A letter from the Sustainable Energy Forum to Minister of Transport Steven Joyce has drawn a predictable response.
Tim Jones from SEF wrote this letter, calling for the Government to rethink its transport policy in the light of the International Energy Agency’s recent predictions of a forthcoming oil supply crunch and steeply rising oil prices, and of the rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions from transport in New Zealand.
Steven Joyce belatedly responds with a letter, concluding:
The reality is that, given our population density and history of the development of our transport system, private vehicles will continue to be the method by which most people will travel within the foreseeable future, and our investments need to reflect that reality.
The Campaign for Better Transport met with the Minister last July and got a similar response to our concerns. We pointed out the record growth in public transport patronage in Auckland. Like I said, at least you know where he stands. Tim Jones optimistically sees an opportunity in all this:
This provides both a very clear statement of the Government’s view, and an opportunity to present evidence to the contrary. SEF intends to contact the Minister and ask for a meeting to discuss the claims made in his letter, the way in which he fails to deal with the concerns we raised, and the evidence that exists to show that, in fact, a substantial number of road users do switch transport modes when fuel prices rise steeply.
Personally I’ve come the conclusion that nothing short of petrol hitting $3 a litre will make the Minister change his mind on this.