Wellington Scoop

New government leaders aiming for low-emission transport policies

Incoming Prime Minister Jacinda Adern and Green Party leader James Shaw have each said this morning that the new coalition government will be aiming to take early action on climate change, by making decisions on transport issues.

They were speaking on TVNZ’s Q&A programme; their comments could be taken as reflecting directly on the Wellington Regional Council’s moves to get rid of trolley buses.

James Shaw told Q&A that the new government will put climate change at the top of its agenda. Here’s what he said about transport:

… transport is one of the most visible areas where you will start to see some action. I think you’ll see a much greater uptake of electric vehicles, led by the government itself. There will, of course, be significant moves in public transport and in urban design, and I think those are the things that the public will see first. We’re also hoping to move faster on reform of the energy market to get towards 100% renewable energy generation in as fast a timeframe as is possible. And I think those are the things that most people will see in the near term.

Speaking earlier on Q&A, Jacinda Adern was asked to describe ways in which people will start to see her government taking action on climate change. Her answer, in part:

One of the greatest differences we can make is changing up our transport options, making sure we have transport options that are low-emission…

And talking about wage levels, she spoke critically about negotiations that are aiming to reduce bus drivers’ wages:

At the moment we see contracts coming up across councils for those who offer services for our bus drivers. One of the ways that those who are pitching for those contracts, offering council a lower bill, is by driving down the conditions that those bus drivers have. That’s not a pathway to prosperity for New Zealand or for the workers… That’s an example of where, in our view, things like fair pay agreements, which we intend to have a handful of any given year across an industry, could have a positive benefit….In an area like we’re talking about with bus drivers, I think that there would be agreement that continually driving down people’s wages and conditions in order to win those contracts actually does not serve our purposes…

Read also
Coalition partners want to keep trolley buses


  1. Helpful Wellingtonian, 23. October 2017, 13:03

    What about hydrogen-powered trains? A company called Alstrom is behind the world’s only hydrogen-powered train and says that its zero-emission hydrogen train would start passenger test runs in Germany next year, with each one capable of carrying up to 300 people and reaching speeds of 87mph.
    This is faster than our rails would allow in New Zealand and would save a mint on overhead wiring.

  2. Michael, 23. October 2017, 20:06

    Well the first thing they should do is get rid of the smelly noisy Auckland cast-off diesel buses from Wellington city and reinstate the trolley buses. Easy!!!! but reckon there will be an excuse why not??

  3. John, 29. October 2017, 19:43

    The best way forward with the trolleys is to retrofit them as a trolley / battery combo. Replace the existing batteries with high capacity batteries as used in battery buses and charge them while in motion. Overhead required is then only 10 – 50% of the existing amount so removes any negatives associated with the existing system.

    Prague’s experience after 140,000km testing battery buses is “hilly terrain uses up a lot of battery power, and limits the usefulness of electric buses” …so they installed a trolley / battery combo system.