Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bulldozing democracy

The NZTA has just announced their preferred route for the Waterview Connection. In a shocking affront to democracy, Transport Minister Steven Joyce appears to have manipulated the timing of the announcement to avoid any chance of Parliamentary oversight - the moment, in fact, that the Speaker declined an application for an urgent debate because the announcement had not been made. Meanwhile, urgency today on the Auckland dictatorship bill means there will likely be no Question Time tomorrow, and so no opportunity for Parliament to consider the matter until after the recess. By which time some loony will have run amok with a gun, or dropped someone on Dancing With the Stars, flushing it from the news cycle.

This is how National operates. It's cynical, manipulative, and deeply undemocratic. But that's what you get when you elect the hollow men to government.

As for the announcement itself, there's a map and some more details here [PDF]. I'll leave it for the Aucklanders to kick and scream over most of it, but one thing I will note is that the plan centres on using an existing rail designation for a motorway. So, Auckland won't be getting a proper rail-based public transport network because National will have already built a stinking great road there. It's utterly bereft of vision, and I hope Aucklanders will remember it when they are stuck in their traffic jams (while Wellingtonians whizz to work on fast, efficient, green electric trains).