With advance voting now open, we’re delighted to launch VOTE BIKE 2017 – a one-stop shop to help you compare party and candidate policies around cycling.
Click the big pink button to get started!
Questions? Check out the FAQ – and see below for a quick overview of what we did, and why.
WHY VOTE BIKE?
Cycling policy probably isn’t the only thing on your mind this election. But, even as the major parties approach consensus on bike-friendly cities as a Good Thing, there are still big differences in how they plan to get there… and how fast. And those differences may affect your party vote, as well as your candidate vote.
So we approached the candidates in Auckland electorates – and the transport spokespeople for each party – and asked them to clarify where they stand.
WHAT WE ASKED
The Cycling Action Network (CAN) identified three top priorities for cycling this election:
- how to get more kids on bikes
- how to fund bike-friendly cities (renewing the Urban Cycleways Fund would be a start!)
- and whether it’s time for a new aspirational approach to road safety: Vision Zero.
We added a bonus local question, asking candidates about their favourite place to ride in Auckland, and the parties about how they’d like to see SkyPath completed.
COMPARING THE CANDIDATES
We’re grateful to everyone who answered our survey for taking the time to answer our questions. It’s been really illuminating, and often quite moving, to see how their policy positions emerge from personal experience. You can read their answers on the questions below by following the links to the electorate pages here.
Not everyone we contacted got back to us. Of the 100 or so people standing for election across Auckland, we got replies from about a third. It’s a busy time, and we know Ministers and party leaders and spokespeople are especially preoccupied.
If you’re especially eager to hear from a particular candidate, see the electorate pages for how you can invite their response. We’re happy to publish more answers as they come to hand.
Of the 32 who did reply, just on half were Labour candidates; the next most eager to answer were the Greens (7); followed by NZ First and The Opportunities Party (3) and ACT (2). And at the time of writing, we’d heard from one candidate each from United Future, Democrats for Social Credit, the Conservatives, and National. Interestingly, the National candidates who replied to us referred their answers to the Minister of Transport, Simon Bridges – with the exception of Jonathan Coleman, who took the time to meet us at his office.
For fun, we also invited a bunch of candidates from across the spectrum to come for a ride with us, so they could experience the power of Auckland’s new cycleways and the massive potential of e-bikes. Quite a few good sports took us up on it – you can find the photos on Facebook and Twitter (hashtag #VoteBike).
COMPARING THE PARTIES
As engaging as the candidates are, this is the big question. What will the balance of power after 23 September mean for everyday cycling? If the government stays the same, can we expect more of the same? If the government changes, can we expect… even more? Or less?
We heard back from seven parties. It’s encouraging to see that, on the whole, they’re converging towards consensus about the society-wide benefits of bike-friendly cities. But we know what’s needed in order to actually deliver on this enthusiasm…
Investment, investment, investment. The Urban Cycleways Programme, by matching local dollars two for one, has unlocked extraordinary growth across the country and real excitement about how bikeable our cities could be. And yet it’s barely scratched the surface of the suppressed demand.
We know for sure that swapping car trips for bike trips has a significant effect on climate change.
And we know that building bike infrastructure is, transport economics-wise, one of the biggest bangs-for-buck there is.
All over the world, people understand that investing in bike-friendly cities is a bargain – and an easy win on so many fronts. So which parties are truly ready to capitalise on this knowledge?