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Polity: Brownlee burns $100,000 or $5 million, take your pick

Written By: - Date published: 9:04 am, July 1st, 2014 - 27 comments
Categories: Economy, Gerry Brownlee, national, same old national, transport - Tags: , ,

polity_square_for_lynnReposted from Polity.

Here’s Michael Fox at Stuff on the new Motu bridge in Gisborne:

The Government has almost finished a $100,000 project to strengthen a bridge it will now tear down and replace as part of its new roading package.

Prime Minister John Key unveiled the Government’s $212 million roading package at the party’s annual conference in Wellington at the weekend. It includes the replacement of the one-lane Motu Bridge between Gisborne and Opotiki.

Strengthening of the bridge, which the Government says will open it up to bigger trucks, began in April and is due to be finished in the next fortnight.

Really? Is Gerry so shambolically disorganised that he signs off projects to do the same work twice, with your money both times? This is ridiculous.

The article goes on:

The bridge had only 900 vehicle movements a day and its being one-way was not a major inconvenience.

“They’ve just spent 100 grand to futureproof it for 25 years,” Caddie said.

“Even the local industry people here are saying that it’s not an issue for them, they don’t ever have to wait on that bridge and there’s never been an accident on it so they’d rather see the money going into other priorities.”

The $3m to $5m cost to replace the bridge, with construction due to start next year, was a “massive investment while there’s other more pressing priorities in the region”.

Let me get this straight. National is spending $5 million to replace a bridge they have just fixed, which absolutely nobody is asking them to do.

Who would have thought that pork-barrel road projects had such poor cost/benefit reasoning behind them. Heckuva job, Gerry.

I have just put in my OIA request for all the economic analysis on these projects. For taxpayers’ sake I sure hope they do not all come out like this one.

I assume, given the politically sensitive request about David Cunliffe’s letter about Liu sped through the OIA system in two days flat, that I’ll have my answers by Wednesday, right?

27 comments on “Polity: Brownlee burns $100,000 or $5 million, take your pick”

  1. cogito 1

    …. And today’s petrol price hike is apparently due, according to the Liar of NZ, to people driving more fuel efficient cars!!!

    ****So the price rise is “our” fault!!!!!****

    What an absolute sewer dweller Key is. People drive less and buy more economical cars to save a few dollars in fuel, at a time when everything is going up in price…. then he goes and hits them again.

    Filth.

    • You_Fool 1.1

      He has to be able to afford that election bribe somehow….

    • vto 1.2

      It is about time things like fuel and houses were transparent in their advertised prices….

      Petrol BP: $1.10 per litre plus $1.20 tax.

      New house: $350,000 plus Council charges $50,000 plus Government GST $60,000, total $460,000.

      Makes it nice and clear and transparent. It would certainly focus the minds of the public.

      • Lanthanide 1.2.1

        Anyone who is building a new house themselves will be acutely aware how much the GST and council costs add.

        Someone who buys a brand-new house built by someone else won’t, of course. Also GST and council costs don’t apply to 2nd-hand houses.

        Anyway, I think an aspect of why Americans are so anti-tax is that they get hit in the face with sales tax all of the time. I’m sure it would only take a few instances of bringing stuff up to the counter, having tax added and then discovering that you can’t actually afford everything you wanted, due to tax, before you start hating the tax.

      • Tombstone 1.2.2

        Why don’t Labour do just as you suggested and garner the attention of the people that way? I think it’s quite a powerful message that much of what we are paying is in fact excessive taxation and that National claimed that they were all about lowering taxes and yet here they are in reality putting them up. It’s a huge double standard and if Labour can articulate that in a way that is easy for the average layman to understand and can’t be disputed by Key and his cronies it might give Labour that in that they have so desperately been searching for. Don’t attack Key. Attack the house of lies that he resides within. If you wanna kill the king first you’ve got to take the castle and maybe that’s the problem – Labour have been too busy lobbing arrows over the wall in the hope of that one in a million chance one might hit the spot but the odds are so astronomical that it’s more or less a pointless exercise. Take the castle – take the fucking king and his head!

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.2.1

          I think it’s quite a powerful message that much of what we are paying is in fact excessive taxation

          Except that that isn’t true. If we want something then we have to pay for it and we’re not actually paying high enough taxes.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.3

      And today’s petrol price hike is apparently due, according to the Liar of NZ, to people driving more fuel efficient cars!!!

      That probably has some effect. I suspect the fact that people are driving less due to increasing costs of fuel would be a bigger factor though. Comes down to economies of scale. Essentially, the more people drive the less the maintenance on the roads will cost per kilometre traveled. This means that the less people drive the more the road taxes have to go up to cover the same amount of roading.

      • Lanthanide 1.3.1

        “This means that the less people drive the more the road taxes have to go up to cover the same amount of roading.”

        Well it’s not a simple linear relationship. Because the less people drive, the less wear there is on the roads. Also the less traffic there is, the less need there is for congestion improvements to be made on the roads, and in general the fewer roads are necessary.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.4

      And here’s Gerry Brownlee in 2012:

      The Government will increase petrol tax by three cents a litre each July 1 for the next three years.

      Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said road user charges would also be increased by an equivalent amount.

      He said the increases were required to deliver the “Roads of National Significance” programme and other roading projects to the timeline set out in the Government’s land transport funding policy.

      How do you tell if a National Minister is lying? Their lips are moving

      • Lanthanide 1.4.1

        Great, so I’m paying for roads of Notional Significance that I will never personally drive on, and that have cost:benefit ratios of less than 1.

        Thanks a lot, National!

        When Labour and/or Greens announce their policy to can the uneconomic RoNS, they should also scrap the 6c in petrol tax rises we’ve had under National so far.

  2. vto 2

    They have certainly stubbed their toes on this one. This failure highlights their paucity of thinking and exposes their brazen lust ……

  3. Will@Welly 3

    Wasn’t the cost to re-instate the Gisborne to Napier rail line around $4 million . Now there’d be money well spent.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Of course it would be money well spent – which seems to be why National are against it. Money well spent doesn’t end up lining either their own pockets or those of their rich mates.

  4. Tracey 4

    I cant find the taxpayers union press release expressing their outrage. Can someone help me out?

    • fender 4.1

      Those f-wits who are bastardising the name union in their Taxpayers Union charade are in fact just a far-right-wing cheerleaders club..

      • Tracey 4.1.1

        surely not. That sounds deceptive

        • fender 4.1.1.1

          🙂

          Yeah it’s pretty weird that D. Farrar and J. Williams et al would be involved in anything vaguely deceptive /sarc..

          • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1.1.1.1

            You dont get a couple a researchers paid for unless someones running a cabinet club.

            Anyway they have a 24 hr hotline where they can put some outrage in the mixer and serve it up as instant mousse.
            Im not holding my breath, the media have run enough stories on the ‘money for roads’ meme and the ennui has set in just as the WTF side comes into the sunlight.

            Chalk another up for #TeamDonKey

  5. Richard 5

    Can’t believe no mention has been made of the Taramakau Road/Rail bridge at Greymouth. Two years and several million dollars of repairs because the government deferred replacement. Now they’re gonna replace it. How much was wasted there?

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Link?

      • Richard 5.1.1

        Couple of links here – first one is from the website of the contractor, with the cost of the project. Second is the opinion of the Grey deputy mayor
        http://www.tbsgroup.co.nz/track-record/1024/bridge-13-painting-taramakau/
        Duration: 6 months / Client: KiwiRail / Value: $3.1 million

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/west-coast/10213251/West-Coast-welcomes-boost

        Grey District Deputy Mayor Doug Truman said Coasters would be “very grateful” to see the Government making a commitment to replace the bridge, but it should have been done years ago.

        “I think it’s the last road and rail bridge in the country and it’s got a high accident rate, especially for motorcyclists and cyclists because they slip on the rails.”

        Several million dollars was spent on recent bridge repairs, Truman said

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1

          Considering the age of that bridge it probably needs to be declared an historic monument of some kind and that alone would make the work worthwhile.

          As it is a road/rail bridge then my suggestion would be just build a road bridge that parallels it to connect the road on both sides while leaving that bridge in place for rail.

          • Richard 5.1.1.1.1

            Yep. Beggars belief that anyone would spend millions on repairs and not put that money into building a new bridge 4-5 years ago. Oh wait, lets waste a few mil and save that idea for an election bribe.

    • Jan 5.2

      I have also been waiting for someone to pick up on that Richard, the front-page headline in the Greymouth Star was “Bridge Funds ‘election bribe’ “. The first sentence says the National Party has said it will spend $10-$15 replacing the Taramakau Bridge which has only recently undergone a $9.8m overhaul – don’t get me wrong – road/rail bridges are never a good thing and this one is right on the Sate Highway, the main arterial link for the whole length of the West Coast – well over 600 kms It has been on the list for replacement for more than seven years. The links provided which give positive comments are unfortunately made by strong National Party supporters, one of whom once stood for election here on that ticket, so not a lot of notice is taken of those opinions. Not wishing to sound nasty with that comment, but my opinions are ignored as being from a Labour Party supporter, so I have no trouble returning the favour.

      The proof is in the pudding, the Nats know they can (if elected) delay things for years, as with the “new hospital” which has been promised for many years now – breathless announcements keep being made of how building will start any day soon, which then look a bit sick when it turns out the plans haven’t even been drawn up yet

  6. NZJester 6

    Imagine if they put that money into replacing a bridge to Gisborne that truly does need replacing. Oh but then that bridge is not for cars and is for rail so I doubt he would consider that. Plus that one National guy in Napier is wanting to rip up the rails and put yet another bike track there.

  7. NZJester 7

    One of those roads targeted in his $212m spend is also going to be a real thank-you present to some potential rich National supporters.
    They are apparently going to put in a bypass away from an area of houses belonging to a bunch of well healed people and stick it through an area that includes going close to a few schools. This dispute the fact that it was recommended it not go ahead due to the dangers it would bring with it if it was routed through the proposed area. National has decided the safety of a bunch of yonng kids who can not vote is not as important as the noise a bunch of people that a very likely to be National supporters have to put up with when the trucks go past their houses.

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