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ccKelvin Davis MP <kelvin.davis@parliament.govt.nz>,
Shane Jones <shane.jones@parliament.govt.nz>
date6 July 2011 11:07
subject20110706 To Steven Joyce from Alan Preston: Day of National Significance : Appropriate response to IEA warning on Peak Oil

Kia ora Steven.

Re: http://www.heatley.co.nz/index.php?/archives/53-Roading-Puhoi-to-Wellsford.html

I've just read the above article written by the National Party's Whangarei MP Phil Heatley last week and can only say that the National Party's policy on the provision of transport infrastructure continues to completely ignore the strategic implications of the recent announcement from the International Energy Agency with regard to the urgent need to reduce our dependence on and vulnerability to the price of oil.
 National's policy on the the provision of transport infrastructure  is completely predicated on the assumption that the price of oil will stay at levels that are as affordable as they are at present - when the IEA has just warned us that that is very unlikely and that governments urgently need to reduce their dependence on and vulnerability to fossil fuels ( including natural gas! ).
The (Acting) Minister of Energy has also shown by her statement that ' new fields and unconventional sources will ensure that demand continues to be met'
that she is also unaware or does not recognise the implications of the latest announcements from the IEA.
Development of strategically appropriate responses that are consistant the best advice on energy matters is a responsibility this government must acknowledge and act upon.

Prioritising the provision of alternative infrastructure that is less /or not at all dependant on fossil fuels would be the most appropriate response to this advice.
Dropping the focus on inappropriate infrastuctural projects such as the roads of 'National' significance which will only further entrench our dependence on and vulnerability to fossil fuels would free up the funding that needs to be spent on guaranteeing that our region has resiliance.

Benefits for tourism ?
As far as the Puhoi-Wellsford Expressway developing tourism goes, the current approach seems to be to funnel everything up to the Bay of Islands and on to  Cape Reinga and back,-with virtually no stops on the way. Extending the motorway from Puhoi will only encourage and facilitate the bypassing of the lower Northland region. The roading infrastructure along the beautiful eastern coastal  coastal strip between Matakana and Mangawhai where I live is so bad that none of  the bus companies that would bring tourists into the area are willing to use the route and while there is a lot of potential for tourism , there is very little of any kind of development between those points.

Rail tourism that depend on the North Auckland Line remaining open.
  • John Johnston's ( U.K. based) Gondwana Express venture is planning to bring luxury trains to Northland ( and to use all of NZs rail network )
  • Barry Reid's Cooltrainz design for a self-powered commuter train to run ( provisionally ) from Wellsford to Auckland .
           Although it is just across the road from the railway line at Te Hana, there is no station with a passenger platform.
  • Funding the completion of the North Auckland Line to Opua, would enable trains to take tourists ( and travellers/commuters ) between Northland and Auckland.
With regard to any other kind of development in Northland, the absence of passenger rail of any type but especially for commuters is stifling the development of communities and industries that might otherwise evolve along the rail corridor.
 I lived in Japan for 10 years and am familiar,as are people in most developed countries of the world, with being able to travel and to commute by train.
Many New Zealanders and new immigrants coming here for the lifestyle that the warmer Northland climate provides would choose to live further out of our economic centres if they could commute by rail, which is seen as a much safer , less costly and less stressful mode of transport than travelling by private motor car, virtually the only currently practicable option.  ( See   Queensland Rail )

 Naku noa.

Alan Preston

To read Stephen Joyce's response, click here