September 2017: Politics, politics

The easy commute of the last school holidays – Pukekohe to Botany – seems a million years ago. We are now back to the morning crawl, always worse than our return trip home in the evening.

Helen Perry, Editor

I’ve even left an hour later but that was worse. If congestion charging is introduced I wonder what the time-frame will be – 6am-10.30am and then again from 3pm to 7pm?

What the heck, the Southern Motorway is nearly always congested so maybe they should just toll it!

Traffic aside, I’m now looking forward to taking my eight-year-old grandson to Matilda, The Musical. In fact, this is destined to be a busy theatre month as I’m also off to see Roger Hall’s, Last Legs at the ASB Waterfront Theatre; it’s sure to generate lots of laughs.

However, I didn’t laugh when I read (as we were going to print) that since her resignation as Green Party co-leader, Metiria Turei has had more nominations than anyone else for New Zealander of the Year. My goodness, what does that say about Kiwi values?

Here we have someone who aspired to lead the country admitting first, to benefit fraud and then to electoral fraud! Ms Turei broke the law, admitted to knowing about similar acts of benefit fraud and only reluctantly resigned as her party’s co-leader.

She showed no remorse and her confession seemed to be about gaining political advantage which worked for a time and now seems to be attracting added admiration. I have to ask all those people who think she’s New Zealander of the Year material if that’s the kind of standards they expect of all future leaders of our country?

I recognise her behaviour has highlighted a huge underlying problem that obviously needs addressing but that doesn’t justify it. She may have wanted a better life for her children but I ask, what lesson has she ultimately taught them?

And what lesson are those who condone, even applaud, her actions, teaching young people – that we hold in esteem cheats and liars?

I believe Ms Turei needs to be taken to task just like any other law-breaking citizen. And, surely, Kiwis must recognise there are such a lot of wonderful people who deserve the title of New Zealander of the Year ahead of Ms Turei.

As the election looms, I hope readers are taking time to look at promises being fired our way. On listening to National and Labour’s transport proposals, I see merit in both.

However, I hear Chamber of Commerce head, Michael Barnett is alarmed at Labour’s proposal to scale back the East West Link.

He says before the opening of the Waterview Tunnel, NZTA traffic counts indicated some 11,500 vehicles a day came off the Western Ring Route at Onehunga. This could increase to about 14,000.

If the East West Link is abandoned he believes this traffic will be forced to go through the Onehunga retail area adding to heavy congestion on Neilson and Church streets.

“Currently 6000 trucks a day use Neilson St, many to access the Southdown Rail Freight terminal,” Mr Barnett says. “With Labour and National both confirming a third rail line between Wiri and Westfield, a substantial increase in road and rail freight access to the rail terminal is projected. The East West Link will be even more critical to the efficient access of trucks to the rail head.”

Because I believe canning the East West link will further add to our congestion woes, I’m listening to all arguments. I hope you are too.