I had an infuriating interview with Phil Goff yesterday, and I say infuriating because as a proud born and bred Aucklander, I feel very despondent about what has happened to our once great city. It’s a shambles. That’s putting it politely.
A word starting with cluster and ending in something that rhymes with duck would be more appropriate.
But basically, Mayor Phil Goff has taken a leaf out of the Jacinda and Ashley playbook, of literally denying reality and refuting any facts thrown his way. In Phil’s world, we’re all on buses, trains, ferries, and bikes. We love public transport and only want to use more of it; we don’t need or want our cars. I don’t know what planet Phil’s living on, but it’s not Planet Auckland.
When I put it to him that no one’s on the buses, he rejected that, and said 43 percent of people from the North Shore come into Auckland on the bus. I’m not sure where he got that stat, but Glenn, one of Mike’s producers, found a chart of greater Auckland showing that people who come in on the bus hasn’t changed in 20 years. Glenn, by the way, happens to live on the North Shore, so was particularly riled by Phil Goff’s claim that almost half of them are on the bus.
So, Phil reckons 43 percent are on the bus to town, stats from 1996 to 2018 say it’s in fact well below 10 percent.
I asked about traffic congestion and what they’re going to do to fix it, Phil said they “can’t just bulldoze houses to make roads wider”. What a ridiculous answer. The roads were wider, until they got narrowed by cycle and bus lanes, and so called ‘people friendly’ spaces which as far as I can see are so confusing there are no people in them.
So great swathes of the roads have been cut up and taken off cars for what?
Phil said a double decker bus takes a hundred cars off the road.
But that’s only if a hundred people are getting on the double decker bus, which they’re not.
It’s all theory, no reality.
And this is part of my problem with idealogues, they’re in denial. Phil rejected my suggestion the city is wrecked, and it’s the council who’ve wrecked it, he said he ‘disagreed entirely’. So given he’s rejected it, it must not have happened then.
What they are spending some of this $31.8 billion on is climate and environment priorities, wastewater treatment. There’s a huge tunnel “big enough to fit a giraffe” he said, to manage wastewater overflows.
So here’s Auckland’s future as prescribed by the Mayor;
Everyone’s on a bus.
The city’s not wrecked or congested at all.
We love public transport.
And just be grateful there’s a new tunnel coming, big enough to hold a giraffe.
I’ve never been more tempted to run for Mayor.
Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.
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