National caught flat-footed on rail | The Jackal

7 Aug 2017

National caught flat-footed on rail

The Minister of Transport commenting on light rail to the North Shore.

The Labour party has amazingly managed some policy cut through this week, even with the Jacinda effect in full play. This has been well canvased by mainstream media publications to various degrees of accuracy.

The policy Labour chose to start their new campaigning on was Auckland’s transport infrastructure, which is great because it’s highly topical at the moment.

Perhaps one of the better articles about the campaign so far was by Audrey Young, who summed up the current state of play.

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

In one short week National looks like the underdog

All up, Labour's plan costs about $2 billion more than National's.

It was given to Phil Twyford to deliver to explain the regional petrol tax that will cost up to $5 a tank to help fund the policy.

And Steven Joyce again assumed the position of National's critic in chief.

Labour's rally was, by necessity, arranged at late notice, but not quite as late as National's at the Papakura railway station for a $267 million commuter network announcement.

With 250 there, it wasn't a bad turnout for a Prime Minister who has the personality of a rock, according to Kelvin Davis.

It was a shameless effort by National to try to grab some attention from the popular leader of the Opposition. But it didn't pay off. The enthusiasm looked less authentic.

There is really no question that Auckland should help pay for it’s own infrastructure upgrades. Unfortunately the Auckland Council is up to its eyeballs in debt, and ratepayers are already feeling the pinch of large rates increases.

With twice as many people in attendance, Labour definitely have the momentum to announce a new tax without anybody really raising an eyebrow. A regional petrol tax is the only way to ensure those who most benefit help pay, and Labour pulled it off without a hitch.

Sure, there is an argument that getting more Aucklanders out of cars and into alternative forms of transport will save the nation billions of dollars each year, but when the infrastructure in regional New Zealand has been allowed to decay so badly and is seeing no real planned investment by the current government, expecting a free ride in Auckland is no longer acceptable.

Labour is once again campaigning for the votes of people who don’t have rocks for brains.