The GWRC continually voted against increasing the real level of subsidy for train fares. Buses, now the responsibility of Wilde ally and one of the four ex-MPs on the GRWC, Paul Swain, continue to be an issue. With Wellington’s buses losing money, the GWRC recently united Left and Right by deciding to increase fares. They only backed down after considerable public reaction.
Instead, from Wilde and most of her colleagues we got an unconvincing pro-flyover, pro-motorway argument for regional development, supported by few but NZTA and big business. This was interesting stuff from a politician who, in her maiden parliamentary speech, talked of ‘greedy multinationals’ with which National governments were keen to ‘cuddle down.’
To be a good local body politician you must firstly be energetic, assertive and good at putting together deals to get things done. Secondly, you must make sure you don’t alienate colleagues and voters, and come across as too authoritarian.
Wilde was really good on the first count. There would be no Cake Tin were it not for her vision and hard work. But she was not as strong on the second. Many colleagues, employees and journalists will recall giving Wilde a thoroughly good listening to.
Now the GWRC has a largely unknown acting chairperson in Barbara Donaldson.
But councillors are kidding themselves if they think that the public perception of the GWRC will change simply because they rolled their chairwoman.
I suspect that the opinion of the GWRC in the eyes of the public will remain low. Though Wellingtonians are overwhelmingly against Auckland-style amalgamation, most of us accept that more cooperation between local bodies, especially on transport, is needed.
Public perception of the GWRC is that it is a largely unaccountable and ineffectual body of retired MPs and mayors, lacking original ideas.
A quick look at the GWRC’s website will show there are many small, positive, well-intentioned initiatives going on, of which the recent offer of discounts on bike lights is a good example. Read more »