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Kapiti Expressway a half billion dollar waste

Written By: - Date published: 8:27 am, November 1st, 2012 - 64 comments
Categories: transport - Tags:

Campbell Live had a piece on Monday based on a leaked report into the benefit cost ratio of National’s Kapiti Expressway project. Now, in its evidence to the EPA hearings on the project, NZTA has claimed the BCR was 0.93 – ie you only get 93 cents worth of gain for each dollar spent. It turns out that was a massive exaggeration. In reality, we get 20 cents of value for every dollar spent. For $630m, we get $120m of gain. The other $510m, we basically burn. It has all the economic value of paying someone to dig a hole and fill it in again.

We shouldn’t really be surprised by the fact that this project, like the Puhoi to Wellsford Holiday Highway isn’t worthwhile. They basically involve building a new, wider, road alongside the existing road – despite the fact that traffic volumes on the existing road are falling. What will happen? The existing road will be emptied (but still cost to maintain etc) and the new road won’t be used at anything like its design capacity.

Put it in personal terms: say you’re a couple in middle-age. You’ve got a normal house. It was pretty crowded when all the kids lived at home but they’re leaving now. And, so, you decide to build a mansion alongside your existing house. Now, you’ve about three times the housing capacity to rattle around in, less demand in your family unit for housing, and a mountain more debt.

That’s what National is doing with your taxpayer dollars with these ludicrous roading projects – burning half a billion dollars, just for the hell of it.

Now, how many affordable houses could that build?

Think on that the next time National says it can’t afford to do something important for people in need.


64 comments on “Kapiti Expressway a half billion dollar waste”

  1. Steve Wrathall 1

    But the kids aren’t leaving. Number 4,444,444 just arrived

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      But they’re not driving and, in a few years, they won’t be able to.

      • Steve Wrathall 1.1.1

        yeah, like the Club of Rome who said in 1972 that oil would run out by 1992

        • Dv

          So Steve Oil won’t run out?

        • Lanthanide

          Note that their predictions were made before the massive slump in oil demand in the 70’s and 80’s.

          I’m sure they still underestimated the total flow rates (as did Hubbert) but their analysis is sound: there will be one year where the oil production of the world was less than the year before. Eventually there will be 5 years in a row where the oil production declined by each year.

          We just have to hope that when the production declines, our oil demand can be curtailed effectively and without turmoil.

        • Colonial Viper

          yeah, like the Club of Rome who said in 1972 that oil would run out by 1992

          You made that shit up, loser.

        • Draco T Bastard

          like the Club of Rome who said in 1972 that oil would run out by 1992

          [citation needed]

          BTW, the projections that were made in Limits to Growth are pretty much bang on.

  2. Five years ago a project with a BC of less than about 2 to 2.5 would not be funded such was the competition for funds.

    For a project with a BC of 0.2 to be funded is bizarre.  You will find too that the ongoing cost of maintenance of the existing road is not part of this calculation so the return will be even lower than the figure quoted.

    And it is true that volumes have been dropping.  And with peak oil approaching quickly the project looks like a gold plated waste of time that our grandchildren will curse us for.

    • seanm 2.1

      Except – what will we do in 20 years time when our population is 7 million as has been predicted?

      All you are talking about is the trend as of today – completely ignoring whats coming over the hill in the distance.

      Who cares about peak oil – I guarantee you that there will be a replacement for combustion engines – pretending that there won’t be is laughable.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        Who cares about peak oil – I guarantee you that there will be a replacement for combustion engines – pretending that there won’t be is laughable.

        Bicycles and clydesdales will be the replacement for combustion engines. NZ can do electric trams and steam trains too.

        • PlanetOrphan

          Imagine 2000 clydesdales walking over the Auckland Harbour Bridge everyday M8! 🙁

          Like that truckie from southland was saying on TV, that shits’ gotta go somewhere M8! |-(

      • mickysavage 2.1.2

        Nah Sean we are in a gradual decline as the population increases and various resources peak in production and start to run out.  We are just going to have to live slower and rely on transport less.  Or Crash.  One or the other.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.3

        Except – what will we do in 20 years time when our population is 7 million as has been predicted?

        If our population gets to 7m then we’ve got a problem.

        I guarantee you that there will be a replacement for combustion engines – pretending that there won’t be is laughable.

        Nobody said that there won’t be a replacement. What’s been said is that the replacement won’t be able to maintain what we have today.

    • Georgecom 2.2

      About 5 minutes 10 secs through the Campbell video Brownlee is stating how BCRs are not the sole determinant of deciding if things are built. So, value for money needent be part of the equation?

      He does have to go back to the 1880s, Vogels infrastructure spending, to provide an example. IN those times Vogel was expanding into new territories and using new technology, rail. No great frontiers for Brownlee to plough into and he isn’t using any great new technology, rather, something running on a resource that is plateauing.

      This National Government is expert at looking backward but poor at looking forward. Rather than looking forward to the “Brighter Future” rubbish Key tried to promise people, he is looking backward to a radiant past.

  3. Bill 3

    Think on that the next time National says it can’t afford to do something important for people in need.

    Anyone know how to calculate the cost/benefit ratio for….oh, I dunno…let’s say raising welfare entitlements to survivable levels? I mean, if people on entitlements have enough money to spend through businesses other than the large corporates (electricity, supermarkets, telecoms)…then wouldn’t that represent a significant economic benefit…more money going to a wider spread of businesses potentially facilitating small business growth? Or am I misunderstanding the basis of this whole cost/benefit ratio malarky?

    Or is it maybe better to slather industrial waste over the landscape and issue directives to arbitrarily slash welfare entitlements by up to 30 – 40% – as is currently happening to myself and a number of other people I’m running across?

    (And yes, I probably will have to be a post on WINZ’s recent enthusiastic adoption of a particularily venal and viscious victorian culture.)

    • Lightly 3.1

      they say the BCR for early childhood education is about 8. ie. spending a dollar on ECE produces 40 times more value than spending that dollar on the Kapiti expressway.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Nice use of what has become an anti-Keynesian meme “dig a hole and fill it up again.”

    • Zorr 4.1

      It isn’t anti-Keynesian because the point behind Keynesian-ism (if that is even a word) is that the government spends to get the engine of the economy started again – however, this spending still has to meet the requirement that it *stimulate* further economic gains rather than just simply tipping money in to the economy.

      Providing millions to Downer (or other large engineering firms) is the equivalent of tipping that money down the gullet of the already rich. Rather than providing financial relief to those struggling in the current climate

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        If you want to stimulate the economy you never, ever give more money to the rich either directly (tax cuts) or indirectly (hiring large private firms) as all that ever does is accelerate the already excessive accumulation of the rich. To stimulate the economy the government spends in such a way so that the money ends up in the hands of the many and not the few. Building and maintaining infrastructure, spending on R&D, and increasing educational possibilities. Basically, spending that directly hires people and thus puts the money directly in their pockets as well as spending that actually develops the economy.

        Oh, and tax the bejeezus out of the rich so as to stop that over accumulation that they’ve got going on that destroys the economy.

      • Georgecom 4.1.2

        or taking $100 in cash and flushing $80 down the toilet.

  5. Hilary 5

    I travel that route a lot and it is rarely crowded, even on holiday weekends. In the last year I have only had one 20 minute delay coming into Otaki from the north – otherwise steady. Parts of the road are narrow and in poor condition in the Otaki to Levin section but that is the piece that the Government has already dropped.The Government’s abandonment of the Capital Connection train might mean that part is also more heavily used.

    • TightyRighty 5.1

      Are you serious? I drive that route all the time and the time it takes to travel sixty kilometres in an area that could not even be remotely considered built up is criminal. But it’s ok, businesses should suffer because the left hates roads and thinks we should all travel by train regardless of personal circumstance.

      I’d always drive through the wairarapa to go to Hawkes Bay to avoid the kapiti coast, the only time i ever drive is when i have to. An hour, sometimes hour and a half to do sixty k’s? on a highway? yea, don’t do anything to improve it, that will help productivity.

      • taxicab 5.1.1

        TR telling bullshit again . I have for the past 11 years driven frequently on a Saturday during peak time from Levin to Wellington central 93 ks (at the legal speed limit) in 1 hour and 15 minutes . weekdays at peak time takes 1 and a half hours at worst . The only improvements that should be contemplated for the Kapiti region should be the Western bypass that was dumped by that dork Joyce in preference of building a rediculous piece of highway that benefits only one set of users the Heavy Transport Industry because their soon to be introduced heavier tonnage trucks would collapse the rail overbridge at the north end of Paraparaumu . I repeat this is to appease one set of transport users only . And of course the Govt’s mates in the roading industry .

        • seanm

          Saturday is off-peak foolio.

          Peak travel times are morning and evening rush hours on weekdays.

          • taxicab

            Seanm . There is busy times in the weekend as well foolio . Note I specifically mentioned the weekend so as not to confuse seems it didn’t work for you though !! In case you have been in a coma we now live in a 7 day a week society with many retailers open 7 days . Your comments to others suggest you are a the one who is a bit prissy or maybe just a desperate attempt to justify the lunacy of the right .

        • TightyRighty

          Wow, the weekend road warrior out on the troll.

          You retard, ever had to do it for work during the week? when the trucks are on the road and then the oldies decide to get out in their fucking honda jazz’s and drive at eighty the whole way? It’s a shit drive. the whole way. it takes far to long to get absolutely fucking nowhere. It’s not like it’s auckland to hamilton, which is an important centre. It’s wellington to levin, which is a nothing town. Forget the P. North is the largest distribution unit in the country and it’s almost quicker to get to napier from their than the captial. despite being roughly equi-distant.

      • Hilary 5.1.2

        I expect you go at 100kph over the Rimutaka road then? Particularly easy with all those logging trucks. I have no problem driving around around Paekakariki at 80ks on a single lane. The traffic is steady and never congested. And why does more speed necessary mean more productivity?
        By the way I go to Palmerston North a lot and would love to take the train but there is only one a day and nothing in the weekends.

        • seanm

          The Rimutaka hill is a tiny part of the trip from Wellington to Woodville. Smokescreen.

          Try driving North at 80 km/hr by pie-kok during evening rush hour any day of the week. It can take up to 2 hours to get from Wellington to the other side of Waikanae sometimes.

          • thatguynz

            What absolute tripe. The only times that even comes close is around 5pm on a Friday, on a public holiday or when there’s been an accident.. Stop being disingenuous..

            Oh and btw, it’s paekak..

        • TightyRighty

          The ability to drive at the open road speed limit creates efficiency. you like the train? Take the train then retard. what timetables don’t work for you? that’s how trains work. DUH!!

          Paekakariki? one small section that does work well, of a very long and congested main road out of the CAPITAL!!

          Rimutaka hill is actually pretty good these days. only takes twenty minutes, then it’s open road in either direction.

          • Colonial Viper

            The ability to drive at the open road speed limit creates efficiency

            Driving 10km/hr under the open road speed limit is far more fuel efficient than driving at the limit.

          • Draco T Bastard

            The ability to drive at the open road speed limit creates efficiency.

            No it doesn’t – it creates inefficiency.

            you like the train? Take the train then retard. what timetables don’t work for you? that’s how trains work. DUH!!

            And yet if the road wasn’t there the far more efficient trains would be used more and the train timetable would be better. Use of cars and building roads has massively decreased efficiency.

    • Ben 5.2

      The only time I’ve ever experienced congestion on that road is on holiday weekends, Christmas, or after an accident.

      Are we really spending hundreds of millions of dollars so we can get an easier trip to Kapiti for a long weekend? That’s fucking pathetic.

      • seanm 5.2.1

        Every day of the week it is jam packed in the evenings going North from 3-5, and in the mornings going South towards Wellington.

        Whats more pathetic is your prissy little anecdote that means nothing.

        • thatguynz

          Seriously, if you call that jam packed what would you call the Wellington motorway from Ngauranga Gorge towards town at around the same time? Or Auckland motorways any time after 3pm? They’re closer to “jam packed” than any stretch of SH1 through Kapiti.

          Your prissy little anecdote has significant foundations in bullshit.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    Some good questions about transport in NZ being asked over at Auckland Transport Blog:

    I understand that politicians are setting the funding bands and that they will push for certain projects to be bumped up priority lists – and that the profession needs to work with this situation. However, there’s nothing stopping the profession from waking up to the flat-lining in traffic growth and fixing the future transport models so they accurately reflect this trend. There’s nothing stopping the profession from then highlighting how particular projects don’t actually stack up anymore. The politicians may choose to still proceed with them, but there’ll at least be public knowledge that X project is happening even though an objective analysis of it says that it probably shouldn’t. Or that Y project isn’t happening even though a good analysis of it suggests that it probably should.

    Unfortunately, for one reason or another, the profession seems largely unable to do this at the moment. Is it inertia? Is it that politics is more involved in what should be operational matters than I had thought? Is it because there are a few dinosaur transport professionals in influential positions who just need to go and retire? Whatever it is, the transport profession needs to lift its game. There’s a huge amount of money riding on it doing so!

    The Kapiti Expressway is certainly one place where the professionals should be calling out the government.

  7. tracey 7

    Its how the opposition frame this which will determine the level of waste…

  8. fabregas4 8

    Been a while since I drove north from Wellington but back say 15 years ago it was a bloody nightmare up to Whitby at least so I’d imagine it is worse now. I’m not sure oil running out will stop cars being on roads either. Does that mean wasting money on them is ok – nope but it does require some semblence of balance probably.

  9. SPC 10

    How come they use the economic cost of people in traffic to justify building roads – then they cut local delivery of services and do not factor the cost of people in traffic (to access services elsewhere) when making these decisions?

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      Well then I suggest you sue them.

    • gobsmacked 11.2

      It may have been misreported. But was the leader misquoted?

      Labour can’t keep doing this. They can’t keep saying “No, actually this is our policy …” after the policy has been muddled, by the party’s leader.

      Phil, it is your responsibility, as a member of caucus, to ensure that Labour’s policies are communicated effectively. So why did you choose a leader who can’t communicate?

      This is basic, BASIC stuff.

  10. Oil isn’t running out, socialist folks. And even if it were, guess what, the earth is making more. how do you think it got made in the first place?
    Roads are awesome – they promote trade. I and eight million other people drive the San Francisco freeways everyday. And it’s amazing what an economic powerhouse San Jose etc is. And it’s amaxing how hampered by anti road sentiment that new Zealand is.

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      Monique says oil isn’t running out and the Earth is making more! Saved!

      Tell me Monique, why can’t we buy a barrel of oil for US$30 like we could ten years ago? Why did it go up in price almost 300% in just ten years?

      Could it be…SCARCITY? :mrgreen:

      • Doug 12.2.1

        Brent Crude is $108.00 And going down
        Colonial Viper Labor and Equipment costs account for price rises also what the producers think they can screw out of the buyers. Remember it’s OPEC that regulates oil price


        • PlanetOrphan

          $90 a barrel and the pressure seems to decrease somewhat …. $100 is breaking even.
          (My novice impression of it all.)

        • Colonial Viper

          Brent Crude is $108.00 And going down

          So where did US$30/barrel oil go? I’ll give you a clue: we sold out of that cheap discount oil. We only have expensive oil left.

          Remember it’s OPEC that regulates oil price

          How can OPEC do that when it controls just 1/3 of world oil production today? And when big oil producers like Russia, Canada, Iraq, Iran and Libya are not OPEC members?

    • Georgecom 12.3

      Thank goodness for all those subterranean elves churning out new oil, eh monique. If we can now get Santa Claus and the tooth fairy to do the same, gosh, we’ll be awash with petrol.

    • millsy 12.4

      Do you like rail?

    • Dv 12.5

      Only problem, it takes about a million years, and needs swamps to start with.

  11. Athena 13

    You say the Earth is making more oil. Yep, thanks to fossil fuel use we are heating up the planet, killing the oceans and changing the climate, so conditions can turn out like the carboniferous period when the oil was laid down. Hey, just keep driving, it’s all just a natural cycle. Pity about the mass extinctions, but I guess the selfish and willfully ignorant wouldn’t lose sleep over that.

  12. Something I wrote for a local site

    Robert Atack says Expressway is ‘Final Insult’

    A commentary on oil, the planet, and the Expressway, by Robert Atack

    “This expressway is the final insult.

    It is official, the world hit peak oil extraction in March 2005 — some like to say 2006, but whatever the year it is now in the past.

    Parliamentary Services (PS) came out with a report in October 2010 stating New Zealand could start seeing problems importing transport fuel as soon as 2012.

    There aren’t enough resources left to convert the current 800 million – to one-billion-plus oil-dependent vehicles to run on alternatives. So it is a given that as oil becomes less available there will be fewer cars using the current roading infrastructure.

    If what the International Energy Agency (IEA) has predicted comes to fruition, and New Zealand can maintain its current global share of oil imports, then at best we face a 9% annual decrease in imports (if we maintain market share).

    So to reiterate – Parliamentary Services has stated NZ faces shortages from about 2012, and the IEA say at best the decrease will be 9%.

    The government is a member of the IEA, and up until recently always quoted them (as predicting peak oil to be 2035 – 37).You can read this on my website, in several letters from different ministers of energy since 2002.

    After a few years of 9% decrease, Kapiti residents will be looking back to these days and laughing at the foolishness of a society that couldn’t recognize the end of growth, and the end of the era of entitlement.

    We are fast going to understand how important the rail network will be, to ship food into Kapiti and Wellington if nothing else.

    The insult is that this current group of politicians have had ample information, both from citizens of New Zealand and some of their own advisers.

    Also I’ve been asking KCDC to take these issues seriously for 9 years.

    Globally all politicians have had this information since 1999, when Dr Collin Campbell gave his lecture “Peak Oil – The Turning Point for Mankind” in the London House of Commons.

    It took me about three weeks of sleepless nights to work it out after reading Collin’s talk. Yet energy ministers from Pete Hodgson to Gerry Brownlee have continually fobbed off our efforts to inform them.

    So the insanity goes on (the Kapiti Expressway), with people being placed under unnecessary stress by the threat of this never-to-be-built monstrosity crashing through their homes.

    The truth is way more terrifying than the road and maybe that is why the government will keep playing this charade of maintaining business as usual, until we can’t.

    If the road is started, I hope for your sakes it isn’t near your homes. We have way more problems facing us as a community than this side show.

    Mandy Hager is going to have some ideas as to what we can do to prepare for a post 2012 lifestyle; I look forward to reading her suggestions.

    The ongoing oil depletion predicament could lead directly and quickly to widespread starvation in NZ. Is that important enough for you to pause and think?

    If you’re among the mainstream media, the answer is no. If you’re any politician the answer is no. If you want to continue the process of human-population overshoot on an overshot planet, the answer is no. If you’re a defender of capitalism, the answer is no.

    If you’re among the few people working to minimize the forthcoming misery by informing people about the facts, it seems we’ve already lost, with not one single politician aiding our mission.

    What will your children say?

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      The ongoing oil depletion predicament could lead directly and quickly to widespread starvation in NZ. Is that important enough for you to pause and think?

      Pretty much mainly in Auckland though.

  13. Wychbych 15

    I live in Kapiti, and it will be built right through our communities, ruining the fabric of our ‘seaside town’ feel.

    They voted to not use the existing State Highway, instead carving their way through houses, protected ecosystems and urupa. I hardly need mention the cost benefit ratio, though I’d like to know if Joyce has business/director-type links to the contractors bidding for this project.

    • thatguynz 15.1


    • tc 15.2

      ‘though I’d like to know if Joyce has business/director-type links to the contractors bidding for this project’

      Rhetorical question of the day that one, why do you think they’re doing it.

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  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    3 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago