A stupid policy from a stupid, stupid man

Paul Henry comments on Labour’s new transport policy?

Add to that Labour also released their keep cyclists safe policy yesterday…hmmm…quite how moving trucks to the left closer to cyclists is going to aid that policy is beyond me.

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And then there is the issue with the Auckland Harbour Bridge issue, where trucks are forbidden to use the outside lanes due to cracks on the clip ons. Sw now, under Labour’s policy the trucks will all have to travel in the left hand lanes and then transition to the inside lanes somewhere in the vicinity of spaghetti junction so they comply with NZTA requirements for trucks to travel up the centre lanes of the bridge.

No wonder editorial writers are lambasting Labour and David Cunliffe for yet another policy bomb.

Whatever one’s political affiliations or ideological outlook, every New Zealander who cares about this country’s future would agree that a robust political opposition is key to a healthy battle of ideas.

At the moment, though, the main opposition party is failing to put up a fight, and the public discourse is the poorer for it. There’s a long way to go until election day, but Labour needs to start throwing some punches soon.

Yesterday’s announcement by party leader David Cunliffe that a Labour government would ban trucks from the fast lanes on motorways and cut fees for light trailers and caravans wasn’t simply underwhelming, it seemed almost comically lightweight.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee seemed genuinely bemused at the policy announcement, saying: “Someone’s having us on. It can’t be real. It cannot be their transport policy.”

It was left for Labour deputy leader David Parker to assert, somewhat meekly, that “little things were important too”.

Yesterday’s announcement came just a couple of days after Cunliffe announced Labour would spend $20 million over 10 years to fight the spread of Kauri dieback disease.

While few Kiwis would oppose protecting one of the nation’s iconic trees from a deadly disease, and presumably trucks driving in the fast lane in Auckland are the root of all traffic frustration, Labour seems to be lacking a broad vision for what kind of government it would lead. Or at least, if it has formulated that vision, it is having difficulty communicating it to the public.

While the policies announced in the past few days seem to have merit, does Cunliffe really think this election will swing on the plight of Kauri trees and trucks in the fast lane?

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