User pays privatisation vs common good – time to rethink our philosophy on roads?

When these two are the answer the question is, "who can make the current situation far, far, far worse"

This mutation of a road policy that National have trotted out slashes public transport infrastructure and is a naked attempt to push poor people off the roads!

This is user pays privatisation of our Roads, exactly as TDB warned you!

Bernard Hickey is scathing…

Simeon Brown’s road-taxing bait-and-switch
Govt unveils unmentioned $50m rego fee hike & fuel tax hike from 2027 to raise $650m and help build 15 new motorways; Funding for cycling, biking & walking slashed; Climate impact unmentioned

…he’s right!

Simeon only mentions Climate Change twice throughout  his 43 page ‘plan’.

NZ is one of the few countries that sold our public transport systems and the nonsense underfunding of our public transport system sees entire rail closures because it’s too hot…

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Thousands affected as dozens of Auckland trains cancelled due to hot weather

…this heat that shuts down underfunded Rail networks is also eroding the ground with huge rainfall…

Discovery of 3m cavity closes part of state highway in Tauranga

Barely a year after the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle, we are seeing what catastrophic climate change looks like in real time as roads develop mass erosion caused by extreme rain dumps caused by climate change.

We don’t have the adaptation capacity because we refuse to tax the polluters more.

You appreciate things are only going to get worse from here on in right?

Despite the climate denial from the Right in NZ, it is real and it is here now.

The $14billion dollar damage of Cyclone Gabrielle and our inability to rebuild highlights how little resilience we have in our underfunded system…

National’s response to all these threats to our roading infrastructure is user pays.

When the Boomer King Wayne Brown is struck dumb by the Government destroying the hopes of public transport infrastructure in our groaning gridlocked city, you know shit just got real.

I kept asking questions to candidates about roading privatisation during the election debate series because the obviousness of where National’s roading platform led to seemed an important issue, but it never caught a wider focus.

Now we not only get the privatisation, but we get the pain of user pays inequality.

It’s all stick, no carrot.

What the petrol tax did was generate revenue from as wide a group as possible to fund infrastructure, National have dumped that in favour of privatisation of roads with tolling and congestion taxes that will burn the poor with no expansion in public transport infrastructure to provide alternatives.

Remember our subsidisation of public transport was supposed to be an emission reducing tactic as well, so by dumping them will not only make gridlock more likely, it will produce more emissions that are feeding the climate change extremes we are watching burn our country this Summer.

So we open the taps on immigration (250 000 in a year) and rather than build the infrastructure for that level of migration, we simply impose user pays as the solution???

Whatever decision is cooked up will be for the benefit of a Right wing donor somewhere.

We are in the age of consequences now and we will choke on our denial.

Look at these numbers…

…road crashes were 4% of GDP!!!!

Our roads should not be privatised and they should not by made user pays. Roads should be seen as a common good with huge state investment focused on climate change adaptation, better engineered for safety and vast upgrades for public transport.

Nothing National have planned here will solve anything in the short term, medium term or long term.

This is simply about pushing poor people off roads and hoping no one notices.




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  1. I have to argue with RWNJ’s who insist that “users” should pay for roads while saying that those who do the most damage – i.e. truck drivers – should not have to pay any more because reasons. I tried to explain that we all need roads not just those who use them directly, but those who get their groceries, which are delivered to the supermarkets by road, those who need an ambulance, because helicopters are expensive – and so on. It’s like water off a fucking ducks back.

  2. They noticed the potholes but not the record rainfall that played a major part in causing them, most of the media are just as ignorant. We are in for a very rough ride is all I can say yet the usual village idiots will claim that things are getting better.

    • By village idiots you refer to Bob the first and Im right( if ever there’s an oxymoron it’s that name).

      • Ba ha! Tiny little flies are thus eternally tiny little flies. They must buzz around the light the Universe provides. To keep things in balance I suppose. ( Jesus! There’s a wine that’s 14% did you know that? )

  3. I think my mouse is already AI tainted. As I move it around on the image it has one finger pointing straight up at the blokes, but seems unable to make up its mind as to “who can make the current situation far, far, far worse”. I’ll let the machine mind decide; it takes one to know one sort of thing.

  4. I can see National are concerned about our narrow areas of commerce. One is housing, one is dairying, and one could be roads now. How wise. Food was the third listing but better to put roads in and drive the costs up there. Make what passes for public transport pay properly. And crime will probably go down as the perps at present centre on cars, pinching them, burning them etc looking for some way to get a bit of excitement into their horrid lives.

  5. Northern, old school NAT, all the pot hole fill, keeps, popping up. He, mister pot hole, learned how to tye, a Winston. This farming friend , says all the potholes fixed, keep popping up. Minister, child how skilled those working, or how cost effective the materials.

  6. Can I just say; that’s a fantastic photograph above. The only thing that disturbs me is that those two are on far more money that me.

  7. This is going to bite National.

    The cost of living is of widespread voter concern.

    User pay charges are not progressive (as in they don’t take into account what people earn) whereas, income tax does. Therefore, income tax is a far more fairer (re cost of living burden) and more cost effective way to pay for roading.

    When voters start to feel the fiscal burden of theses user pays charges, they will blame the Government.

    Sadly, and once again the opposition are offering little difference. As Hipkins told RNZ. “Fundamentally what it will mean is households are still going to pay, they’re just going to pay in bigger lumps.”

    No talk from them (Labour or the Greens) of covering roading cost via the fairer and more cost effective income tax scheme. What happen to the left being supporters of progressive taxes?

    • ‘What happen to the left being supporters of progressive taxes?’

      Roger Douglas/Richard Prebble/etc/

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