Govt's 10-year draft land transport plan eyes regional roading improvements, state highway maintenance & public transport, plus new investment in rapid transit & rail

Govt's 10-year draft land transport plan eyes regional roading improvements, state highway maintenance & public transport, plus new investment in rapid transit & rail

The Government has issued its 2018 Draft Policy Statement on land transport. It covers the period from 2018/19 until 2027/28, setting out the Government’s priorities for land transport and guiding the allocation of more than $4 billion a year from the National Land Transport Fund by the New Zealand Transport Agency.

The Government says it's prioritising safety improvements aimed at reducing New Zealand's "appalling number of road deaths," with a focus on regional roading improvements, state highway maintenance and public transport, along with new investment in rapid transit and rail. Changes proposed, according to the Government, include a 46% average percentage increase over three years in public transport funding, and the establishment of rapid transit as a new activity class with $4 billion over 10 years with an initial focus on Auckland. 

Feedback on the draft is being sought by 5pm on Wednesday, May 2. 

Speaking at her weekly post-cabinet press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her Government is “shifting the focus of transport policy” and the draft policy statement was the roadmap to do so. 

She says the Government’s focus will be safety and investing in roads that had been neglected by the previous Government. 

It will also be prioritising better public transport use and rapid transit. 

“We’re also focused on value for money,” Ardern said. 

“What you won’t see under this Government is an investment in a small number of duel carriageway highways, while local roads and other safety in other transport options suffer.” 

Speaking after Ardern, Transport Minister Phil Twyford outlined the Government’s commitment to a transport system which is free of death and serious injury. 

He made reference to the eight people who died on the roads over the Easter holiday period – the worst toll in eight years. 

“The fatality rate per billion kilometres travelled has risen 16% between 2013 and 2016.” 

He says work done by the Ministry of Transport and the New Zealand Transport Agency suggests there may be around $800 million worth of “high value, road safety improvements in need of funding on local roads alone.” 

Once complete, these improvements could prevent 160 deaths and serious injuries per year, Twyford says. 

“That’s less than half the cost of the pervious Government’s East-West Link project.” 

He says the Government’s policy shifts priorities from “costly white elephants” to high value improvements that will save lives.

Here's the full statement, here's a document detailing the key changes, and below is a statement from Ministers Twyford, Genter and Jones.

Twyford says the Government will double the spending on reginal road improvements over the next three years, adding that half of all vehicle journeys are on local roads.

“Yet less than 5% of the National Land Transport Programme has been spent on improving them.”

In order to fund what Twyford calls its “pet projects,” – its roads of national significance, he says National starved local and regional roads, with spending on local roads increasing by just $6 million over the nine years’ National were in Government. Twyford says the previous National Government failed to disclose that NZTA had advised Simon Bridges that the petrol exercise and road user charges of between 10-20c a litre was needed to to pay for its promises on some of its expressways.

He says the Government has chosen to limit the increases to the lowest end of that range of between 9-12c a litre. 

Meanwhile, National’s Transport spokesman Jami-Lee Ross says the Government’s policy statement confirms it plans to gut regional roading projects to pay for trams in Auckland, and to charge regional motorists more to do so. He says today’s announcement will be met with anger and disappointment right around New Zealand.

“That means roads which would have improved safety, created jobs, boosted regional economic growth and better connected our regional farmers and producers to our major centres will be axed.”

He takes aim at the 9-12c a litre proposed fuel tax, saying it – in combination with the impending Auckland fuel tax – could mean motorist will be paying an extra $10-$15 every time they fill up.

Government seeks feedback on Draft GPS 2018

The Draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) 2018 on land transport released today is an important step towards making our roads safer so we can reduce New Zealand’s appalling number of road deaths, Transport Minister Phil Twyford says.

The GPS helps guide investment in transport by providing a longer-term strategic view of what is prioritised and why. The draft GPS 2018 prioritises safety, access to a wider range of transport options, the environment and value for money. The Government is now seeking feedback from local government, the transport sector and community groups on this proposal.

“With road deaths increasing every year since 2013, this Government is prioritising safety improvements. We’re going to invest in what makes the most difference - regional and local roads, and targeted improvements to the State Highway network,” says Phil Twyford.

“The previous government did not spend enough on road safety, and instead wasted funds on a few low-value motorway projects. This has created an imbalance in what is funded, with a few roads benefiting at the expense of other areas.

“This new approach requires a shift in transport investment. We are proposing increases to most activity classes, with specific focus on regional roading improvements, state highway maintenance and public transport, along with new investment in rapid transit and rail. This will help us create a resilient, efficient, safe and responsible transport system,” Phil Twyford says.

Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones says rebalancing transport investment will help our regions thrive.

“Over the past nine years, National Land Transport Fund spending was reduced in Taranaki, Southland, West Coast, Otago, Northland, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and the Bay of Plenty by up to 30%. In contrast, Our Government will increase spending in the regional roading improvements funding class by 98%,” Shane Jones says.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter says that by investing in safety improvements such as median safety barriers, intersection upgrades and rumble strips, we can make our roads safer and save lives.

“To create healthy, liveable cities we need to make it safe and easy for people to walk and cycle those short trips to school, work and around town. That’s why we’re proposing a significant boost in safe, walking and cycling infrastructure.

“Better public transport and safe cycling infrastructure will also help to reduce traffic and make life easier for people driving,” Julie Anne Genter says.

Road deaths

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Source: NZTA

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There should be a compulsory stop FOR 10 MINUTES at the point that is 1 hour's travel time North of the Northern Toll in Auckland as a test to see if resting up reduces accdients

The AA found that driver fatigue and driver error were the biggest causes of road accidents

Hilarious. How to administer... Also please insure govt is checking our sleep patterns and diet for optimal performance. Govt to please enforce exercise and study each day. Govt to mandate appropriate work day stress levels to insure optimal health. Govt to please ban coffee, alcohol, fatty foods and sugary foods. Govt to please ban luxury items to insure financial stress is tolerable. Govt to please nationalize housing to insure all bedrooms are filled and citizens are located close to work places. Govt to please manage food supply to insure correct nutrition is delivered to every citizen. Govt to please nationalize employment to insure every person is working to their ability. Government to please nationalise pay to insure very person is receiving what they need. Govt to please insure citizen thoughts are pure and optimized for productivity and safety. Government to please enforce military training for all citizens to protect the homeland against those jealous of our success. Government to instigate curfews and to please turn military in to police to ensure stability and safety of all comrades. Government to please have elections decided by government officials to insure the correct candidate is selected.

11
up

The police have been ticketing people at ever increasing rates.

The road toll has been going up.

QED: Tickets are obviously the cause.

I am shocked on a daily basis at the standard of driving in NZ. It needs to change.

Police need to start handing out tickets for failing to use the left hand lanes where possible. Old codger at work keeps complaining about people overtaking him on the left, and simply refuses to accept that it is perfectly legal and he is the one breaking the law by failing to keep left and obstructing the flow of traffic.
Same thing on the southerm motorway last night at Takanini, the two right hand lanes crawling at 80kph, and I had a totally clear left hand lane to the top of the hill.

Sadly theres the obsessiveness in the planning depts for ending lefthand lanes or turning them into exit only lanes on the motorways. This forces people to take the path of less resistance, sit in the second or third lane and this become habit.
If motorways slimmed to two lanes only by ceasing the most righthand lanes then people would form habit that the left hand lanes are the path of least resistance where you dont have to keep changing every 2km, one might argue that this is a major cause of accidents in itself.

Couldn't agree more. At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man, we have a rapidly increasing number of morons who do not understand the potential damage caused by a sudden impact at 50kmh and disproportionately high numbers of trucks involved in accidents (no surprise if you've witnessed empty logging trucks racing each other).

.. I was slowing down on Easter Monday ... as I approached a crash scene ... two wrecked cars , an ambulance , cops in cars and one on a motorbike ... a big SUV behind me got impatient and overtook , roaring at speed through the carnage ...

Only in Canterbury !

Great..a nationwide fuel tax.That should reduce the road toll.

No it won't, but the infrastructure it will pay for will.

Maybe they should give it a catchy name to calm the rabble. "Roads of National Significance', perhaps.

... or the " Let's Continue To Kick The Snot Out Of The Poor & Middle-Class Fuel Surcharge " ...

Because , when you get down to it , extra taxes levied on petrol are gonna disproportionately impact the lower income earners ....

... once again , the well meaning but financially illiterate left put the boot into their own supporter base ...

Taxinda at her best

Reminder: National increased the tax on petrol six times over the last nine years for exactly the same stated reasons.

So is the rule of thumb simply "when National does it it's okay, when Labour does it, it's terrible"?

So Taxohn Key and Taxill English did it too? Shocking...

... the point being that Labour always have and always will hurt the one's who love them ... the lower socio-economic strata ...

Whereas we all know that the Gnats are right behind the rich property owners ... dairy farmers ... Feltchers ... no illusions there about who they help and who they hurt ...

.. Taxinda is looking more and more like a one term wonder .... Labour are unraveling remarkably quickly ..

15
up

Make the trucking companies pay for the damage they do to the roads instead of subsidising them by spreading the cost across all users, and Kiwi Rail will become more profitable, and allow allow more money to be spent on the rail network.

A big question - how much of the current huge amount of tax on fuel is actually spent on these things now?

Agreed.

Indeed.
I am thrown around in an alarming manner if I use the incredibly bumpy state highway 1. I'd hate to be high up in a 4WD or SUV on these roads. On a long trip this must take a toll on the driver concentration/ state of mind. But like many issues similar this. It is not studied at all. The people in charge do not have sufficient intelligence.

I thought Ardern campaigned on no new taxes???
She is going to tax the hell out of everything especially Aucklanders, as it is there fault that the stupid housing policies have been brought in that encompasses the whole country.
The so called affordable houses at 600k are going to be hilarious and even if those people can buy a box they won’t be able to afford to live in Auckland due to all the other costs including expensive Petrol.

The COL Voters are going to get what you deserve for voting out the National government that did a damned good job for the previous 9years!

As “The Man” and several others keep saying, the COL haven’t got a clue on how to run anything let alone the country!!!!

Transparency is not what this government is about and the lies just keep coming and the COL voters still believe the BS!

Here is a little something to brighten your mood about the winning coalition.

https://youtu.be/cdjt0LWm7AQ

haha, excellent. I bet TM2 was frothing at the mouth at that one.

I am just as shocked that a politician could break a promise!

Yes, just another bait and switch government. "Because (fill in the blank) we have no choice but to raise (fill in the blank) taxes".

#NZgovernmentsareallthesame

This is what I thought this Government would do well in. Roading is an area the Green's actually have some fresh thinking. Seeing a bit more sensible, value for money decisions coming into force. Well done to the Coalition.

But Of course, It is all National's fault - All our problems are due to the mishap that National took office in the last 9 years ... See, National should have started building in 2008, 2009, oh no, building after the GFC ... No, should have done that after the first CrCh quake ... No the second I guess! .. they were late and lazy, must be !

Twyford the "moaner" is becoming a master of blame and an authority on shamelessly claiming credit of all and sundry .... Long live Caesar Twyford the saviour of the road victims, the homeless, and FHBs -- Long live the illuminator of road spending and petrol taxing. long live the bureaucracy and planners at the ministry of transport for their up to the minute road designs and recommendations , long live the idiots who only know how to narrow the roads to create bottlenecks in order to slow motorists ...and spend our money many times year in year out on the same piece of road instead of thinking a bit further than their nose. But why bother , as long as there will be a minister or a Gov to Blame later ?

Ever since I could resolve things, I kept hearing everyone all around the country screaming about narrow roads, death traps, death bends, dangerous intersections and train crossings ...this has been going on for decades and no one did something serious about it -- as it is all about the money, or the lack of !!

I am waiting for these 2.5 years to pass to see if this CoL will have anything else to blame on others in every second word / policy / or statement they announce ... this is so childish, and its gone beyond the joke ... as if they will keep campaigning until the end of the term to pull the wool on everyone's eyes so no one changes his mind when this LOT is exposed come next election.

Does anyone else see this blame game as a sign of weakness and an inferiority complex by Labour or is it just me ? ... Oh, excluding the die hard mates of course.

This rambling whinge was so long that they managed to insert two ads and I still can't pick out even one point being made.

this a repeat of the first term of the last national government, same old same old.
blame the other guys that had nine years.
it is about time they rolled out a vision and started to build.
as for the light rail to the airport, why,
why not run the heavy rail down puhinui road to the airport , before the land is developed, could be done quicker and cheaper

Why not just protect the corridor and do both (as funding permits).

In addition to servicing the airport, light rail will:
- Give decent PT to Wynyard quarter
- improve queen street
- much better city link
- take hundreds of dominion road buses out of city
- give Mt Eden, Mt roskill, onehunga, Mangere Bridge and Mangere decent rapid PT

A new Heavy rail spur will only add more burden to southern rail line and CRL meaning the rail network will be at full capacity much quicker. And it won’t be as cheap as you think, especially at the airport end where heavy rail will nead a lot more tunneling than light rail.

Isn’t it like arguing they should have built a small motorway from airport to highway 1 instead of building highway 20? Of course highway 20 provides many more functions than just an airport link, as will light rail.

Actually the best time to have done all this would have been straight after the GFC, investment in infrastructure is a great way of keeping people employed and it’s much cheaper during a downtown. But bill decided to keep his hands in his pockets as he didn’t have a clue and reverted to what he would do if his farm had a drought.
Now labour are having to spend at the worse possible time - the up cycle should be the time to pay back public debt but labour have no choice.

Now labour are having to spend at the worse possible time - the up cycle should be the time to pay back public debt but labour have no choice.

The Japanese haven't started addressing their public debt. At least their private sector and h'holds aren't up to their eyeballs in debt. And they still run a surplus. In fact, it's the highest since 2011.

http://www.iii.co.uk/alliance-news/1520468187014877700-3/japan-has-y607-...

Blame game = weakness?? Jeepers, then the govt of the last nine years, spending just about all of them blaming the government before them must have been the weakest of them all.
PS Did you think we'd forgotten or something?

And the Academy Award for Irony goes to...you.

“Cycling infrastructure” – I really am missing this one.

Negligible impact on getting cars off the road – perhaps a pleasant way to see the city and suburbs during the weekend – but even then, users appear far and few between.

I can’t imagine what a sane cost / benefit analysis would look like – though perhaps it doesn’t matter when “unearned” tax revenue simply turns up to pay for it.

Well the cost benefits normally come out pretty good, normally due to relatively low costs, and of course the significant health benefits. Recent herald article compared 4 transport modes from new Lynn to city and cycling was 30 minutes faster than train car or bus. If it wasn’t for the fact that you are going to be killed, many more people would do it.

The upfront costs appear pretty hefty – maybe ongoing costs relatively low – although you may have gobbled up another potential lane there – and what’s that cost?

Anyway, point taken regarding health benefits and time advantage.

However, the reality is I use Nelson Street around 8.00am each day. On a lovely summer morning there are very few users – maybe 4 or 5 stopping at a light. On a miserable winter morning – simply forget it.

So although the sentiment is great and the reasons for use may be compelling – I just don’t see enough bums on seats to support it.

The same sentiment was being said about the trains just a few years ago. National wouldn't even get the city rail link underway.

Now look at them. Crush loaded.

So true – I never thought Aucklanders would take to trains the way they have.

Years ago, a run down, broken down unloved service – that even if by some miracle it got you to the end station, you were left in the middle of nowhere.

Now it’s pretty darn good – and about to become brilliant.

I don’t know if we can compare trains to cycles – however, I’d be delighted to once again be proved wrong.

Imagine if we could cycle on a cycle path to the train station and then take a train.

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/may/05/amsterdam-bicycle-capital...

Weather probably a bit better in Auckland during winter too. Not that I'd ever expect to see a booming cycling culture here. But over the decades I've been cycling it's definitely got a lot more participants now. Just look to something like round Taupo and what the numbers are now compared to 20 years ago. With some foresight and compromise, it certainly should be possible to cater to all.

I never stopped cycing as my commuter transport from when I got my first bike. That would be going on nigh 50 yeras. I have had only 3 different bikes since my first one. My health and my wallet have been the benfciciaries. If it rains i wear a coat. The excuses i hear about why one cant bike are little more than laziness. Bring on the taxes...and tax the stupid.

Traffic in Auckland was flowing well today. The reason? School holidays.

Get the kids back onto their bikes to get to school and you will make a massive dent in congestion. And if some of those kids keep the habit into adult life you will make further dents.

Northern European countries where there is good cycling infrastructure show 1/3 of transport trips are made on the humble bicycle. Imagine how easy driving in AKL would be if one third of drivers switched to cycling?

NZ drivers will need to have a serious attitude adjustment for that to be able to happen. Oh, and much of the traffic that is off the roads during school holidays will be down to at least one parent taking time off during the holidays, so kids back on bikes won't mean all those cars not there today, will no longer be there at all.

True. It's a downward spiral too. The family car is now a small armored vehicle. And then the other parents feel they need to upsize their own vehicles to feel safer. And all trying to drop their kids of right at the front gate. Chaotic at best.

The timing of this announcement by the COL the day after a long weekend when there were bound to be road deaths is disgraceful but expected.

The reality is most fatalities happen on state highways which would be fixed by double lanes and median barriers however the COL is instead spending billions on light rail to Auckland airport for backpackers and to Jacindas electorate of Mt Roskil for her voters.

Let’s fix a few errors there:
- Jacinda’s electorate is Mt Albert not Mt roskill
- spending billions double laning a small number of roads is never going to save as many lives as fixing black spots on a large number of roads.
- the timing is always bad/good as there are lots of fatalities every week.
- I imagine the light rail is coming out of the Auckland fuel tax which is about fixing congestion, not out of the safety oriented national fuel tax increase.

There was no cash for median barriers as it was all diverted to building a few KMs of huge expressways. I would hope Labour will be putting in allot more median barriers with this announcement.

Actually Labour are nominally cutting funding to State Highways to a sever extent so safety is clearly not the number one priority here. They want public transport and are willing to disadvantage any number of low income workers and families, who are forced to commute by car presently because they can't afford inner-city homes, with a regressive tax policies to get their shiny public transport system. Monorail!

Yes, pretty much calling it as it is.

Better to just carry on as before then? Raise taxes to pay for a few vanity expressways, reduce spending on safety improvements and let the rest of NZ suffer an ever increasing road toll?

State Highway funding is only being cut to the level it was at 4 years ago, so it's not a severe cut, or did you think Nationals 2012-2015 GPS was severely underfunding state highways?

Producing a more balanced transport budget was always going involve cutting the state highway spend given how the last government had so severely skewed funding in that direction. The current govenments state highway funding allows for completion of committed projects and additional safety improvements.

The return on investment of targeted safety improvements is huge compared to building dual carriageways.

At least we will have no new taxes; yeah, right!

Taxinda tried to spin it on the AM Show today saying that National would have added even more. If Tax is love then prepare to be loved a lot by the COL.

Ex Expat, still whining? I challenge you to take the bull by the horns and stake your claim on an even better country. Put an end to the self inflicted emotional trauma and just take the next plane out. Also, I am all ears when National makes it an election pledge to reverse free tertiary education and reinstate their originally proposed tax cuts at the same time!

There is no better country for me. My wife and children are Tangata Whenua whereas my bloodline have been New Zealanders for over 170 years. Most of you are likely just off the jet in comparison. Don’t you get it R-P, I’m adding my voice to the mix to stop you lefties ruining my Elysium and getting me to pay for it.

Ex Expat, going by your depressing comments your elysium left you long ago and only you can be held responsible for that.

Only a morally poor person finds the time to diss one of the best Leaders this country has had in decades. Jacinda is in touch with the people, is well respected and leads by example. If you cannot relate to leaders like Jacinda and her values then you've self anointed yourself as superior to grass roots society. It's a long way to fall from your altitude.

From all your own accounts you've received a jolly good leg-up from NZ's left-leaning society - incl. free schooling, low cost healthcare, low cost university, subsidised public transport, and a pension your kids might not receive to anywhere near the same level. In 170 years, your bloodline has well and truly benefited from NZ's initiatives to get land into the hands of average Kiwis, and social state to accord opportunities to average Kiwis. What a massive boost your bloodline has received! (Not to mention the increase in house prices accorded through National's first home buyers' grant and increases to WFF and the Accommodation Supplement.)

I don't see how resenting the same being accorded to others so you can have lower taxes is protecting your Elysium...unless Elysium is entirely self-absorbed and frozen at a particular point in time. It begs the question - why would you be so angry about others receiving a similar level of support to what you have, funded by the taxes you pay? (Do you subconsciously believe you didn't and don't receive these supports from society off the back of taxes others have paid?)

Rick, we’ve been over this many times. Yes, we live in a socialist democracy. The divergence of opinion is over the size of the tax burden and where it’s placed. It may surprise you, but I don’t go to work with the goal of filling a trough for others to feed in. I do it for my family and myself. Tax is the cost of living in a society that doesn’t require me to guard my house with a firearm. I could actually retire now. Not with the lifestyle I aspire to but I could retire. I choose not too because I want to provide more for my family and future. Having the COL in power is depressing as I know I will keep even less of what I earn now, unless I adapt. So far i’m saving more that ever, only because I choose not to spend.

Yeah, I've often pointed out how similar National and Labour are - e.g. National campaigning on increasing subsidies taken from your salary and handed to property investors and companies to supplement rents and wages.

And now we're seeing that National was actually campaigning on a Transport plan (ATAP) that they knew was going to require an increase in fuel tax to achieve - instead OIA requests for the information showing the increase in fuel tax was required to achieve their ATAP were simply stalled.

https://twitter.com/Economissive/status/929808878279172096

I agree the discussion is all about the size of the tax burden and where it should be placed - and now we're in the part of the cycle where we're finding we're facing a structural deficit in services and infrastructure, in some cases because DHBs (for example) have been pressured to hide their need to make the economic picture more rosey. People are now finding it's a tricky thing with some unwanted consequences - importing many more people to boost nominal GDP and paint a rosier picture, while not keeping up with services and infrastructure.

Myself, I don't resent contributing so that others receive similar levels of services and infrastructure to that I've received before them.

National promised to spend 10 billion on 10 roads. They would have had to increase tax more, fact.

And I'm sure National never raised fuel tax in their 9 years, right?
Fuel tax is a nominal dollar amount, if it isn't raised then transport spending is eroded by inflation. Also as the easy projects have been done, all we are left with is difficult projects to do that are expensive. So even just raising fuel tax in line with inflation won't be enough.
But why am I trying to reason with you...

Just prepare New Zealand for self-driving cars. Humans have always been a bit rubbish at driving as we drive tired, drunk, use cell phones, play with the buttons etc. while we should be driving. As a much cleverer man, W. E. Deming, put it "A bad system beats a good person every time" and automation is that system. A forward thinking government transport policy should be: Automate, automate, automate.

Like the Tesla that drove itself into a wall? Pass. I'll take the EV part of it, but i'll do the driving thanks.

Poor argument. Self-driving vehicles don't have to be perfectly safe to be worth implementing, just safer than the current setup. The current setup involves somewhere north of 1 million road deaths per year worldwide, to weigh against your one example. With a self-driving system constant analysis and improvement becomes far, far easier than having to educate billions of humans.

As a side note, imagine how much better our lives will be with all that extra time to do what you actually want while travelling in your car? We could make the world safer while removing a tedious chore from our lives.

I believe there have been 3 deaths now. There was the Uber car that drove into a pedestrian slowly and steady crossing the road the other day. Now imagine what the road toll would be if all cars were self driving, instead of just a tiny fraction.

Did you see the video of that incident? There's no way a human would have avoided hitting that pedestrian crossing the road in the dark. The time from being able to see her to hitting her was ~1 second. And yes, it should have been prevented as the car had sensors capable of seeing in the dark, with more development self-driving cars will outperform humans in this situation rather than just matching them.

With enough time and energy, self driving cars can be dealt with similarly to aircraft. Flying used to be dangerous, now it's incredibly safe as every incident is examined and a fail-safe introduced if possible. With regular cars, this is very difficult due to the amount of random human input. When you drive, your life is in the hands of hundreds of other humans who might be tired, drunk, on drugs, distracted, how can you think we can't improve on this?

LIDAR doesn't care if it's night or day, that Uber car would have hit her in broad daylight too. Good luck using pedestrian crossings when these things are on the road.

I bike through Christchurch daily - I am very familiar with how poor human drivers are at spotting people too. I'll take the software that can be continually tweaked and improved any day.

Straight up dtc. Is it your contention that human-driven cars are safer than self-driven cars and always will be?

I don't contend it will always be the case. Just that it is far more difficult than people understand and will take longer than many expect.

Uber planned to have self driving cars in service by mid-2019. Now it's been revealed the are chronic red-light runners and can't see pedestrians crossing the road.

Comparing it to flying is case in point. Driving on the open road and in cities is far more complex than flying 10,000 km in the air in good weather. How would a plane react when it approaches a red light and a pedestrian steps out to cross, would it just sail on through like Uber cars do?

I've seen the video of that incident, and it's clear that either the footage was doctored, or the camera taking the footage (which wasn't the camera the car uses to drive) was rubbish.
There are numerous videos on the net now taken by drivers at the same spot, at the same time of night, that are much much clearer. A human being driving the car (and paying attention) would absolutely have spotted her well in advance of one second and would have had time to at least hit the brakes.
The issue with "self driving" cars right now is that they're not of a technically competent level where testing them on public roads is safe. In a few years they might be, but not yet.

You assume i don't want to be driving the car.. it's a wrong assumption if i'm anywhere the traffic is flowing freely. In stop go traffic i'll let the car drive and read a book or troll interest.co.nz comments, but if i'm road tripping i'll do the driving thanks.

You also assume I want the road toll reduced, and frankly I don't, anything that reduces the population is in the long run a good thing. I just wish we could somehow remove the bits between fatal injuries and minor injuries, those serious but not fatal injuries cost us a fortune and clog up the health system for years.

Ramp population to support other govt agendas and then unleash all the extra car on NZ roads. Lets face it Awk is the choak point, and it tries to flow in and out on long weekends.

Does any one in the Govt.,have some thought for the low income earner,by increasing taxes.
I say to the Auckland transport problem,look at the light rail rapid system,i lived in Singapore.in the 1996,
and it was very successfully operated.

Govts can tax us and build infrastructure all they like but there is one thing they can't stop,and thats idiots driving like idiots.

Taxinda strikes yet again

That's getting really old now Yvil. A quote starting with 'small things' comes to mind.

The 'Taxinda' moniker is designed to annoy her acolytes, that's the point of it. The same way that Sir John Key attracted monikers that the Left used for many years to annoy his fans. Unless the moderators level the playing field and remove all but the correct name for ALL politicians I intend to use it in every post where I refer to her.

Agree - these monikers are used by the intellectually deprived on both the left and the right...
But Taxinda isn't even slightly clever.

You are absolutely correct Ex Expat, how many names did Sir John have to endure...

"Government striving to reduce 'appalling number of road deaths'"
What a nice, pro-government headline, concealing the new fuel tax (on top of last week's announced Auckland fule tax)

Yvil, I'm grudgingly accepting of this tax to further improve and facilitate safer transport. How else is this Government supposed to handle extra cars owned by the hundreds of thousands welcomed in under Nationals immigration policies.

Let's say, if last September National had been elected and their unaffordable tax cuts introduced. An increase in fuel tax (or more roading tolls) would have had to be introduced to help fund our creaking infrastructure! Would you and other members of the "Coalition of Whingers" complained then?

National was also cutting health and education spending and pouring general taxation in to pay for their motorway programs, though no doubt you are right and they would have continued raising fuel tax.

I dont mind the fuel taxes, I live in Ponsonby & work from home.

Its a good idea, the fuel tax will cut discretionary travel down a bit, reduce emissions, and encourage EV/hybrid uptake and discourage purchase of V8 holdens and land tank SUVs.. all good things. As for the effect of those on minimum wage jobs i'm sure they will be upping the WFF handouts sometime soon to compensate.

I like gas guzzling monstrosities and really dont care how much fuel costs. 22l/100ks (premium or better) currently, just applied for Prius owner club gold status. Someone has to burn the dinosaurs.

Good for you.. Feel free to give even more money to the shiny-bums in Wgtn for the pleasure and subsidising my driving.

There is an upside. It’s a good time to look at rental investments in suburbs serviced by this light rail. Properties close to good public transport always rent well and especially if the increased petrol price pushes these lower income families and students into public transport.

But I thought the light rail was only for backpackers? Are you now saying other people might use it? And get their car off the road, easing congestion?

Light rail to the airport is for backpackers however, after talking to fellow investors, light rail to these suburbs could provide property investment opportunities. Need to know the route first of course.

Light rail to the airport goes via Mt Eden, Mt Roskill, Onehunga, Mangere Bridge, Mangere Centre and Airport Oaks.

It would not surprise me at all if accidents and vehicles per km are exponentially related. Our roads are not built for large populations. We don't have many features like overpasses or barriers physically separating traffic.

As an example, think of a stretch of open road with no intersections. If there are 8 cars going each way there are 64 chances of a head on collision. If we increase the population 25%, there are now 10 cars travelling each way then there are 100 chances of a collision. Increase the traffic 25% on the same road and get 56% higher risk of collisions. When you add in sprawling cities leading to longer commute times, clogged intersections, sleepy drivers at green lights, slow drivers, mexican waves of traffic congestion, impatient drivers, tourists etc it only gets worse.

The politicians are pretending our infrastructure will scale linearly with population increase. It won't.

Although there are countries with much higher population than us with much lower road tolls.
Japan's road toll is about half ours per capita; similar sized country, similar terrain, 24 times the number of people.

There is a big difference; infrastructure. As I said NZ has simple roads. Japan has world class public transport and amazing road junctions like these . Yes we might be able to improve infrastructure IF parties like Fletchers and Auckland council were not involved. However we'd end up with high debt like Japan. Could all the new rocket sugeons chefs and taxi drivers pay for the exponential costs in infrastructure. I doubt it.

If my calcs are correct, there is 0.95m of road network per person in Japan whereas there are 20m per person in NZ. It's not surprising that the Japanese can afford higher standards for their roads.

Whats the car ownership % in Japan?

I'm sure you can Google too. Looks to be 0.45 per person in Japan compared to 0.78 per person in NZ.

I thought National had solved the problem with road accidents when they lowered the drink driving limits.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/10331429/Drink-drive-limits-lo...

In the States people don't have a problem with the 55mph speed limit off the main roads, I think our trucks are too big and too fast, just a personal observation, but 57 tonnes hurtling at you can be a bit intimidating. We have some horrible bits of roads and around here there is a lot of patching going on. We are not very considerate drivers, we appear to be destination focused , don't let others in and always up someones butt.