Eric Thompson: Hop aboard the liberty express

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Germany's Green Party has acknowledged that any attempt to limit individual mobility simply backfires. Photo / Supplied
Germany's Green Party has acknowledged that any attempt to limit individual mobility simply backfires. Photo / Supplied

It would appear my comments last week about ditching the idea for Auckland's light rail system and investing in more roads struck a bit of a chord, judging by the number of replies.

In fact, the Green Party should be thanking me as a number of folk who took the time to post a comment (and I do appreciate all those who make the effort, both positive and negative) changed their vote to Green.

I don't know how many times I have to say it, the Greens and their supporters have to stop comparing New Zealand to the rest of the world.

We do not have the population, or a city large enough, to sustain or warrant transport systems that appear in Europe, the States or even Australia.

Those that bang on about what other countries have need to go back to school and re-learn maths. Most cities have more people than we have in the whole country.

We may not be stuck in the 1970s any more but we're still living in the past. The German Greens, who are about the only party of their kind you'd want running a country, as far back as 2000 realised the car and roads are a must.

An article in the Financial Times that year reported: "After years battling against motorways, petrol-guzzling motorists and anything that slows up a bicycle, Germany's environmentalist Green Party has taken a step towards ending its rage against cars.

"A strategy paper by senior figures in the party, junior member of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's coalition, has acknowledged that any attempt to limit individual mobility simply backfires. Cars may even be a good thing, 'synonymous for many with the freedom to decide, at any time, where to go'."

A strategy paper then also mentioned: "For women, the car means security on the streets at night and the possibility of combining family and career. For the old and handicapped, it is a synonym for independent movement."

I doubt that any Green social engineers have ever caught a ride on a late-night train or bus packed full of tanked party animals.

I know the leader of the great city state Auckland, Len Brown, has mentioned he's keen on the rail loop but I think he saw the light during the Rugby World Cup.

He realised rail isn't the way to go and had himself chauffeur-driven to the opening RWC match.

As I mentioned earlier, if career politicians alienate car drivers and use them as a cash cow, they'll soon be looking for a job change. More and more countries are realising having a rabid stance against cars and more roads will cost votes, especially with young voters.

I don't know about the rest of you but I definitely do not want to head back to the horse and cart. Other than the Gutenberg press and movable type, the invention of the internal combustion engine was the next best thing to happen to humanity, allowing the vast majority to move about freely and not have to rely on beasts to get from A to B.

With so much social engineering, health and safety legislation, law-making and politically correct nonsense being rail-roaded through various parliaments around the world, the car is one of the last bastions of freedom.

Public transport is not efficient and never has been.

Long live the car; it's the best thing we've got. Instead of chucking lord knows how many more billions at rail - yet again - invest in making the internal combustion engine even more efficient and even cleaner burning.

- NZ Herald

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