Monday, March 06, 2023

Why we can't have nice things

The Herald this morning reported on the upcoming Government Policy Statement on Land Transport, which would apparently make climate change the top priority and push the process of shifting our transport modes to less polluting methods. As part of this, it said that petrol taxes would not just need to be restored, but would need to rise to pay for the necessary changes. And it would allow dedicated cycleways to be installed as part of ordinary road maintenance rather than requiring separate funding and separate work.

All of that seems sensible. So of course, national and ACT hate it, and predictably, chickenshit Labour has decided to back away from it the moment it hits the news:

Newshub understands the Government is reconsidering its transport strategy in light of Cyclone Gabrielle - with a pivot away from bus and bike lane funding.

A Government transport strategy, drafted at the end of last year, prioritised emissions reductions and proposed road maintenance funding be used to replace car parks with bus or cycle lanes.

But in the wake of catastrophic damage to our State Highway network the Government will refocus on a 'rebuild and resilience' programme, beginning with reconnecting key routes before moving to build resilience in our transport network - not just in cyclone-hit areas, but across the country.

A stronger focus on repairs is obviously necessary, given the damage suffered by the roading network in the last month. But why do it at the cost of those necessary and sensible changes which would be done as part of BAU maintenance? Its simple cowardice. The problem isn't so much that Labour lacks the courage of its convictions, but that it lacks any convictions at all, apart from one Chris rather than the other being in charge and getting the big bucks. Like that past Labour leader, they're a shiver looking for a spine to run down. And in the middle of a climate crisis, that makes them too useless to be trusted.