Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Mike Hosking: Wayne Brown has the street-level politics right

Wayne Brown has read the room right on this one.

He now has Vector on board. They claim the road cone chaos costs them $30 million a year and, on top of that, their maintenance and restoration work is delayed and that affects everyone who wants to turn a light on.

The support will grow. These are the very issues that make-or-break political careers.

Too much of today's debate is about worthy and, ultimately, pointless exercises - far reaching never-never sort of discussions that, in theory, are interesting or important or transformational but will, in reality, go nowhere.

The current Government bailing on the clunker car scheme is your classic example. When it was launched it was saving the planet and the importance could not be more profound.

By the time it was dumped last week it was too complicated to put in place and really wouldn't have made much of a difference anyway.

Political discourse, locally and nationally, is filled with this sort of time-wasting nonsense.

In the meantime, on the ground, in the real world, all we want to do is get to work or to the mall or to school for the pick-up.

It is hard to truly explain what a mess Auckland is because of traffic management. It is an onerous, rage inducing mess that must cost the city hundreds of millions in lost productivity.

It is a classic example of an idea wildly out of control and the clever politician sees it and seizes on it.

What makes Wayne Brown electable is this basic sort of, dare I suggest, good old-fashioned representation.

While most councillors argue over their lunches or e-bikes or cycle lanes or public transport, Wayne sees cones. And we see cones.

We see a sea of cones and we hate them. Not because you don’t need cones but because the power has gone to their heads. Because the obsession around traffic has gotten out of control. Because Auckland has been ground to a halt because of them.

When you need a metre, they take ten. The closures, the detours, the hold ups, the aggro, the honking, the delays and the accidents.

And then there's the cost - the cost of the cones and the cost of not doing business.

This is street level politics, literally and figuratively.

The luvvies in the media that hate Brown will hate this, because he's onto it.

Second terms and popular support are built on this sort of bricks and mortar stuff. Make people's lives easier and you get their vote.

It's never been hard. It's just that most of them can't see it.

Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings.


RogerF said...

It's not only motorists who are affected. Spend a day in Auckland as a pedestrian. Cones for Africa, pavements that are anything but, streets strewn with rubbish, shops that can no longer be accessed due to construction sites that overwhelm the public domain and the empty shops that remain as a constant reminder to the failed leadership from a bloated, self-serving bureaucracy. Auckland should be preserved for what it has now become - a dirty and tired example of how NOT to plan a city. AUCKLAND IS A BLOODY EMBARRASSMENT!!!!

Robert Arthur said...

A quiet 100m long cul de sac, which could only be entered at 30 kph or less, full width, full length visibility recently had water works done at the extreme end. Two cone shepherds attended the street for days, including when the contractors were not using a digger, or not there at all.The problem is the absurd prosecutions and fines if anyone gets hurt. But drivers have to be credited with soem savvy. And they are supposed to stop in th clear distance ahead. If examples were made of errant drivers instead of employees this nonsense would end. and the contract sytem means there si no incentive to minimise work. Presumably the cones are charged for by number.
On the other hand our educatuion system and population make up is such that cone shepherding is about the limit of ability for many. Do they get the minimum wage or living wage or better?
Dften the greatest danger at roadworks is the complete obstruction of sight lines by the huge illuminated sign trucks.

Ken H said...

Spot on Mike! I've been increasingly alarmed at the number of cones that seemingly appear out of nowhere, like they've been rooting like rabbits. It's clear however that people are stealing them, simply because there are way too many for any need.
I've said for some time now that, had I invented the orange cone, it would have made me an inestimable fortune in New Zealand alone. And, I suggest, NZ is alone in its obsession with using 20 when 5 will do nicely thanks, grrr...

Anonymous said...

A couple of years ago they cost $70 each so you could double that now. Whatever did we do without them? Remember 44 gallon drums?