One of the interesting things about running for council is how you position yourself, and where other people see you. In general I was seen as being furthest left, with Lester centre left and Foster and other candidates centre right.
I didn’t complain about this positioning, but it was sort of off. I campaigned on selling the council’s airport stake. On deregulating planning rules which stop intensification of housing. On deregulating parking rules. I wanted user pays for the council’s biggest asset. I wanted a change to our rating system to one the Productivity Commission continually recommends. I was against old school Muldoonist style ratepayer funded vanity projects. Hell I even campaigned on changing some poorly used Town Belt land to some private (and some social) housing.
At the same time I wanted more social homes, a sinking lid on pokies and more cycleways and light rail. I didn’t actively campaign on any social justice type issues, but my positions are progressive. That would extend to things like street names and crossings.
The correct definition for my positions would be radical. My personal opinion is that many things in both Wellington and New Zealand are broken. I don’t particularly care where ideas come from, I want them to at least try to solve problems. My housing package said “we have to invest in social housing, and deregulate to allow for more homes in our existing suburbs. I’d love to be ideological about this and tell you only one of these things is needed, but we are beyond that now.” That approach is an exemplar of where I stand on many things.
While I think radical would be a better distinction, I do get why I was put on the left. Urban right wing politics is conservative, any market ideas are shelved. User pays are out for the largest council asset. The invisible hand of the market is absolutely nowhere to be seen in planning rules. ACT exemplify this, silent about the ludicrous thicket of planning rules in for instance Epsom. Markets are for other people, not those in the double grammar zone.
The NZ right think a city should mostly allow for one kind of home and one kind of transport. With a few exceptions, most people who identify as right generally want to restrict choice for people who live in cities and maintain the status quo. As in all of New Zealand political history, the right wing is unlikely to bring about any needed change. Anybody pushing change, and a challenge to this orthodoxy is then seen as Left.
It’s a shame. Nation-wide, I’d love to see more right wing politicians pushing for congestion charging, and up zoning. We’ll see.