On yer bike, Darren

Good grief – where’s Darren Hughes been? Trying to have a bloody good time on holiday somewhere while desperately trying to constrain his carbon footprint, which is no fun at all, I suspect.
Hughes popped up yesterday to remind us he is the Labour Party’s transport spokesman and to congratulate Air New Zealand on its first flight using biofuels.

“This was an historic environmental moment not just for our airline but for all of New Zealand,” he declared.

Then he made a pathetic attempt at politicking, saying “sadly it comes in the same month when the National government has passed legislation that will damage the future growth of a biofuels industry in New Zealand.”

This (he blathered on) made John Key’s comments to Air New Zealand on its use of biofuels “ring hollow” because his government rammed through a law in the second week of the new Parliament which abolished the 0.5% mandatory sales obligation for biofuels.

Damned right. The mandatory sales obligation was downright daft – it didn’t even pass muster with the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

But where was Hughes when the rest of us were congratulating Air New Zealand for its successful test flight using second-generation biofuels back on December 30 (not only did this happen last week; it also happened last year)?

A Boeing 747-400 test flight out of Auckland that day was powered by a 50:50 blend of standard jet fuel and second-generation biofuel sourced from environmentally sustainable jatropha seeds.

John Key congratulated the airline the same day.

If Hughes’ efforts to catch up give us a clue, he is taking a sedate approach to transport but is strong on carbon reduction, no matter the economic implications. Before we know it, he will be championing a return to travel by horse and carriage (but methane will be a problem) and by penny-farthing bicycles.

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