MartyG raises some very important points in his latest post here. Transport is Auckland’s biggest issue right now. The emerging Labour-Greens-NZF popular front absolutely have to pick up on this if they want to win in November. By dying in a ditch over roads with only 18 per cent support for not having rail to the Shore and 79 per cent for, NACT would hand Auckland to a re-energised opposition on a plate.
Just about anyone out of those 79 per cent could bring themselves to vote for either Labour, the Greens or NZF, even if they couldn’t stand one they could vote for the other; and if all three were singing out of the same song sheet on rail, it couldn’t fail.
All the opposition need say is “We won’t stand in Len’s way.” And repeat it like a mantra from now till November, so that the election becomes a referendum on democracy in Auckland.
NACT are also hugely vulnerable to the fact that their roading schemes will do relatively little for the South and West, and will entrench social divisions. That’s an added point that can be made in campaigning in the South and West, or to anyone of goodwill.
As to the very important question of why the Govt is stuck on roads to the point of departing from the reality-based universe, I think that roads are kind of a symbol of the New Right’s privatisation agenda, of the opposition of private cars to public transport.
Historically, you have to remember that in this country Rogernomics arose, very largely, in opposition to Muldoon’s ‘Think Big’ plans which were actually a response to a premature prediction of peak oil sometime in the 1980s.
In addition to some dodgy projects (e.g. the Aramoana aluminum smelter). Think Big also included things like the electrification of most of the North Island Main Trunk Line and the extension of Wellington’s electric railway services by another 10 km in 1983, from Paekakariki to Paraparaumu.
Deep down, Rogernomics and post-Rogernomics is based on a firm foundation of cheap oil that will never run out and the endless ridicule of anyone who thinks otherwise as a ‘Muldoonist’.
The Rogernomes and post-Rogernomes know that if they admit the reality of peak oil and the need for better PT, the game’s up.
Not to mention the fact that trains, with their timetables and planned station environs, have the effect of making planning look good. That’s why they call it public transport as opposed to the private car, once more.
No doubt there are other more specific lobby motives but deep down that’s the spectre stalking the minds of the Hollow Men.
And that’s why NACT can never backflip and do another Muldoon on this, at least as long as the Hollow Men are in charge, whereas it’s much easier for Labour, the Greens and NZF to come out and say, actually do we need more planning.
At least in this coming election, all NACT’s transport policy guns are pointing in the wrong direction and they have been concreted in and can’t be shifted. To an opposition that can make use of this fact between now and the election, the fall of fortress Auckland is almost inevitable. And as Auckland goes, so goes the country, even if transport is less of an issue elsewhere.