No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Auckland Light Rail


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Two current news items … none of them reflecting credit on the Government.

Labour has announced that voters in Tauranga will be denied the opportunity to exercise their vote in the forthcoming local body elections. Instead their lives will continue to be controlled by Commissioners appointed by and accountable (only) to the government. Just what has Labour got against democracy? Is this a foretaste of things to come? So many questions and so few answers.

And it’s also been revealed that the cost of Labour’s vanity Auckland light rail project from the city to the airport has the potential to balloon to $29b according to Treasury papers released today. Back in January the Finance Minister said the project would cost $14.6b. The Treasury papers said information provided to it by the Light Rail Establishment Unit noted cost estimates with an accuracy range of -50 per cent to 100 per cent based on a “very low level of design”. Additionally the Treasury said the establishment unit had not provided any costs for enabling infrastructure for the extra housing and infrastructure needed to realise the extra capacity on water, wastewater, storm-water, other utilities and additional transport requirements.

So basically the cost projections flaunted by Labour back in January weren’t worth the paper they were printed on. Funny that …


Written by The Veteran

March 17, 2022 at 2:14 pm


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The revelation here that Labour’s flagship transport policy (Auckland Light Rail) has been axed to stand alongside Kiwibuild (flop) as a monument to ineptness


This from Stuff reporting that 50 people were released early from quarantine without being tested for the Coronavirus.

Your choice but another bad day for the government.

Written by The Veteran

June 24, 2020 at 2:48 am

Posted in New Zealand

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NZ Labour’s Colonel Cargill

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I was amused to see this news yesterday from Stuff via Kiwiblog, Light rail follows Kiwibuild into oblivion:

The Government’s flagship infrastructure project has been put “on hold” while it fights the Covid-19 pandemic, but there are some doubts it will ever get going again.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford said decisions on Auckland’s light rail project “are on hold while the Government’s full focus is on fighting Covid-19”.

During the election campaign, Labour had promised to have the first stage of the Auckland light rail scheme built by 2021.

But after a long and protracted process, the Government has yet to decide who will build the scheme, let alone begin construction.

As David Farrar points out:

It’s worse than that. They haven’t even decided a route. We’re well over halfway to their promise of having built 13 kms by December 2021…

Auckland Light Rail and Kiwibuild eh? And the common factor is Phil Twyford. It immediately reminded me of the character of Colonel Cargill from the novel Catch 22, who was very successful in business before being drafted into the USAAF:

Before the war, he had been an alert, hard-hitting, aggressive marketing executive. 

He was a very bad marketing executive. Colonel Cargill was so bad a marketing executive that his services were much sought after by firms eager to establish losses for tax purposes.

Throughout the civilized world, from Battery Park to Fulton Street, he was known as a dependable man for a fast tax write-off. His prices were high, for failure often did not come easily. He had to start at the top and work himself down, and with sympathetic friends in Washington, losing money was no simple matter.

It took months of hard work and careful misplanning. A person misplaced, disorganized, miscalculated, overlooked everything and opened every loophole, and just when he thought he had it made, the government gave him a lake or a forest or an oilfield and spoiled everything.

Even with such handicaps, Colonel Cargill could be relied on to run the most prosperous enterprise into the ground. He was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody.

Perhaps Twyford has a future in the private sector after all.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 15, 2020 at 12:25 pm


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I mean direct from presiding over the Kiwibuild f****p it looks as though the Auckland light rail project, entrusted to him by St Jacinda, is headed the same way with the Treasury warning that the initial estimates of $6 billion were way off the mark.  Indeed, one NZTA source has suggested they could double which would see it rivalling Edinburgh’s light rail debacle.  Mind you, this government and debacles tend to go hand in hand.   Indeed one might argue ‘they’ have become rather expert at it.
And all this before a single sod is turned and won’t be until 2021 at the earliest.    Contrast that with the promise made by Ardern shortly after taking office that the Mt Roskill segment would be completed within four years (i.e. 2021).   Politics 101 for dummys … under promise and over deliver. This mob have certainly managed to turn that one on its head.
And all this against the backdrop of firms associated with the project saying the delays caused by the  government shifting the goalposts has cost millions and has seriously harmed New Zealand’s business reputation abroad.
That’s why the hapless Twyford’s throwaway remark to the effect that with the NZ Super Fund taking a stake in the project users of light rail will be contributing towards their own retirement … leaves me cold.   For this to happen the service has to make a profit … tell me, does the Auckland commuter train service make a profit? … just asking.
Nah, no twinge of sympathy for Twyford.   All of ‘their’ own doing.

Written by The Veteran

October 23, 2019 at 12:27 am

Super Fund Investing In A Black Hole

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As a New Zealand citizen, and therefore an investor in and potential beneficiary of the Super fund, I am 100% opposed to this investment which is stupid in the extreme.  Surely the role of the Superfund is to provide the best possible returns to the benefit of all New Zealanders and not to invest loss making ventures like Auckland Light Rail?

I consider the Trustees and Management of the Superfund are abdicating from their obligations and responsibilities if they allow this investment to proceed.  My wife and I hold KiwiSaver funds which are largely invested off shore and returning in the order of 20% after tax over the last 5 years. Obtaining similar returns should be the objective of Superfund Trustees, not investing in known black holes as they are proposing.  In saying that, I acknowledge they will make mistakes and have investments that return a loss from time to time, but knowingly entering into such an investment is a different matter entirely.

Finally they should not allow an incompetent finance minister to become involved in their investment strategies and processes.

Written by pdm1946

May 9, 2018 at 12:35 am