Long before I was in parliament, I held the view that the then Labour opposition understood very little about rural New Zealand. Now that I am in parliament and they are in power, I am even more so of that view.
I have come to that conclusion because Labour and its coalition partners have failed to provide any reasoning, let alone justification, for a series of actions that show a singular lack of understanding of the damage they are causing in the regions.
Take transport. Labour has — taken it and us for a ride that is.
Their treatment of the transport portfolio is nothing short of inept, and we in the regions: in Northland, in Kaipara, are feeling it. Because of this government’s actions, it is now costing us $25 more every time we fill up a tank — and that’s on petrol taxes alone.
That is not the worst of it. The worst of it is that we are not getting anything back for it. The government has cut $5 billion from regional roads, and the recently announced decision by the NZ Transport Agency, responding by their own admission to ‘government policy’, to cancel the dual carriageway once planned for Warkworth to Whangarei is reprehensible, bordering on the ridiculous.
Doesn’t the government understand how important that road is to we in the north? It’s called a Road of National Significance (RONS) for a reason, for goodness sake.
Fact is, I fail to understand something, too. I fail to understand how THEY fail to understand lifting fuel prices and cancelling vitally-needed roading improvements to fund a tramway in Auckland is doing anything for Northland.
It’ll be a long road back from this mess.