All Aboard update

May 16, 2022
All Aboard update

Charmaine

Image illustrating decarbonising New Zealand

All Aboard Aotearoa Inc is a coalition of advocacy groups who understand that Aotearoa’s most meaningful contribution to climate action is for us to change our transport system to one that no longer uses petrol and diesel. Members of All Aboard include Generation Zero, Bike Auckland, Movement, Women in Urbanism, Greenpeace, Lawyers for Climate Action NZ and others.

Transport is Aotearoa New Zealand’s key way to meet our national obligations under the Paris Agreement to get to zero-carbon by 2030.

Bikes are climate action – this is obvious.

We know bikes are an ideal way to stop polluting, get fit, get healthy kids, replace car trips, and make the city more liveable and loveable.

See Quay St and the Viaduct for Exhibit #1 – Aucklanders are flocking there by bike and feet to enjoy our city with less cars in the way.

It’s not just about fun and enjoyment either – by riding a bike you are being a climate warrior.

In Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, two thirds of petrol vehicles have to stop driving – and two thirds of petrol stations have to close, for us to stop polluting the world if we are to have any chance of doing our part in keeping temperature rises to just 1.5 degrees.

Unfortunately, Auckland Transport (AT) has not responded to this challenge yet. It is stuck in yesterday’s mindset of more roads, more cars, more pollution. It barely focuses on reducing ‘vehicle kilometres travelled’ which is the key solution. This approach destroyed one of the world’s great tram networks in the 1950s (yes, Auckland’s tram network) and led to Tāmaki Makaurau being Australasia’s most traffic congested city.

Oops. You cannot build your way out of congestion (thanks, induced demand). That is an historical error that All Aboard and Bike Auckland are trying to fix. Luckily, demand evaporation is also a well accepted traffic phenomenon with many great examples (#liberatethelane).

But, this challenge is a change to a status quo that does not want to change.

The status quo is so entrenched that the current Regional Land Transport Plan that AT is working to actually accepts a growth in emissions of 6% over its term. Despite the Auckland Council declaring a climate emergency and instructing AT to plan for emissions reductions.

So, All Aboard has sued AT in the High Court:

  • 7 independent experts queried by All Aboard all told the court in affidavits that AT’s models, assumptions and philosophy to traffic management are wrong. 
  • AT’s presented one expert who is a long time employee of AT with no formal training in traffic engineering. 

The 2-day hearing has finished and All Aboard awaits the judge’s findings. 

A big thank you to all the lawyers and others who have volunteered their valuable time on this important cause – you are great climate warriors just like the bike riders you encourage. 

The written submissions are fascinating and, in particular, see the AT employee’s affidavit and the All Aboard submissions.

They are available here:

Hamish Bunn’s affidavit here

and

All Aboard’s submissions here

Stay tuned for the judgement. In the meantime, can you encourage your friends and family to leave the car in the driveway more often and be a climate warrior and ride their bike instead?

Join us

Bike Auckland is the non-profit organisation working to improve things for people on bikes. We’re a people-powered movement for a better city. We speak up for you – and the more of us there are, the stronger our voice!

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