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10th December 2018

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Environment

An aerial view of Ports of Auckland from the west.
SUPPLIED
An aerial view of Ports of Auckland from the west.

A rift has opened up between Auckland Council and the Government over how the future of the city’s port will be decided.

Mayor Phil Goff says there’s a risk that a Government-appointed working group looking at the upper North Island ports might have pre-determined whether Auckland’s council-owned port could move, and if so where.

Goff said he put a “robust” view to the working group’s chair, former Far North mayor Wayne Brown, in a private meeting last week.

A council commissioned study found shifting the vehicle import trade, could lose Auckland $1 billion
BEVAN READ/STUFF
A council commissioned study found shifting the vehicle import trade, could lose Auckland $1 billion

He said Brown’s public rejection of two potential locations identified by a council study didn’t give confidence, and the group didn’t appear to have enough time or resources to do a proper job.

The council on Tuesday approved a blunt letter to be sent to Brown, ahead of the council’s first formal meeting with the working group in just over a fortnight.

Goff favoured the eventual shift of the port from its current location on the downtown waterfront, but was unhappy with the approach being taken by the working group.

The council will tell the group that its priorities include protecting the value of Ports of Auckland, which last year paid it a $51.1 million dividend.

It is also telling the working group it wants a transparent, objective and evidence-based approach to reviewing the future of the ports in Auckland, Tauranga and Whangarei.

Auckland Council has conducted the most detailed work so far on the future of its port.

Previous mayor Len Brown funded out of his office budget the Port Future Study, which in 2016 found the port might not outgrow its current site in 50 years, but that work should begin on identifying alternatives, in case it did.

Before the 2017 elections New Zealand First advocated an early shift of the vehicle-import trade from Auckland to Northland’s port.

The coalition government including New Zealand First took a bigger picture approach, setting up the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy working group, in line with a request from Auckland Council.

New Zealand First MP and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones who oversees the working group, has since been vocal on matters relating to the future of Auckland’s port.

At the start of November Jones said he would do all he could to head-off a planned multi-storey carpark building planned by Ports of Auckland, to house vehicles arriving in the port.

“Public statements have created the impression of pre-determination,” said the council in a letter to the chair of the working group Wayne Brown.

Brown has made public comment favouring a move to Northland, including an opinion column published in November 2017 before being appointed to chair the group.

“Imagine the Auckland waterfront without used cars getting the best views,” Brown wrote.

“Watch for self-justifying job-saving promises from Ports of Auckland to fend off any sensible moves like Sydney has made keeping the harbour just for cruise liners and sending cargo to Wollongong and Newcastle.”

The council’s letter pointed to comments by Brown.

“Indicating a strong preference for relocation of some or all of POAL activities to Northport prior to any analysis is unhelpful,” said the letter which Goff will sign.

“Any plans to move all or some of the Port’s functions requires the concurrence of its owners, the people of Auckland, through Auckland Council,” said the letter.

“I’ve already said to the chair, we’ve put a lot of work into two future options (Manukau Harbour and Firth of Thames) and you’ve dismissed this out of hand, which gives us no confidence,” Goff told today’s planning committee meeting.

The council has spelled out 10 areas it wants the working group to examine closely.

These include the feasible capacity of all upper North Island ports, as well as the climate change impacts of moving freight to and from the ports.

It wanted work done on the social and community impacts of any change, and how and when a future new port would be funded.

The council will have its first meeting with the government’s working group on December 13.

 

How Will Ships Help Save the Environment?

The search for zero emissions is at the forefront of the maritime industry development. The regulations on the horizon, limiting the sulphur content in marine fuel, are only the first step in making shipping green. Stricter rules and initiatives will continue going forward, and there are already ways to prepare for a clean and environmentally friendly maritime future. One of them is hydrogen fuel cells that could revolutionise the way vessels are powered.

Companies are already looking into the possibility of fuel-cell technology for ships. A maritime research group Sintef Ocean and the pioneering technology group ABB are collaborating to examine ways fuel cells could power full-sized vessels. The scientists believe that this technology could become competitive with fossil fuels, even when it comes to big vessels. Right now the process is still in the experimentation stage, testing diesel, battery and fuel cell combinations under different loads on a vessel simulator.

As of yet, it is unclear when the research portion of the process will yield tangible results. However, fuel cells have already proven its usefulness in busses, trains, trucks and are receiving significant investments in the automotive industry, paving the way for marine applications. According to ABB, this technology could have an extensive reach in the maritime sector within three to five years after the implementation of the first systems.

Already the industry is moving forward with the idea. Japan’s NYK Group has recently unveiled a new concept ship, the NYK Super Eco Ship 2050. It is designed to be powered by solar energy and hydrogen fuel cells produced from renewable energy sources.

Further along in development, a hydrogen fuel cell powered passenger ferry is being built in the San Francisco Bay Area and is expected to be operational by the end of 2019. The vessel named the Water-Go-Round could possibly become the world’s first hydrogen fuel-cell ferry. It will be 70 feet long and able to carry 84 passengers at the speed of 22 knots. Competing for the ‘first of its kind’ title is the HySeas III vessel under construction in Scotland by Ferguson Marine. However, the European vessel is expected to launch only in 2021, but with construction delays in the US or streamlined processes in the UK – both ferries could hit the waters at the same time. At this point, it’s too early to tell which one will become the world’s first.

In any case, the zero-emission maritime future is coming closer with the rapid development of fuel-cell technology. This power source could completely eliminate carbon dioxide emissions and provide considerable advantages to the environment.

Could hydrogen fuel cells become the preferred source for marine propulsion in the future? Ask shipowners, maritime experts and high-level shipping professionals at the 2nd Green Maritime Forum in Hamburg on 2-3 April 2019. The event will have presentations, panel discussions, a focus exhibition and networking breaks where you will have direct access to key industry innovators and leading decision-makers
Source: Wisdom Events

Automation and capacity update from Ports of Auckland

22 November 2018

Operational Update

Automation and Capacity Project – Update

Our project to transform Fergusson Terminal which will provide future capacity is well underway and visitors to the port will have seen a lot of activity and changes including civil works, construction workers and sections of tarmac undergoing renewal.  What has been happening recently:

A-Strads

Visitors will have seen the new blue “A Strads” now assembled on the north end of the terminal, undergoing a comprehensive range of testing in readiness for Go-Live next year.

 

 

 

 

Road Exchange

The work to upgrade the truck lanes has been completed and the next stage is installing the gates and fences required to keep truck drivers and A Strads separated.

Pre-gate Kiosk Screens

These have been updated. Drivers now need to complete some additional steps at the kiosk.  This means that when automation goes live, the drivers will already be familiar with the new system.

Reefer Gantries

The large shiny frames of the new reefer gantries at the southern end of the Fergusson terminal are now complete and sign-off for the reefer operation is expected before the end of this year.  In the meantime, we have been able to use the area as valuable stacking space for dry containers.

New Container Cranes

There was a lot of media interest and celebration with the arrival of our three new container cranes on the specialised delivery vessel Zhen Hua 25.

It was a great sight to see them sail into the harbour in the early morning. These cranes, which have quad-lift capacity (they can lift four containers at once), are now in place on Fergusson North Berth and will be commissioned early 2019, after a range of testing required to integrate them into our current systems.

 

Hatch Platforms have now been installed on all container cranes – these allow the ship’s hatch covers to be stored above the ground, freeing up space around the cranes for container handling.

Lash Platforms In a first for New Zealand, we’re installing lash platforms on all our cranes and our new cranes have them already fitted.  This will make stevedores’ job safer, as they can work above ground away from moving straddles.

Rail OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

A frame, fitted with multiple cameras, has been placed over the rail line to capture images and recognise container numbers arriving and leaving by rail. This system provides a high degree of accuracy and enables rail planners to quickly check on any “exceptions”.

Supply Chain Challenges

There are a range of challenges being experienced throughout the supply chain. We are automating Fergusson Terminal to increase capacity and productivity, whilst at the same time experiencing unprecedented volume demand. It is a bit like having heart surgery while playing rugby!

While we’re carrying out the automation work our terminal capacity is actually reduced, putting pressure on our operations especially during peak import season.

We are undertaking this transformation to ensure we are ready to accommodate Auckland’s rapid growth in freight demand.  We’ll be able to handle more containers on the same land, but it also means some changes in the way cargo owners and trucking companies interact with the port.

Greater planning and different ways of operating are needed throughout the freight supply chain. The port operates 24/7 and yet the wider supply chain largely works 24/5 at best, and often 9 to 5 Monday to Friday.

Extended operational hours are needed at distribution centres, empty depots and importers’ and exporters’ premises to maximise the capacity of the whole supply chain.  It is much the same as an internet connection – you’re currently on dial-up and want to upgrade to fibre, but you only get the best speed if you’ve got fibre end-to-end.

We have been engaging with importers, exporters, trucking companies and freight forwarders to discuss the changes and welcome you to make contact to discuss any issues you may have.

Further Progress

Our automation go-live date is late 2019.  There are a number of civil, operational, engineering and I.T. projects being undertaken, some of which need to be completed in a specific order and others are more flexible.  This means that we are continually adjusting the timing of work.  We will keep you updated on progress and changes.

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss any ideas or concerns, at any stage.

For more information contact

Customer Service

P: +64 9 348 5100 Ext. 1

E: customerservice@poal.co.nz

 

For VBS queries contact

Transport Co-ordinators

P: +64 9 348 5100 Ext.2

E: driversassist@poal.co.nz

 

 

Ports of Auckland have joined the Climate Leaders Coalitiona collection of business leaders who have each committed to act on climate change.

Ports of Auckland is the first port in the world to make this commitment and the first port in New Zealand to be CEMARS® certified. Joining the coalition contributes to the ports promise to become zero emissions by 2040.

More information on the Climate Leaders Coalition can be found here. Read the CEO Climate Change Statement here.

 

New Zealand needs to decarbonise transport to get on track with climate goals

The best way to reduce carbon emissions from the transport sector in New Zealand is to switch to alternative fuels and decarbonise the electricity grid. Personal behaviour change will have an impact, but not enough, a new study has found.

According to the chief executive of Infrastructure New Zealand Stephen Selwood, a new report from thinkstep has found that activities such as car sharing, teleworking, home deliveries and using more public transport will save around 15 per cent of carbon emission compared to the near 90 per cent reductions needed to meet climate targets.

“Many people think that enabling alternatives to the car is the best way to reduce carbon emissions in New Zealand,” Selwood said.

But thinkstep’s report calculates that a shift to electric, biofuel and hydrogen-powered vehicles has potential to reduce carbon emissions from consumption by up to 88 per cent by 2050. The Creating a positive drive: Decarbonisation of New Zealand’s transport sector by 2050 was launched on Thursday.

A shift to electric, biofuel and hydrogen-powered vehicles “has the potential to reduce carbon emissions from consumption by up to 88 per cent by 2050,” the report says.

In order to achieve this shift, renewable energy generation would have to double in capacity, and the country would have to see the conversion of five per cent of agricultural land to the production of biofuels.

Encouraging ride-sharing and the use of public transport would have benefits that are more achievable in a short space of time than a complete switch to zero emission transport, but they would only change a small proportion, up to 29 per cent, of total journeys,  the report says.

Everything helps

The government could encourage people to share rides by establishing carpool lanes, and create a pricing model to encourage electric vehicles.

Transport scenarios for New Zealand in the report for 2050 relative to 2015 (savings include domestic greenhouse gas emissions only)

“The role of government and business, as we see it, is to make these low-carbon choices easy and convenient,” says the report.

“While we still depend on fossil fuels, ride-sharing has the potential to be a quick win for New Zealand on climate change,” Dr Jeff Vickers, technical director of thinkstep and lead author of the report said.

“It reduces carbon emissions and road congestion immediately, and the carbon story gets even better as we move to electric vehicles. This is something that could happen virtually overnight, as all you need is a smartphone.”

A year ago Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern set out a plan for New Zealand to transition its electricity grid to renewables by 2035. Between 50 to 60 per cent is already delivered by hydroelectric power. Ms Ardern’s long-term goal is for New Zealand to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Currently, according to climate action tracker website, New Zealand’s Nationally Determined Contribution target under the Paris Agreement of a 30 per cent reduction from 2005 levels by 2030 is rated as “insufficient”. In other words, it is not consistent with holding warming to below 2°C, let alone limiting it to 1.5°C, as required, and is instead consistent with warming between 2°C and 3°C.

Part of the reason is that transport contributed 19 per cent of all greenhouse gases emitted in New Zealand in 2015. A reduction in transport emissions by 90 per cent would reduce New Zealand’s total gross GHG emissions by 17 per cent.

But the road to decarbonising transport is harder than that. “When considering the carbon footprint of products and services that New Zealanders consume – rather than including those that are destined for offshore markets – transport’s contribution jumps to over 40 per cent,” Dr Vickers said.

The government is currently considering a Zero Carbon Bill. The target of net zero emissions by 2050 is supported by 91 per cent of respondents to a consultation for the bill, while even more, 96 per cent, support the establishment of an independent watchdog, a Climate Change Commission, like the UK’s.

The government realises that it’s cheaper to take action sooner rather than later.

Light commercial and heavy vehicles are assumed in the report to run on hydrogen in the future, yielding a 64 per cent drop in emissions using today’s electricity grid, or 91 per cent for a fully renewable grid.

In this future, biofuels would be used to power ships and planes because of their higher energy density. But biofuels have their own social and environmental impacts: air pollution, displacing crops, and a reduction of biodiversity.

See the full report here.

8 November

National MPs from all over the country have lined up at Parliament this morning to submit ‘save the highways’ petitions signed by thousands of their constituents.

National MP Amy Adams announces she will stand for National Party leader.

Selwyn MP Amy Adams said more than 1000 people signed her petition for the State Highway 1 link between Christchurch and Ashburton to go ahead. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

They are concerned that major roading projects National announced are being canned by this government in favour of more public transport options or “minimal” safety upgrades of existing roads.

Examples include the Auckland east-west link, the Napier to Hastings expressway and the construction of a four-lane state highway one link between Christchurch and Ashburton.

MPs for the electorates north of Auckland hope to save the ‘four-lanes to Whangarei’ project, with Rodney MP Mark Mitchell saying the uncertainty was having a huge impact on people’s well-being.

“The cancellation of these projects not only reduces road safety, do not only take away the economic opportunities they would create, but it’s also creating a lot of stress.

“There’s a human toll to the people who actually live on these designated routes and have a lot of uncertainty created from very poor decisions, I feel, at central government level,” Mr Mitchell said.

An image of the completed East West roading project.

The proposed east-west motorway link in Auckland was scrapped by the government last year. Graphic: Supplied / NZTA

Eight petitions have been delivered, with thousands of signatures from the MPs constituents.

Amy Adams, the MP for Selwyn, said the State Highway 1 link between Christchurch and Ashburton must go ahead.

“The volume of traffic on those roads is making them not only more dangerous, but more and more congested, obviously effecting productivity,” she said.

Ms Adams said she had more than a thousand people sign up in a short time.

Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller and Coromandel MP Scott Simpson submitted on the Katikati to Tauranga four-lane link, which it announced in 2017 and said Labour must commit to.

They want a grade separated connection from Omokoroa onto State Highway 2 and a Katikati bypass.

Few questions were asked by the government MPs who sit on the transport committee, however National MP Paul Goldsmith asked a number of questions about the impact of the regional fuel tax on the MPs’ communities.

He said there was little thought for people outside of Auckland who would never benefit from the expensive public transport projects the government was funding in the city.

Shippers worried low pollution fuel could carry high price tag

Cleaning up smokey funnels could could land New Zealand shippers with much higher fuel bills as the Government inches towards cutting pollution levels.

The Ministry of Transport will shortly begin public consultation on whether to ratify Annex VI of an international maritime convention (MARPOL) which makes use of lower sulphur level fuel mandatory from 2020.

Shipping line Maersk​ converted to using the cleaner burning fuel in New Zealand waters in 2011, but switched back after its fuel bill soared by $1m during the one year trial, forcing the company to turn down a nomination for a Clean Air Society achievement award.

Maersk makes about 1000 New Zealand port visits a year and its oceania operations manager Stuart Jennings said the more expensive fuel cut sulphur levels in exhaust gases by more than 80 per cent, but the company regrettably suspended the pilot due to lack of support from other local industry stakeholders.

“We believe that a strong enforcement regime is crucial to ensure a level playing field for carriers as well as shippers, and to make sure that health and environmental benefits are continuously maximised.”

Maersk shipping line cut sulphur emissions at the Port of Auckland by 72 tonnes a year after it switched to a cleaner fuel, but the change proved too expensive and was abandoned after other shippers failed to follow suit.
SUPPLIED
Maersk shipping line cut sulphur emissions at the Port of Auckland by 72 tonnes a year after it switched to a cleaner fuel, but the change proved too expensive and was abandoned after other shippers failed to follow suit.

Jennings said that from 2020 all vessels in its global fleet would comply with the Annex VI requirement to reduce maximum sulphur levels from 3.5  per cent to 0.5 per cent, regardless of whether New Zealand had ratified the clause.

Atmospheric scientist Jennifer Barclay​ nominated Maersk for the clean air award and said the company’s switch to cleaner burning diesel reduced the amount of sulphur released into Auckland skies by 72 tonnes a year.

It was disappointing other shippers had not followed suit, but she understood Maersk’s reversal. “It’s not their fault, central government needs to pull finger and do something.”

Ministry of Transport international connections manager Tom Forster said the Resource Management Act allowed for discharges into air for normal ship operations, and New Zealand had not previously signed up to Annex VI “because our weather conditions and comparatively small ship numbers meant maritime air pollution was not seen as a significant issue.”

He said domestic legislation would need to be changed if ratification was agreed on once consultation was completed.

Members of the NZ Shipping Federation, including the InterIslander, are anxious to know where they stand over the supply and cost of low sulphur fuel.
SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF
Members of the NZ Shipping Federation, including the InterIslander, are anxious to know where they stand over the supply and cost of low sulphur fuel.

NZ Shipping Federation executive director Annabel Young said she expected New Zealand to ratify the clean fuel clause by 2023, but 98 per cent of shipping capacity worldwide had already done so. “We are the outlier.”

Her members, who include the InterIslander, Strait Shipping and Coastal Bulk Shipping, were anxious to know where they stood over the supply and cost of low sulphur fuel.

Diesel was the only fuel in New Zealand that met the specified sulphur content, but cost up to 50 per cent more than what many vessels currently used, and it was unclear whether the Marsden Point refinery would retool to produce low sulphur marine fuel, said Young.

A Refining New Zealand spokesman said they were still investigating options for the refinery to make 0.5% sulphur fuel oil.

“That process will give a good indication of the production costs involved, and quantities we can make on behalf of our oil company customers.”

Young said another complication was that a recent amendment to Annex VI prevented ships entering the ports of more than 80 signatory-countries from carrying dirtier-burning heavy fuels.

That meant New Zealand coastal ships, such as the interisland ferries, would have to switch fuel before entering dry docks in Australia or Singapore, and it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars

“Switching fuels takes months, it’s not something you do lightly …going to dry dock will be a very expensive transition.”

Young said that methanol was a clean fuel option that more shippers were seriously considering, but there were questions about the security of supply once the Crown Minerals Amendment Bill passed.

However, a Methanex New Zealand representative said that would not be an issue. “If the shipping industry used methanol we’d be guaranteeing supply.”

Stuff

Government scraps plan for KiwiRail diesel trains

The Government has honoured a campaign pledge to keep electric trains running and has committed an extra $35 million to refurbish them.

Fifteen electric trains currently operating between Hamilton and Palmerston North will be refurbished under state-owned KiwiRail – a move welcomed by the Rail and Maritime Transport Union.

“We’re thrilled to see the Labour-led government protecting Kiwi jobs,” said Rail and Maritime Transport Union general-secretary Wayne Butson.

“Union members, environmental campaigners and industry experts have all spoken out about the importance of investing in electric rail, and we clearly have a government that listens to the people.”

If KiwiRail had been permitted to proceed with National’s plans to replace the EF Class electric locomotives with DL class diesel engines imported from China, the union says it would have added an extra 12,000 tonnes to New Zealand’s carbon footprint.

The plans to switch from electric trains to diesel under KiwiRail between Hamilton and Palmerston North were announced in 2016. But an external review by engineering consultants Worley Parsons warned that diesel trains purchased from China have “a very high failure rate”.

Studies also suggested that the DL locomotives are often unreliable, overly expensive and at risk of asbestos contamination. The Worley Parsons review said KiwiRail should be switching its whole fleet to electric.

The switch to diesel would be 25 percent cheaper to run. And KiwiRail said at the time the move would reduce its carbon footprint because fewer trucks would be needed to move loads, despite diesel emitting five times more greenhouse gases than the current fleet.

Green Party Associate Minister for Transport Julie-Anne Genter, who was transport spokesperson at the time, said it was “shocking” that KiwiRail would choose the diesel options. She called on then-Transport Minister Simon Bridges to halt the plan.

In a letter to KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy in August last year, Labour’s transport spokesperson at the time, Michael Wood, confirmed that if Labour was elected, it would “require a halt on any work to de-electrify the [train] network”.

He said Labour would “work with KiwiRail to develop an evidence-based, long term plan to guide capital investment in the rail network,” adding, “We will consider options to expand electrification as part of this plan.”

Mr Butson believes New Zealand must “electrify more of our rail network, not less”.

“The highly skilled workforce in KiwiRail’s workshops can now build a modern, sustainable fleet of locomotives that will be the envy of the world,” he said.

National’s transport spokesperson Paul Goldsmith has been contacted for comment.

Newshub.

Shipping emissions talks stall in London

Two weeks of talks in London on what measures the global shipping sector should take to reduce its climate impact have failed to make progress. Governments meeting at the UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) were supposed to start delivering on their April commitment to decarbonise international shipping but instead became bogged down in procedural matters. The Clean Shipping Coalition [1] said the total lack of urgency was in stark contrast to the impassioned pleas for action made to delegates by the authors of the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Measures are urgently needed if the IMO’s agreed plan – to reduce shipping’s carbon intensity by at least 40% by 2030 and total emissions by at least 50% by 2050 – is to be met. The April agreement included a commitment to deliver immediate measures that reduce emissions before 2023. Yet developments this week mean that consideration of those measures will now only commence in May 2019, over a year after the original agreement was reached.

Bill Hemmings, shipping director at Transport & Environment, said: “Time is running short but that’s not the feeling you get inside the room. The commitment last April to agree and implement in the short-term immediate emissions reduction measures has fallen victim to procedure, bureaucracy and delay spearheaded by countries who were never really on board. The US, Saudi Arabia and Brazil head that list. And all this despite the authors of the IPCC report making absolutely clear to IMO members that now is the time for action.”

The lead proposal being considered is mandatory speed reduction – either as a standalone measure or as an element of one that sets a target for improving ship efficiency. Either approach, if done right, could meet the agreed 2030 carbon intensity goal and deliver fuel savings for industry. Sections of industry oppose speed reduction but have failed to put forward any alternatives that come close to the cut in emissions that will be required.

John Maggs, senior policy advisor at Seas At Risk, said: “The stakes are high. Ships have deployed slow steaming over the past decade in a way that has seen dramatic reductions in emissions. The world is not blind to this. Speeds must initially be capped to avoid backsliding, then progressively lowered. The impact on emissions is immediate and incontestable. The commitment of many at the IMO to genuinely reduce ship emissions is not.”

The IMO today also overturned a decision to tighten new ship design standards, known as the EEDI, even for container ships meeting the standard a decade in advance.

Bill Hemmings concluded: “While congratulating itself on quite mediocre progress on greenhouse gas emissions, the IMO had no qualms in killing any remaining hopes for requiring the building of more efficient ships in the future. If this is the pace being set to implement the IMO’s Initial GHG Strategy, then some of the delegates returning back home from future negotiations won’t have a country to land on.”

Shipping emits 3% of global CO2 – and emissions are increasing year on year – yet it remains one of the few sectors of the global economy without sector-specific emissions reduction measures.

NZ air pollution report: Heat sources a persistent problem

People heating their homes and using their vehicles are the biggest causes of poor air quality in New Zealand, according to new statistics.

No caption

Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

The Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand has released its latest report in the environmental reporting series as legally required.

Our air 2018 showed there had been an improvement with levels of some pollutants declining, however there are persistent problems such as heat sources.

Burning wood or coal to heat a home is the largest single-cause of air pollution by humans in New Zealand.

Wood burners heated 33 percent of North Island homes and 47 percent of South Island homes, according to the last available data, however, burning wood as a heat source had declined over time.

Coal burning accounts for about four percent of residential emissions, but the report said this could be an underestimate.

Other human factors contributing to air quality include the burning of wood for construction and manufacturing processes.

Emissions from vehicles are also a major contributor of poorer quality air from exhausts, but also through the wearing and abrasion of pavement, tyres and brake pads.

Shipping was an important source of sulphur dioxide emissions, and the report said the size and number of international cargo ships and cruise ships visiting New Zealand continued to grow.

Recent intensification of agriculture could be causing an increase in ammonia emissions, which could affect ecosystems and biodiversity.

Read the full report here:

Human health

The report mainly deals with two types of air pollution – PM10 and PM2.5 and these refer to what is known as the particulate matter, or particles suspended in the air that are small enough to be inhaled.

PM10 is particles less than 10 micrometres and PM2.5 is particles less than 2.5 micrometres.

In general, the smaller the particle, the greater the impact on human health because they penetrate more deeply into the human body.

Modelling suggested that in 2016 the number of premature adult deaths per 100,000 people from exposure to PM10 in New Zealand was 8 percent lower than in 2006.

But relative improvements in air pollution effects appeared to be largely due to more people living in areas with lower PM10, such as Auckland, rather than an actual reduction in the pollution.

New Zealand was one of the few developed countries with no air quality standards for PM2.5, so it wsas measured against the World Health Organisation’s guidelines.

Long-term data showed that four of the 11 airsheds monitored for PM2.5 had an annual average higher than the WHO guideline between 2014 and 2016.

According to international studies, effects of air pollution included shortness of breath and coughing, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and premature death. New Zealand specific studies on the health impacts were limited.

The report stressed that the knowledge of environmental issues in the New Zealand air domain was incomplete.

There was very little data about the impact of air pollutants on natural ecosystems and biodiversity.

There was also limited information on indoor air quality in New Zealand, which was important because people spend 80 to 90 percent of their time inside and outdoor air (which could be polluted) could make its way inside.

NZ heading for gas supply gap, warns industry executive

New Zealand is heading into a gas supply gap and will need a new discovery to arrest the production decline it is on now, MPs heard yesterday.

The country has just seven years’ firm supply, and production is forecast to start falling away from 2021, according to Patrick Teagle, a New Zealand-based executive for Austrian oil and gas company OMV. Teagle was talking to Parliament’s environment select committee.

The company, soon to take over operatorship of the Maui and Pohokura gas fields, will work to mitigate the decline in production from those fields as a priority, he said. But that will only slow the decline.

What the country needs is a new discovery, just when the government’s proposed ban on new offshore exploration is “discouraging” the potential partners that OMV and other firms will need if they are to explore offshore, he said.

“It needs to be understood that demand will outstrip supply and we are heading towards a gas supply gap in New Zealand,” Teagle said.

“We have real concerns about our ability to maintain security of supply over the next decade.”

The committee is hearing submissions on legislation the government is pushing through to effect the ban on new offshore exploration it announced in April. The ban, intended to allow a managed transition away from fossil fuels as part of the country’s 2050 targets, also bars onshore exploration outside Taranaki but keeps intact all rights to develop discoveries made in existing permits.

The clash of viewpoints among the 12 submitters was stark. Government MPs didn’t appreciate being told the ban would increase emissions rather than reduce them, that the ban had already halted some investment, and that reduced domestic gas supplies would increase electricity costs for all consumers and sacrifice opportunities to reduce coal use and replace higher-emitting imports – like fertiliser – with lower-emission local production.

Supporters of the bill tended to want tougher action, with several seeking the immediate revocation of existing permits. They focused on the scale of global hydrocarbon reserves that can’t be burned in order to limit global warming, while largely ignoring domestic energy security and non-transport uses of oil and gas as industrial feed stocks.

The oil and gas sector was to blame for climate change – which governments had denied for too long – and for creating the societal “structures” that made individuals so reliant on their products for transport.

“Their time is finally up,” Low Carbon Kapiti chair Jake Roos told the committee.

“Adding to the pile of fossil fuels we plan to set on fire is madness.”

Committee chair Deborah Russell asked New Zealand Oil & Gas executives how they could claim to have been “caught by surprise” by a change that was always coming for the sector.

The Labour-led government has leaned heavily on its claims that the 100,000 square kilometres of existing exploration acreage is sufficient to ensure on-going gas supplies during a managed, 30-plus-year transition.

Official advice issued last month estimated the potential loss of Crown revenue at $1.2 billion to $23.5 billion out to 2050, and warned of a potential increase in global emissions if locally-made petrochemical production was replaced with product made offshore.

John Carnegie, responsible for climate change policy at BusinessNZ, told the committee the proposed legislation is “bad law” based on “scant evidence”. The impacts of the ban include higher emissions, increased energy costs, reduced competitiveness for New Zealand firms, and worsening balance of payments.

“Those are far wider than just the oil and gas sector per se.”

In a testy exchange with Labour MP Kiri Allan, he said the impact of the ban had been immediate. He cited the decision of Ballance Agri-Nutrients not to proceed with an expansion at its Kapuni plant due to the lack of certainty over long-term gas supplies.

“It’s not a 30-year transition,” he said.

“We are now in that transition.”

OMV’s Teagle told the committee the government’s transition timeframe appeared to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the exploration process.

Firms target the most attractive potential prospects. Acreage that does not show promise in early drilling – typically at the end of the first five years, or early in the second five years – will most likely be surrendered.

In the current environment “the chances of further exploration drilling in those permit areas is very, very low,” he said.

New Zealand Shipping Federation executive director Annabel Young silenced the committee with a detailed explanation of the challenge ship owners will face if they can’t access locally-made methanol – made from gas – to meet new international fuel pollution standards.

News that Methanex may start cutting production as soon as 2026 due to the tightening gas market had been a shock, she said. Refining NZ, operator of the Marsden Point oil refinery, is still not clear on whether it will be viable for it to make the ultra-low sulphur marine fuels the sector will need otherwise, she said.

Paul Goodeve, chief executive of pipeline operator First Gas, said the shipping issue illustrated the complexity of climate change policy and the risks of unintended consequences.

He said the gas sector has an important role to play in lowering emissions in New Zealand and longer-term, while options like hydrogen – either as a stand-alone fuel or blended with natural gas – are developed. Access to fast-start thermal back-up is also essential in a renewable generation sector increasingly reliant on solar and wind.

Goodeve said the “ad hoc” exploration ban – in an otherwise sensible policy framework – risks distracting from or slowing the major near-term opportunity to reduce emissions by electrifying transport, he said.

Trying to shut down gas, coal and fuel oil at the same time risks “sinking” the country under the cost of the new generation, distribution and transmission that would be required.

Forest & Bird climate advocate Adelia Hallett told the committee the strategy of using gas to replace higher emitting fuels may have worked 30 years ago. Inaction during that time means the world now needs to make significant reductions in the next 10 to 14 years.

“The cuts we need to make now are harder and faster.”

NZOG managing director Andrew Jefferies said the debate wasn’t about climate change, but over which are the best tools to address it.

Another billion people joining the world population need low-emission energy. New Zealand can help meet that directly with exports of gas or methanol, or by using gas locally to replace imports of fertiliser and other products made from higher-emission sources and then shipped here, adding further emissions.

If countries like New Zealand stop exploring for gas, higher emitting hydrocarbons like Canadian tar sand or Venezuelan bitumen, will continue to be extracted, he said.

“If you vote against gas you are voting for coal and bitumen and tar sands,” NZOG external relations manager John Pagani told the committee.

The hearings are scheduled to continue for the rest of the week.

– BusinessDesk

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