Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Cam Slater: Can We Have a New Transport Minister Please

I don’t really know why Michael “Napoleon” Wood is the Transport Minister. Everything he announces or does just ends in a complete mess. It isn’t surprising really, because his sole qualification and work experience was in measuring the inside seams of bankers buying cheap suits at Hugh Wright.

Where’s the second harbour crossing? What about the light rail to the airport? Not a single millimetre of track has been built on his watch. Then there is the ‘rapid’ rail to Hamilton, which is neither rapid nor a service and didn’t even get to Auckland, pegging out at Papakura. That result shouldn’t have been at all surprising after the ‘service’ was named after an extinct bird.

Now this absolute waste of space is telling us that some roads need to be “abandoned”:

The Transport Minister admits some roads may need to be abandoned as a result of climate change, and the extreme weather it will bring.

Last week, RNZ revealed Waka Kotahi had, until recently, not been factoring climate change and the need for resilience into its transport projects.

The agency was said to be swamped by the need to respond to crisis.

This is what happens when you divert road user charges, which are meant to be spent on ROADS, into pet projects like cycleways, walking bridges and other equally pointless projects.

But wait… the solution is ships and rail!

Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said investment in rail and sea shipping should be a focus in future for cut off communities, and Wood agreed.

He said sea shipping had been a lifeline for the East Coast after Cyclone Gabrielle, and that would be explored further.

Wood said it was “beyond time” resilience was properly factored into infrastructure spending, and tough conversations were now beginning with communities that will be affected in future.

“We need to do it carefully, and work it through with communities in those areas to make sure people have what they need to live their lives well.

“Where we have to make decisions about where assets are and where that might need to change, we need to work that through with the communities.

“But as I said, we have to move forward with this because if we don’t we actually expose communities to more vulnerabilities in the future.”

Let’s get this straight. Basically, if a road has a single pothole due to a total lack of maintenance, then the whole road will be abandoned. But they will be replaced by the least resilient thing of all in a storm, railways! Got a pothole? Easy fix, slap a train over it!

Yes, railways were awesome for the cut off areas in Muriwai, Piha and Esk Valley weren’t they? They just quickly flew in emergency trains and train tracks by helicopter, and boy can those 200-metre-long cargo ships deliver emergency supplies inland to these small towns or what?

These people really do live in fairyland. A place where money grows on trees, everyone is kind, there is no crime and transport in the 21st century can be solved by the application of 19th-century technology. Righto!

The bottom line, however, is that the Minister of Transport either needs to resign or rename his ministry the Ministry for Non-Transport.

Waiting for Michael Wood to get inspiration for solving our transport crisis is like waiting at a wharf for a jumbo jet to get you to your destination.

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


Anonymous said...

Heard a rumour that Labour Government is planning new ports at Hicks Bay, Whitianga, Kaitaia, Haast and Muriwai so don't worry. Coastal shipping is a brilliant concept for serving these locations at least.

Anonymous said...

Cam, form your Commentary - to quote -
"But wait… the solution is ships and rail!

Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said investment in rail and sea shipping should be a focus in future for cut off communities, and Wood agreed" -

It would be interesting to sit, face to face with these two "twats' and relate to them about the History (past) of -
- NZ Rail, and the ineptitude of past Labour Govts to this business.
- "Coastal shipping", which again we had past systems in place, that past Govts (both Nats & Labour) allowed Road transport to undermine and caused to collapse.

But wait -
[1] - Michael Wood would not know of that past NZ Transport history; that has seen the recent degradation of KiwiRail, and also the loss of 2 ships that were working NZ Coastal ports;

[2] - Ms Genter, is formerly of California, USA, which has a major issue with motorcars across that State and shipping ports, that of recent times, could not handle container ships that wished to deliver container cargoes to the West Coast of America.

Can someone advise Ms. Genter that previous weather events washed out the rail connection Napier to Gisborne, and until the recent cyclone, rail Napier to Wairoa had just been re-instated - but sadly now no longer exists.

When "in Rome" (Wellington) it would be interesting to know if our current NZ Politicians actually have any idea of what happens across NZ on any given day?

The Anon person, resident of NZ.

Anonymous said...

He is an amusing little Chappy. Loves having the camera on him and is prone to making policy on the hoof. He has aspirations of higher office no doubt. Interestingly Hipkins hasn’t reined him in. Not unlike the Ardern/ Mahuta situation.