stuoud and intransigent politicians are called #LedByDonkeys. Now it seems that we need a similar campaign here in New Zealand, especially after Michael Wood decided to share with us all that his spirit animal is a donkey.
Auckland’s light rail project is “absolutely” going ahead, according to the minister in charge of both Auckland and transport.
Michael Wood’s resolute commitment comes at a time when many state highways across the country are in dire need of repair in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.
But the minister says, now more than ever, it is important to invest in climate-friendly infrastructure.
“I am absolutely committed to this city and making these investments,” he said on Thursday. “We cannot continue to kick the can down the road.”
That would mean former prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s pledge ahead of the 2017 general election would appear to be coming to fruition.
“I am utterly determined about this,” Wood said. “If there was such a thing as a spirit animal then mine is a donkey. I just keep going with these things, and I’ll keep going with this one until we get it done.”
Stubborn and obstinate in the face of ballooning costs to deliver a solution that is already six years late even getting started. If that makes him a donkey, then sure I can live with that. We are being led by donkeys.
Imagine if Wood was in a National government, then the headline would most certainly have been “Wood admits that he is a donkey”.
Michael Wood, the donkey, thinks light rail to the airport in Auckland will help alleviate climate change, does he?
Yes, because just look at how useful electric trains have been in responding to the floods and to the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle. The Air Force and the Navy have been sending electric trams to remote areas to rescue people, and the locals have been pulling their 10-carriage electric trains out of their sheds to rescue their livestock from the floodwaters. Electric trains are just so versatile, they go absolutely anywhere!
Trains are really effective in a disaster:
Click images to view
Actually, that gives me an idea for a meme, a donkey with Wood’s head, pulling an electric tram.
At the same time as Michael Wood was channelling donkeys for inspiration some train spotter was opining that trains could replace roads for passenger transport:
Save Our Rail Northland campaign co-ordinator Alan Preston describes his rail activism as an extension of his understanding of climate change.
“We are a remote island nation; we are totally dependent on imports for energy,” Preston said.
Preston said under the current cost-benefit analysis the Government uses, rail will never stack up, because it doesn’t take into account the impacts of climate change, such as the increasing prices of fuel and damage from events such as Cyclone Gabrielle.
“The engineers who are costing motorways or railways, actually need to include the idea that we are we are catering to a population that fuel is going to become too expensive [for].”
Preston made submissions and presentations to the New Zealand government since they opened up the inquiry into the revitalisation of passenger rail in October last year.
“If everybody accepted climate change and thought it needed something done about it, passenger rail would be a no-brainer,” Preston said.
Do these Wombles actually notice that trains are very unreliable and are affected by disasters just as much as roads? The Northern Line is out of action because of the storm in January. There is a massive slip over it.
When the nation needs billions of dollars to fix storm-damaged infrastructure, donkeys like Michael Wood are going to campaign on light rail for Auckland. That’s going to go down well in the storm-ravaged areas. Imagine the Prime Minister turning up to campaign in Wairoa and telling locals not to worry about climate change because his government is putting in light rail in Auckland.
This election is going to be awesome especially when we are led by donkeys.
Cam Slater is a New Zealand-based blogger, best known for his role in Dirty Politics and publishing the Whale Oil Beef Hooked blog, which operated from 2005 until it closed in 2019. This article was first published HERE.