Has the Key government created a monster?
Mayor Len Brown has used his inaugural speech today to push the barrow of public rail transport for Auckland. Naturally, there are shades here of Dove Meyer-Robinson, the mayor who pushed the same idea 40 years ago and got no backing from central government. After all, the city that Dovie was mayor of was a much smaller beast than the new one. Nevertheless, Auckland would be a better and more productive city today if central government had come to the party way back then.
Today, the Key government hope to pour cold water on this good idea again. Only this time the new mayor of Auckland has the whole of Greater Auckland behind him. Key and co. can go on spending their money on expensive and unsustainable motorways, but the huge political voice for rail will not go away.
They thought that the Super City would make decision-making in Auckland easier, but then they were hoping that John Banks would be mayor! Now instead there's at least one big political wrangle brewing, and it won't go away. The longer Key lets this boil fester, the more votes he loses in Auckland. The more he spends in Auckland, the more votes he loses elsewhere in the country due to anti-Auckland resentment. I guess the Super City just declared itself!