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Letter to Media and MPs re Bolland Report

20111030 Documents released under the Official Information Act reveal National Government systematically denying appropriate response to IEA warning( the following was e-mailed on the 30th of October 2011 to media organisations and to Candidates running for the 26 of November 2011 General Election )

see also : Questions that you might like to ask to Candidates at Meet the Candidates meetings

Alan Preston here for Save Our Rail Northland and other communities around New Zealand working for sustainable transport solutions appropriate to the post peak oil age ( - which we have been living in since 2006 ( International Energy Agency, May 2011 ).

The National Government of New Zealand is currently pursuing its 'Roads of 'National' Significance and the KiwiRail Turnaround plan - which includes the 'rationalisation' of 5 regional railway lines.  thereby increasing New Zealand's vulnerability, decreasing our resilience and contravening our obligations to reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol.

We have recently succeeded in using the Official Information Act to secure the release of
the 2009 Ministerial Briefing on Oil Prices and Transport Sector Resilience
the The Bolland Report which was commissioned in April 2010 by the Ministry of Transport to provide independent advice on the economic costs and benifits of rail freight.
The latter document found significant economic benefits for rail over road for freight transport and the former warns of our vulnerability caused by our dependence on fossil fuels and lack of alternative sources of energy and oil non-dependent infrastructure.
These are only two of many documents we have that substantiate and validate the case for an urgent review of the National-led government's approach to the provision of transport infrastructure, in light of the (usually ultra-conservative ) International Energy Agency's assertion that the fossil-fuel energy paradigm has changed, and that 'the age of cheap oil is over'.
What is extremely concerning is that acccess was denied to information that should have been made available to the public as part of a consultation process to design strategies that will ensure New Zealanders are able to respond appropriately to continue functioning as a society and as an economy in this new energy future.

In early 2011 the International Energy Agency, of which New Zealand is one of 28 sponsor nations, completed a study of 800 of the world's oil fields and concluded that the peak in 'conventional' oil actually occurred in 2006 and that 'unconventional' energy from gas and tar-sands would never make up the shortfall in production as demand from India and China increases.
In interviews with media ( Radio NZ National 25th May 2011) ,Chief Economist from the IEA , Fatih Birol concluded that 'the age of cheap oil is over' and that governments need to urgently reduce their vulnerability to ever-increasingly expensive oil prices and to oil shocks.

he Acting Minister of Energy, Hekia Parata , by her reply to our enquiry ( 21st of June 2011  as to how the National-led Government was going to respond to the International Energy Agency's recent assertions, only repeated their belief that" new fields and unconventional sources will ensure that demand continues to be met. "
thereby showing that she was oblivious to what the IEA had said, that: 
'unconventional' energy from gas and tar-sands would never make up the shortfall in production as demand from India and China increases' - and that to maintain the status quo , the world will need another 4 Saudi Arabias before 2030. 'A very tall order' ( Fatih Birol ).

What has also been of  great concern to New Zealanders involved in advocating for more appropriate energy, transport and climate change responses is that our media organisations and elected representatives seem to be collectively extremely reluctant to deal with these issues.

We trust that at this pre-election juncture , you will understand the gravity of this issue and give it the exposure it deserves.

Alan Preston
Save Our Rail Northland.
  • During the current National Government's term in office, the public of New Zealand have been denied access to two very important documents which have since been released to us under the Official Information Act: 
In 2009 the National Government was presented with a document called the 2009 Ministerial Report on Oil Prices and Resilience in the Transport Sector which outlined some of the vulnerabilities that New Zealand faces.

In 2010 The Ministry of Transport commissioned
the Bolland Report to provide independant advice on the costs and benefits of rail vs road for freight transport - which found in favour of rail.
  • In May 2011 the International Energy Agency announced , following its study of 800 of the world's oil fields, that they now believe the peak in conventional oil production actually occurred in 2006, that unconventional sources (natural gas and tar sands) were extremely unlikely to make up the shortfall,  concluding that 'the age of cheap oil is over' and that consequently governments around the world urgently need to reduce their vulnerability to increasing fossil fuel prices.
Questions that you could ask Candidates at Meet the Candidates meetings before the November 2011 General Elections.

Q.1. Is the National Government aware of this advice from the International Agency ?
( Acting Minister of Energy Hekia Parata, in her 21 June 2011 reply to this question  reveals that you aren't )
Q. 2.How is National's intention to spend $11billion of our public funds on its Roads of 'National' Significance and to close down several of our strategically essential railways, consistant with this advice ?

Q. 3.And why were the above-mentioned documents only made available to the public through the the Official Information Act  ?


Listen to Radio NZ National Science with David Haywood 2nd of November 2011 Steven Joyce's road plans from an energy engineering perspective. (13′40″) Download: Ogg Vorbis  MP3 | Embed


or contact Alan Preston  in Mangawhai, Northland
    Tel:  +64 9 4315389      
    e-mail  @
   web-site: http://www.saveourrailnorthland.org.nz
    see also:  www.thewayforward2011.org.nz