It’s a tough life being Minister of Transport Simon Bridges. He had ambitious plans to promote electric cars in New Zealand that were shot down by his senior colleagues around the Cabinet table, leading to a lengthy hiatus. Now one of those senior Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, has launched an extraordinary attack on the consultative decision-making process that was set up with the support of Minister Bridges in the wake of the New Zealand Transport Agency’s failed Basin Reserve flyover plans.
Perhaps sensing that his sister-in-law Jo Coughlan’s candidacy for the Wellington Mayoral race needed a bit of a boost, Mr English attacked Wellington’s transport thinking for not being progressive enough.
Leaving aside the wonder that, in 2016, a supposedly mature politician could think that building flyovers in the centre of the nation’s capital city constituted a progressive transport option, Mr English’s remarks completely discounted the Let’s Get Welly Moving process which is due to continue until early 2017, and which is being run by the New Zealand Transport Agency, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wellington City Council.
Fortunately, while usual suspects such as the trucking lobby popped out of the woodwork to support Bill English, Save the Basin and, in today’s editorial, the Dominion Post called out the stupidity of Mr English’s comments.
Maybe Mr English should stick to doing his job, and leave the transport thinking to those who are actually putting some time and thought into the matter.