Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Auckland's flash new rail loop to go ahead---yeah right!

The PM (John Key) has announced the Government's great 'turn around' and support for Auckland's much needed inner city rail loop. This magnificent plan will cost a mere NZ$2.6 billion and it may be financed partly through sale of 'yours and my' assets. If that isn't bad enough, he says that it can go ahead in 2020.  This simply is not good enough and I would go as far as saying that his 'offer' is a cynical ploy to win the votes of Aucklanders.
This scheme should have gone ahead many years ago. The need for mass transit in Auckland has been apparent for the last half century. Getting Aucklanders out of their cars is going to take action; not in 6 years time, but right now. If the plan to get Auckland to accept new medium and high density housing that has little space for car parking then we are going to need to change the way we see the use of cars in our city. That mind shift can only happen with money invested now so that we can have a city that caters for this new mind-set.
Yes, we will still love our cars, but for the inner city, that concept will not wash. We need this rail loop and more investment in bus lanes (similar to the very successful model on the North Shore) now. Delaying it is like trying to hold back the tide. It will cost vastly more for each year we delay this development. Future generations will not thank us for procrastinating. Furthermore, Mr Key knows that he will not be around in six years, (in politics, I hasten to add) to see the chaos resulting from not making this decision to go ahead now. Leave the assets alone, Mr Key. They are not yours and even you must have noted the huge opposition to selling our precious assets. Your flip-flop in policy is not genuine! The debt we incur now to finance this 'progress' is well worth the results; but one paid for in a more responsible way; designated taxes on gas for example. Let's find the solution now.