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Submission August 2008
Ngauranga- AirPort Transport Corridor
(Or why it is critical that we stop investing in cars, trucks and motorways and begin investing in light rail and our electrical potential.)




Thank you for this belated opportunity to speak. On Monday morning it so happened I turned on National Radio for a few minutes after the 6 am news while I dressed and just happened by a fluke to hear that these hearings are starting.  I could recall no communication from the GWRC about my submission and so yesterday rang to check when I would be speaking. I was told the GWRC was no record of my submission, which fortunately I had copied off your website to post to other interested parties.  See below. I am concerned other submitters will also be unaware their exercise in democracy was in vain. 

I would have liked to provide an illustrated Power Point, in particular, promoting the urgent need to invest in light rail and the local electrical grid. Instead I have been restricted to less than three hours to pull these quick thoughts together. This is unfortunate as I am a slow writer andI am aware that my original submission may well seem to be the work of a lunatic. I will briefly attempt to persuade you otherwise. 

Fact. No person has ever circumvented the Conservation Principle of Energy which states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed and is subject to constant transformation. 

Fact. Mineral oil/gas is an energy form. It is not energy, as our culture so fatally claims. It is simply a form and thus very finite in quantity. 

Probable Fact. The majority of the cheaply extracted mineral oil/gas reserves on planet Earth have been destroyed this last century. The Cheap Mineral Oil/Gas Age is over, even though a few hundred million people still place negligible value on the resource. 

Fact. There is no such thing as “carbon neutrality” – our culture’s use of this symbol is an active denial of the Conservation Principle (i.e. a denial of change/stewardship.) Once mineral oil/gas reserves are burned or made into fertiliser or buried in rubbish tips and oceans they are gone, destroyed, no longer existing as a highly potent resource. They are not there for our children. It is insane to think their destruction could ever be a no neutral act.

Fact. At the advent of the Cheap Mineral Oil/Gas age in 1900 there were 1654 million human beings, the majority of which were rural based. At the end of the Age, as of yesterday, there are an estimated 6,717 million human beings, the majority of which are urban based. 

Probable Fact. In 1900 almost 100% of the calories required to put a calorie of food on the plate of a human came more or directly from solar sources. In 2008 5 out of every six calories required to put a calorie of food on the plate of a human came from fossil fuels – mineral oil/gas in particular. 

Fact. Under our current regime the absence of mineral oil/gas means 6 billion people perish. All food, health, transport and civic systems implode in inflation, war, famine and disease. 

Approximate Fact. A 42-gallon barrel of mineral oil contains the equivalent of 25000 man-hours of labour in a highly transportable and storable form. A price of $US40 a barrel values each of those man-hours of labour at O.16 cents a man-hour of labour.  

Fact. A price of $US1000 a barrel is a value of 4 cents a man-hour of labour. 
Fact. Wellington’s current systems, including our credit system, are based on a value of under $US40 a barrel. That includes this draft corridor plan. Much of it is based on a valuation of under $US25.The average NZer is valued at $23 an hour, which is probably over 15000 times what this transport plan values mineral oil. 

When Government, industry and territorial authority planners were predicting mineral oil would be $US35 in 2008 I was predicting it would be over $US80 – thereby experiencing both the derision traditionally accorded local idiots/lunatics and the general exclusion from our media (Till recently SCOOP News was an exception.) The Cook Strait News did print this letter February 2005. 

The Editor
The Cook Strait News 
For publication please

 A year or two back I stood up at a meeting discussing regional transport investment priorities and suggested the exercise was pointless. The investment programme was based on the recent Government predictions that oil would be $19 a barrel in 2004. I predicted it would be over $40. Many thought me a nutter. I will now predict that without the sudden appearance of an extraordinary leader like US President Carter, oil will be close to $80 a barrel in 2008. Already lower income people are being hit by the inflation resulting from rising oil and gas prices. Their plight is set to worsen sharply. In this context, the trolley bus wires are gold. Sure they are not pretty. However note how incomparably elegant they are compared to ugly, noisy monstrosities like car-clogged Adelaide Road, Riddiford St, Taranaki St or Jervois Quay.

Just know the wealth in those wires, folks!

 Dave McArthur

 As you can see, these predictions were very accurate. Most New Zealanders are now experiencing an effective inflation rate of 10% with high interest rates, escalating debt and credit failure and wealth loss with effective stagflation of middle-lower incomes. Mineral oil is over $US100 a barrel. 

The insight underpinning my predictions was and remains very simple – brutally simple. Any society that confuses an energy form with energy sets in play its inevitable and escalating collapse. NZ policy makers severely undervalue mineral oil and promote addictive/wasteful uses of it – as this document exemplifies. In fact we are world leaders in promoting this addictive behaviour:  

Fact. Witness our pivotal international role since the early 1990s in promoting the carbon trading/market ethos as against tax/steward ethos 

Fact. New Zealanders use over 30 barrels per 1000 people per day. The vast majority of human beings use less than 5 barrels per 1000 people per day.

Fact. NZ petrol and diesel retails at the very cheap rates, even by OECD standards and the average motorist receives a probable Government subsidy over $4 for every $1 they pay at the pump.

Most of this subsidy is paid by non car-owners – in particular by our young people who inherit poorer education systems, student loans, lower quality housing and, in general, systems based on mineral oil at $US25 a barrel in a world whereas the real value is in the order of thousands of dollars a barrel. I am over 60 and have had a good life, whatever. It could well be that our young people will subsidise motorways such as is proposed in this document by living very short and miserable lives. 

My current predictions?

The fact that the Wellington region, the Capital of New Zealand is even contemplating such an uninformed and dangerous framework for planning the region’s use of humanity’s carbon potential suggest the unsustainable status quo in planning investment continues. If as few as 7% of the worlds population adopts our region’s policy of severely undervaluing mineral oil at about $US35 a barrel, as this document does, then I predict, by the time these car/truck infrastructures are completed, billions of our fellow human beings will be experiencing death by famine/disease. I predict the widespread destruction of the wealth of the middle classes of the world through raging inflation because of their addictive uses of mineral oil/gas. I predict an unprecedented concentration of wealth through oil/gas revenue into the hands of tiny minority.

Remember, regardless of whether we like it or not, the Principle of the Conservation holds. Once our mineral oil/gas resource is destroyed, the source of power for the wealthy elite disappears and they tend to react in psychopathic ways. Historically, when these three events occur simultaneously, we have the geopolitical formula for sudden and hideous global war.  

The Wellington region has an option and can provide a sustainable model to the world. It requires one thing, just one thing, the thing that is lacking in this document: honesty. The honesty to acknowledge mineral oil/gas is finite and is an incredibly precious resource of very high value. The honesty to expose the huge subsidies to car/truck owners. The honesty to acknowledge that we each are stewards of the carbon potential, the electrical potential, the solar potential, of the human potential.  

Such honesty reveals it is insane to invest another cent in cars and trucks and it reveals an immense logic instructing us to immediately begin constructing light rail systems, start conserving our urban solar potential and begin renovating our failing electrical grids before it is too late. Remember in times of warfare last century we were forced to appreciate the immense value of mineral oil. Wellington policy makers have forgotten those lessons at our peril. We can volunteer to become mindful of the lessons again or we can put ourselves at extreme risk of losing our minds altogether. We are, after all, Carbon Beings. 

Many more suggestions can be found at of how the Wellington Region can provide a world model that reduces the risk of imminent catastrophic war.

  Initial Online Submission 

1)  Name
    Dave McArthur

2)  Phone
    04 9739995

3)  Address
    85 Houghton Bay Road

4)  Email address

5)  Do you support the draft plan

6)  Why/why not
    The plan is dangerously divorced from reality and will cause much needless suffering in both the Wellington region and globally. It is a recipe for profound local economic depression and probable catastrophic warfare in which billions of humans perish.

7)  What do you like or dislike about the draft plan?
    The lack of vision is very concerning, the document is very poor value in return for the all the investment by ratepayers in it and arguably it is corrupt or ignorant or both. For instance while the document pretends to value walking and cycling networks there are no budget estimates even. That is dishonest in a context where motorway investment is valued.
     The plan is clearly designed on the assumption that mineral oil will remain cheap i.e. under $US70 a barrel. The high probability of $US100 a barrel minimum on an ongoing basis has been known to all informed individuals since 1991 at least and thus the light rail option to the new regional hospital has been feasible that long too.
    It is a stinging indictment of both this Labour Administration and the Wellington councils that the new regional hospital was built without this provision. Again no budget provisions are provided for light rail and the plans for the Basin Reserve are designed to destroy the light rail potential – as is the unmentioned approval of the Music School at Civic Centre.
    It has been clear for several years now that the airline industry is a sunset industry and recently we are beginning to see it collapse as predicted. This document is effectively the blueprint for a huge transfer of wealth via large subsidies to an elite rich group who can continue to afford to drive cars and fly. The average Wellington citizen will pay for it with high interest rates, credit failure, taxation, inflation and job losses as future Governments – probably the next one- find they can no longer maintain the current massive subsidies to the Wellington region.
    The report blithely mentions “electric vehicles” by which it means cars. Implicit in this is the assumption that their use will justify the huge continuing investment in motorways However it fails to discuss how a large fleet of such vehicles can be powered and no acknowledgement is made of the fact that the Wellington region has destroyed most of its electrical potential. It has zero control of either its grid or its electrical intelligence and in many areas the grid is close to collapse. In particular the trolley bus system is at a critical point and many people in the Wellington region now struggle to keep warm and pay for basic network supply charges. Their situation is worsening by the year. Again the report is suggesting a huge subsidy to a rich elite who can afford electric cars.
    Central issues such as this are framed out of the discussion.
    I believe that the officials who commissioned this shonky piece of work should be made accountable and the consultants sued for the return of any fees paid to them.

8)  Do you wish to make an oral presentation in support of your submission?

9)  What other comments would you like to make?
    At present it looks as though we are at the equivalent of about 1933 with regards to a potential world war, the difference this time being that there are three times as many people, the vast proportion living highly urbanised lives with almost everyone is now dependent on mineral oil for most of their food and most of the easily accessed mineral oil reserves are now depleted. New Zealand and Wellington in particular are world leaders in promoting this catastrophic event. This consultation provides an opportunity for us to stop, reassess and realise that we can become a world leader and model a lifestyle that works to ameliorate the risk of this catastrophe.

10)  Do you want to be contacted when further information becomes available?


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Warning -All material needs editing and reviewing. My apologies for sudden changes in font.