I almost bought a house in Pukekohe the other day.
It's a fair way out of town, for someone who works in the city. But the drive is worth it, I told myself. We'd be so much closer to people who matter to us. My friends and virtually all of my family still live in the town I grew up in.
In the end, the deal on the house didn't come off. We found out on Monday. I wasn't disappointed. I was relieved.
Traffic. That was, in the end, the thing that made me fall out of love with the idea of living in Pukekohe again.
In the excitement of moving back, I'd told myself the commute wouldn't be that bad. I don't work standard office hours. I'd miss the rush hour either side of the day.
It's 35 minutes door to door on a good day.
But how much longer will we have good days? I've been driving from Pukekohe to the city for 20 years and it's noticeable how much worse the traffic has got in that time. Fifteen years ago you'd get to Papakura before striking the red tail lights. Now, you can barely get off the Drury onramp.
So how much longer before rush hour is an all-day problem?
The trains aren't a realistic option yet. Thirty-five minutes by road compared to 70 minutes by train isn't a choice I'd even entertain until electrification right through to Pukekohe.
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So, instead, I'm staying in the house we already own, which is walking distance to work.
I'm telling you this because it's possible to forget that there are people sitting behind the wheels of their cars every day. Sometimes, in our debates about the merits of public transport over new roads, over whether we should or shouldn't upgrade 12 highways, we forget there are New Zealanders just trying to get into town for work. And some of them can only afford to live in Pukekohe. They don't have the luxury of binning that idea and staying put in Ponsonby.
It's very easy for electric bikers who cycle in from Grey Lynn to praise spending $6 billion on trams when there is no such thing as a daily traffic jam for them.
That's why so many people reacted so badly to the Transport Minister this week. When Phil Twyford out-of-hand dismissed the advice to resurrect 12 crucial highways , the texts and emails flooded in to me on the radio. Business lobbyists and roading advocates asked for a chance to respond. All wanted to make a case for why we need those roads.
We are at an infrastructure crisis point. This is the warning from the Prime Minister's own Business Advisory Council. They're the ones calling for the building of those 12 highways. The East-West Link in Auckland, the Melling Interchange in Wellington, the highway south of Whāngārei, roads badly needed up and down the country.
It's not just because traffic is steadily increasing. It's not just because vehicle kilometres traveled is set to climb from around 46 billion to 53 billion in less than a decade.
It's also because of safety. Of the road upgrades put on ice, the AA reckons three are some the highest-risk highways in the country.
Refusing to build these roads is an election loser. It might not lose the entire country, but it can lose electorates for sure. Labour's dying to steal Hutt South from National's Chris Bishop. Good luck to them given how angry Hutt South voters are about the Melling Interchange being put on ice.
In the end, the Government will probably be forced to resurrect some of these roads. If only to win or retain key electorates.
The pity is waiting until the election, means yet another delay for people already trapped in traffic.