No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Auckland Transport

The Song Remains The Same

This is outstanding news:

Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on Auckland light rail since Labour came to power, despite there being no shovels in the ground to build it. 

Information released by Waka Kotahi-NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) shows $34.8 million has been spent since October 2017 on business cases, project management, legal costs, office space and equipment, and Ministry of Transport funding. 

With more projects like this we’re going to able to stand up and proudly proclaim to the world all the wonderful things we’re doing to halt Global Warming… whilst actually doing abso-fucking-lutely nothing about it.

Plus there’s the wonderful Keynesian effect of all that money passing through the hands of lawyers and consultants and into the pockets of Mercedes and Tesla dealerships and Auckland real estate companies.

Now be honest. What more could you want from a government?

The only problem is that they’re showing signs of becoming restrained:

The Government was left with a $47 million contingency in its $6.8 billion NZ Upgrade transport package after $211 million worth of rail projects were put into the package at the last minute.

This was despite repeated warnings from officials the contingency might be too small to pay for any cost blowouts.

Those warnings were prescient, as new cost estimates for the transport projects have led the Government to back away from promises to build everything they proposed a little over a year ago – something that could have been avoided had the projects been given larger contingency funding.

I’m sure they’ll learn from this and put in a bigger contingency for next year’s budget. About a billion dollars should do it.

On the other hand their extreme restraint in achieving anything may actually start being translated into spending as well, with that contingency problem perhaps not being the usual Labour screwup as an indicator of where they’re going, as Chris Trotter points out:

Let’s begin with the Labour Government’s decision to impose a three-year wage freeze on three-quarters of the Public Service. Under the old Political Rule Book, such an action would have been deemed extremely unwise. That rule book would have explained the sheer folly of effectively decreasing the purchasing power of some of the Labour Party’s most loyal supporters. This is hardly surprising: “Look after your electoral base.”; has always been the first and most important rule of electoral politics.

Chris thinks that this is all part of keeping onboard those National voters who crossed the aisle last year, but it’s more likely that Robertson has taken a look at the deficits and debt and finally got the wind up about blowing more money on stuff, especially as he considers how much of the spending to date has produced nothing of consequence or, in the case of poverty and healthcare, seen things go backwards.

To me it therefore seems quite a natural and logical progression for Labour to start down the He Puapua route of separate Maori development. As I have pointed out several times Critical Race Theory, which is currently shredding the USA, was always going to make it down here to New Zealand where it would be gleefully taken up by Maori activists and academics as an even more extremist extension of what used to be called Political Correctness (now “Woke” Politics).

But the reason why the political and activist Left have glommed on to it is that the traditional Left ideas have failed Maori, just as they’ve failed Blacks in the USA.

Public education. Public Healthcare. Social Welfare. And still Maori are suffering worse in education, health and poverty than other ethnic groups in our society.

What else has the Left got to offer Maori? Nothing, which is why this new ideology has taken hold so quickly on the NZ Left. I think it will ultimately prove to be even more useless than traditional Socialism, but for the moment it’s a salve for Maori activists and a possible electoral winner for White Leftists who otherwise have no idea what to do to improve their public institutions beyond simply dumping in more money.

There’s also increasingly a lot of moaning from the Left about why their wonderful Labour government can’t get anything done. Certainly a lot of this is due to their shambling incompetence; they are the most useless shit shower of a government that I’ve known in my lifetime.

But the simple fact is that you can’t build the same thing twice. Is Adern’s Labour government going to build another Social Security system? Another Public Healthcare system? Another building to house the bureaucracy for them? The low-hanging fruit was plucked by the First Labour government. There may be equally revolutionary things like a Universal Basic Income that they could try to implement, but I see no signs of such things from this government.

Which, as a Right-Winger, suits me just fine. I may even vote for them in 2023 on the sound basis that the more useless a government is the better it is for the individual.

But then I recall that even a government that’s too useless to build anything can still stuff things up badly by constantly saying “No” and stopping people doing things, and that’s so easy that even this government can do it. In fact it seems to be their speciality.

Labour 2023: Vote For Nothing.

If I could have just one extra promise from Labour though it would be that their post-2023 government spend less for nothing.

DOES ANYONE ELSE FEEL A TWINGE OF SYMPATHY FOR THE NICE MR TWYFORD

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

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

LABOUR’S AUCKLAND TRANSPORT PLAN

Someones going to have to explain to regional New Zealand just why our petrol is going to be taxed an additional 10c/ltr (not mentioned in Labour’s election manifesto) to help fund their Auckland Transport Plan along with the dumping of the next generation of improvements to the RoNS programme announced by National 12 months ago.

For those of us up here in Northland that leaves SH1 (our economic highway) unfinished and terminating at Wellsford.   Forget about the Wellsford to Whangarei upgrade … ain’t going to happen under this government.

Still, with the now Minister for Regional Economic Development on record as saying the Puhoi to Wellsford upgrade currently underway was a waste of money I guess it was pretty much signaled.

Minister for Regional Economic Development … what a sick joke.   He’s going to have a hard job defending that decision when he carpetbags his way back up north from Whangarei (where he was soundly rejected by the voters in that electorate) to contest Northland in 30 months time.

Updated 2.10 pm … I see the decision has been slammed by Kaipara Mayor Jason Smith speaking on behalf of the regions other Mayors and the Chair of the Northland Regional Council.   I have no doubt that the super sensitive and bullying Shane Jones will seek ‘utu’ in some way, shape or form.

Written by The Veteran

April 26, 2018 at 8:00 pm