Auckland has a race on its hands. There are many candidates for the top job of mayor and the candidates are all making promises. These promises range from ‘free and frequent public transport,’ to ‘being a person who represents all people.’ Who can we believe and how possible are their promises?
We have an incumbent mayor who despite earlier criticism of his stance and perceived lack of initiative has done a reasonable job in presenting a vision for the future of NZ’s largest city. Some of those opposing him cry out with the usual, ‘but we can’t afford your grandiose schemes, Mr Mayor,’ but then go on to accuse him of not doing anything about the ever-growing transport problems and lack of infrastructure. They moan about the increase in rates, but we have seen from past elections, that these same people go on to raise rates, because the reality is that if they don’t, Auckland falls further behinds, leaving the problems of water, transport and other issues to be resolved by future ‘leaders.’
I would love to see free and frequent public transport. It would remove the need for ridiculously expensive motorways and free up money for other ‘social projects, like cheaper subsidized housing for those who have no hope of ever gaining a foot on the expensive Auckland housing ladder.
At the very least we need to accept the fact that public transport is never going to make a profit without generous subsidies and unless the ‘Council’ takes over the complete running of all public transport, we are going to need to continue to subsidise any improvement in the age old problem of moving people around the ever-expanding city.
Of course any improvement in the array of problems Auckland faces will need to have support from central government, but that too has its hooks. Politics on a national scale is always going to be the ‘master of events’ in Auckland and Governments of all hues are going to play to their own perceived needs, just to keep their noses in Welle-trough. It is not unusual for our nation’s leaders to play the ‘let’s bash Auckland,’ card, in order to garner votes from the rest of NZ.
So aspiring Auckland mayoral candidates, don’t take us for idiots. Put your ‘causes’ upfront and tell us what is possible, not some pipe dream or a view of something that does not exist. Don’t promise ‘rates cuts,’ then get into the position you seek, only realize that you have promised the impossible!