The ministerial portfolios were announced today – and, in charge of transport for the next term will be Phil Twyford (Labour MP for Te Atatu), Julie Anne Genter (Greens) as Associate Transport Minister, and Shane Jones (NZ First) as Associate Transport inside cabinet.

Because a picture’s worth a thousand words, here are a couple of really eloquent pictures.

Phil Twyford blatting to Te Atatu (Photo: supplied)
Julie Anne Genter with her brand new green e-bike. (Photo: Patrick Reynolds, via Twitter)

We love it that at least 2/3 of our new transport team – maybe all of them – are super bike-savvy. And we love it that all three coalition parties are represented, given the significant overlaps in their visions for safer streets and more all-ages options for getting around.

Of course, it’s not just about bikes. As Green Party leader James Shaw gently but firmly corrected the Morning Report host this morning, JAG isn’t a ‘cycling campaigner’, she’s ‘a transport economist [NZ’s foremost transport economist, even!] and urban planner – and cycling is obviously a key component of how you get people around the city, especially when you’ve got restrictions on urban space, as we do in Auckland and Wellington in particular.’

That’s exactly the point: bikes are a vehicle – for getting from A to B, and for a whole lot of other issues that come close to home, like smart cities, sustainable transport options, clever land use, kids’ rights, women’s urban freedom, and public health.

So it’s especially encouraging to see the other portfolios our new transport team is in charge of:

  • Phil Twyford also picks up Housing and Urban Development
  • Shane Jones embraces Finance and Regional Economic Development (helloooo Nga Haerenga/ NZ Cycle Trail, which invites over a million New Zealanders and over a hundred thousand international visitors to rural Aotearoa every year, with a return of $3.55 on every dollar spent)
  • and Julie Anne Genter is also Minister for Women and Associate Minister of Health.

Some very promising overlaps there! As everyday bike investment emerges from under the wing of the previous motorway-heavy investment strategy, and into a more holistic context that looks at mobility for people, we’re looking forward to the next stage.

Below, enjoy Phil Twyford and Julie Anne Genter’s answers to our pre-election questions about getting more people on bikes more often. It’s great stuff!

Phil Twyford

Phil Twyford (Labour) is the MP for Te Atatu.

More kids on bikesCurrently only 2% of Kiwi kids ride a bike to school. Is lifting this number a priority? If so, how will we get there?

The percentage of kids using bikes to get to school has dropped alarmingly since the 1980s as parents have become more concerned about road safety.

Getting more kids on bikes to school is good for their health, reduces congestion, there is evidence that regular exercise supports their learning through the day, and it helps to build community and friendships.

The key thing we can do to get more kids on their bikes to school is to provide safe cycle infrastructure so that parents have a level of comfort that their children will be safe. We support significantly increased investment in separated cycleways, shared paths around schools, and programmes within schools to encourage kids to get on their bikes.

Bike-friendly citiesWhat would you do to make it easier for Aucklanders (in your electorate, and beyond) to choose bike travel?

We believe in ‘real transport choice’ for Aucklanders. People should have the option to travel safely by bike if that is what they want to do.

Labour supports a true multi-modal and integrated transport system. We cannot go on investing in large roading projects and expect congestion to get better. Major investment in other options such as cycling, walking, and public transport are needed to unclog our roads and get Auckland moving.

We are committed to providing Aucklanders with safe cycling infrastructure. We will renew the Urban Cycleways Fund and ensure that important cycle projects are completed around the city. We have committed $30 million to build a toll-free SkyPath. We know that when we provide safe cycle infrastructure, people use it.

Importantly, we will work with Council and the cycling community to link some of the key existing cycleways around Auckland so that people can construct safe cycling journeys around the city.

We’ll also work with public and private sector bodies to encourage them to make cycling viable for people. Simple steps like providing secure cycle storage and shower facilities make it easier for people to consider cycling.

Safer streetsHow would you make streets (in your electorate and beyond) safer for everyone who uses them, including those on bikes?

The key thing is safe cycling infrastructure, in particular separated cycleways. This is better for both cyclists and motorists, enhances safety, and reduces conflict. In addition to renewing the Urban Cycleways fund, we will also create a new contestable Active Neighbourhoods fund of $15m per year for community group to seek funding for small local improvements that can make it safer to walk or cycle to the local school, park, or shopping centre.

I want us to develop slow-speed safe neighbourhoods in West Auckland designed to lower driving speeds to 30kph and make streets safe for kids to alk and bike.

We support ongoing driver education about sharing the road safely and ensuring that cyclists have the space they need to be safe.

There are also a number of innovative programmes that we would like to see rolled out more widely such as the NZTA education programme that educates truck drivers about how to drive safely around cyclists.

Fave place to rideWhere’s your favourite place to ride a bike in Auckland?

Te Atatu Peninsula (where I live), alongside Henderson Creek and the Oratia and Opanuku Streams, as well as the cycleway alongside the NorthWestern that takes me into the city. I can’t wait for the Te Whau Pathway and Skypath!

Julie Anne Genter

Julie Anne Genter (Greens)

More kids on bikesCurrently only 2% of Kiwi kids ride a bike to school. Is lifting this number a priority? If so, how will we get there?

Yes! We will set a target of half of kids walking and cycling to school again by 2022. Our Safe to School plan includes making 30km/h the default speed limit around schools, and investing $50m a year from the National Land Transport Fund in infrastructure like separated cycleways.l

Bike-friendly citiesWhat would you do to make it easier for Aucklanders (in your electorate, and beyond) to choose bike travel?

The Green Party will make walking and cycling the top priority for transport planning and investment, and set a target for both decreasing vehicle kilometres traveled and increasing mode share of walking, cycling and public transport. We will allocate over $1 Billion to walking and cycling over ten years. We would also put in place policy so that all street upgrades need to take into account active modes as part of any upgrade.

Safer streetsHow would you make streets (in your electorate and beyond) safer for everyone who uses them, including those on bikes?

We will make Vision Zero and road safety a key priority of transport policy and funding, and we will make the CROW Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic 2016 and NACTO Global Street Design Guide the basis default of street design in all our towns and cities. We would require all road controlling authorities to adopt street design guides such as the one currently being drafted by Auckland council based on CROW and NACTO.

Fave place to rideWhere’s your favourite place to ride a bike in Auckland?

I usually cycle to get around Auckland. My favourite places are the new separated cycleways – like Lightpath, the Grafton Gully cycleway, and the Nelson and Quay St cycleways. Bring on SkyPath!

And lastly, a shout-out to Michael Wood (MP for Mt Roskill and new Parliamentary Undersecretary to the Minister for Ethnic Communities, Jenny Salesa) who worked on Labour’s transport policy leading up to the election. His favourite place to ride?

Down at Taumanu Reserve with my two older boys (aged nine and six). It’s a great way to spend a weekend afternoon, and it’s great to see so many people using it. The commuter route I enjoy the most is the shared path through War Memorial Park in Mt Roskill – a lovely wide path, the beautiful Hinaki art bridge, nice trees, and people playing sport in the park.

Michael Wood campaigning in Mt Roskill on his bike. (Via Twitter)
Share this

8 responses to “Yes, Ministers! Meet NZ’s new transport team

  1. Amazing! JAG has been saying all the right things about transport recently (and probably before).
    Phil’s our local te atatu guy! Maybe he shouldn’t be biased, but he does represent us locally, so hopefully some Te Atatu infra can get some love 🙂

    1. Start with finally, one day, maybe, finishing the te atatu south corridor’s shared path. Due April 2017.
      It’s currently going backwards, with chronic path dig ups creating serious bike hazards.
      (not to mention the design flaws: bus shelter pinch points/intersection corners cut/pedestrian only traffic lights/very non-level driveway crossings).

      Then extend it all the way to Henderson transport hub. The creek path might be nice, but it’s not commuter grade.

  2. I still can’t believe that National went through the election with absolutely no announcement on any active transport initiatives. Its as if the whole cycleway idea, both trails and urban cycleways was John Key’s gig and now he’s moved on there was no residual reason or purpose to “waste” money on them. More money for the serious $10B business of road building. Deeply disappointed that it became a zero sum game. I expect every credible political party to at least have a policy.
    I’m delighted that it’s now likely that the momentum will continue and hopefully accelerate. Brilliant that JAG who has tirelessly advocated for transport choice will have a hand in delivering it. Take NZ in a fresh, new direction, hopefully we never go back to the dark times.

    1. You’ve hit the nail on the head, Bruce. It was indeed “John Key’s gig”, with both Bill English and Steven Joyce fundamentally opposed to it. But Key pushed it through cabinet. After he was gone, there was nobody left with any say who would have pushed for another tranche of urban cycleway funding.

  3. Hey the photo via Twitter, is actually via me… anyway isn’t it great. I wonder if Shane Jones rides? The other Associate Transport Minister.

  4. I see three brand new bikes and three brand new helmets. I’m surprised they didn’t get borrow a small child on a tricycle for the photo shoot. Laughable.

Comments are closed.