From CAN Chair, Alex Dyer
It is amazing to me that we have a situation in politics where some parties - who like to promote values of individual responsibility, personal freedom, local decision making, market-based economics, trading schemes, and other hands-off, government-lite strategies - are also suggesting the nation needs to defend against an ‘anti-car ideology’.
This frames cars as some kind of universally desired, intrinsically essential component of every New Zealander’s life. An item that needs to be heavily subsidised by our collective behaviour, investments, and policies. As if cars for all is some sort of public good that everyone has already fully embraced and *must* aspire to.
You can choose any way to get around, as long as it has four wheels, enclosed multiple seats, air conditioning, is over 1 tonne heavy, has a powerful engine, and travels as fast as possible.
You can independently participate in society only if you are old enough to drive, and not too old, and not otherwise incapable. You must work more to subsidise the transport system by purchasing and maintaining your own vehicle and contribute to fixing the scourge of the potholes.
You must enjoy travelling long distances frequently - even for some of your everyday social and material needs. You must submit to storing your car, and be okay with finding places you can pay for the privilege if you go out. You must not question that public space should be less safe and less healthy for others as we strive for higher speeds and more cars.
You must conform to car dependency. Otherwise you’re the one pushing the ideology. Together we drive!
Unconstrained car dependency was a fantastical, failed vision from the last millennium. We need leaders who can put forward better, credible visions for the future of our cities and transport connectivity. Especially as we face an uncertain future in a climate already compromised by our over-extended car dependency.
The future can be healthy. The future can be regenerative. The future can be responsible. The future can be inclusive and connected.
The future is rail. The future is walking. The future is cities for people. The future is nature-based.
The future is bikes.