Memo to Phil Twyford – you don’t speak on behalf of ‘New Zealanders’

Ex National MP Wayne Mapp via Twitter: Ardern and Twyford are betting their futures on voters backing their zealotry

In reality the government has largely continued the broad economic settings of the Key/English government. The CPTPP was signed, and in a pretty much unchanged form to the TPP. Basic tax rates are unchanged, and as a consequence so is the overall level of government.

But the government is Labour led, and the prime minister is youth adjacent. She is closely identified with younger urban professionals living in inner city suburbs. For her, climate change is her generation’s anti-nuclear moment. This must signify some sort of fundamental change, not just in the language of virtue signaling that is so familiar to the left, but also in actual policy.

The first real indications of these changes have been in the recently announced transport policy and in the Kiwibuild project on the 29 hectares of land where 4,000 dwellings are proposed, presumably mostly apartments. In these announcements the government, particularly Phil Twyford who is the key minister for both, has spent a great deal of political capital in telling New Zealanders what is good for them. In both cases the prime minister led the announcements, so these are things dear to her heart. She intends that her government will be identified by them, and that it is a government with very different priorities to National.

The Spinoff has had articles praising both, by Matt Lowrie of Greater Auckland on the transport plan, and urban designer Matthew Prasad, one of the advisers to Unitec to transfer its land for intensive development. Both of them are within the core cohort of Ardern’s support base. Naturally they like what they see. In fact they have each had a hand in the basic philosophy of the proposals. Both initiatives represent their vision of what New Zealand should be like, rather than what it is.

But neither of the proposals have much appeal to typical National party supporters, who, after all, are nearly half of the population.

Phil Twyford has responded (via The Spinoff): Memo to Wayne Mapp: New Zealanders want more rapid transit, fewer new roads

In one of the more baffling attacks on KiwiBuild, former National MP Wayne Mapp this week claimed the government is “telling people how they should live” by building affordable houses and bringing our transport system into the 21st Century.

In his column for The Spinoff, he also attacked the Labour-led government for being part of a new “internationalist urban elite”.

These criticisms say more about Dr Mapp’s antiquated thinking than they do about the government’s plans.

I’m not sure how building affordable homes in Mt Albert for desperate first homebuyers is telling people how they should live.

I’m also not sure how wanting to ease Auckland’s congestion makes the government part of an internationalist urban elite.

We’ve listened to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch who have all asked us to support rapid transit (rail, light rail and busways) in our cities, rather than building more, or wider, motorways. It is part of our commitment to build liveable cities.

Of course people in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch would like better public transport options via rail or bus. And better cycling and walking options.

But I’m fairly sure quite a few of them don’t want that at the expense of motorways and roads.

Same for many people who don’t live in or near one of the three main cities – over half of New Zealanders would no doubt like better public transport, but won’t get it, so will still quite like to be catered for be new roads.

Young people today no longer believe they have to own a car.

Another sweeping unsubstantiated statement. I’m fairly sure some young people want to own cars, I see young people driving cars all the time.

Twyford would argue his transport policy case better if he didn’t resort to claims that are obviously inaccurate.

Leave a comment


  1. Blazer

     /  12th April 2018

    ‘Young people today no longer believe they have to own a car.’…he just missed out…some.

    • That’s a fairly significant omission that would markedly change the statement.

    • Gezza

       /  12th April 2018

      I think from watching Twyford quite a bit in The House now it’s a fairly safe bet he’s essentially an idiot. But he has an important portfolio and my hope is that somehow someone somewhere will actually be able to drive through some measures which do actually improve the housing situation that’s basically a disgrace after the Clark & Key years.

      • Blazer

         /  12th April 2018

        Beg to differ.Has a mammoth task,and looks determined and…dedicated.

        • Gezza

           /  12th April 2018

          Beg to differ.

          Well, yes. You would of course. I agree that he has a mammoth task and looks determined, but if you’ve ever watched idiots really going at something they always have a very determined look. So I don’t judge by how determined looking they. I judge by results and overall outcomes and how well planned the project – which includes identifying and mitigating risks to its success.

          • Gezza

             /  12th April 2018

            *So I don’t judge by how determined looking they ARE.

            • Blazer

               /  12th April 2018

              I see…as you say, you judge by results…I understand your disappointment.Twyford has been in the seat for around 5 months now and has not …solved the housing crisis.

            • Gezza

               /  12th April 2018

              Well, no. I am not expecting him to solve the housing problem in 5 months. He has until election time 2020 and Robertson hasn’t produced a budget yet. Solving the housing problem is going to require dealing with multiple inputs including the RMA, land supply, affordability, skills supply – so all of these things need to be fully addressed. I see the two things as separate in a way
              1. Phil I think is a bit of an idiot
              2. Labour hasn’t promised to fix the housing crisis – in fact. Unlike JAG they haven’t set themselves up to look stupid. The have promised to improve the housing situation – but it appears very much open to debate whether what Phil has come out with so far will actually achieve that goal.

              Idiots can still get things right at times, however, & it’s that objective I’m focused on.

  2. Griff

     /  12th April 2018

    Would every one like better public transport?
    The answer is always yes
    Would they use it ?
    I have to pick up the kids.drop in on granny. go to the shops etc etc etc.
    No they don’t
    You then end up with a massively supersized white elephant.
    This has happened repeatedly all around the world.
    It will be no different here.

    Electric autonomous cars are coming.
    Very soon .
    Much sooner than most think.
    That is the future.
    They don’t need rails to run they need roads .

  3. We have the population of a large overseas city spread throughout the country.
    There is no way we can support a public transport NZ wide system that caters to work transport needs in every center.
    The car or its equivalent is part of our civilisation

    • duperez

       /  12th April 2018

      The car or its equivalent is definitely part of our civilisation. I’m trying to find references to this government indicating that it wants to get rid of all cars. It’s easier to find references from notable commentator Mike Hosking indicating that we should get rid of public transport and bikes.

      • Gezza

         /  12th April 2018

        And it’s not hard to find commenters indicating they should get rid of Mike Hosking either 😀

  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  12th April 2018

    The most sensible article I’ve seen in the Herald for some time. Of course it was not written by a journalist. Make a bus-way from Auckland airport to Puhinui station, save $2B, double the frequency, triple the capacity and serve twice as many potential passengers.

    • Griff

       /  12th April 2018

      Also a bus lane could be shared with autonomous cars separating them from the random nature of human drivers allowing their adoption sooner.
      The infrastructure is already in place so you only need to pay for a short link.
      I prefer the option of doing the same into onehunga and building the proposed east west link.
      That would allow passengers to enter the Auckland road and rail and a potential manukau ferry system at a more centralized location and have more flexible options from there.
      Onehunga port could be turned into a large park and ride facility now it is mostly redundant since the cement carrier left.


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