The Labour Party policy for transport in Auckland is the likes we have never seen in New Zealand.
Aucklanders have on average three cars per household. They are a massive national cause of pollution, CO2 and monoxide, waterway killers from tyres, and of course crushing congestion that cannot be appreciated unless you are for some unlucky reason forced to drive through its godawful motorway system during daylight.
It is a car-obsessed and car-dominated place, in its landscape, in its culture, in how you live and get to work, in its entire layout as far as the eye can see on a rare clear day for 100 kilometers. All they talk about is houses, but all they dream about is cars.
Just after World War One the great surge of tramways was built through many cities, and transport was a part of a cohesive city that helped a cohesive society.
This course was spectacularly undone by successive National Party governments since the late 1940s, when they determined to rip up Labour’s comprehensive plan for Auckland and build motorways. That Labour plan – as Chris Trotter showed in his book No Left Turn – would have had transport nodes and medium density housing clustered together to re-form a cohesive and efficient city. Everything being done now is simply trying to get some of that back, 70 years later.
Instead, the tram tracks were ripped up and replaced with pathetic trolley buses, the airport was duplicated needlessly at Mangere forcing a whole new motorway system, cohesive planning went out the window, and Auckland turned within two decades from a reasonably compact city to a giant landscape-eater that dominates this country like few other cities in the world dominate their countries.
So here’s highlights of what Labour is proposing. You’ll recognize it if you follow Greater Auckland and what all the cool kids have been promoting for some time:
Like any mature European city does. Other than maybe Turin.
Interestingly, no comment yet about any structural changes between Kiwirail and NZTA – but that’s a machinery of government question for a future Cabinet to consider rather than a policy goal.
Labour’s announcements fit hand in glove with their housing policies, which will see a housing entity to rival NZTA in scale and delivery power.
Affordable housing, fun transport, and an audacious goal to transform the lives of a third of New Zealanders.
With their housing and transport policies put together, it’s transformationally bold.
Labour is simply proposing to rebuild society, for good.
For those of us who live in Auckland, we need this, and Labour proposes to deliver it.