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Mike's Minute: Wayne Brown has the street-level politics right

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 Mar 2023, 9:37AM

Mike's Minute: Wayne Brown has the street-level politics right

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 Mar 2023, 9:37AM

Wayne Brown has read the room right on this one.

He now has Vector on board. They claim the road cone chaos costs them $30 million a year and, on top of that, their maintenance and restoration work is delayed and that affects everyone who wants to turn a light on.

The support will grow. These are the very issues that make-or-break political careers.

Too much of today's debate is about worthy and, ultimately, pointless exercises - far reaching never-never sort of discussions that, in theory, are interesting or important or transformational but will, in reality, go nowhere.

The current Government bailing on the clunker car scheme is your classic example. When it was launched it was saving the planet and the importance could not be more profound.

By the time it was dumped last week it was too complicated to put in place and really wouldn't have made much of a difference anyway.

Political discourse, locally and nationally, is filled with this sort of time-wasting nonsense.

In the meantime, on the ground, in the real world, all we want to do is get to work or to the mall or to school for the pick-up.

It is hard to truly explain what a mess Auckland is because of traffic management. It is an onerous, rage inducing mess that must cost the city hundreds of millions in lost productivity.

It is a classic example of an idea wildly out of control and the clever politician sees it and seizes on it.

What makes Wayne Brown electable is this basic sort of, dare I suggest, good old-fashioned representation.

While most councillors argue over their lunches or e-bikes or cycle lanes or public transport, Wayne sees cones. And we see cones.

We see a sea of cones and we hate them. Not because you don’t need cones but because the power has gone to their heads. Because the obsession around traffic has gotten out of control. Because Auckland has been ground to a halt because of them.

When you need a metre, they take ten. The closures, the detours, the hold ups, the aggro, the honking, the delays and the accidents.

And then there's the cost - the cost of the cones and the cost of not doing business.

This is street level politics, literally and figuratively.

The luvvies in the media that hate Brown will hate this, because he's onto it.

Second terms and popular support are built on this sort of bricks and mortar stuff. Make people's lives easier and you get their vote.

It's never been hard. It's just that most of them can't see it.

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