Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Freeing Kiwis From Gridlock: Major Transport Changes Key To Climate Change Commitments And Equity

Read the full report here, or the accessible version here.

Sweeping changes are needed in Aotearoa New Zealand's transport system if the country is to have any hope of meeting the revised emissions reduction target announced by Climate Change Minister James Shaw at COP26.

Te Ara Matatika The Fair Path, the latest report from The Helen Clark Foundation and WSP in New Zealand, finds that investing in more equitable public transport and reducing New Zealanders’ collective dependence on cars will help kick-start this necessary transition.

The report suggests several bold interventions, including reprogramming the transport system around the twin goals of reducing car dependence and improving equity, and making public transport free for low-income populations like Community Services Card holders, and young people under 25.

Aotearoa New Zealand has one of the highest rates of car ownership in the OECD, with 83 percent of travel time spent in cars. With the population in cities set to increase by almost one million by 2048, it is rapidly becoming unviable for cars to be used as the main mode of urban transport.

“Our current, car-dominated transport system limits mobility and opportunities for thousands of people and accounts for about 43 per cent of domestic carbon emissions,” report author and WSP Fellow Holly Walker said.

“To have any chance of meeting our net zero target, we’ll have to do away with business as usual and reprogramme the transport system for the equitable, low-traffic cities we need in future.

“Even in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, modelling shows that building six major transport projects, electrifying buses, and increasing electric vehicles will have little impact on transport-related emissions unless there is a major reduction in the number of cars on the road.”

The report also finds the current transport system contributes significantly to inequity and disadvantage. Low-income households spend almost a third of their income on transport (more than twice the proportion of high-income households), inaccessible transport prevents thousands of disabled people from fully participating in society, and people from low socio-economic areas are more likely to be disadvantaged by lack of practical transport options, especially Māori. 

“At the same time as making the necessary changes to decarbonise the transport system, we must also make it fairer,” Walker said.

“Otherwise, we risk entrenching existing inequity and failing to meet our net-zero target.”

The report recommends requiring urban planning that shortens distances between important destinations and reduces the overall need to travel.

“The ‘fair path’ leads away from the traditional model of commuting from outer suburbs into the CBD, and towards connected, urban communities where people can access most of their needs close to home and easily use public and active transport options when they need to go further.”

Properly designed, constructed and operated public transport infrastructure has an important role to play in achieving more equitable social outcomes, said WSP in New Zealand managing director Ian Blair.

“There is strong evidence that high-quality, well-linked public transport and urban infrastructure results in lower carbon footprints, better health, wellbeing and community connection.

“In the 20-minute city model of urban design, for example, all the things that contribute to living a fulfilling life are a quick walk, cycle or public transport trip away. This has the potential to completely change the way we live, work and experience our communities. It will also reduce the need to drive.”

Right now, we are relying on individuals to make a personal choice to drive less if they want to, said Walker.

“This will never be enough to achieve the scale of change we need, and it preserves an unaffordable and inaccessible status quo that locks many people into disadvantage.

“The solution to unmet transport need is not more roads, it’s fewer cars and better-connected communities.”

“If we choose the fair path and change the necessary policy settings now, we can free ourselves from the endless traffic jam of car dependence, meet our climate change commitments, and ensure a more equitable transport system that works better for everyone.”

Key recommendations include:

1. Setting an ambitious vision for the transport system and realigning all relevant strategies around the twin goals of reducing car dependence and increasing equity.

2. Changing how transport investment is allocated to prioritise active, public, and shared transport modes over private vehicles for the movement of people.

3. Ensuring the transition is tika (right and just), including by partnering with Māori to uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations in the transport system and ensuring representation from disadvantaged communities on transport-decision making bodies.

4. Requiring urban development that shortens distances between key destinations and reduces the overall need to travel.

5. Piloting the 20-minute city approach in Kāinga Ora-led urban developments.

6. Establishing a fund to promote low-carbon shared community transport solutions such as early childhood education pick-up and drop-off services and community shuttles.

7. Making public transport free for disadvantaged groups like community services card holders, and young people under 25.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Global War Against Plastics

Compared to Covid and climate change, the threat from plastics seems like a low rent version of planetary disaster. Can that plastic bottle, this fast food plastic knife and fork, and the plastic packaging wrapped around everything from supermarket fruit to toys to consumer durables really be omens of the apocalypse? Unfortunately, yes. The threat that plastics pose to the oceans alone is immense...


Crown: Duke Of York’s NZ Military Patronage Appointment Ends
Buckingham Palace has recently announced that, with the Queen's approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to the Queen... More>>

Government: Have Your Say On Proposed Changes To Make Drinking Water Safer
Associate Minister for the Environment Kiri Allan is urging all New Zealanders to give feedback on proposed changes aimed at making drinking water safer. “The current regulations are not fit for purpose and don’t offer enough protection, particularly for those whose water comes from smaller supplies... More>>

National: MIQ Failures Create Mayhem And Distress For Families With Visas
The Government has cruelly chosen not to fix known problems in the Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) online booking system that are keeping families from reuniting says National’s Spokesperson for Immigration, Erica Stanford... More>>

Financial Advice NZ: Law Changes Locking Out Home Seekers, Urgent Meeting Sought With Government

Recent changes in consumer finance law on top of Government policy changes are locking many home seekers out of finance options they would have qualified for just six weeks ago, says Financial Advice New Zealand... More>>

Energy: Powering NZ’s Future With Biofuels
The Government will introduce a Sustainable Biofuels Mandate to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said today... More>>

National: Three Waters Mandate Predetermined From The Start
Labour’s decision to force the Three Waters asset grab on every council in the country was made back in July, showing that their subsequent “engagement” with councils was a total sham, National’s Local Government spokesperson Simon Watts says... More>>




InfoPages News Channels