Vote Bike 2017 FAQ
How and why we did this project
Q. Who is the Vote Bike 2017 project by?
Bike Auckland, the non profit working for a better city on bikes, has put together this project to assess the bike-friendly policies of parties and candidates in the run-up to the 2017 New Zealand General Election.
In particular, we acknowledge the hard work of our excellent volunteer campaign manager James Shand, and our design wizard Carol Green.
Q. Who is it for?
It’s for voters – especially (but not exclusively) Auckland voters. We wanted to gather as much information as possible about where the parties and candidates stand on issues around making our streets and cities friendlier for everyday cycling.
Secondly, it’s also a way for candidates and parties to be able to directly reach voters who are interested in cycling-related policy.
And it’s also for posterity: a big part of our work as advocates is about making space for these conversations to happen, and recording the result. That way, we can look back and trace our progress towards universal support for a vision of Auckland as a place where anyone who wants to can hop on a bike.
Q. Why did you ask these particular questions?
Good question! Our first three questions are based on the top three priorities for the 2017 election as identified by the Cycling Action Network. CAN is the national network for cycling advocacy groups across the country, and we love their work as a centralized repository of wisdom.
We felt the three questions identified crucial issues that need targeted action in the coming years.
- More kids on bikes
- More funding for cycleways, and
- A new approach to road safety.
For the candidate survey, we added a personal question about where they like to ride in Auckland – a chance to see them as people and not simply representatives.
And for the party policy survey, we added a question about getting SkyPath built, because it’s top of the list of things Aucklanders on bikes want to know about!
Q. How did you ask the questions?
We wrote to as many candidates as we could find contact details for, in all Auckland electorates (including the Maori electorates that encompass Auckland). We also contacted the transport spokespeople for all parties. And in some cases, we met personally with candidates to ask the questions.
Q. Did everyone answer?
We are very grateful to everyone who took the time to respond, at a very busy time… but there are inevitably some gaps in the data. Not every candidate responded, and not every party has a cycling policy.
We are happy to add late responses, and we welcome your help in reaching out to anyone else you’d like to hear from – see the easy links on each electorate page to contact any candidates who haven’t replied yet.
Q. Um… you’ve missed a candidate in my electorate!
That might just be because we couldn’t find their contact details – or because we’re human, and missed a trick. Help us out by letting us know the candidate’s name, electorate, and (ideally) contact details, and we’ll do our best to plug the gap.
Q. Okay, how do I use the information you’ve gathered?
If you’re an Auckland voter: check out the responses from candidates in your electorate to get a sense of where they stand and who might best represent you and your local interests. Curious types are welcome to browse through all the electorates. From our perspective, it’s been fascinating to see where people stand on different topics, and the experiences and understanding that have brought them to this point.
For voters across New Zealand: the party policy answers should help give you an idea of how your party vote will affect cycling investment and policy over the next three years.
Note: We haven’t made scorecards, or ranked the candidates or parties against each other – but we have given an editorial overview of how the policy packages compare. We know your vote may not hinge entirely on cycling policy, as there are many important things at stake this election. But if our info-gathering helps you think about the overall value and direction of your vote, we’ve done our job.
Q. So who shall I vote for?
Ah, good try! We can’t tell you that – although we do have an editorial overview of how the policies stack up, over here.
Here’s the thing: compared to previous elections, investing in bike-friendly cities is becoming a universal bottom line, and most major parties now have a well-thought out policy on everyday cycling for transport.
This is excellent progress for many reasons. For one, New Zealand’s MMP format (at its best) encourages collaboration on the issues that matter. And for another: freeing up our streets and empowering our people for more everyday biking is a ‘magic bullet’ for many of the other problems we need to tackle, especially around transport, public health, children’s wellbeing, income inequality, the climate change challenge, and the longterm vitality of our communities.
That’s why we’re heartened to see most political parties converging on a strong, bike-friendly vision for our country’s future. The question is no longer ‘whether’ – but how, and how fast.
So, take your time to read the answers … then cast your vote for whoever you think will get us there soonest.
Q. Ko te Wiki o te Reo Maori… kei hea nga potae, whanau?
Ae, he mea whakama. We’re launching this in Maori Language Week – and yet, due to an ongoing WordPress quirk with font display, vowels with macrons just show up as question marks, despite our best efforts. Our technical team is working to find a solution, as this is important to us (every week, not just this week).
Q. I have another question altogether.
Happy to help. Please get in touch!
Vote Bike is a Bike Auckland initiative for the 2017 General Election. Authorised by Barbara Cuthbert of 2A St Aubyn St, Devonport, Auckland 0624, on behalf of Bike Auckland, of 2A St Aubyn St Devonport Auckland 0624.