National revs up over Julie Anne Genter's 'car fascists' quip

Julie Anne Genter's comments about "car fascists" show she's "out of touch", says National Party transport spokesperson Paul Goldsmith.

The Associate Transport Minister and cycling fan used the phrase in a debate on social media site Twitter on Thursday evening.

"We need a few car fascists to stop opposing infrastructure that gives more people the option to walk, cycle or scoot safely if they wish," she wrote. "Especially because that benefits everyone, including those who want to drive."

She defined a "car fascist" as the "vocal minority of commentators who oppose safe cycle lanes".

Genter later expressed regret for her choice of words.

National MP Dan Bidois tweeted her words were a "disgrace... disrespectful and downright arrogant", and now the party's actual transport spokesperson has chimed in, calling Genter "out of touch".

"The core objective of transport policy should be helping people get where they need to go quickly, efficiently and safely," he said on Saturday.

"The Government should be making people's lives easier - not deliberately making life more difficult in pursuit of some ideological goal."

He said while public transport is great for people who work in central cities, most travel is by the old-fashioned car.

"Driving accounts for more than 95 percent of the distance New Zealanders travel. Even in Wellington, our public transport capital, it is 88 percent of travel distance."

In the Twitter debate, Genter tweeted that improving cycling and public transport infrastructure is "by far the most cost effective way to improve the reliability of car journeys on the existing network of roads". She also said better cycleways will lead to safer roads.

Protesters against cycleways and public transport improvements have disrupted construction in Auckland in recent years.



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