COMMENT: The good thing about this being a local body election year is that at last we are starting to see a light shone on the arrogance, madness, and ideological dishonesty of Auckland Transport.
Auckland Transport must be the most hated of all organisations in the region.
They have earned their reputation by basically running roughshod over communities, councils, councillors, mayors - and anyone else who dared ask questions about just what it is they're up to in their seemingly systematic plan to wreck the country's biggest city.
From parking, or a lack of it, to pedestrian crossings by the thousands enraging locals, to closures of endless streets for months on end for seemingly pointless reshaping and realigning, to their obsession with buses and bike lanes - in my opinion they are dangerous, inept and out of control.
Every three years you see the odd councillor, this year led by current Mayor Phil Goff, who appears to have reached into his third drawer down and found his backbone. And they utter a few threats about reviews and holding people to account.
You know full well it'll come to nothing, which is, I suppose, why AT gets away with it.
If you don't care what people think, and you know your masters are gutless, then what's to stop you running rampant?
The latest scandal in a long line of confounding stupidity is the Herald on Sunday's revelation that AT have paid thousands of our dollars, ratepayers' dollars, to influencers who have then tweeted, or snapped, or Instagrammed their overwhelming joy and thrill at being on the buses.
When I use the word "influencers", AT tell us the amount per tweet depends on their level of fame. Having looked at the names, given the fame level is zero, or less than, the influencers should be paying them for the exposure. There's a former Bachelorette, a former reporter, a disc jockey, in other words, it's no one you've ever heard of.
Which makes it even more pathetic. It would be a scandal if it were Dan Carter or Matilda Rice - but the fact they're shelling out for try-hards is embarrassing.
And who I ask is going to hold these clowns to account? At what point does someone, somewhere in their council go, "do you know what? It stops now."
The obsession with buses, trains, and bike lanes is a well-publicised and abject failure. The bus lines are empty, often the buses in the lanes are empty as well. The drivers are on strike, the trains don't come, the buses don't come, services are cancelled with no warning, and the bike lanes are empty.
The numbers they use for bike usage are invented, gerrymandered and manipulated. The counter that counts you into town counts you out of town, and if you travel a decent distance it counts you twice. And as part of the fraud, there is now use of our money to pay nobodies to pretend it's a fun time on the 235 to Grey Lynn.
Here's my top tip: find the councillor or mayoral candidate that's going to stop this, and vote for them.