Transport Heavyweight Championship: Julie Anne v Gerry

Julie Anne Genter is a transport heavyweight. She’s got all the academic qualifications and consultancy  experience to know what she’s talking about as far as transport is concerned. Gerry Brownlee is a heavyweight too, although his most admirable qualification in that regard appears to be his loyalty to the National Party and his being prepared to take one (or two, or three) for the team.

So here’s how they shaped up in 3 rounds of sparring in Parliament last week:

Round 1:

Round 2:

Round 3:

Big points win to Julie Anne.  We have the long Easter recess for Parliament now, but I suspect when it resumes Julie Anne will win by TKO.

We Greens support non-violence, so however big and ignorant the opponent is, we still need to leave him or her with some respect. So no KO leaving Gerry convulsing on the canvas – although I’m sure you could do that, metaphorically, should you choose, Julie Anne.

Eightyfour percent

Were you aware that 84% of people without a regular sexual partner masturbate?

Well, I’m not actually certain of the exact percentage, but it’s got to be up there somewhere in that vicinity. And for many of them, it isn’t their preferred form of sexual activity – just that they don’t have other options available to them.

Which brings me to Transport Minister Stephen Joyce. His public justification for slashing public transport funding while increasing funding for roads was:

But 84 per cent of New Zealanders go to work by truck, car or motorcycle.

Joyce is using the effect of the problem (high percentage of commutes being by road) to justify the problem (lack of public transport) continuing, or actually to justify making it worse. He conveniently ignores the fact that many of the people who go to work by car or motorcycle have no other option, and would use public transport if there were public transport between where they live and where they work and it operated with a frequency and reliability that suited them.

So getting back to the masturbation analogy, it occurs to me that it is people like Stephen Joyce who give wankers a bad name.

Missed Public Transport Opportunity

Missed Public Transport Opportunity

Civic leaders ignore need for high quality public transport system

While the economy crashes around us and the International Oil Agency warns of fuel shortages, the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor plan reserves the big dollars for roading enhancements and tunnels, rather than for a high quality public transport system.

Greater Wellington Regional Councillor Paul Bruce said that it was at the same time appalling and ironic, that while passing the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan, the Committee also received the Annual Monitoring Report which highlighted increased accident rates and greenhouse emissions from private cars. It also showed the lack of good public transport and safe cycle way alternatives.

Go to

Report 5, Recommended Ngauranga-Wellington Airport Corridor Plan

Members of the Public will be protesting the Council’s apparent disregard for their submissions to the Plan, lack of public transport capacity, the chronic levels of safety for cyclists and walkers, and the miss-allocation of resources to new road capacity. The demonstration will be held outside GW offices at 12.30pm on Friday 31st October this week.

Cr Bruce says the new Regional Transport Committee was unable to pick up the ball,
despite advice from special interest representatives for an immediate shift in investment towards a high quality public transport system. The majority of public submissions on the Plan urged the inclusion of light rail, and criticised roading expenditure. A feasibility study for light rail had been done in the early 90s, and thus GW had a head start, along with a clear mandate from the Public to get on with it.

On the positive side, the Corridor plan supports passenger transport improvements measures along the golden mile, bus priority measures on arterial routes, and better walking and cycling connections between local networks reflecting support for the Great Harbour Way Walking and Cycle proposal.

However, Cr Bruce who is on the GW Transport and Access Committee, said that investment in public transport should have been accelerated. Instead, the first major expenditure was on the flyover for the Basin Reserve in 2011/12, which would facilitate private vehicle west-east traffic flows. 79% of submitters did not directly support the construction of the flyover. Expenditure of at least $380 million is being planned for roading infrastructure, with another $63 million on projects benefiting both private cars and public transport.

There are 90 to 120 buses plying the CBD during peak times, with serious bottle necks near the railway station and at Courtenay Place. Angry bus drivers are blocked by other buses during peak hours, timetables are not reliable, passengers don’t get a seat, and some passengers are refused entry. A limited shaft of traffic through a single artery is exactly what high density public transport will solve. Light rail is the fastest growing transport mode and the preferred solution overseas. It has greater capacity, replacing at least 8 normal buses. Light rail runs on existing roads and is safer in urban space and through malls. It has lower operating costs, and can integrate into the wider rail network.

Cr Paul Bruce
Greater Wellington Regional Councillor
272 Ohiro Road,
Tel 04 9728699, 021 02719370
“The thinking that brought you into trouble will not bring you out of it”
Albert Einstein