The Populist and Institutionalist Logics of Anti-Expressway Campaigns in Aotearoa New Zealand
Keywords:Kāpiti, politicisation, post-politics, populism, road protests
This article focuses on the opposition to the New Zealand Government’s Roads of National Significance programme to examine the individualistic and collective forms of political engagement that underpin contestation of expressway proposals and the challenges involved in forming an anti-expressway campaign that transcends locally based opposition. Utilising Ernesto Laclau’s notion of populism, it is argued that, in a post-political planning context, a reliance on an individualistic or institutionalist political strategy can restrain collective action and the development of effective supra-local or national campaigns. The populist and institutionalist logics underpinning the campaigns against the Kāpiti expressway proposal reveal the shared interests between activists and local opposition groups and the potential for progressive forms of populist action on environmental issues and transport policy.