This is a guest post from Green Party MP, Julie Anne Genter
You are invited to the launch of Reconnect Auckland: a transport campaign led by the Green Party.
A smarter approach to transport and planning offers us huge opportunities to get better outcomes for everyone.
I find the posts on this blog incredibly useful and informative, particularly because of the detail of analysis and soundness of the logic.
However, as recent years have shown, information and logic is not enough to get political support for changing the status quo.
One of the reasons I am so passionate about transport is because it seems like an easy win for people, the economy, and the environment. New Zealand doesn’t have a car manufacturing industry and we export all of the oil we produce, so no one really benefits from the status quo approach that results in high car dependence. We just foolishly followed the car-oriented central planning by traffic engineers and town planners because Los Angeles and everywhere else was doing it.
Of course, some people and businesses believe they are benefiting from the status quo, because they like to drive, they believe it gives them status, or their business involves using roads, or they are contractors who build motorways.
But a different approach to policy and spending would still require contractors to build rail, bus and bicycle infrastructure. It would require better maintenance of our existing roads. It would create more semi-skilled jobs in operation of passenger transport services. It would be way better for those who really want or need to drive, and trucks, because it would reduce congestion and demand for car-parking.
Unfortunately, many politicians assume that high car use is a reflection of what everyone wants, rather than the consequence of policy that isn’t economically sound. And there aren’t many powerful groups out there loudly demanding a change from the status quo – although that is changing somewhat.
We’ve got the facts on our side, we can persuade many that they will actually benefit from a different approach, all we need now is the political will. That is why the Green Party is running a strategic campaign on transport in Auckland – designed to engage, inform, and activate people power.
We chose Reconnect-Auckland to symbolise more than just a return to the great transport connections Auckland had in the 40s and 50s. It’s also about connecting people to the communities that have been severed or lost through car-oriented design.
Our campaign has a few dimensions. Firstly, we are have the big launch and a big phone calling operation for people to register their support for the CRL.
Secondly, I am doing a speaking tour to anyone and everyone we can line up – Rotary, Lions clubs, high schools, university lectures, business associations, you name it. The goal is to give a short presentation on smart transport, so people know exactly what the opportunities are and that public transport, walking and cycling can happen in Auckland.
Finally, we will be holding a series of mini-events around Auckland (ideas please!) to get local media attention and get volunteers active in their communities.