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LocalBodies: Gerry Brownlee, Making Stuff Up Again!

Written By: - Date published: 10:36 pm, March 18th, 2014 - 35 comments
Categories: Gerry Brownlee, transport - Tags: , ,

The crazy thing about Gerry Brownlee is that he is so incompetent because he never seems to study anything that he is responsible for. And yet people on the inside of the National party appear to rate him? I guess that says more about their skill sets. bsprout wrote this post at Local Bodies on monday.

Gerry Brownlee has struggled to defend his $12 billion Roads of National Significance (RONS) when questioned by the Green Party’s transport spokesperson, Julie Anne Genter.  Time and time again Brownlee has been reduced to bluff and bluster when Julie Anne has demanded evidence and the economic rationale behind the motorway projects.

There was the memorable occasion when Julie Anne demanded that Gerry produce his evidence to support the RONS, when all data available from the NZTA show that traffic volumes are stagnant. Gerry was not able to produce any evidence other than that roads were important and people wanted them. When Julie Anne used a point of order to force him to properly address the question, Lockwood Smith (Speaker at the time) intervened to explain that the Minister was saying that the motorways were being built because HE thought they were a good idea.

On another occasion Julie Anne suggested that the $12 billion budgeted for motorway construction placed New Zealand in a similar position as Greece, where spending on motorway construction had contributed to its economic collapse. In response Gerry claimed it was actually big spending on rail that had caused the problem. This was widely reported by the media when it was actually a lie as Greece had spent little on rail but billions on a new motorway system.

Today revealed more deliberate misinformation from Gerry as he was recorded on National Radio claiming that the Greens were demanding strong cost/benefit ratios for motorways when the Auckland rail loop only provided a .8 return on investment. This figure is a total fabrication. The 2011 analysis of the project (p 13) produced a benefit cost ratio (BCR) of 1.0 to 1.1 when related to immediate transport benefits and when wider economic benefits (WEBs) were taken into account the ratio increased to as much as 2.3. Given the increasing demand for public transport in Auckland this ratio is likely to be even better now. Gerry lied!

Brownlee never appears to be well informed and uses attack as a means of defense. His outburst against Labour MPs involved a later apology and backdown, but in most cases the media just accept and report what he says and rarely check the truth behind his statements.

I find it appalling that this country is comfortable with a government that bases its decisions and major spending on personal opinions and skewed data and that we have a media that is prepared to accept lies as fact.

Postscript: It is interesting to listen to today’s exchange, where Brownlee claims that the Government does not rely on the ‘bureaucratic’ advice of the NZTA but base decisions on their own strategic analysis.

The Green Party’s recently announced policy will have a far bigger impact on local communities and will provide a far greater BCR than the motorways.

35 comments on “LocalBodies: Gerry Brownlee, Making Stuff Up Again!”

  1. Tamati 1

    Voters like roads, Brownlee likes votes, therefore Brownlee likes roads. It’s populism plain and simple, aimed at at middle of the road voters stuck in a traffic jam.

    • Richard Christie 1.1

      Of course he likes roads, girth like that is pretty hard to navigate down a busy footpath.

    • Populuxe1 1.2

      Christchurch voters need roads

      • Lanthanide 1.2.1

        Yes, and we already got our RONS. I’m staring at it right now, in fact.

        The CHCH RONS was one of the few that had a good cost:benefit ratio, and given that it was greenlighted before the 2010 September quake, and subsequently the population has shifted west, it came at a very opportune time.

        Unfortunately for you, the $12B we’re talking about here are for roads not in Christchurch, otherwise you might have a valid point.

      • Tracey 1.2.2

        which doesnt address his stance on auckland roads

  2. tricledrown 2

    Brownoselee can’t fit in bus or train.
    So that’s why he is Bi arse.
    Double talk from double chin.

  3. Ad 3

    Also perhaps unnoticed is that National has consistently raised taxes on petrol and diesel. In transport, National is not a low-tax party.

    NZTA fully accept they are where TransportBlog and Genter have been pointing for some time: while trucking continues its post-GFC climb (and with it RUC income), private vehicle kms continue trending down (and with it the great majority of transport income). NZTA can already see that in short order the income will not support tho great motorway boom.

  4. Philj 4

    Xox
    Is Brownlee /Nats getting election funding from Trucking Association, or perhaps Downers highway construction? 12 billion is a lot of money for business interests. Is this a Public Private Partnership, minus the public benefit, but plus the cost?

  5. tc 5

    And why do our roads seem to be needing alot more maintenance over the past years.

    The same stretches seem to be worked on after being completed recently and other patches always seem to either shoulder closed or undergoing some form of repair.

    Are we so crap at maintenance now or not doing the job right.

    Ive been observing resealing and centre strip plantings now being pulled on a fresh overpass on sh1 done less than 2 years, resealing seems fine being a new road but watching young plants doing what plants do being ripped out raises the eyebrows.

    • ianmac 5.1

      The Main Highway 1 from Blenheim to Picton is being constantly resealed. At least annually. I think the huge number of trucks including logging trucks are responsible. Will Roaduser charges cover the cost? Doubt it. Will the taxpayers pay for the truck damage? Yes. We are heavily subsidising trucking companies.

    • Kahukowhai 5.2

      Bigger trucks are now allowed on roads, in some cases totally unsuited.

      For example the Hundalee Hills highway south of Kaikoura, which is steep and winding with numerous sharp curves down to 45 km/h, has been designated as suitable for the 62 tonne HPMVs, the monster train-killer trucks that the Nats have allowed to be introduced in the past few years.

  6. Tracey 6

    The only explanation I can come up for about Brownlee’s high ranking is that he must know where alot of bodies are buried.

  7. Ad 7

    Note TransportBlog today has a quick summary of the transport policies of those parties polling over 5% in the last election.

  8. fambo 8

    Around 40 percent of rates goes to maintaining roads in the region I live, other than the main highways

  9. Tracey 9

    transportblog and generation zero are becoming favourite sites of mine. brownlee could do worse than read them.

  10. Wayne 10

    Tracey,

    On TV3 last night Josie Pagani was concerned that Labour kept attacking National’s roads programme. She seemed to think that the continual attack would be a real negative for voters.

    It would seem that a lot of voters quite like to see the core motorway system being completed (Auckland to Hamilton, Waterview, Transmission Gully and yes even Puhoi to Wellsford, well at least to Warkworth).

    And the Green attack on these projects does not impress middle voters.

    • Tracey 10.1

      Wayne

      I am not a labour voter so your comment doesnt affect me much. My observation of josie’s recent utterances is that she wants labour to be national lite.

      Have you visited generation zero and transport blog on auckland transport ideas? It makes for interesting reading and offers some less expensive alternatives in some instances.

    • Tracey I guess it depends where you live, out in the regions there is huge frustration about the cuts in funding for road maintenance to support the RONS. Southland, as one example, earns 12% of our export income, has an extensive network of roads, but we are funded on our population (2%). That funding has been cut by a further 25% and many of our roads are now degrading.

      • Tracey 10.2.1

        fair comment but gerry is plumping for motorway financing which wont repair your roads.g

    • framu 10.3

      “Josie Pagani was concerned”

      yeah… not really that worried about what the paganis think

      if your trying to sway opinion here you might want to consider a better source

      It would seem that a lot of voters – proof?

      And the Green attack on these projects does not impress middle voters. – proof?

    • Kahukowhai 10.4

      Last Labour government spent a lot on highways, in fact they took political control of the highway budget. There is one thing only I will say about the 1990s National government – they decentralised highway spending decisions, and Labour took it back under central government domination.

  11. James Thrace 11

    At Tc and ianmac. Roads are being reselaled thanks to short termism and contractors seeing an opportunity for an ongoing revenue stream.

    Prior to 1989 most territorial roads were sealed with a 3×2 layer as follows. Gravel/tar/gravel/tar/gravel. The subsequent wear and tear on the reading surface was far less than you see today.

    With the great outsourcing boom, private contractors, many of whom had worked for said local authorities knew of the CBR when it came to sealing the roads.

    In the downward drive to reduce expenditure, many local authorities put out to tender their road sealing contracts.

    Contractors now saw the license to print money. Using the inside knowledge of the cost to seal the road using the 3×2 structure, many contractors cut their bids quite heavily, but only promise to bring the road up to ‘traffic grade standard’

    Just what that is isn’t clearly defined. Councils loved the idea that their one off cost of fixing the road could be so cheap!

    Of course it was cheap. Contractors went for the 3rd world and farm road method of 2×1 layering which is gravel/tar/gravel.

    End result now is shoddy reading that can’t quite stand the rigours of our heavier vehicles, higher traffic volume and is essentially subjected on a monthly basis to all manner of utility servicing.

    Hence why now most roads require resealing at least 18 monthly.

    Going back to the old 3×2 method would extend the life of the road out to around 3 years, but contractors would lose money that way so its a no go.

    • James, you make some good points, I happened to talk to a reputable contractor who said that they still tender based on the old approach but always lose to the cheapest offer, which are clearly cutting costs. We need to have a rethink of procurement policies so that wider issues are considered like boosting the local economy by employing local contractors and the long term value of spending a little more to get a better job done. In the past the lowest and highest tenders were ignored but now it appears that the focus is all on cost.

      • Lanthanide 11.1.1

        “but now it appears that the focus is all on cost.”

        I’d like to see how these chinese-made trains factor up on the cost ledger, when you include the downtime from having them off the tracks and possibly requiring asbestos removal.

    • Murray Olsen 11.2

      James, that’s how road contracts work in the 3rd world. The initial building costs are quite low, but the firm is guaranteed 10 or 20 years of maintenance, which basically comes as a blank cheque. Of course, in many countries there is corruption involved, with kickbacks to the local/state/federal politicians. Luckily this could never happen in Aotearoa, where political funding and donations are made transparent by the Waitemata Trust and National ministers don’t get financial rewards until they get appointed to boards of various corporations, or paid $1000/day by Brownlee to fix Christchurch.

  12. Corokia 12

    6 weeks of roadworks on less than 1km of road on Leith Saddle just north of Dunedin, such low quality that the seal came off the uphill lane the trucks use within days and it is now restricted to 70km/hr while the same crew are digging up more of SH1 a few kms north. Cheap tenders plus trucks that are too heavy stuff the roads, but poor decisions by Kiwirail mean rail is being rundown too.

    • Kahukowhai 12.1

      Kiwirail are in the difficult position of being kept on a fairly short leash by the government with a private sector manager dominated board, and having been forced into this Turnaround Plan which has denied them the funding they really desperately needed to upgrade their network and other aspects of the operation. Still interested to hear more about what “poor decisions by Kiwirail” might be.

  13. hoom 13

    Auckland Transportblog did an article on this latest Genter vs Brownlee episode
    http://transportblog.co.nz/2014/03/19/brownlee-admits-they-ignore-economic-analysis-when-it-suits-them/

    Aside from all the making stuff up bullshit, the fact that he actually drops the charade & admits that they are just making the Roads of Importance to National because National see it as a strategic investment is fascinating.

    Meanwhile he is still happy to pretend that its the economic case that keeps them from backing CRL for Auckland.

    Also it really gets my goat that at the end he makes the brazen assumption that those who walk, cycle or take public transport don’t pay tax.

    Julie Anne Genter: Does the Minister understand that duplicating motorways to the Kāpiti coast or Wellsford does nothing to alleviate serious congestion in our city centres—in fact, according to the New Zealand Transport Agency, they make congestion worse—whereas investing in smart projects like walking and cycling to school take cars off the road, eases congestion, and improves public health?

    Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: It also very seriously inconveniences the people who pay for those roads, and their commitment to these projects will be seen at the ballot box.

    Fuck you Brownlee, I pay tax too.
    My tax is paying for these stupid roads and I’d like to see much more of it be spent on public transport, cycle ways & improving life for pedestrians.

    There are a bunch of my colleagues who also walk/cycle to my workplace in Newmarket & many more who take public transport.

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  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    1 day ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    1 day ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    1 day ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    2 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    2 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    2 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    3 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    4 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    4 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    5 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    5 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    5 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    5 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago

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