There was much anticipation when Stephen Joyce entered Parliament and was immediately given Cabinet responsibilities. We were told that Joyce was a man with much commercial nous and acumen, and that he would quickly make his mark.
This morning, the Herald reveals the win-win situation that Joyce has proposed. Stuck with Kiwirail, Joyce is proposing that the government-owned rail operator buy in to Auckland's commuter rail services directly, rather than funding the Auckland Regional Council through regional petrol taxes.
Given the chequered history of the ARC under the dubious stewardship of Mike Lee, we reckon that this is an excellent suggestion. The government makes Kiwirail work for it, the motorists of Auckland are not subsidising those who chose to travel by rail, and the ARC doesn't get a truckload of extra dosh. And after the financial debacle of the David Beckham visit, that's a good thing!