikes’, with the amount of money being collected from motorists, it is frankly an insult.

    The biggest issue is the pratting around to either throw money in a cage, having to stop for 3 minutes to pay by credit/debit card, or having to purchase an electronic responder through your bank.

    Aren’t road users screwed enough?

    Won’t affect me in Taupo however.

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  13. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    Let the jobs go to where the people live rather than try to keep all the jobs in the inner city and let us be a multi nodal city.

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  14. toms (299 comments) says:

    Stephen said… “…You’d rather Williamson didn’t give us an idea of the costs Patrick?…”

    Well I am listening to a most extraordinary interview between Kathryn Ryan and Bill “the fireman” English, who is telling her just that – Mauric Williamson has got no idea of the costs. He was being “exhuberant” with his numbers. Oh dear. Three months out from the election, and the spokesperson for transport hasn’t got a clue about the costs of his own policies? Thre months out from the election, and Bill English is telling the people of New Zealand the potential minister of transport can’t speak for himself, and when he does open his mouth he doesn’t know what his own tolls might be?

    More hidden agendas?

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  15. big bruv (13,901 comments) says:

    Oh dear, it seems that the Troll baton has been passed from Ghost to Toms.

    Why am I not surprised that Toms is listening to radio left wing?

    I am also not sure why Kathryn Ryan has not registered herself as a third party such is her unbelievable bias toward dear corrupt leader.

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  16. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    So ignore the “exuberant” comment then big bruv? Fine. Regardless of what else toms said, it’s embarrassing that English had to say that.

    Not like Ryan stuck a gun to his head and made him say it, jeez.

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  17. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    Is this a refreshing openness in politics — telling people the bad news *before* you’re elected?

    Or is it just another case of political “foot in mouth” disease.

    If Maurice Williamson has anything to do with it then I’m not having a bean.

    He screwed the ICT sector of NZ’s economy so bad last time he was in government that I refuse to give National my vote as long as he’s promised a seat in cabinet.

    Imagine how much further we’d be ahead if he hadn’t been a Telecom Toadie for all those years when the Net was just getting up to speed.

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  18. big bruv (13,901 comments) says:

    If Williamson’s comments do prove to be damaging to the Nat’s then I despair for the future of New Zealand, any negative impact will sadly prove two suspicions that I have held for some time now.

    1. That telling the truth is the wrong tactic when it comes to campaigning, Kiwi’s would rather have politicians like Clark and Cullen who blatantly lie to them and tell them things are better than they actually are, the average Kiwi prefers to stick his or her head in the sand and pretend the problem is not there than take the brave and logical approach and deal to the problem head on.

    2. That we are indeed a nation of bludgers, we like the idea of new roads but we are not prepared to pay for them, we are so used to looking to nanny state for advice and handouts that we have lost the ability to think logically and fend for ourselves.

    I am starting to think that the people of NZ deserve another three years of this corrupt and illegal government.

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  19. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    You forgot “evil”.

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  20. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    I’m with Kiwipolemicist and Glutaemus- When a NZ driver pays to drive on a toll road, he has in effect paid twice or more for that benefit, given that massive amounts of funds are compulsorily collected from transport users already and like most money the government gets its hands on- wasted.

    I’m also surprised that Williamson should make the statement “most people, if given a choice between tolls or queuing on free roads, would gladly pay.” He needs to go and talk to the people who have actually built toll roads in NZ and see what they reckon about that. The projections on utilisation that were part of the case for funding current toll roads have been shown to be wildly extravagant. (in fact whoever made them should be sacked).

    I don’t like Williamson. He’s in the pocket of the bureaucrats, and he demonstrated that so well with his unnecessary interference in NZ’s driver licensing scheme, where he discarded the life time driver’s licence and replaced it with the fascistic photo ID card system without a smidgen of thought for the fact that he had broken a lawful contract with thousands of NZers.

    We need politicians who will stand strong for the citizens and against the bureaucrats who constantly seek to expand their power and build their empires. Williamson is a great friend of the fascists running the LTSA (or whatever it is this week) and for that IMHO he’s one of the NATs who should have been shown the door a long time ago.

    Private-public partnerships?? Why? What’s the benefit? Private companies that the government fully control? Think about the historical connotations of that circumstance.

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  21. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Owen McShane has the glaringly obvious sensible and simple solution (as usual).

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  22. PhilBest (5,121 comments) says:

    Redbaiter (3369) +0 Says:

    August 25th, 2008 at 10:31 am
    “I’m with Kiwipolemicist and Glutaemus- When a NZ driver pays to drive on a toll road, he has in effect paid twice or more for that benefit, given that massive amounts of funds are compulsorily collected from transport users already and like most money the government gets its hands on- wasted.”

    And the biggest wastage of the lot, is on public Transport.

    All studies show that in a free country, all that more railway lines, light rail, and bus routes ever do is lose money, and do not reduce road congestion. Irrespective of congestion, petrol prices, and urban density, by far the greatest majority of people will choose to use their car, not public transport. I suggest that there are broad factors at work here after decades of evolutionary growth of our society, so that car use is virtually unavoidable.

    Because we are failing to deal with realities here, huge amounts of public money are being wasted. And no-one suffers more from coercive policy measures aimed at forcing them to stop using their cars and start using public transport, than lower income earners. Every time Roger Nome pops up here and starts bleating about increases in inequality, I hit him with a list of factors that cause this; including this factor. “Smart Growth” policies that force housing costs up, is another factor.

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  23. PhilBest (5,121 comments) says:

    Yep, Redbaiter, Owen and his Resource Management Studies website is a treasure trove of relevant information.

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  24. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    BTW, the “more tax” argument is easily dealt with. All National needs to say is that if government fund roads through tolls, then car registration fees or petrol tax will be decreased by an appropriate amount. Will they say this” Like pigs will fly.

    The Singapore government frequently changes its revenue streams, but normally provides a balance sheet showing that overall, the cost of government has not increased. Do NZ governments ever do this?? Never. They just take more and more and more and more. Somebody somewhere has to put a stop to the ever increasing size of government, ever increasing taxation, ever increasing regulation, and ever increasing government power.

    If think the current bunch of progressive/ socialist/ fascist/ slow thinking stooges in the National party will do this you’re dreaming. MMP. RMA. TOW. Nine years they had before and did practically nothing other than prepare the stage for Helen Klark.

    Sure, the Nats have to win government this election, but those who write here in support of small government and low taxation and property rights need to prepare themselves for the reality that even if the Nats do win, the battle is far far from over.

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  25. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    “The fascists running the LTSA…”

    Oh please! Ratty it’s not the inspector’s fault if your car fails its WoF… and calling your tyres bald does not make him a fascist!

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  26. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Anyone out there with an argument for the existence of “city centres” and why in this age of advanced communication, (where a lot of commerce is conducted globally), everyone should travel in to a conglomerate of high rise office blocks in only one region of a city. This is a nonsense idea and one that today gives planners and bureaucrats and do-gooders and seventies Swedish style social engineers like Helen Klark so many opportunities to interfere in and regulate our lives, and of course steal our money.

    Williamson and the Nats do not have the solutions to the problem of road congestion. Owen McShane does. Why don’t the Nats adopt his ideas?? Because when it comes to political ideas and real solutions, they’re as moribund in their thinking as the current bunch of knuckle dragging soviets.

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  27. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Oh please! Ratty it’s not the inspector’s fault if your car fails its WoF…”

    Many countries do not have WOF tests every six months. Some annually and others hardly ever, (Queensland for example) and their accident rate is no worse than NZ. The need to get a WOF so frequently is a massive cost to NZ businesses, and this regulation is one that I am sure would never have been subject to an accurate cost benefit analysis test. (As usual, the try so hard to be smart and witty RRM shows he’s only ever capable of thinking in the most superficial manner.)

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  28. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Red, with the last you’re making sense. Over time I think that large corporates will start to fragment. Large, vertically integrated companies are a reaction to high transaction costs. If every time I want everything from stationery for my office through to inputs on the factory floor, marketing advice for my sales team, I have to sign a contract, make a deal, trust someone I don’t know, then it is very hard to run a company. Large corporations reduce transaction cost, because when I pick up the phone I’m talking to Jim in marketing, and I know he works for the same organisation.

    We are seeing an increasing trend of individual contractors, they come into the company still, but they are no longer company employees. As the internet continues to reduce transaction costs, and people come up with ways to deal with the trust issue (something as simple as karma here on kiwiblog), it becomes more and more possible to run a virtual corporation – a few people coordinating a whole bunch of small organisations or even individuals collaborating to make products or services. As this happens, it become less and less necessary to be in a city centre to achieve this.

    In the past, another benefit of aggregations of people is the cluster effect. The old story about one village in China that makes 40% of the worlds buttons or some such. You know if you want buttons that is where to go, and when you are making buttons, you know where to go to get staff that make buttons. Having lots of similar organisations in the same location can create real benefits. The question is whether the internet can now provide that as a virtual community – can you get the same by having a forum, a wiki, people working from home?

    The answer is probably that some things still require people to be in the same location. It reduces shipping costs when moving components to final assembly, it reduces delays. But for many services that are or can be delivered electronically, there is no need to go to the office. And that will gradually reduce the need for city centres for business purposes. They may still, however, exist for social reasons – people living in the city because they like the hustle and bustle. Presumably those people wouldn’t be complaining about transport though – they’d work from their apartment, rather than getting into their car at 8am and 5:30pm like lemmings.

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  29. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    Lemmings can’t drive. That is a scientific fact.

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  30. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Damn. I thought I’d read somewhere that scientists had trained them to drive. Apparently they drove better than the average women. Men, of course, are genetically programmed to drive with all the skill of a professional rally driver.

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  31. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    bigbruv and others. Williamson should be shot for giving Labour a gift around which to spin their usual tissue of lies. A person of his supposed experience should never have allowed the words ‘five dollars’ to fall out clattering all over the floor. It will not be long before somebody produces a lexicon of Williamson Gaffes from our very own Biden without the hair plugs.

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  32. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “some things still require people to be in the same location”

    But what goes on in office towers? Just paper shuffling, telephone calls meetings and the like. Management stuff. Nobody makes buttons in any Queen street tower. No need at all for this to be in a centralized region. Modern communication facilities have made the office block almost redundant, and have definitely done away with the need for “city centres”. The idea that everyone should travel to region A every day to work is past. Well past. We needs regions BCDEFGHIJKLMNO and more, if not for any other reason than to get the damn social engineers and planners who can’t see further than uneconomic train systems out of our lives.

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  33. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    PaulL, you misread the study. Scientists had trained lemmings to play golf. Driving was just the first step in what is likely to be a long and difficult process. Have you seen a lemming putt? They’re rubbish.

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  34. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    I can solve all of New Zealands roading and a lot of the other problems.

    A honking big coast to coast wall accross the Bombay Hills and tell Jafaland they’ve been succeded from NZ.

    CUBYE

    P.S. You can keep Helen too.

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  35. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Williamson should be shot for giving Labour a gift around which to spin their usual tissue of lies.”

    You’re right of course, but the real tragedy is that this is what politics has come to in NZ, whereby one must never speak the truth, or voice an idea that challenges the socialist status quo, unless one wants to risk crucifixion on the cross of leftist totalitarianism.

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  36. big bruv (13,901 comments) says:

    Adolf and others

    With respect you are allowing the left to set the agenda again, the leftist media hack Royden whatisname pounced on the $5 comment and IMHO Williamson dealt with it superbly.
    The problem here is that the Nat’s have allowed Williamson’s answer to go unreported, Williamson made it quiet clear that NOBODY would be forced to pay the tolls.
    Toll roads would only be introduced where there was congestion and the choice to use them or not would be with the motorist, in other words the motorist WOULD HAVE THE CHOICE to use the toll road and save 40 mins or take the free road and spend 40 mins sitting in traffic.

    If the people of NZ are to fucking stupid to work this out for themselves then they deserve another three years of this corrupt government.

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  37. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    bigbruv, you live in a dream world. You are telling members of the public that unless they are rich, and I mean really really rich, you will sentence them to 80 minutes of congestion each day. And then you seriously expect them to VOTE for you?

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  38. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    No-one makes buttons in (say) the head offices of the ANZ, State Insurance or HSBC or either. Surely the banks would be only too happy to do away with the overheads of renting/owning huge buildings on Lambton Quay, given they could set up all of their workers with a PC and broadband at home, IF they felt they could do this and still make their operation work?

    We do however have large industrial areas well out of the CBD in most cities, where you can stamp out buttons to your heart’s content without people’s home lives being disturbed by the smoke or the noise or the huge trucks. These are the pragmatic reasons why cities are zoned (or even better, where possible designed) and not left up to the whim of The Market (All Hail The Market!) to decide what happens and where.

    Similarly a purely market-driven tall office building would ideally not feature any large columns, as these take up floor space, block the light and take up a lot of expensive materials. Unfortunately there are physical constraints (gravity) that you just have to suck up and deal with – appealing to The Market for a perfect solution does not really help the guy who actually has to make the building (city) work somehow.

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  39. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    Williamson is an idiot and (for a politician) incredibly naive.

    He should have said “we will consult with the public of NZ to see whether road tolls may be a better option to fund the expansion and maintenance of our roading network.”

    Of course the odds are that they’d do the consulting and completely discount the public’s opinion (just as they do with non-binding referenda — see my blog today for a rant about that) but at least his statement would be far less threatening and “true”.

    What a dumbarse! Heaven help us if he gets back into cabinet.

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  40. big bruv (13,901 comments) says:

    No Adolf, I am offering them the bloody choice.

    They already sit in traffic for 80 mins a day, I am offering them the CHOICE of paying a small sum of money to cut time off that trip.
    Anyway, it is only the mind numbingly stupid Labour voters who will prefer to sit in traffic for 80 mins burning far more than $5 worth of fuel so who gives a toss.

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  41. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Adolf, missing the big point. Those who pay to travel on the new toll road reduce congestion for others who are on the old roads. Eventually we reach an equilibrium – the number of people moving to the new toll road balances out the congestion on the old road, and we now know what the average punter is prepared to pay to avoid that congestion.

    In most places in the world they just have the eToll thingies, it is no big deal. Have you seen what people are paying to park their cars in the city? Tolls are a fraction of the cost of driving into town.

    And RRM, I’m pretty sure that “The Market” would work out that a building with no supports was a problem. You are demonising “The Market” in a way that doesn’t work if you replace that phrase with a synonym – “The choices of millions of individuals every day in their normal life.” Suddenly doesn’t sound so ominous, does it? I doubt that many individuals are making choices to build levitating buildings when spending their own money. I can, however, imagine some bureaucrat doing so when spending govt money.

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  42. Reb (249 comments) says:

    I see English is pussying it up in today’s Herald now. Fuck National are useless – can’t do anything but pander to populism. ACT would have to guts to say – “yeah $50 is reasonable and economically sound. So what? Who’s fault is it if you’re too poor to pay it”?

    Not English or Key, they have to be careful not to offend the dumb fucks of NZ’s general public.

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  43. artemisia (242 comments) says:

    It has been well said that ‘time is the new money’. There are plenty of people and businesses in cities who would pay a trivial amount to save 20 minutes or more travelling time. For example – pretty much anyone who drives for a living, anyone paid on an hourly or per job basis, rich pricks earning over $60k a year, all those drivers who would rather be texting …

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  44. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    bigbruv, you just don’t get it , do you? People don’t want a choice between paying tolls and sitting on their arses in traffic. That is a choice between two evils. If you want somebody to vote for you, the only thing more stupid than offering them one evil is to make them choose between two evils.

    Labour will offer them niiiiiice things (bribes) which make them feeeeeeeel goooooood and the dickheads will vote Labour.

    That’s where Williamson has been so colossally stupid.

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  45. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    So, we’re saying $10 dollars a day (maximum I presume, it would be unlike the MSM to use a median figure) to save 40 minutes. Or $15 an hour. What is the minimum wage these days? Work an hour extra at work, take the toll road home, end up better off (less stressed, doing a better job at work, less pollution). Shit, work 2 hours extra, and avoid rush hour altogether, so you’ll get paid 2 hours extra work, plus avoid the toll.

    Oh, sorry, forgot about WFF. What was it – 80% effective marginal tax rates? Hard to make a choice like this with the government having its fingers all over everything, isn’t it. Labour, bringing pollution to the masses!

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  46. big bruv (13,901 comments) says:

    Adolf

    I do get it, thats why I think that the Nat’s are nothing more than Labour lite and sorry excuse for a so called right wing party.
    The Nat’s fucked it up ONLY when they sent English in to defend the words of Williamson, by doing so they played right into the hands of Labour and the left wing media, once again they are letting Clark set the bloody agenda.

    When Key decides that he is going to campaign on what he believes in and stop bloody apolgising for his policy then they might offer the public some real choice, you Adolf seem to have fallen into the tribal mindset that wants the Nat’s to win irrespective of their policy and direction or just because they are NOT Helen Clark and Labour.

    I do not want Labour or Labour lite, I want a party that has the guts to do and say what is right.

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  47. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    The Nat’s fucked it up ONLY when they sent English in to defend the words of Williamson, by doing so they played right into the hands of Labour and the left wing media

    That’s generally what happens when a political party does something stupid big bruv – people notice and say ‘that’s stupid’. Any right wing media should be ashamed for saying anything other than that.

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  48. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    As anyone ever figured that tolls add insult to injury If you are travelling to work or from work to home then the purpose of your travel is to earn income on which you are then taxed. Whether the current tax law recognises it or not the simple fact is the travel is an expense directly related to you earning income . If you didnt travel then no income then no income tax to pay.

    So at least the tolls should be tax deductable along with the other costs motor vehicle or the toll should be rebated for income earning journeys.

    the income tax laws generally recognise that expenses incurred in the earning of income are deductable then go and disallow some on a purely arbitary and illogical basis

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  49. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    gd: I’m sure for a company the tolls would be deductable. For individuals they generally are not. The same as the car that you drive around whilst at work is tax deductable, but the car you use to get to work is not. It was part of the deal when we reduced tax rates from 60% or more, we got rid of some of the deductions that people were rorting. And it is virtually impossible to audit for things like whether tolls are legitimate – it’d be easier to just increase the tax free threshold and be done with it.

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  50. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    Williamson was excellent on Agenda yesterday
    Fuck, I am starting to get worried about this country if one the best poitical interviews since John Key’s demolitions of Cullen in the 2005 campaign is going to interpreted as a gaffe.
    All National has to say is this project will have it’s costs slashed and will be completed in year y with our policy and year z without

    eg Waterview $400 million completed in 2012 as opposed to $1.9 billion in 2015
    Completion of the Waikato Expressway on State Highway 1 -2013 as opposed to about 2016?
    Transmission Gully – 2014 opposed to 2020+
    4 lane road to Warkworth 2015 as opposed to probably never at this stage
    New Auckland Habour Crossing – 4 years from when we decide we need it as opposed to 15 years away

    Others I can think of
    4 lane Christchurch ring road – 10 years
    By passes of all towns and cities on SH1/ Whangarei/Wellsford/Tirau/Tokoroa/Levin/Kapiti/Blenheim/Kaikoura/Woodend/Ashburon/Timaru/Oamaru/Dunedin – less than 15 years
    By passes of towns on SH3 south of Hamilton Te Awamuta/Otarahonga/Te Kuiti- less than 15 years
    By passes of Napier-Hastings – less than 15 years
    Tauranga eastern motorway – less than 10 years

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  51. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    HIgh Occupancy Toll lanes (with a toll that rises as volumes increase) means that the HOT lane is NEVER congested.
    As loading approaches 2000 vph the variable toll rapidly increases.
    On the other hand the toll is zero when loads are light.

    HOT lanes guarantee you get to the airport or hospital without having to stop or slow down.
    The rest of the lanes are toll free.

    We of course have a BUS ONLY lane in Auckland.
    The 190 million dollar lane carried one million passengers last year. That’s 190 dollars a ride!
    Who is paying? This puts Maurice’s $50 in perspective.
    And the taxi fleet carries about 20,000,000 rides a year without a dollar subsidy.
    But taxis don’t get counted as public transport because they are privately owned. Can’t have that can we?
    Our transport planners in the ARC etc are not interested in promoting mobility.
    They are only interested in getting us out of our cars and onto their public transport.
    That is why they don’t let anyone else use the buslane.
    They want all the drivers to remain congested watching the buses go by so they will get angry and get on the buses.

    In the meantime taxis and shuttles, and emergency vehicles and so on are not allowed to use lanes which run effectively empty for most of the day.

    But none of our policy documents list mobility as an objective.
    They are all full of statements about public transport, sustainability, climate change, sustainable urban form.

    Typical soviets. Private transport is to valuable to be wasted on the masses.

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  52. campit (467 comments) says:

    The perceived attractions of PPP / tolling arrangements to the government are:

    1) The public sector is relieved of the responsibility of raising the capital.
    2) Financial risk is transferred from the public sector to the private sector.
    3) The public sector gets rid of the overall responsibility for organising the whole process.
    4) The belief that offering the private sector complete packages will result in better and cheaper solutions.

    But I don’t buy any of it, mainly because:

    a) The public sector can always borrow money at lower interest rates than the private sector.
    b) There is risk in the uncertainty of design and construction costs and the reliability of the tolling income stream. Having learnt from previous PPP disasters, the private sector will want to ensure they get an adequate return in the worst case scenarios. Users and taxpayers will have to pay to underwrite this risk, either financially or through various contractual clauses (e.g. forcing vehicles on to the toll road by closing alternative routes).

    In short there are plenty of examples where PPP’s have failed either the private or public partner (Sydney cross harbour tunnel, Vector arena here in Auckland), but very few examples where it has worked successfully to produce a better value result.

    We already have public private partnerships. Public roading agencies issue a tender for the construction of a road, and private companies bid for it. Keep it simple.

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  53. Dave Mann (1,222 comments) says:

    Fucking bastard!

    The whole POINT of taxation is to raise money to PAY for basic services and infrastructure. That’s what fucking governments are FOR, Not to give our money out to useless shits who won’t work, not to bribe the bloody indigenous tribalists, not to research the effects of laughing gas on depressed fucking possums – but to build the basic infrastructure necessary to operate a modern society.

    This bloody country was BUILT in the 19th and early 20th century by relatively honest, relatively service-oriented moral, non-thieving, governments working AS INSTRUCTED by its people. Why shouldn’t we continue to develop without some thieving opportunists getting their fingers into the pie? You prick, Williamson…. who do YOU owe favours to in the construction industry? Bastard.

    You shits, National, are heading for BIG trouble if you go down this track. If you think you can steal off the productive people in this country, just like your pinko mates in the Labour party while bribing the no-hopers and lazy, then you certainly have another think coming.

    Roads don’t just benefit drivers, you useless brain dead twat. Roads make a modern society possible. Roads build communities, get things delivered, make production and progress possible, you shortsighted asshole.

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  54. nzmm (1 comment) says:

    @Redbaiter:
    You’re partly right. Public transport has a hard time if it is not truly public, and if policy can’t make its mind up as to whether its going to pursue public or private transport.

    Koorey (2003) notes that New Zealand transport strategies are most notable for their lack of conviction about their aims. Strategies often describe the need for “balanced” or “integrated” transport solutions, rather than an explicit statement of intent — to reduce the number of automobile trips for instance. This produces policies that try to provide for more cars on the road whilst at the same time creating alternative modes of transport. Current policies make no sense, leading Koorey to pose the question: “Why would you switch to using the brand new train service (or cycleway) if your council has also just “upgraded” your existing motorway?”

    Moreover,

    A Ministry of Economic Development working paper notes that public policy over the last 5 decades has gone a long way to contributing to the current situation. Often the assessment of large scale infrastructure projects has not sufficiently taken into consideration long-term externalities. Wider benefits such as agglomeration, productivity gains, employment, liveability and sustainability have generally not been considered during roading cost-benefit analysis.

    Thats the gist of the struggle facing public transport.

    But simply building more motorways and roadways isn’t a real solution either.

    In America the best set of data on traffic congestion comes from the Annual Mobility Report published by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI). The TTI has accumulated data from 85 suburban areas over a 20-year period, taking into account measures of public investment in roading and public transport. The most recent TTI report concludes that “the current rate of transportation improvement is not sufficient to keep pace with even slow growth in travel demands in most major suburban areas.” Moreover, looking ahead and addressing the question whether more road space can reduce congestion, the answer is “yes”, only if road capacity can stay slightly ahead of the growth in travel demand. But of the 85 areas analysed only four had managed to keep pace with the growth in traffic, by adding more capacity. Despite this, these same four areas had seen traffic journey times during peak-hours increase by 80%.

    There’s hope for public transport in Auckland. Recent rail service improvements have resulted in the number of rail trips exceeding ARC predictions.

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  55. PhilBest (5,121 comments) says:

    Redbaiter: you’ll enjoy this if you’ve got time:

    From: “Smart Growth and the Ideal City” By Randal O’Toole

    May 6, 2005

    “American suburbs are “a chaotic and depressing agglomeration of buildings covering enormous stretches of land.” The cost of providing services to such “monotonous stretches of individual low-rise houses” is too high. As a result, “the search for a future kind of residential building leads logically to” high-density, mixed-use housing.

    This sounds like typical writings of New Urbanist or smart-growth planners. In fact, these words were written nearly forty years ago by University of Moscow planners in a book titled The Ideal Communist City. The principles in their book formed a blueprint for residential construction all across Russia and eastern Europe. With a couple of minor changes, they could also be the blueprint for smart growth.

    Mixed-use developments, wrote the Moscow planners, allow people easy access to “public functions and services” such as day care, restaurants, parks, and laundry facilities. This, in turn, would minimize the need for private spaces, and the authors suggest that apartments for a family of four need be no larger than about 600 square feet. Prior to the late 1960s, such apartments were built in five- to six-story brick buildings, but the authors looked forward to new, reinforced-concrete building techniques that would allow fifteen- to seventeen-story apartment buildings.

    Like the New Urbanists, the soviet planners saw several advantages to such high-density housing. First, it would be more equitable, since everyone from factory managers to lowly janitors would live in the same buildings. While New Urbanists are less concerned about housing everyone in nearly identical apartments, they do promote the idea of mixed-income communities so that the wealthy can rub shoulders with lower-income people.

    Second, the soviets believed apartments would promote a sense of community and collective values. Single-family homes were too “autonomous,” they said, while the apartment “becomes the primary element in a collective system of housing.” Similarly, many New Urbanists claim that their designs will produce a greater sense of community.

    Third, high-density housing was supposed to allow easy access to public transportation. “Private individual transportation has produced such an overwhelming set of unresolved problems in cities that even planners in bourgeois societies are inclined to limit it,” the Russians prophetically observed. With their high-density apartments, as many as 12,000 people could live within 400-yard walking distances of public transit stations. That’s about 70,000 people per square mile, slightly greater than the density of Manhattan. “The economic advantages of (public transit) for getting commuters to and from production areas are obvious,” says the book, “and it is also an answer to congestion in the central city.”…………..

    “…………I first became aware of Halle-Neustadt at a 1998 conference on sustainable transportation at which two planners from the University of Stockholm declared it to be one of the most sustainable (i.e., least “auto-dependent”) cities in the developed world.

    As shown on a vintage postcard, Halle-Neustadt consists of rows of apartment buildings surrounded by pleasant-looking green spaces, with a central commercial area and road corridor featuring large, articulated buses. The new city was also connected to Halle by an extensive streetcar system and an S-Bahn (commuter-rail line), and the city met the “Ideal Communist City” density of about 70,000 people per square mile.

    The Stockholm planners’ paper noted that almost all the apartments had two bedrooms because government planners decreed “that the ideal family consisted of four family members and that the number of flat rooms should be one less than the number of family members.” They also noted that the government discouraged car ownership by placing most of the parking on the outskirts of the city “at a relatively large distance from the residential houses.”

    What the Swedish researchers failed to note in their 1998 presentation, but faithfully recorded in their full paper, was that Halle-Neustadt was only “sustainable” during the socialist period. When Germany reunified, many residents moved out, and those who stayed bought cars so that auto ownership “reached nearly the level of western Germany.” Naturally, this created major congestion and parking problems: “The cars are parked everywhere — on pavements, bike-ways, yards and lawn.” The Swedes feared that proposed construction of new parking garages would “undermine” the “planning concept of concentrating the parking places on the city’s outskirts.”……….

    “………..On April 27, 2005, I had the opportunity to join Wendell Cox on a tour of Halle-Neustadt and other formerly East German cities. The first thing we noticed is that the “parking problem” is gone, as are most of the green spaces, which have been turned into parking lots.

    The city center also enjoys a modern new shopping mall supported by a multi-story parking garage.

    The apartment buildings themselves range from reconstructed to totally abandoned. According to various web sites on the city, Halle-Neustadt’s population peaked at 94,000 in 1990 but since has fallen to 60,000. After reunification, the apartments were privatized and are now owned by various housing companies. These companies have successfully lobbied the federal government to fund the demolition of unneeded buildings, and more than two dozen high-rises in Halle-Neustadt are scheduled for destruction. Yet the population of east German cities is declining so fast that demolition cannot keep up: despite numerous demolitions, the region is expected to have even more vacant housing in 2010 than it does today.

    Wendell and I looked closely at two basic styles of building. First was a six-story apartment structure that probably represented the pre-mass-produced buildings described with such fanfare in The Ideal Communist City. These buildings had no elevators, so it is not surprising that many of the top floor apartments appear unoccupied.

    The second building type was eleven stories tall and probably represented the previously mentioned WBS 70. Some of these were in good condition, obviously reflecting investments made by the new private landlords.

    But many others were clearly abandoned and ready for demolition. We saw a few other building types, including some with even more stories, but did not examine them closely.

    Germans pronounce the letter “H” as “ha” while “neu” is pronounced “noi.” So residents often refer to Halle-Neustadt as “Hanoi,” an ironic reference to the bombed-out nature of much of the suburb. They commonly refer to the apartments as “die platte,” meaning “the slab,” referring to the method of construction……….

    “………From a distance, the S-Bahn (railway) station still appears attractive.

    A closer look reveals many of the windows are broken, the inside is covered with graffiti, and the restaurant and other facilities advertised on the outside are abandoned. The actual loading ramp has room for fifteen-car trains, but today four-car trains are more than sufficient.

    Where did all the people go? Many found jobs in western Germany; since reunification, east Germany has lost more than 1.25 million people. But many of those who stayed got away from the slabs by moving to suburbs of new duplexes and single-family homes.

    Wendell and I did not have to search very far to find such suburbs, mostly added onto existing villages.

    But well away from any village, in the middle of farmlands, we found several big-box stores, including a home improvement center, a furniture store, and a hypermart.

    Today no one in Germany refers to such suburbs as “monotonous.” This term is instead reserved for the grey slabs of concrete that most people are abandoning as fast as they can. Throughout Europe, high-rise apartments are increasingly becoming ghettos for Muslim and other foreign “guest workers.” While the houses shown above are admittedly smaller than ones found in modern American suburbs, the Germans are fast catching up. A little further from Halle we found a suburban village that included many large homes with large backyards……….

    “…….yet I get a creepy feeling when I look at the publication date of “The Ideal Communist City.” Though written in the mid 1960s, the book was first released in English by a New York socialist publisher in 1971.

    The earliest mention of smart-growth concepts I can find in the planning literature came out just two years later in the book, Compact City: A Plan for a Livable Urban Environment. Like The Ideal Communist City, Compact City advocated scientific or “total-system planning.” Like The Ideal Communist City, but unlike New Urbanists, Compact City advocated high-rise housing. Like the New Urbanists, it quoted Jane Jacobs’ book, The Life and Death of Great American Cities, in support of mixed-use and transit-oriented developments.

    By 1980, research by Northwestern University economist Edwin Mills had thoroughly discredited the hypothesis that more compact cities would have less congestion and air pollution because people would be more likely to walk and ride transit. That didn’t stop the U.S. House of Representatives from holding hearings titled Compact Cities: A Neglected Way of Conserving Energy. In 1996, compact cities were tied to sustainability in a book titled, Compact City: A Sustainable Urban Form?

    Which brings us full circle to 1998 when University of Stockholm researchers tell an international group of planners that Halle-Neustadt is one of the most sustainable cities on earth — knowing full well (but not mentioning) that the prerequisite for “Hanoi’s” sustainability was keeping its residents poor and oppressed.

    While I don’t seriously equate urban planners with communists, the similarities between the Ideal Communist City and smart growth are far more numerous than their differences……….

    “……..Though they publicly claim they want to reduce congestion, most smart-growth plans admit they seek to increase congestion to encourage people to use transit. Though they publicly claim to worry about affordable housing, smart-growth plans drive up land and housing costs with the hidden agenda of encouraging people to live in multifamily housing or at least on tiny lots.

    Before visiting Europe, I spent a few days in Madison, Wisconsin. After returning, I spent a few days in Hamilton, Ontario. Though neither region is growing particularly fast, in both places politicians talk about the dangers of uncontrolled growth and how the firm hand of government planning was needed to prevent chaos and sprawl. Part of their plans, of course, call for packing more of that growth into urban infill than the market would build.

    In particular, the plan for Hamilton requires that 40 percent of all new development be high-density infill. Currently the rate is just 18 percent. Now, 40 percent is a lot less than the near-100 percent imposed by Russia and East Germany. But Hamilton’s plan means that 22 percent of its new residents will be forced to live in housing that they wouldn’t normally choose. Experience in Portland and other cities shows that regulation that attempts to make much smaller changes in the housing market can lead to huge increases in housing costs.

    Planners call this giving people more “choices”; what they mean is forcing people to accept lifestyles that they would not choose for themselves. How is this fundamentally any different from the philosophy of the Ideal Communist City?”

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  56. PhilBest (5,121 comments) says:

    And THIS:

    Sept. 4, 2005
    From: “Lack of Automobility Key to New Orleans Tragedy”
    By Randal O’Toole

    “……… what makes wealthier societies less vulnerable to natural disaster? There are several factors, but the most important is mobility.

    Number of Deaths Caused by Hurricanes in the U.S.
    1900-1919 10,000
    1920-1939 3,751
    1940-1959 1,119
    1960-1979 453
    1980-1999 57
    Source: Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. Number for 1900-1919 is estimated as the exact death toll from 1900 Galveston hurricane is unknown.

    People with access to autos can leave an area before it is flooded or hit with hurricanes, tornados, or other storms. When earthquakes or storms strike too suddenly to allow prior evacuation, people with autos can move away from areas that lack food, safe water, or other essentials……….

    “……….. If all the money spent on New Orleans streetcars from 1985 to the present had been spent instead on helping autoless low-income families achieve mobility, the city would have had more than $6,000 for each such family, enough to buy good used cars for all of them. Add the money the city wanted to spend on the Desire Street streetcar and you have enough to buy a brand-new car for every single autoless low-income family — not a Lexus or BMW, certainly, but a functional source of transportation that would have allowed them to escape the current disaster.

    While I don’t think that buying low-income families brand-new cars is the best use of our limited transportation resources, it would produce far greater benefits than building rail transit. Studies have found that unskilled workers who have a car are much more likely to have a job and will earn far more than workers who must depend on transit (see, for example, http://tinyurl.com/dlqq4). That is why numerous social service agencies have begun programs aimed at helping low-income families acquire their first car or maintain an existing one (see http://tinyurl.com/b75nc).

    Yet when I point out the comparative benefits of providing mobility to low-income people vs. building rail transit lines to suburban areas that already enjoy a high degree of mobility, rail advocates often respond, “We can’t let poor people have cars. It would cause too much congestion.” Yes, as the Soviet Union discovered, poverty is one way to prevent congestion (see http://ti.org/vaupdate53.html).

    New Orleans is in many ways a model for smart growth: high densities, low rates of auto ownership, investments in rail transit. This proved to be its downfall. While the city was vulnerable from being built below sea level, many cities above sea level have proven equally vulnerable to storms and flooding. In the end, New Orleans’ people suffered primarily because so many lived without autos, thus making them overly dependent on the competence of government planners.”

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  57. PhilBest (5,121 comments) says:

    NZMM, please show me one single study that shows that increases in public transport provision, anywhere, have been responsible for reductions in road congestion.

    I suggest you read THIS:

    William Eager: “Population Density and Reduced Road Congestion”

    http://www.americandreamcoalition.org/landuse/densityconge.pdf

    Basically, no matter how congested roads get or how high population density gets, THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE will continue to choose their car as the way to get around. The only exception to this, is that once you get to population densities and congestion of the level of Manhattan, the majority goes the way of public transport. And Manhattan is certainly NOT the model for low-carbon living and working.

    The excerpts from Randal O’Toole that I posted above, make the point that totalitarian societies are the only ones that have ever created the ideal “sustainable” cities. Freedom of choice, otherwise, dooms your “plans” to failure.

    But I suggest, too, that the Communists ideal city based on population density and public transport, was merely part and parcel of the sheer inefficiency of their whole economy. I challenge outright, notions that this model is more efficient, full stop. As I said above, I suspect that roads and motor vehicle use is an integral part of the success of the “free market” economy. I suspect that working on the same assumptions as the Communists “planners”, in the case of our transport and urban sectors, will constitute an economic depressant, and hinder our future ability to adapt for the best according to our environmental concerns.

    But, as you say, “…….looking ahead and addressing the question whether more road space can reduce congestion, the answer is “yes”, only if road capacity can stay slightly ahead of the growth in travel demand”. Look, this is the ONLY way. THIS is where the lack of definiteness in our policy should be addressed. This is a no-brainer.

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  58. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Fuck this crap….vote ACT and enjoy a claen conscience…….and Nats squirming like Socialist whipped bitches

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  59. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Fuck this crap….vote ACT and enjoy a clean conscience…….and Nats squirming like Socialist whipped bitches

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  60. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Maurice Williamson has now said:
    “When the $50 figure was suggested, I should have moved quickly to state that National does not envisage that to be a realistic weekly price for people to pay for road tolls. I am passionate about roading projects and unfortunately let my enthusiasm go unchecked”
    In other words the mouth was in ‘drive’, the brain was in ‘park’

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  61. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    Well done Patrick. Sounds like the petrol gauge said ‘e’ for enough and ‘f’ for fuck all.

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  62. Mr Merdle (2 comments) says:

    Is this the longest suicide note in history? National should of been in 6 years ago, New Zealand is basically a provincial small town, all they had to do is cobble together the old coalition of small town businessmen, farmers, Christians, and white suburbanites and they would of been in power fr a thousand years, (off course they would have had to jettison all the free market stuff they caught from labour) Instead they have became like the left used to be, passionate dogmatists who would rather loose than surrender their ideological purity …and as we watch the slow but steady disintegration of John Key, their wish is coming true.

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  63. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    toms (151)
    August 25th, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Having listened to the Kathryn Ryan/ English interview I think he clarified the Williamson stupidity quite well.
    What you didn’t mention Toms is that Annette King was interviewed following English and made a complete fuckwit of herself.

    >http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20080825-0919-Road_Tolls-048.mp3

    I love Kings comment that labour have not done any PPP’s in the last 5 years because “there’s been no interest on any of the projects we’ve done date in a ppp” – meaning, they’ve done ‘f’

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  64. campit (467 comments) says:

    please show me one single study that shows that increases in public transport provision, anywhere, have been responsible for reductions in road congestion.

    Auckland Harbour bridge traffic volumes are 6% less than last year, now that the Northern busway is open.

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  65. calendar girl (1,236 comments) says:

    Williamson has often been an embarrassment in the Transport portfolio. His performance in Shipley’s government was a classic when he thought it quite realistic to charge well over $100 for a digital photo driver’s licence (while cancelling an already-paid-for “lifetime” licence) . Previously he allowed the Aussies to rort trans-Tasman air services agreements and thereby frustrate Air NZ growth prospects (his office even lost the email from Canberra advising him of his impotence on the issue). If National forms a government, Transport is too important to leave to Williamson.

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  66. Farmer Baby Boomer (12 comments) says:

    Redbaiter. I aggree with you about Maurice Williamson and his illegal removal of the life time drivers licences. The bureaucrats had everything ready to set up the the new licences before the issue was before parliment. If I remember right the bureaucrats and Williamson wanted it to be an official ID card as well as a drivers licence. Thankfully Parliment therw that out. I believe the whole issue was was one of the main reasons (along with botched electrcity reforms, failure to listen concerns about GE etc) why national lost the following election(1999).

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  67. Dave Mann (1,222 comments) says:

    I don’t think one has to be dogmatically aligned to the ‘pro’ or the ‘con’ argument about public transport to have an opinion about how roads are paid for. For example, much as I respect Owen McShane in most of what he says, he is being utterly disingenuous when he says “The 190 million dollar lane carried one million passengers last year. That’s 190 dollars a ride!” Obviously his argument is faulty, because this represents the FIRST YEAR’S costs including construction of the bloody thing and the ‘cost per ride’ will fall with every passenger that gets on a bus way into the future. If one falls for that kind of logic one will fall for anything. And Campit’s comment that “Auckland Harbour bridge traffic volumes are 6% less than last year, now that the Northern busway is open” is spot-on.

    My wife, for example, has recently decided to take the train into work in Auckland city (even though she has a free carpark with her job) because she finds the train less stressful, cheaper and quicker than driving. Also she gets a bit of excercise which is an added bonus so its a win-win for her.

    No…. the whole thrust of my argument is that, while we need a mix of public transport and roads, it is the government’s responsibility to build the roads out of the money that the bastards have already taken from us in order to do just that. For the National Party to introduce private road building and tolls is outright theft; it stinks of opportunism and the risk of fraud and favours to one’s corporate mates and it is just an abrogation of the responsibilities of government. Quite apart from this, I notice that the prick has said nothing about REDUCING any of the taxation that we presently pay… oh no… he’s just introducing yet another plan to make the productive people of this country pay MORE.

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  68. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Think of the tolls as paying for National’s tax cuts…?

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  69. Dave Mann (1,222 comments) says:

    stephen, that’s exactly what national would LIKE us to think. The fact is, though, that we have already paid for our roads in our taxation MANY TIMES OVER, but government steals the money and gives it to maoris ($700 million in the last 3 months alone!), non-workers, solo mothers who won’t keep their relationships together, whales, penguins and bureaucrats whose sole objective seems to be to invent more barriers for people and businesses who want to become and remain productive.

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  70. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Well you see, it’s like this…uh…better broadband for all!

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  71. libertyscott (359 comments) says:

    Given my career is around tolling, road pricing and the viability of options to do this I can speak with some authority on this.
    In NZ the scope to use PPP type financing for new roads is tiny, largely because unlike other countries, the best road project already get funded by the state, and the traffic volumes are almost always tiny in comparison to similar schemes elsewhere. Transmission Gully is a minnow in terms of traffic volumes (but not cost) compared to the PPPs in Australia. There IS scope for it in the longer term for a second Auckland Harbour Crossing, but only if the existing one is privatised and tolled. THAT could be a going concern, and raise a lot of money. The sheer cost of such an enormous project means it should be privately financed and paid off over many years, not the rather crude pay as you go system.

    On tolls, again the scope to pay for new roads is small, largely because there are so few motorways proposed that don’t have easy cheap alternatives, and because the projects talked about don’t offer much of an advantage that people will pay for, except at peak times for a small number of users with high value of time.

    I think the Nats are right to investigate it, but it needs a close look at the finances – a better approach would be to start privatising, even if by long term lease, major motorways and toll them, whilst also looking to shift from fuel tax to road user charging by time distance and location. This would allow costs imposed by road users to be born by them more directly, it would allow management of a scarce resource (road space) to be by price not queuing, and see investment in roads related to users, not politically driven dictates such as the sort that see the ignorant advocating Transmission Gully.

    One way would be to freeze all road use taxes, and tell roading agencies that additional funds can be got only by charging those using upgraded facilities. Most French motorways are run by commercial companies that toll users, Italy, Spain and Portugal aren’t far behind. It’s about time that banal arguments like “we’ve paid for the roads” are treated for what they are – roads cost money to maintain, they tie up capital in building them, and they are not substantively different from other economic assets. Electricity and telecommunications have survived and flourished with price and private sector investment, it’s about time roads were too.

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