by Tim Jones
Another year has gone by, and we still don’t know what will be in the Let’s Get Wellington Moving Recommended Programme of Investment – in other words, the Ngauranga to Airport transport plan that we’ve been awaiting for the last three years.
It often seems as though the whole thing will end up as a messy political compromise. But what if the guiding principles were such things as:
- making Wellington liveable
- making Wellington fair, safe and healthy
- making Wellington beautiful, vibrant and culturally rich?
And what if, in place of Let’s Get Welly Moving’s continued refusal to treat the climate change impact of its plans as a key or even important factor, a central goal of their work was to ensure zero greenhouse gas emissions from Wellington transport by 2040?
Does that sound like a pipe dream? It isn’t. Because Councillor Roger Blakeley, with input from a number of people with community expertise in Wellington transport, has come up with a plan to do all that and more. And he presented it to the 2018 Save the Basin Campaign Annual General Meeting:
We encourage you to read it. We encourage you to think about it. And we encourage you to support it – or, if you wish, suggest further improvements.
It’s great to see one of our elected representatives engaging in detail with the work that needs to be done to make Wellington a city fit for its residents – and fit for the future. Thanks, Roger!
The Save the Basin Campaign Inc. 2018 AGM will be held as follows:
When: Thursday 22 November, 5.45pm
Where: Mezzanine Room, Central Library, 65 Victoria Street
Programme: AGM at 5.45pm followed at approx 6.15pm by guest speaker Councillor Roger Blakeley, and a panel discussion featuring Cllr Blakeley and Save the Basin Campaign Inc. co-convenors Jo Newman and Tim Jones.
All are welcome to attend the AGM, listen to the speaker, and participate in the panel discussion. However, only people who are formal members of the Save the Basin Campaign Inc. will be able to participate in the business of the AGM.
About our speaker
Following the conclusion of the formal AGM, Dr Roger Blakeley will be our guest speaker. Dr Blakeley is a Councillor in the Greater Wellington Regional Council and Member, Capital and Coast District Health Board. He is a former Chief Executive of the Ministry for the Environment (1986 to 1995), and has held many other significant roles in central and local government. He has a deep knowledge of and interest in transport issues.
Cllr Blakeley’s topic will be “Essentials of a 21st Century Transport Strategy”, and following his presentation, there’ll be a panel consisting of Cllr Blakeley and Save the Basin Campaign Inc. co-convenors Jo Newman and Tim Jones. We expect to finish the formal business of the AGM by 6.15pm, and then have approximately 20 minutes each for Roger’s presentation and the panel that follows – so we’ll finish around 7pm.
About the panel discussion
The panel discussion following Cllr Blakeley’s presentation will feature Cllr Blakeley together with current Save the Basin Campaign Inc. co-convenors Jo Newman and Tim Jones.
There are some questions Cllr Blakeley may not be able to respond to due to his elected roles. However, individually or collectively, the panel should be able to address a wide range of Wellington transport topics, ranging from broad issues of transport strategy, to current and forthcoming Wellington transport developments, to current and planned future developments at the Basin Reserve.
The Save the Basin Campaign has welcomed elements of the “Let’s Get Wellington Moving” Wellington transport plans revealed last night, especially the news that light rail is to be included as a priority element of those plans.
But Save the Basin, which was one of the groups that helped defeat the 2011 Basin Reserve flyover proposal, has criticised the continued uncertainty over the future of the Basin Reserve area, and the mixed messages contained in the leaked plans.
Save the Basin Campaign spokesperson Tim Jones said “If the Dominion Post report is accurate, there are some good things in these plans. Save the Basin supports the development of a high quality, sustainable Wellington transport network, and getting on with implementing a light rail spine using an appropriate route would be a major contribution to this. So that’s great news.”
“Yet many other things in these plans aren’t so great,” Mr Jones continued. “First of all, Save the Basin has consistently supported at-grade roading changes at the Basin – that is, changes at the current street levels. But these latest plans appear to include grade separation, which means some roads going over or under others. The Dominion Post article talks in very vague terms about tunnels near the Basin, but detail is completely lacking. Save the Basin is absolutely opposed to a Basin Reserve bridge or flyover, and we cannot support any grade separation plan for the Basin that doesn’t explicitly rule out such bridges or flyovers.”
“It’s great to see that cycling would get a boost in these plans,” Mr Jones said. “But, as a group that supports walkability, we are disappointed that walking appears to have been treated, yet again, as the unwanted guest at the party.”
“But the worst thing about these proposals,” Mr Jones commented, “is that they continue to entrench the dominance of roading, by proposing to spend billions more dollars on State Highway 1. Despite the Government’s stated commitment to evidence-based decision making, this proposal appears to ignore the immense body of evidence that says that building more road capacity merely ends up putting more cars on the roads.”
“One of Let’s Get Wellington Moving’s stated objectives was to reduce Wellingtonians’ dependence on private vehicle travel,” said Mr Jones. “Where is the evidence that these proposals pay any more than lip-service to this objective? Where is any attempt to make the sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that the city and the nation have already committed themselves to make?”
Guest post by Liz Springford
This case study from Liz’s Productivity Commission Low Emissions Economy submission is a powerful critique of LGWM’s failure to apply adequate cost-benefit analysis that includes climate change and other health costs.
Case study: Let’s Get Wellington Moving
The recent “Let’s Get Wellington Moving” (or not) joint project between NZTA, GWRC and WCC is a case study of the failure to apply adequate cost-benefit analysis that includes climate change and other health costs.
In 2016, WCC agreed on a Low Carbon Plan 2016-2018 with city-wide targets for reduced emissions by 10% by 2020, 40% by 2030, and 80% by 2050. When Wellington’s emissions were last measured a few years ago, these had dropped less than 2% from baseline. The Plan acknowledges that more than half of Wellington’s emissions are from transport. GWRC has a Climate Strategy to reduce regional emissions, although no specific targets.
Although both Councils’ plan and strategy need updating to match NZ’s new net zero trajectory by 2050, Wellington’s emissions reductions targets were not included in the Let’s Get Wellington Moving consultation. Instead, a vague “Clean and Green” principle to “improve environmental outcomes for Wellington city and the region” was amongst a dozen principles – in response to the first wave of public consultation.
Four scenarios were presented for public consultation late last year. This was basically, one scenario in four sizes: Small, Medium, Large, and Extra-Large – ranging from “a little more active and public transport provision plus a little more roading”, to “a lot of active and public transport provision plus a lot of roading”. The capacity of improved active and public transport to decongest existing roading provision was ignored. Likewise, induced increases in private fossil fuelled vehicles by increasing roading provision were also ignored.
Climate impact analysis was limited to noting under the “Clean and Green” principle that for each sized scenario there will be “No significant change to greenhouse gas emission at a regional level”. Construction costs of each scenario were detailed for the public, but not the running costs – that is, the impact on Wellington’s transport emissions contributing to the ongoing operational costs over the lifetime of the infrastructure.
Another wave of public consultation appears to have sent a strong climate-protecting message. However, this case study indicates the urgency in introducing accurate up-to-date shadow pricing across the state sector and influencing local government to follow suit. Delay risks wasting taxes and rates, plus inheriting high-emissions white elephant infrastructure that limits our capacity to move towards net zero NZ fast enough.
As Wellington waits for an announcement in its transport future, the Government is continuing to make moves to reshape transport in New Zealand away from over-reliance on the private car and towards a balanced system that gives as many people as possible options for getting off the roads:
- The new Government Policy Statement on Land Transport represents a significant change away from the previous Government’s motorway-dominated transport priorities, as Isabella Cawthorn explains on Talk Wellington. On Newshub, Thomas Coughlan says that public transport is the big winner in the new strategy.
- The previous National-led Government was completely impervious to the well-accepted research finding that adding new capacity encourages more people into cars. The news that the Government is considering tolling Transmission Gully to help prevent this is an encouraging sign that the feared flood of additional cars into Wellington from the North may not materialise.
While we wait to see whether the Government’s new, balanced approach will succeed in cutting Wellington’s motorway-building cabal off at the pass, why not find out how another seaside city, Vancouver, has succeeded in making its transport system work for people, not the other way around?
Date, Time and Venue
What’s This About?
Wellington is facing major transport and land-use choices as we decide on the Let’s Get Wellington Moving process. Will we choose a compact, low-carbon city supported by world-class public transport, walking and cycling? Or will we choose tunnels, flyovers and sprawl?
How have other cities made progress? Learn more in this public presentation from Dale Bracewell, Vancouver’s transport manager.
Transportation 2040 is Vancouver’s high-level vision for all modes of transport, with specific mobility and safety goals. Vancouver achieved its interim target of 50 percent of all daily trips by sustainable modes, and is on track to achieve two-thirds of all daily trips by walking, cycling and public transport in 2040.
The presentation will include learnings from Dale’s experiences applied to Wellington.
Facebook Event and Further Information
Facebook event – please share:
The leaked transport proposals for Wellington read like a sales pitch gone badly wrong, said Save the Basin Campaign spokesperson Tim Jones.
“The tired, dated ‘four lanes to the planes’ concept is well past its sell-by date,” said Mr Jones. “A Government that’s focused on making climate change, public health and transport choices that work for everyone just isn’t going to hand over the billions of dollars required for new motorways.”
“When it comes to the Basin Reserve, all we have yet again are rumours and suggestions,” Mr Jones continued. “Until Save the Basin is presented with clear, detailed design proposals, we cannot and will not endorse any proposal that is not at the same grade as current roading, or that may threaten the Basin Reserve,” Mr Jones said.
“We need a transport system that works for everyone’s future in a changing climate,” said Mr Jones. “That means major investment in better walking and cycling, with a light rail route running through the CBD, continuing to Newtown and the hospital, and going out to Miramar and the airport. Light rail is the most efficient way to move people who don’t need to use the roads, and that helps free up the roads for those who do need them – including people on buses.”
Save the Basin Campaign applauds Wellington City Council’s proposal to save the historic Basin Reserve Museum Stand.
“Not only are they keeping it, earthquake-strengthening it and restoring its unique heritage features, they are creating a greatly enhanced facility”, says STBC co-convenor Joanna Newman.
“If this plan is approved by Council, the Museum Stand will be better for spectators, provide many more facilities, and make the world-renowned NZ Cricket Museum easier to access both on match days and non-match days.”
The Basin Reserve is one of the world’s best cricket grounds, but it’s not just about cricket. From junior rugby on Saturday mornings, to functions in the RA Vance stand, to a quiet place to sit and have lunch, the ground is used day and night, and all year round.
With assistance from the Basin Reserve Trust, Wellington City Council has come up with a proposal that is affordable, responsible and forward-looking. Renovating and improving the Museum Stand ticks all the boxes.
By restoring and giving the Museum Stand new life, the Council is recognising the special place this Heritage New Zealand registered site has in the hearts of Wellingtonians and people around the country.
“We can continue to be proud of this unique community and cricket venue and of its custodianship by our City”, says Joanna.
The Save the Basin Campaign Inc has written the following letter in response to the new Let’s Get Welly Moving “surprise survey” which LGWM chose not to notify stakeholder groups, such as Save the Basin, about:
The STBC, as a stakeholder group in the LGWM consultation process, takes strong issue with your organisation on a number of matters in relation to the existence of this survey:
- The survey has taken everyone at STBC by complete surprise. What is the purpose of the survey and who has it been distributed to? There was no prior notification to STBC (as a stakeholder) that LGWM would be commissioning the survey and it was only by chance that a member of the STBC committee was alerted to its existence. This is alarming and shows a complete lack of transparency and questions the validity of the survey.
- The process for public engagement on the LGWM scenarios closed in November last year – and in March this year LGWM released the summary of the feedback process on future transport scenarios for Wellington. Your website currently says “We’re using the feedback from the November 2017 public engagement to help guide our work as we develop a recommended programme of investment.” However, you continue to be asking for more views and ideas through this latest survey – with no information about this available to the public through your website.
- Of great concern is the fact the survey implies that a bridge/fly-over around the Basin Reserve is still an option – especially in the way the questions are constructed and presented. For example in relation to design, one survey respondent said that the preferences for infrastructure around the Basin gave options for a bridge or tunnel on one page – suggesting that there were only two options – then on the next page the last part of this question appeared offering an at grade option.
- Although we are not circulating the survey to our members to complete, we know that others who have been alerted to the survey may. If the survey was designed to be filled in by certain individuals or organisations, either targeted or randomly selected, the results will be invalidated if others complete it. No-one should trust the results of this survey.
We would appreciate a response to this email.
The draft Government Policy Statement is a very significant change from the previous Government’s motorway-dominated policies – the policies that led to the now-defeated Basin Reserve flyover proposal. As far as Save the Basin is concerned, it’s a vital and welcome change of direction.
But it’s only a draft, and it’s under threat.
The powerful roading and trucking lobbies are marshaling their forces to push back against the GPS. That’s why we need you to submit and say that you support the direction laid out in the draft Government Policy Statement.
Only got time to make a quick submission? Please read the next section – it’s got all you need!
Make a quick submission
We suggest you email email@example.com with the subject line “Providing feedback on the Draft GPS 2018” and say something like this:
I support the Government’s new transport policy direction. It’s good for the climate, good for public health, and it provides better transport choices so fewer people need to rely on private cars.
I especially like the increased funding for public transport (including rapid transit), walking, cycling and rail, and the decreased funding for state highways.
Make a detailed submission
Possible submission points
There are plenty more points you can make if you wish, and we’re certainly not claiming the draft GPS is perfect. Here are some detailed points of support, and suggestions for improvements, you could make in your submission:
I strongly support:
a) the strategic priorities of safety, access, environment, and value for money
b) increased funding for public transport (including rapid transit), walking, cycling and rail
c) emphasis on integrated planning and mode neutrality
d) a second-stage GPS “to fully realise Government’s direction for transport investment” (draft GPS, p5)
Here are some things I’d like to see changed:
a) allocating funding by Activity Classes that are largely defined by mode is inconsistent with the theme of “a mode neutral approach to transport planning and investment decisions” (p23)
b) environment (“reduces the adverse effects on the climate, local environment and public health”, p7) should be a key strategic priority (like safety and access), rather than a supporting one
c) continuing the very high level of funding for state highway improvements does not appear to be consistent with the strategic priorities
d) recognising the safety implications of mode choice (eg the risk associated with travelling by car is roughly ten times greater than the risk of travelling by public transport)
e) greater support for demand management, such as congestion charging
f) ensuring distributional effects and equity effects of policy tools are managed properly – so insofar as there are adverse effects, the changes in transport funding and mode provision don’t hit poor people disproportionately hard
The Government Policy Statement on Land Transport sets the Government’s policy direction on transport. It’s revised every three years, and the last one was issued in 2015 by the then-National Government.
The last government were going to issue a new Government Policy Statement this year that reaffirmed their fixation with prioritising building motorways. Now, Minister of Transport Phil Twyford and Associate Ministers Julie-Anne Genter and Shane Jones have a very different vision for transport: a vision that prioritises reducing dependence on private cars, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving public health. This potentially means a modern, sustainable transport system is coming Wellington’s way.
You’ll find the draft GPS and related documents here:
How to submit
The email address for your submission is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The official submission form is a downloadable PDF that has to be filled in and submitted by email or post. You may find it easier to simply send your submission in the body of your email.
Here are two articles that do a good job of summarising why the draft GPS is worth supporting:
- On the Talk Welly blog: https://talkwellington.org.nz/2018/taxes-and-tolls-and-trains-oh-my/
- On the Greater Auckland blog: https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2018/04/04/new-government-policy-statement-transport-2018/
Here is a useful summary of changes in various “activity classes” in the new draft GPS that clearly shows why it’s a change of transport direction that’s worth supporting (.docx format).