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Motorway extension all right for some

by 2 Aug 2010Cartoons, Motorway0 comments

Mahurangi motorway

Fossil-Fueled Forever Consultancy: ‘But even if we designed access ramps for them, I can’t see Mahurangi West buying this.’ cartoon Majorlook Productions

Submissions on the proposed Pūhoi–Wellsford motorway close today. Unless the submission is from the pro– Pūhoi access group that met with the New Zealand Transport Agency Friday, which has until 16 August.

The transport agency’s Amanda Cosgrove says that although the consultation period hasn’t been extended to others, the agency would not disregard submissions received after today.

A general extension would have been fortuitous, given the dawning realisation that impact on the already stressed Mahurangi catchment and the at-risk harbourscape, if the motorway was to proceed, might be considerable. Meantime, the extra consultation may do little to dissuade the agency to drop its plans for a ‘clean’ toll road between Ōrewa and Warkworth—it certainly made no concessions at Friday’s meeting.

Road transport is currently the top driver of anthropogenic global warming. Astonishingly it is ranked ahead of electricity production, most of which is also fossil-fueled, because it is relatively clean, compared to coal-fired power plants—the sulphates from which brighten clouds to better block incoming heat from sun. But at brutal cost: Coal-derived aerosols sicken or kill about a billion people per year.

Continued building of motorways is incompatible with Aotearoa’s clean–green aspirations—about as marketable as dairy cow induction.

Certainly tourists are not going to travel halfway around the world for the experience they already endure too much of at home. It is in the category of casinos as something Northland, and Aotearoa generally, does not need for a vibrant tourist-based economy. And locally, it would condemn Warkworth and Wellsford to burgeon as dormitory towns, with breadwinners shackled to hours of soul-destroying commuting.

The safest strategy for Pūhoi access advocates is to oppose further extension northward. Few, however, will want to risk antagonising Aotearoa’s single most powerful entity.

The Mahurangi Magazine’s position is to not pussyfoot: The agency must build better transportation for New Zealanders, not motorways.

And will continue to advocate for non fossil-fueled transportation beyond today’s deadline.

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