It was about five years ago. The Green Party was announcing a new electric vehicle policy. It planned to have Julie Anne Genter drive a Nissan Leaf around the forecourt of the Beehive to give the media some visuals.
The car was there. Genter was behind the wheel, when suddenly the building next to Bowen House caught fire. The entire media pack who had come to hear about the policy high-tailed it to cover the burning building, depriving the Greens of much-needed media coverage.
History, they say, rarely repeats itself, but its echoes never go away. And so it was yesterday. The Green Party announced a major transport policy, but the media was more captivated by a fire. This time it wasn't a building on fire, but rather the dumpster fire that is New Zealand First. The Green Party, though, is having a stormer of a home-straight to the election. Since the Green School debacle and subsequent damage control and apology from James Shaw, the party has hardly put a step wrong.
Instead of attacking its partner in Government like New Zealand First has done, it has championed itself as a reliable and solid support party. And despite a pandemic bringing the planet to its knees, climate change is still happening. While we may mentally be only able to cope with one existential crisis at a time, this sadly does not prevent other existentialist crises from continuing. The Green Party's transport announcement would be a huge step in the right direction for not just reducing emissions but also giving New Zealand a world-class transport system. There was something to make everyone excited. Intercity rail connections that travel at a decent clip, rapid transit in major cities, a massive network of cycle superhighways and a commitment to stop importing fossil-fuel driven vehicles when the UK stops.
It's a sad indictment on Labour that the Tories in the UK are more progressive on climate change than it is. It's lucky we still have the Greens.
Half an hour after the failed launch of its electric vehicle policy because of the building fire, then Newshub political editor Paddy Gower showed up in the Green Party offices with a camera. Was he there to talk about the policy? "No" he said. "There's a better view of the fire from here".
This time, it looks like despite the burning of New Zealand First, the Greens will have the last laugh. It will still be in Parliament after the election and its transport policies could very well become real world solutions.