Who should pay for what, so we and stuff can get around?

Who pays for what is always a really vexed question. The Ministry of Transport is trying to “input crowd… output insight” right now, and you should have your 2c by 4th November!

Because we’ve funded much of our transport system from a tax on petrol and diesel, as we (finally) start to reduce the amount of fuel we buy and burn, we need to figure out how else to pay for stuff. As Greater Auckland observe, Waka Kotahi are actively afraid of NZ being “too successful” at emitting less from transport.


To get a reading on what “the public” think is generally fair for paying for our transport system, MoT is hosting this public discussion. “Complex Conversations” is open now, til 4th November (and 11th, see below).

Good stuff: they’re using Pol.is, a software tool with a good pedigree for supporting good civics.

The transport funding conversation is beautifully designed, showing the influence of Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures (University of Auckland) and PEP Public Engagement Projects.

They’ve got different “perspectives” to prompt us to think about things, and it’s really easy to be prompted by other people’s stuff.

It’s aggregating really well and showing some good stuff already

Bad stuff: a tricky thing is that MoT have to have this conversation about money. When our brains are thinking about money, the nature of money in our lives makes our brains ill-positioned to think about things that are collective – like public services. Which – alas – is most transport stuff: think roads, footpaths, affordable bus services, usable roads in far-flung places, and so on. (More on this in Read More).

And this is without the HEAPS of ignorance, misunderstanding, and plain old misinformation out there about whether X or Y mode of transport gets “subsidy” or not. (A would-be leader of the nation made a classic mistake recently!) Not to mention loss aversion from the “reducing” or “taking away” of something we’ve felt we’ve had for free. (No prizes for guessing what that thing is!)

With all that in mind, it’s extra good to have folks like you, TW Readers, in the conversation.  

Notwithstanding all our brains living in a car-centred world, and thinking about money like everyone does – your values and ideas for a better world are already primed to think more objectively about collective things like transport systems.

And get your kids / younger friends in there too! They’re underrepresented in all things like this and they’ll be living with this world far more than we.

click to go to the site

So get in there!

You can add statements / questions to it til 4th Nov (Friday), and vote on what’s already there til 11th.

It’s got really interesting on-the-fly analytics too, so keep checking in!

What will happen with this?

It’s not clear how MoT will use this info besides “They will be used by Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport as it develops policy. Wider engagement on the long-term future of the Revenue System is planned for 2024“.

But we need to pony up, grow up and start doing charging / funding / payment properly. As a nation we’ve been pussyfooting for years around things that more sensible countries have for ages been using heavily, widely and well: congestion charging, toll roads, dirty vehicle penalties / clean city zones, dynamic parking charges, etc etc. So it’s high time people are being systematically asked, with a good tool, about this stuff – it’s a sign big changes are coming!

Read more:

Psychology of communication – including the effect of “money” framing on our brains: Common Cause Communication

One comment on “Who should pay for what, so we and stuff can get around?”

  • Menno says:

    Make public transport free for all people, like done in Luxembourg. Fund it out of the tax payments. The there is less reason for people to not take public transport.

    if not with the upcoming of Driverless cars in the coming decade, the whole public transport will need to have a revamp. It will be so much more cheaper to order for example an Uber or so. As a result, no more waiting at a bus stop, but just been picked up from home and same the other way around. Maybe good train service keep running, but busses I see an end of life. Same for a big chuck of private cars. And it is just the beginning.

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