The Govt’s assault on regional NZ

writes:

People in the regions aren’t stupid. …

Which makes the past week’s Government assault on regional and rural New Zealand all the more baffling.

The details of the assault being:

The Government has unveiled a major shift in transport policy, which will hit every New Zealander in the pocket in some respect

And have people in Hamilton and New Plymouth and Tauranga paying more for their petrol in return for less spending on roads, all so Auckland gets light rail.

and also announced its wind-down of Government funded irrigation schemes.

But hey Taranaki gets some money for a church!

I learned to drive in the back blocks of Pongaroa.

No one really needs to know where that is (it’s in the Tararua district) to imagine how bad the roads are. After every significant rain event, a new part of the road along Route 52 is strewn with rocks and boulders. Or quite literally, half the unmarked road gets washed down a cliff to later have some road cones placed around it.  …

Route 52 and thousands of other similar veins throughout the country are now even less likely to see any improvement, yet regional drivers will be made acutely aware of Auckland’s flashy new light rail system that they’re paying for at the pump. 

They’ve taken $5 billion out of the roading budget and are making provincial motorists pay more!

The hit to regional New Zealand won’t be easily forgotten – not even when Shane Jones rolls in to town to soothe its residents like some sort of Travelling Wilbury to say it’s all right by splashing some of his $1 billion fund on a few hand-picked projects. 

The Government seems set to learn the hard way just how fast the public banks a win and how long it holds a grudge. 

Most in the provinces don’t want handouts. They want a fair go.

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