Substance over spin: Eastern Busway back on track

The Government has decided to bring forward construction of the Eastern Busway project. Times photo Wayne Martin
  • By Naisi Chen, Labour List MP based in Botany

On Saturday, the Government announced it would redistribute money from the Northern Pathway towards the Eastern Busway.

This is a huge win for our community after Auckland Transport delayed the project earlier this year. However, it’s also an example of how MP’s can help (or hinder) their community.

While others opted for politicking and spin, trying to blame the Government for an Auckland Transport decision it had no control over.

While that was happening, there was other work going on behind the scene. Often the most effective advocacy is quiet work that happens in the corridors of Parliament rather than through press releases.

In my discussions with Transport Minister Michael Wood, I highlighted how crucial this project is to our community.

It can take hours for us to get to work, school or university each day because of the historic under-investment in our community. We are heavily reliant on our cars because of lacklustre public transport.

The Eastern Busway changes that. It’ll not only reduce congestion on some of the busiest roads in east Auckland, but also limits our emissions and help fight climate change.

By offering constructive suggestions and working with officials, we’ve been able to get this project back on track in spite of the background noise.

The Eastern Busway is not the only area where the Government is making substantial progress. By the time of publishing, we’ll have had an announcement about Auckland’s alert level settings for the next few weeks.

I understand the frustration we are feeling about the restrictions, but we’ve stamped out Covid before and, by sticking to the rules, we can do it again.

Helping that effort, more than 5 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have now been given, and 83 per cent of Aucklanders have had one or both shots.

But at this point in the vaccine rollout, there’s one important thing I want to add. Even if you’re already vaccinated, you still have a role to play. Talk to your friends and family who are still on the fence and encourage them to get vaccinated.

Answer their questions, talk about your own experience getting vaccinated and help them find more information or assist them with booking.

Some will label it spin, but it’s actually pretty simple. Getting vaccinated saves lives.