I feel a real sense of hope when I view intelligent young people taking over the Council foyer.
It’s wonderful to see young people challenging those in powerful positions:
To give him his due the mayor turned up. He was generally unable to answer the questions thrust at him. I find it hard to see Phil as representing what the young people see as the sort of person who will lead them courageously into the future. His excuse of having a hydrogen car is because he has a lot of money and could afford to buy one when there’s no fuel to run it.
Bernard Hickey wrote an article about the school climate strike and here it is:
Ford Ranger Man runs over Michael Wood. Again.
Here’s an article to send to all your relatives and friends who marched in the school climate strike protests on Friday. They may have felt heard, or at least that they might have nudged the political consensus a little. Not so fast.
‘Ford Ranger Man’ always wins because both Labour and National believe that the key swinging median voters are home-owning, ute-driving, boat-owning families in the outer suburbs of our biggest cities and provincial towns who have no time for taking the kids to netball practice in cargo e-bikes. See more from me on ‘Ford Ranger Man’ here from last month.
Here’s some examples of the new culture war rhetoric (bolding mine) that erupted yesterday after Michael Wood was reported on the front page of the NZ Herald to be considering using fuel taxes to build cycleways rather than repair roads, and may even increase the taxes overall.
Sorry to those who marched: Ford Ranger man always wins. Photo: Lynn Grieveson/ Getty Images
Seymour opposing Wood’s modeshift comments
“In the meantime the people who are trying to get their kids from hockey to the doctor, while picking something up from the dairy on the way home find life becoming increasingly difficult as parking disappears and roads degrade.
“It is at odds with the Government’s own policy as well. Remember how the Government made tradies driving utes subsidise new Teslas? As unfair as that policy is, it is even more pointless when the low emissions vehicles Labour is trying to coax people into also can’t find a park. People will probably need a 4WD to handle New Zealand’s declining roads.” ACT Leader David Seymour on Transport Minister Michael Wood’s comments on modeshift via NZ Herald.
Simeon Brown declaring war on the war on cars
“Labour is going to steal the money New Zealanders pay via petrol taxes to fix potholes and maintain the roads and instead use that money for cycleways, despite only 1 per cent of people travelling to work on a bike, according to the 2018 census, compared with over 70 per cent travelling to work in a vehicle.
“This is unacceptable and proves that Labour is more focused on its ideological approach to transport, rather than building the infrastructure that New Zealanders need.
“A National Government will immediately halt this policy and rewrite the Government Policy Statement on Transport. We will restore the primary purpose of the National Land Transport Fund which is to build and maintain the roading network and we will prioritise reducing congestion and travel time to ensure Kiwis can get around more easily.” National Transport Spokesman Simeon Brown.
By the post-Cabinet news conference at 4pm, Hipkins was asserting his ‘bread and butter’ approach on climate change, saying the storms had changed the game so the Government had to focus first on repairing roads. Here’s excerpts from the transcript: (bolding mine)
Hipkins on whether Wood’s comments were the Government’s
Michael Wood was speaking, of course, to the draft that was previously released. That’s generally what Ministers do until there’s been a change in that. I think there will be a change.
Hipkins on whether fuel taxes would rise
You will see that my track record here has been to reduce taxes on fuel, particularly at a time when fuel prices are otherwise higher than they have been previously. I don’t intend to increase them at a time when we are actually trying to decrease them.
Hipkins on whether more resilient (stronger) roads were now a priority over reducing emissions:
I think you’ll see resilience and the resilience in the transport network being a much, much bigger priority now. It was in the previous priorities, but I think you’ll find it’ll be front and centre of the final policy statement when it’s released
Hipkins on whether climate change would still be the top priority:
Media: Prime Minister, so the emergency situation aside, will climate still be the top priority?
PM: Climate change is informing all of the Government’s decisions across a whole range of policy areas, and of course it will inform our decisions in transport as well.
Media: Will it be the top priority?
PM: Like I said, resilience is going to be probably the top priority, but Cabinet hasn’t made those decisions yet.
Here’s more of the full exchange on this prioritisation issue if there’s any doubt on Hipkins’ direction.
Media: Are you scared—is this Government afraid, you know, of the political repercussions of putting climate so high up on that priority list?
PM: Look, all Governments have to deal with the reality that’s right in front of them, and one of the realities that’s right in front of us is that we have a transport network that has shown to be wanting at a time when we’re faced with a major catastrophe, and we have to put that front and centre of our decisions around transport planning and transport funding.
Media: Is climate change going to be front and centre on your transport planning and building?
PM: It’ll still be in there but, as I’ve said, resilience is going to be right at the top of the priority list.
Resilience is the code word for repairing roads with fuel taxes and road user charges, rather than building many more cycleways, walkways and busways.
The short-term political pain wins again over the longer-term political, economic and environmental benefits of mode shift.