Wellington Scoop
Network

Regional councilor calls for action to reduce demand for fossil fuels

Press Release – Paul Bruce
Greater Wellington ‘s most important task in the first year of the new triennium is to prioritize actions that will help make Wellington region more resilient to fossil fuel shortages, Green Party Regional Councillor Paul Bruce said today. The latest World Energy Outlook (WEO) report released today says governments need to act now to reduce demand for fossil fuels.

“The energy world is facing unprecedented uncertainty,” said Nobuo Tanaka, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) at the launch of the latest edition of the IEA’s annual report on the WEO.

Regional Councillor Paul Bruce said: “This latest world energy outlook indicates the urgency for a spatial analysis to be completed in conduction with the Transport Network Review and feasibility study for modern tram-train.”

New Zealand and Wellington’s economy are extremely vulnerable to high oil prices because our transport sector is so reliant on imported oil. Oil and vehicles make up 30 percent of our total imports. One saving grace in Wellington was our electrically powered trains and trolley buses.

In response to written questions from Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman, Transport Minister Steven Joyce stated that this Government had not conducted any research into the effect of high oil prices on travel patterns (see questions to parliament at end, also NZTA Research Report “Managing Transport Challenges as Oil Prices Rise”: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/research/reports/357).

Paul Bruce said that recent visitor, Prof Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University, and an authority on sustainable cities, reminded us of the futility of further highway expansion as a ‘solution’ for urban transport.

According to Prof Newman, who gave the keynote presentation at the Environment Institute conference in Wellington last October, Wellington has more motorway per resident than any other city in the world), yet was ideally suited for rail transit.

Councillor Bruce said that a spatial analysis of the city and region must lead to recommendations for:

– Public transport and active mode routes (Network revue) to optimize routes and travel modes to place of work and key destinations
– Assessment of public transport requirement over next decade and central Government funds
– Urban islands of key services (food supplies, medical centers, ambulances and emergency services, schools, entertainment)
– Vulnerability to floods, tsunami, earthquake, land slides, access to employment, recreation etc.

Paul.Bruce@gw.govt.nz

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Link to World Energy Outlook 2010:
http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/

NZTA Research Report “Managing Transport Challenges as Oil Prices Rise”:
http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/research/reports/357)
Links to Russel Norman’s written questions (full text below):
http://wwwparliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QWA/c/d/e/QWA_34652_2010-34652-2010-Dr-Russel-Norman-to-the-Minister-of-Transport.htm
http://wwwparliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QWA/0/3/4/QWA_34651_2010-34651-2010-Dr-Russel-Norman-to-the-Minister-of-Transport.htm
http://wwwparliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QWA/b/a/1/QWA_34650_2010-34650-2010-Dr-Russel-Norman-to-the-Minister-of-Transport.htm
Full text of Russel Norman’s written questions and replies:

34652 (2010). Dr Russel Norman to the Minister of Transport

Has the Government undertaken any studies into the impact of transportation market distortions, such as parking regulations, on travel behaviour and the economy, and if so, is it the Government’s policy to rectify any market distortions to achieve greater economic productivity?

Hon Steven Joyce (Minister of Transport) replied: The current government has not undertaken any specific studies through the Ministry of Transport or the New Zealand Transport Agency on this topic. However, all regulations, whether transport or otherwise, are subject to Regulatory Impact Statements that are designed to assess wider economic, social and environmental effects of proposed new regulations.

34651 (2010). Dr Russel Norman to the Minister of Transport

Has the Government undertaken any inquiries or studies into the short, medium and long term impacts of high fuel prices on travel behaviour and the economy; if so what are the titles of these studies?

Answer Text: The current government has not undertaken any inquiries or studies through the Ministry of Transport or the New Zealand Transport Agency on travel behaviour. However, over the previous 3 years 3 studies were completed by the previous Government, please see the list attached.
For more information concerning the impacts of high fuel prices on the economy, please refer to your question to the Minister for Energy.

No. 34651
The following studies have been undertaken by the New Zealand Transport Agency and its predecessor under the previous government:

Year Title
2007 Energy risk to activity systems as a function of urban form
2007 Impacts of fuel price changes on New Zealand transport
2008 Managing transport challenges when oil prices rise

34650 (2010). Dr Russel Norman to the Minister of Transport

Has the risk of oil shocks been explicitly considered in the business cases for any of the Roads of National Significance, if so what is the title of the report or other documents that cover the impact of high oil prices on the projected benefits and costs of these projects?

Answer Text: The NZTA informs me that scenarios for rising oil prices have been taken into account in a number of the assessments for the Roads of National Significance. However, no separate explicit analysis has been undertaken of the risk of oil shocks within the business cases for the Roads of National Significance. History shows that traffic volumes do fluctuate with respect to oil prices, especially to short term price increases. However, the underlying long term trend is a growth in traffic as travellers adjust their behaviour and change to more energy efficient or electric vehicles to maintain mobility. It is recognised in the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport Funding that fuel switching will offer an affordable long term transport energy source complemented by some modal shift in major cities.
YouTube videos:
Bus vs rail in Perth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymXMS97wQZQ , and
Auckland, City of Cars: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCKDBHT3i74

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
Original url