Do you know we can start voting for our mayors and local councillors in about a month's time? Are you going to?
Apathy is the problem with local body elections. Always has been.
We don’t know who anyone is, we can’t be bothered, we don’t care.
But actually, we do care about our communities don't we? Don’t we care about what's happening to our local shops and our streets at the moment?
I know particularly for Auckland, it's so depressing watching the decline of our city, the ram raids, the graffiti, the closed up shops, the struggling cafes, the road works, OMG the road works - you can’t move around Auckland without encountering road cones.
All the new sets of traffic lights going in, new speed humps, new elongated pedestrian areas are an absolute cluster - makes the city impossible to drive around.
And they seem to be never ending in every city – digging up more road to take it off cars and give it to pedestrians or bikes. I wish they’d fix the potholes and the terrible state of our roads before they did all that, but priorities seem a little off.
This is why it’s so important to vote.
I had to drop my daughter three suburbs away the other day - usually a 20 minute drive, it took 40 minutes... to cross three suburbs.
Who has time for this? It’s so unproductive. The roadworks, the congestion, the new road layouts which mean fewer spaces for cars is making it really hard to get around.
Which is what they want of course, they want us all out of our cars. But it’s a gnarly way of doing it.
And I haven’t really seen enough from candidates objecting to all this and speaking out against what Waka Kotahi’s doing, there seems either a malaise or a general acceptance that this is just how it is now.
I’d vote for whoever came out and said you know what? The traffic and the congestion and the road layouts suck.
We will do better, we will fix the roads for motorists. But no one will say that because it's sacrilege these days to defend cars.
And it’s not even like they’re doing a good job of all these road and pavement changes.
A new set of traffic lights is currently going into Auckland’s busy Newmarket – these new lights are about 200 metres from another set of traffic lights – go figure. It'll unquestionably bring a busy shopping precinct to a halt traffic-wise.
But when AT first cut up the road and started laying their new foundations, local businesses said wait a minute, that doesn’t look right – where’s the run off for rain, what if water pools into shops?
AT had a look at it apparently and said, nope, she’s all good mate, modelling shows it’ll be fine. (Good old modelling).
First big downpour came and what do you reckon happened? Water pooling everywhere and now AT has to cut the pavement back up and re-lay it properly.
This is time and money-wasting bollocks.
So we want to vote for people who'll get vocal on stuff like this, people who'll be proactive on things like the potholes in our rural communities. But how do we vote for people who'll get vocal on our behalf?
Hard when no one wants to stand for Council. So the same old candidates get voted in unopposed.
Those of us who can need to, 1) stand for council if we're able, and 2) at the very least, vote.
Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.
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