Joyce Trashes Mt Albert

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, May 13th, 2009 - 41 comments
Categories: transport - Tags: ,

Spinner

Joyce: selectively lying with numbers

Yesterday the long wait for a decision on the Waterview Connection somewhat ended. The full picture will become more obvious today, once NZTA release their prefered alignment for the route, and how much of it – if any – will be trenched or tunneled.

For now, we know that the full tunnel option is off the cards, dismissed as being completely unaffordable by Steven Joyce. That option, which comprised of $1.98 billion in construction costs, $240 million of necessary upgrades to the Northwest Motorway and $550 million of ‘financing costs’, had blown out from $1.89 billion to $2.77 billion. This ‘blow out’ wasn’t due to the actual costs of construction increasing particularly much, but because upgrades to a completely different motorway were included and also because of the project’s cost money for it would have to be borrowed – so therefore interest would have to be paid. To the tune of $550 million even.

Joyce’s proposal today comes in at a cost of between $1 billion and $1.4 billion. This includes the $240 million for upgrading the Northwest Motorway but not the $550 million financing costs (though they were quite convenient for Joyce whilst they hung around). This means that there will be between $760 million and $1.16 billion left for building the actual Waterview connection.

So what can one get for between $760 million and $1.16 billion? The answer – I think – is not particularly much. Clearly $760 million is the “cheapest and nastiest” option available – probably a surface level option that would go straight through the Oakley Creek Waterfall and have very little environmental mitigation. The other two options that the NZTA are considering sound a bit better, according to the NZ Herald:

The cheapest alternative option is all above ground and the other two are a mixture of road and tunnel.

However, I really don’t know how anything half-decent can be built for $1.16 billion, let alone $760 million. The Ministry of Transport’s own analysis of the options gave a total of $1.456 billion for the construction of an “Open Cut” 4 lane option – presumably this means trenching large chunks of the motorway but tunneling none. Something $300 million cheaper than that isn’t going to be pretty.

I do feel sorry for not only the people of Mt Albert, but also all residents and tax-payers who have been manipulated by these ever-changing figures. Whilst it is true that the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) couldn’t have paid for all the full tunnel option, for some reason it can pay for all $1.16 billion of Joyce’s prefered option now, but not any of the $1.98 billion tunnel. Therefore, financing costs get completely lumped on the tunnel option, but not at all on Joyce’s option. That makes up to a $550 million difference. Furthermore, the NLTF has already been screwed around by Steven Joyce to fund new state highways at the cost of everything else (including local roads, roads maintenance, public transport, walking and cycling initiatives). Including the Waterview Connection in that fund will further squeeze these other areas out.

So where to from here? I guess soon we will find out exactly what the NZTA has chosen for its prefered alignment. For the sake of the people of Mt Albert and Waterview I sincerely hope it’s not the $760 million “cheapest and nastiest” option. Previously, residents would have had a reasonable chance to submit against the driving of a motorway through their suburb – in fact it was residents’ action that knocked back Auckland’s Eastern Motorway as well as the reworking of the Onehunga Interchange in the Manukau Harbour Crossing Project. A submitter could have also pointed out the dodgy workings that came up with 73% of the Waterview Connection’s benefits (just a cool $2.620 billion) being internationally criticised time-savings benefits. But sadly, Steven Joyce kindly let’s us know that we won’t easily have that opportunity – thanks to the conveniently timed amendments to the Resource Management Act.

His words:

Depending on the final scope of the project it could be possible to begin construction in 2011 and complete the project within about four years. As a Road of National Significance this is expected to be progressed under the call-in process of the new provisions of the Resource Management Act which will significantly speed up delivery of the project.

So submitters will need to make their case straight to the environment court, or a specially formed board. There will be no local public hearings, the council will not be making decisions or recommendations on this project. So much for: ‘A thorough consultation process on the form of the selected option will then commence before a final decision is made.’

But then we’re learning what this government thinks of consultation.

jarbury

PDF: NZTA Business case for the Waterview connection

41 comments on “Joyce Trashes Mt Albert ”

  1. vto 1

    goodness what a shamambles!

    glad I dont live in mt albert. or anywhere near anything like a vehicular corridor for that matter.

    so what part does clark’s placement of the tunnel in the first, unrealistic, place play? seems like she played hard and fast with her own constituents with regard to any truths etc as well.

  2. The NLTF deserves more detailed comment and analysis. There is NO money in it for the Waterview motorway. My impression was that the last government were going to stump up with the cost by way of a Crown grant.

    If Waterview is funded from the NLTF then it will suck approximately $200m per annum from next year to 2015. This is about a tenth of the total fund. The only way to do it is to cut spending on all of the activity classes, for instance Passenger Transport capital works and subsidies, local roads, alternatives to roading, maintenance …

    Now I wonder if the mainstream media will actually do an analysis of the figures. Should I hold my breath?

  3. lprent 3

    The arguments inside Mt Albert were long and hard. Like virtually all Mt Albert residents (and ex-residents like me), Helen was originally opposed to the connection, especially if it went through Oakley creek. Some of her comments in LEC were ‘interesting’.

    She (like me) was eventually convinced that the motorway would be useful for the rest of Auckland – mainly North Harbour and Albany. Along with others, she pushed the LTSA for other options than simply whacking a noisy and separating surface motorway through residential Mt Albert. It was a low priority on the LTSA’s schedule, so would require tolling to put in early.

    Turned out the cost differences were not as high as the LTSA originally predicted. So she helped convince the people in the electorate to accept the tunnel. If that is off the table, then the opposition is back. Now it is to stop the motorway entirely.

  4. There were a range of options considered by NZTA over a number of years. You can see the costings for all of them on the last page of this document: http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Katrina-09/Business-case-for-the-Waterview-Connection.pdf (someone probably should upload that file to somewhere else, I imagine the MoT may remove it from their site soon).

    The cheapest option considered was a $1.456 billion Open Cut option. By contrast the twin tunnels were $1.89 billion when first costed. Therefore the difference was around $450 million – probably worth the extra money when you consider the social and environmental costs of an Open Cut option.

    I still believe that the financing costs were added on for political reasons, as have been (to a lesser extent) the SH16 upgrade costs.

    Now I don’t know how NZTA have come up with options with construction costs of between $760 million and $1.16 billion. But as you can’t get something for nothing, an option significantly cheaper than “Open Cut” is likely to be significantly worse. Otherwise, why were those options not considered earlier?

    Either NZTA were idiots for 6 years when coming up with the original costing of the options, or there’s something dodgy going on here. I’m picking the latter.

    [lprent: Attached copy of PDF to end of post ]

  5. vidiot 5

    Just a bad case of NIMBY.

    It was on the cards for years, hell that’s why there was all that unused land between Hillsborough & Hendon park.

    Build a bridge, get over it or join a group.

  6. …hell that’s why there was all that unused land between Hillsborough & Hendon park.

    I guess you’ve never heard of the proposed Avondale-Southdown Railway Line.

    • vidiot 6.1

      Well considering the ASRL wasn’t proposed until a few years ago. And yes, why not do both at same time, stick a rail corridor down the median between the east/west road lines ?

      It would still allow for sideways expansion of the motorway system.

      I just hope that it’s planned & implemented right – ie. dedicated on ramps that go all the way to the next off ramp (see Greenlane to Market Road, Newmarket to Market Road) and I hope none of the xmas light drag launch lights either.

      Build it and they shall come.

      • jarbury 6.1.1

        The Avondale Southdown Railway Line has been DESIGNATED since the 1940s. Unlike the Waterview Connection, which won’t be designated for another couple of years.

      • lprent 6.1.2

        If they come, let them pay…

      • jarbury 6.1.3

        Build it and they shall come.

        Well that’s the problem really, because of induced demand no matter how wide you build your motorway it eventually become clogged.

  7. Pat 7

    I think arguments that a surface level option “isn’t going to be pretty” depends on your bias. The most recent example to compare against is the Albany extension through Greenhithe which is surprisingly well done in terms of how they have reduced the visual and noise impact on neighbouring houses. It has also made access for those living in that suburb 1000 times better – remember the traffic jams faced by Greenhithe residents trying to get out onto Greenhithe Road each morning.

    The Waterview connection will greatly reduce commuter traffic through the likes of Mt Albert township itself, and make living in the area much more enjoyable for the residents.

    • lprent 7.1

      Bullshit: Does nothing for Mt Albert traffic. People don’t cross from Pt Chev to Hillsborough. They go the other way from West Auckland (New Lynn, Waitakere, Green Bay etc) to town.

      The only purpose for this motorway is for people from Ta Atatu to Albany/North Harbour to go to Manakau or the airport or vice versa

      • vidiot 7.1.1

        Or for those living in the West to have an alternative route to get to Onehunga, Penrose, Greenlane, etc.

        /me remembers teh days of old of driving from Glen Eden to Penrose via Hillsborough Rd, Carr Rd, etc.

        Why drive in to Spaghetti Hell, when you can avoid it and go against the traffic.

        • lprent 7.1.1.1

          I suspect that they will carry on doing the same thing for Pensose – NW to central and southern to penrose.

          Onehunga sure…. They don’t go through Mt Roskill.

          As I said – does nothing for Mt Albert residents. That was why it was so hard to get people in Mt Albert to agree even to the tunnel.

          • vidiot 7.1.1.1.1

            But why should the locals have to agree to anything ? It’s not ‘them funding it, it’s NZ.

            It’s in Aucklands & NZ’s interest to get things improved – it’s been proposed for a number of years and now finally it looks like something is going to get done.

          • mickysavage 7.1.1.1.2

            There was a country that adopted the approach proposed by Vidiot, where the state made the decision and provided the funding and the locals had to accept it without say or the ability to seek to change. And everything was done in the National Interest.

            The USSR!!

            I never thought that vidiot was a commie …

      • Pat 7.1.2

        Surely the purpose for this motorway is to enable the thru traffic from West Auckland and North Shore to Manukau, as you state, and to provide a second route through Auckland to reduce traffic on the bridge.

        As a Westie I am aware of plenty of fellow Westies who work in the industrial areas of Manukau. They would use the Western Ring Route. At the moment they either sit in the Southern motorway traffic or take Pt Chev- Hillsborough route through Mt Albert.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 7.2

      It will undoubtedly make things worse as everyone will be trying to get around the choke points on SH16-20. Ask any courier driver the quickest way south and they will give you a mix of motorway and local roads which they go on and off. Its a bit like squeezing your toothpaste tight to get the last bit out and a hole appears in the side so it moves in the path of least resistance.

  8. The problem with that argument Pat is that the SH18 corridor had been set aside for decades, so therefore residents knew the motorway was coming and houses were never built across the corridor.

    The Waterview Connection actually will do nothing to reduce traffic on Great North Road through Waterview, as there will be no motorway interchange that allows motorists access to the new motorway from anywhere near Waterview.

    • vidiot 8.1

      Yes and house prices in the area did reflect for a number of years that ‘uncertainty’ – but last few years, this (SH18 corridor) seems to have been ignored and prices have boomed, hence a lot more Kleenex will be required later today.

    • Pat 8.2

      Plenty of houses were built right next to the SH18 corridor.

      The interesting thing is that when motorways are being planned or built, local residents are always up in arms regarding effect on house prices etc. Once the motorways are built houses are built all around them and the owners boast how their home has easy access to the motorway.

  9. felix 9

    vidiot and Pat, thanks for getting me up to speed.

    I had no idea that it was now widely accepted that motorways are actually charming, safe and attractive to live beside.

    The only trouble with this wonderful news is that now everyone will want one.

    • vidiot 9.1

      Would you rather live next to a P lab ?

      After living in Greenlane for a number of years, the benefit of having both the motorway & the railway system within walking distance far out weigh the downside of the occasional noisy train rolling past.

      • felix 9.1.1

        I didn’t realise that “p lab” was one of the options.

        Are you serious?

        Also, why do you like having a motorway within walking distance?

        • vidiot 9.1.1.1

          So you can walk up to the over bridge and laugh at the Westies stuck in traffic because the NIMBY’s are continually halting the progression of NZ.

          edit: and was just pointing out in original post that there are benefits of living close to public transit facilities (bus, rail, motorway).

          • felix 9.1.1.1.1

            Are you actually advancing that as a reason for loving surface motorways?

            Reading your comments on this thread I really can’t see what your support is based on apart from a general support of the government.

            Are you going to offer anything more substantial than “not a p lab” and “laugh at westies”?

    • Pat 9.2

      felix, I live adjacent to the Hobsonville deviation under construction. If I hit a golf ball from my verge I could land it on the Brigham interchange (probably a 5 iron with a tail wind). Personally I can’t see anything but pluses for me:

      – Reduced traffic on Hobsonville Road
      – Easy access to on/off ramps for the Western Ring Route
      – New retail and commercial developments once the motorway construction is finished. Am looking forward to the new Retail Centre at Hobsonville, and the expanded commercial area at Westgate.

      I haven’t seen a mass exodus from Hobsonville because of this new motorway.

      • felix 9.2.1

        Brilliant. Not only are motorways beautiful, clean and fun to be around, they’re also good for retailers.

        Pass that crack pipe over here will you?

  10. Tim Ellis 10

    I don’t see how it trashes Mount Albert.

    Have you even had a look at a map of Mount Albert? The waterview connection goes nowhere near where most of the people in the electorate live. The motorway will create no more noise than the Northwestern currently creates. It will also take a lot of traffic off Mount Albert Road, New North Road, and Great North Road.

    It’s perhaps upsetting for the extra 150 householders in waterview who will lose their homes, but a cheaper and faster option is what is needed. Spending an extra billion dollars to save 150 homes is financial insanity.

    As long as the people who have to relocate are well compensated, and the road gets built more cheaply and faster, then I think that is an outstanding solution.

    I’m not sure that 95% of Mount Albert voters who will be unaffected by the waterview connection really do want the taxpayer to front up with an extra billion dollars for a gold-plated solution.

    • lprent 10.1

      Tim Bullshit.

      I was there when the NW was built – parents had a house in 4th ave. It was then an extremely noisy road because it was done cheaply (like what Joyce wants to do now by the look of it). They used a very coarse gravel as the surface. That was extremely noisy in the car traveling on it. It was even worse living next to it.

      It probably will not take much (if any) traffic off those roads. They all run West to East. The connection runs North to South. At best it will take some traffic off the north-western motorway going to Penrose.

      Where the connection is likely to go is right in the middle of a lot of houses. There will be at least 400-500 houses that will require demolishing or major work to keep the noise out. There are thousands that will have a significant increase in noise volumes. If the government is prepared to pay pre-motorway market prices for about 2000+ houses then they’d probably find it cheaper to build a tunnel.

      I’m not sure that 95% of Mount Albert voters who will be unaffected by the waterview connection really do want the taxpayer to front up with an extra billion dollars for a gold-plated solution.

      I’m sure that 95% of the electorate would prefer that it just wasn’t built. It does nothing for them

      • Tim Ellis 10.1.1

        “I’m sure that 95% of the electorate would prefer that it just wasn’t built. It does nothing for them”

        I think taking a whole lot of traffic off the arterials in Mount Albert is pretty significant, LP.

        Interesting the admission from Phil Goff this morning on breakfast, which I’ve only just caught up with, that Labour didn’t budget for the Waterview tunnel option. Just a vague statement that Labour always delivers on what it promises.

        • vidiot 10.1.1.1

          Queue TUI Advert ?

          Flipside, also dig out the info on ‘cheap houses’ planned for Mt Roskill. I am sure if you join the dots, the ‘free’ (government owned) land that you could build your house on, was the corridor. Remember that promise.

  11. jarbury 11

    Oh question time in parliament will be interesting today:

    Dr RUSSEL NORMAN to the Minister of Transport: Does he agree with Paul Mees, a senior lecturer in transport planning, who is reported as saying that Auckland has spent 50 years putting all its eggs in the motorway basket and that “in Auckland you’d think it was the 1950s, from the way the road lobby and the Government carry on’?

    Fantastic that we’ll end up in a discussion about Mees!

    Hon DARREN HUGHES to the Minister of Transport: What are his concerns about the impact on the community affected by the decision not to proceed with the previously announced tunnel option for the Waterview Connection?

    This will also be interesting!

  12. dw 12

    Tim E, do you always reflexively support everything National propose?

  13. Draco T Bastard 13

    Being Cheap: The act of trying to save monetary value on something that may or may not be worth it while losing a massive store of social value that cannot be measured in monetary terms.

    NZ has become very cheap since the 1980s – this seems to have coincided with our lean to the political right.

  14. vidiot 14

    So it sounds like is a combination of trench & tunnel now, not a deep trench as previously promised.

  15. Pat 15

    It will be interesting to see where Labour stand on the proposal now. By opposing it they risk looking like they are doing so just for the sake of it.

    Mt Albert residents might appreciate a common sense decision being made. Worth a view votes, perhaps?

  16. Yes the proposal is now trench, bored tunnel, cut and cover tunnel, so it is a hybrid.

    Sorry Jarbury, Paul Mees wouldn’t know a robust economic argument if it entered him from behind. He has no credibility in serious transport circles, but gets attention from similar crank academics and politicians because he worships rail and light rail.

    The point is that there is a gap in the Western ring route, it should be filled sooner or later. Everywhere else in the country Labour built urban highways without tunnels or planned them as such, it goldplated the Waterview extension because of the former PM – now a sensible middle option has been proposed which is 60% tunnelled. The railway has no business case as even ARTA didn’t have it planned for construction until 2030.

    Issues of so-called induced traffic could be resolved if road were marginally priced, which in the case of Auckland could mean replacing rates funding for local streets with congestion charging, then roads could be priced to operate at free flowing conditions at peak times. Under that environment, the need for more road space would drop significantly, buses could operate competitively and public transport would be price competitive with private motoring.

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    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Thursday, July 18, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Verbatim: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts held a news conference in Auckland to release the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, including ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The politics of managed retreat

    Climate change deniers are now challenging the Government over a key climate change adaptation policy. That begs the question of whether New Zealand First will then support Government moves to implement processes to deal with a managed retreat for properties in danger of flooding because of sea level rise and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    3 days ago
  • Some changes are coming

    Warm welcome again to those who are here. The Mountain Tui substack was officially started on the 2nd of July. I wrote about what led me here on this post. Since then, it’s been a learning to navigate the platform, get to meet those in the community, and basically be ...
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    4 days ago
  • About fucking time

    The US Supreme Court has been rogue for years, with openly corrupt judges making the law up as they go to suit themselves, their billionaire buyers, and the Republican Party. But now, in the wake of them granting a licence for tyranny, President Biden is actually going to try and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: False accounting and wishful thinking

    National released their draft 2026-2030 Emissions Reduction Plan today. The plan is required under the Zero Carbon Act, and must set out policies and strategies to meet the relevant emissions budget. Having cancelled all Labour's actually effective climate change policies and crashed the carbon price, National was always going to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • The Enemies Of Sunshine And Space.

    Our Houses? The Urban Density debate is a horrible combination of intergenerational avarice and envy, fuelled by the grim certainty that none of the generations coming up after them will ever have it as good as the Boomers. To say that this situation rankles among those born after 1965 is to ...
    4 days ago
  • Still the 5 Eyes Achilles Heel?

    The National Cyber Security Centre (NZSC), a unit in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) dedicated to cyber-security, has released a Review of its response to the 2021 email hacking of NZ members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Britain's Devastating Electoral Slip.

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    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why right wingers think all governments (including their own) are incompetent

    Since open denial of climate change is no longer a viable political option, denial now comes in disguise. The release this week of the coalition government’s ‘draft emissions reductions plan” shows that the Luxon government is refusing to see the need to cut emissions at source. Instead, it proposes to ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy this morning are:Chris Penk is set to roll back building standards for insulation that had only just been put in place, and which had been estimated to save 40% from power costs, after builders ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Open Letter to Pharmac

    All this talk of getting oldIt's getting me down, my loveLike a cat in a bag, waiting to drownThis time I'm coming downAnd I hope you're thinking of meAs you lay down on your sideNow the drugs don't workThey just make you worse but I know I'll see your face ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • A blanket of misinformation

    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...

    This is a long, possibly technical, but very, very important read. I encourage you to take the time and spread your awareness.IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz

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    5 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again

    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Crashing New Zealand's health system is not the way to prosperity, Prime Minister

    Another day, and yet another piece of bad news for New Zealand’s health system. Reports have come out that General Practitioners (GP) may have to close doors, or increase patient fees to survive. The so-called ‘capitation’ funding review, which supports GP practices to survive, is under way, and primary care ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Closer Than You Think: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.

    Redefining Our Terms: “When an angry majority is demanding change, defending the status-quo is an extremist position.”“WHAT’S THIS?”, asked Laurie, eyeing suspiciously the two glasses of red wine deposited in front of him.“A nice drop of red. I thought you’d be keen to celebrate the French Far-Right’s victory with the ...
    5 days ago
  • Come on Darleen.

    Good morning all, time for a return to things domestic. After elections in the UK and France, Luxon gatecrashing Nato, and the attempted shooting of Trump, it’s probably about time we re-focus on local politics.Unless of course you’re Christopher Luxon and you’re so exhausted from all your schmoozing in Washington ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • How the Northwest was lost and may be won

    This is a guest post by Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which we encourage you to check out. It is shared by kind permission. The Northwest has always been Auckland’s public transport Cinderella, rarely invited to the public funding ball. How did ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16

    Luxon has told a Financial Times’ correspondent he would openly call out China’s spying in future and does not fear economic retaliation from Aotearoa’s largest trading partner.File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Tuesday, ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 16

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 16 are:PM Christopher Luxon has given a very hawkish interview to the Financial Times-$$$ correspondent in Washington, Demetri Sevastopulu, saying ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 16

    Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 6:00 am are:BNZ released its Performance of Services Index for June, finding that services sector is at its lowest level of activity ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The second crisis; assumption was the mother

    Late on the night of July 16, 1984, while four National Cabinet Ministers were meeting in the Beehive office of Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay, plotting the ultimate downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, another crisis was building up in another part of the capital. The United States ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?

    This is a re-post from The Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler Air conditioning was initially a symbol of comfort and wealth, enjoyed by the wealthy in theaters and upscale homes. Over time, as technology advanced and costs decreased, air conditioning became more accessible to the general public. With global warming, though, ...
    6 days ago
  • Review: The Zimiamvian Trilogy, by E.R. Eddison (1935-1958)

    I have reviewed some fairly obscure stuff on this blog. Nineteenth century New Zealand speculative fiction. Forgotten Tolkien adaptations. George MacDonald and William Morris. Last month I took a look at The Worm Ouroboros (1922), by E.R. Eddison, which while not strictly obscure, is also not overly inviting to many ...
    6 days ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on the Trump assassination attempt.

    In this episode of “A View from Afar” Selwyn Manning and I discuss the attempt on Donald Trump’s life and its implications for the US elections. The political darkness grows. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Law & Order: National Party 1, Police 0, Public -1

    What happened?Media is reporting that police have lost in their pay dispute with the Coalition Government.Some of you might remember that the police rejected Labour’s previous offer in September, 2023, possibly looking forward to be taken care of by the self-touted ‘Party of Law and Order’ - National.If you look ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the Trump shooting and a potential hike in fees for visiting the doctor

    Having watched Donald Trump systematically exploit social grievances, urge people not to accept his election loss and incite his followers to violent insurrection… it is a bit hard to swallow the media descriptions over the past 24 hours of Trump being a “victim” of violence. More like a case of ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Monday July 15

    The exploitation of workers on the national fibre broadband rollout highlights once again the dark underbelly of our ‘churn and burn’ economy. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:An extraordinary Steve Kilgallon investigation into ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Monday, July 15

    Photo by Jessica Loaiza on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last three days to 9:00 am on Monday, July 15 are:Investigation: Immigration NZ refused to prosecute an alleged exploiter despite a mountain of evidence - ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • City Centre Rebuild: How Soon Is Now?

    Patrick Reynolds is deputy chair of the City Centre Advisory Panel and a director of Greater Auckland There is ongoing angst about construction disruption in the city centre. And fair enough: it’s very tough, CRL and other construction has been going on for a very long time. Like the pandemic, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Patrick Reynolds
    6 days ago
  • Peril, dismay, resolution

    This afternoon we rolled into Budapest to bring to a close our ride across Europe. We did 144 km yesterday, severe heat messages coming in from the weather app as we bounced along unformed Hungarian back roads and a road strip strewn with fallen trees from an overnight tornado. Somewhere ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Bullet the Blue Sky

    In the locust windComes a rattle and humJacob wrestled the angelAnd the angel was overcomeYou plant a demon seedYou raise a flower of fireWe see them burnin' crossesSee the flames, higher and higherBullet the blue skyBullet the blue skyThe indelible images, the soundtrack of America. Guns, assassinations, where-were-you-when moments attached ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 15

    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the three days to 6:00 am on Monday, July 23 are:University of Auckland researcher Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy published an analysis of the impact of Auckland's 2016 zoning reforms.BNZ's latest Performance ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s diary for the week to July 23 and beyond

    TL;DR: The six key events to watch in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy in the week to July 23 include:PM Christopher Luxon has returned from a trip to the United States and may hold a post-Cabinet news conference at 4:00 pm today.The BusinessNZ-BNZ PSI survey results for June will be released this ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Was The Assassination Attempt Fake?

    Hi,It’s in incredible photo, and we’re going to be talking about it for a long time:Trump, triumphantly raising his hand in the air after being shot. Photo credit: Evan VucciYou can watch what happened on YouTube in real time, as a 20-year-old from Pennsylvania lets off a series of gunshots ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • 40 years ago, inside the crisis that made modern NZ

    It had rained all day in Auckland, and the Metro Theatre in Mangere was steamed up inside as more and more people arrived to celebrate what had once seemed impossible. Sir Robert Muldoon had lost the 1984 election. “Piggy” Muldoon was no more. Such was the desire to get rid ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

    A listing of 34 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, July 7, 2024 thru Sat, July 13, 2024. Story of the week It's still early summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The season comes as our first year of 1.5°C warming ...
    7 days ago
  • Unsurprising, but Trump shooting creates opportunity for a surprising response

    I can’t say I’m shocked. As the US news networks offer rolling coverage dissecting the detail of today’s shooting at a Donald Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, and we hear eye-witnesses trying to make sense of their trauma, the most common word being used is shock. And shocking it is. ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    7 days ago
  • Escalation in the States as Trump is shot and his allies capitalize on the moment

    Snapshot summary of the shooting in the States belowAnd a time to remember what Abraham Lincoln once said of the United States of America:We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • Bernie Sanders: Joe Biden for President

    I will do all that I can to see that President Biden is re-elected. Why? Despite my disagreements with him on particular issues, he has been the most effective president in the modern history of our country and is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump — a demagogue and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • Questions from God

    Have you invited God into your online life? Do you have answers for his questions? Did I just assume God’s pronouns?Before this goes any further, or gets too blasphemous, a word of explanation. When I say “God”, I don’t meant your god(s), if you have one/them. The God I speak ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • The politics of money and influence

    Did you know: Four days ago, the CEO of Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), David Zaslav, opined that he didn’t really care who won the US Presidential election, so long as they were M&A and business friendly. Please share my Substack so I can continue my work. Thank you and happy ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Auckland & Transport Minister Simeon Brown's insanity

    Excuse me, but I just don’t feel like being polite today. What is going on with Simeon Brown? I mean, really? After spending valuable Ministerial time, focus, and government resources to overturn tailored speed limits in school and high fatality zones that *checks notes* reduces the risk of deaths and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Were scientists caught falsifying data in the hacked emails incident dubbed 'climategate'?

    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Were scientists caught falsifying data in the ...
    1 week ago
  • What Happened to David D'Amato's Millions?

    Today’s podcast episode is for paying Webworm members — and is a conversation seven years in the making. Let me explain.Hi,As I hit “send” on this newsletter, I’m about to play my 2016 documentary Tickled to a theatre full of about 400 Webworm readers in Auckland, New Zealand.And with Tickled ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Voting as a multi-order process of choice.

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    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago

  • Oceans and Fisheries Minister to Solomons

    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is travelling to the Solomon Islands tomorrow for meetings with his counterparts from around the Pacific supporting collective management of the region’s fisheries. The 23rd Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee and the 5th Regional Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Honiara from 23 to 26 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Government launches Military Style Academy Pilot

    The Government today launched the Military Style Academy Pilot at Te Au rere a te Tonga Youth Justice residence in Palmerston North, an important part of the Government’s plan to crackdown on youth crime and getting youth offenders back on track, Minister for Children, Karen Chhour said today. “On the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Nine priority bridge replacements to get underway

    The Government has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has begun work to replace nine priority bridges across the country to ensure our state highway network remains resilient, reliable, and efficient for road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“Increasing productivity and economic growth is a key priority for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Update on global IT outage

    Acting Prime Minister David Seymour has been in contact throughout the evening with senior officials who have coordinated a whole of government response to the global IT outage and can provide an update. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has designated the National Emergency Management Agency as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand, Japan renew Pacific partnership

    New Zealand and Japan will continue to step up their shared engagement with the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “New Zealand and Japan have a strong, shared interest in a free, open and stable Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.    “We are pleased to be finding more ways ...
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    2 days ago
  • New infrastructure energises BOP forestry towns

    New developments in the heart of North Island forestry country will reinvigorate their communities and boost economic development, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones visited Kaingaroa and Kawerau in Bay of Plenty today to open a landmark community centre in the former and a new connecting road in ...
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    2 days ago
  • 'Pacific Futures'

    President Adeang, fellow Ministers, honourable Diet Member Horii, Ambassadors, distinguished guests.    Minasama, konnichiwa, and good afternoon, everyone.    Distinguished guests, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today to talk about New Zealand’s foreign policy reset, the reasons for it, the values that underpin it, and how it ...
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    2 days ago
  • Delivering 24 hour pothole repairs

    Kiwis and freight operators will benefit from the Coalition Government delivering on its commitment to introduce targets that will ensure a greater number of potholes on our state highways are identified and fixed within 24 hours, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Increasing productivity to help rebuild our economy is a key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals

    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
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    3 days ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan

    The Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows we can stay within the limits of the first two emissions budgets while growing the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “This draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows that with effective climate change policies we can both grow the economy and deliver our ...
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    3 days ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset

    The coalition Government is providing extra support for job seekers to ensure as many Kiwis as possible are in work or preparing for work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “While today’s quarterly data showing a rise in the number of people on Jobseeker benefits has been long ...
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    3 days ago
  • School attendance continues to increase

    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
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    3 days ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway

    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news of progress being made by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on the first of several crucial resilience projects underway on the South Island’s West Coast.“State highways across the West Coast are critical lifelines for communities throughout the region, including for freight and tourism. ...
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    3 days ago
  • Migrant school leavers to get part-time work rights

    The coalition Government is providing migrant school leavers with greater opportunities, by increasing access to part-time work rights for those awaiting the outcome of a family residence application, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has announced.  “Many young people who are part of a family residence application process are unable to work. ...
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    4 days ago
  • Funding to support use of NZ Sign Language

    Seven projects have received government funding totalling nearly $250,000 to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Initiatives that received an NZSL Board Community Grants this year include camps that support the use of NZSL through physical and sensory activities, and clubs where Deaf people and ...
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    4 days ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery

    Today’s Consumer Price Index data which has inflation at 3.3 per cent for the year to July 2024, shows we are turning our economy around and winning the fight against rampant inflation, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “While today’s data will be welcome news for Kiwis, I know many New ...
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    4 days ago
  • Experts to advise Minister on Oranga Tamariki

    The Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board has been re-established by the Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “I look forward to working with the new board to continue to ensure Oranga Tamariki and the care and protection system, are entirely child centric,” Minister Chhour says. “The board will provide independent advice ...
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    5 days ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access

    Associate Health Minister David Seymour says he has set clear expectations for Pharmac around delivering the medicines and medical technology that Kiwis need.  “For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. New cancer medicines ...
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    5 days ago
  • Regional Development Minister to host summits

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    5 days ago
  • Government delivers new school for Rolleston

    The Coalition Government is addressing growing demands on Canterbury’s school network, by delivering a new primary school in Rolleston, Education Minister Erica Stanford says. Within Budget 24’s $400 million investment into school property growth, construction will begin on a new primary school (years 1-8) in Selwyn, Canterbury.  Rolleston South Primary ...
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    5 days ago
  • New speed camera signs to improve safety

    The Government is welcoming the rollout of new speed camera signs for fixed speed cameras to encourage drivers to check their speeds, improving road safety and avoiding costly speeding tickets, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Providing Kiwis with an opportunity to check their speed and slow down in high crash areas ...
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    5 days ago
  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship

    New Zealand and the Republic of Korea continue to strengthen their relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand and Korea have a long history – from New Zealand soldiers fighting in the Korean War, through to our strong cooperation today as partners supporting the international rules-based order.    ...
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    6 days ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality

    The Government is moving forward with recommendations from the Tourism Data Leadership Group, beginning with establishing a Tourism Data Partnership Fund says Tourism and Hospitality Minister Matt Doocey. “The Tourism Data Partnership Fund is funded through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and will provide up to $400,000 ...
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    6 days ago
  • 4000 more job seekers to get case managers

    A new over-the-phone employment case management service will see thousands more job seekers under the age of 25 supported to find work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston has announced. “MSD case managers provide valuable support to help people into work, but less than a third of those receiving ...
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    6 days ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy

    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
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    7 days ago
  • Ministers reveal consequences for unruly Kāinga Ora tenants

    Ministers are pleased to see Kāinga Ora taking a stronger approach to managing unruly, threatening or abusive tenants, Housing Minister Chris Bishop and Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka say.    “For far too long, a small number of Kāinga Ora tenants have ridden roughshod over their neighbours because, under Kāinga ...
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    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today chaired a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Four (IP4) countries – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The IP4 met in the context of NATO’s Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden. “Prosperity is only possible with security,” Mr Luxon says. “We need ...
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    1 week ago
  • District Court judges appointed

    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
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    1 week ago
  • Urgent review into Wairoa flood response begins

    Environment Minister, Penny Simmonds today announced the terms of reference for a rapid review into the Wairoa flood response. “The Wairoa community has raised significant concerns about the management of the Wairoa River bar and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds. “The Government ...
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    1 week ago
  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended

    New Zealand has extended its contribution to the US-led coalition working to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The decision to extend this deployment is reflective of the continued need to partner and act in line with New ...
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  • Government provides support to tackle tax debt and compliance

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