Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Governments Pork-Barrel Roading Policy
...and NFI Award Winner of the Week

It’s election season right, let’s roll out the pork-barrel. Such can be the only conceivable reason this Government on election hogmanay, as the sun sets on the era of cheap oil, decides to invest millions in an infrastructure that has absolutely no future.

Oil hovers around US$60.00 per barrel and is predicted by many analysts to exceed US$80 as a northern hemisphere winter descends with all the demand surge that will bring. The “price of oil” has all but hijacked the G8 summit in Edinburgh as the issue of the day. And why, because world leaders are slowly beginning to realise that without it [oil] there is no economy. Tropical storms Cindy and Dennis will surely see oil push out beyond $65 within the week.

Yet our Government still of the belief that oil will return any day now to US$25 per barrel continue to wish and hope that the good old happy motoring days of unending economic growth and suburban utopia will carry on regardless. Meanwhile we stupidly encourage more and more people to migrate to xurbia, the far-flung extensions of the suburban dream and drive for an hour and a half everyday to work in the 70’s platform shoe equivalent of the motor vehicle, the SUV. Driven by showpony wankers, as necessary and relevant as the millenium dome, these vehicles (and the desire to own such global-warmers) need to be eliminated.

The unsympathetic truth is that the more roads we build the greater our problem will be in the long run – it’s money that could have been spent preparing ourselves for an era of extended austerity. Cheap abundant oil is all but over. The price of oil is moving in one direction, upwards. From now onwards oil will increase in price at a rate far in excess of inflation. Much to the chagrin of the demi-gods of capitalism – economists, there are no alternatives.

Roads will not become gridlocked with solar and hydrogen powered vehicles as the National party suggest,

we would be happy to receive any material (from you or from
anybody else) suggesting that the forms of alternative energy that are already
developed will somehow reduce the need for proper roading

Bryan Sinclair, Special Advisor to Don Brash, in email correspondance April 2005)

(NFI Award Winner this week)
Just as blissfully ignorant, Peter Dunne of United (No) Future for thinking that building the multibillion dollar white elephant (the Transmission Gully road) is an idea even worthy of rational debate.

This project would barely be finished as oil prices begin causing serious economic and social impacts across the industrialised world. The days of sitting in a car for three hours a day to and from work will be long gone before Transmission Gully is completed let alone paid for. A fact that will be reflected in this years election results, United Future (along with ACT) are an increasingly irrelevant party that haven’t moved out of the 20th Century, operating on assumptions that most of us let go of a decade or more ago.

Steve McKinlay for
Powerless NZ
07 July 2005
PowerLess NZ is a growing group of scientists, energy analysts and concerned citizens whose principle objectives are to alert both Government and the general public to New Zealand’s looming energy crisis. Our aim is to support development of renewable energy resources at both a private and public level, as well as encourage a firm move away from dependence upon fossil fuels.
More information about global peak oil and resource depletion can be found at and

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