- Date published:
9:03 am, April 29th, 2018 - 32 comments
Categories: labour, national, phil goff, phil twyford, public transport, same old national, sustainability, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, transport - Tags: jami-lee ross, northcote by election
Steven Joyce’s claim that there was a $11.5 billion hole in Labour’s budget is at one level correct. But it was National’s ineptitude and failure to fund things which was the cause.
Take for instance Auckland’s Transport network. After nine long years it is a mess. If it was not for the extensive rail improvements that have come on line and the sanctioning of the completion of the ring route which the last Labour Government did not much would have happened if you exclude the construction of extraordinarily expensive but extraordinarily inefficient roads of national significance. And National had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the realisation that the city rail link was a vital piece of infrastructure.
There is this big backlog of unfunded projects that need to be started on. And paid for.
National’s last attempt had a $5.9 billion hole in its budget. Labour has added other projects to the mix, toned down some of the really silly projects and come up with a proposal to fill the fiscal hole.
From Dan Satherley at Newshub:
Phil Twyford says National left a $9.7 billion “fiscal hole” in Auckland’s transportation budget, describing it as “another hand grenade in the bottom drawer that we’ve inherited”.
The Transport Minister on Thursday teamed up with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff to reveal a $28 billion plan to fix the city’s congestion over the next decade. It shifts much of the focus of the previous plan, developed by Auckland Council and National, from roads to public transport.
It’s a couple of billion dollars more than National was planning to spend, paid for by an upcoming fuel tax for the Auckland region.
“We have closed the funding gap,” Mr Twyford told The AM Show on Friday. “The programme of investment we announced yesterday is fully funded.”
National’s response to something that is pretty exciting is pretty turgid.
National’s Northcote candidate Dan Bidois thinks it is unfair to Northcote residents and they will not see any benefit. From his press release:
A Government and Auckland Council plan to throw more cash at the city’s transport needs does nothing for people on the North Shore – in spite of forcing them to pay $15 more every time they fill up, National’s Northcote candidate Dan Bidois says.
“Today we’ve got proof that actions speak louder than words, and that despite what it says, Labour doesn’t really care about hardworking residents on this side of the bridge,” Mr Bidois says.
“They’ve got cash for trams down Dominion Road and cash for the south, east, and west of the city – but the North Shore seems to have fallen off the map – in spite of the massive new petrol tax. I’d like to ask Phil Goff and Phil Twyford, why that’s the case?
But as Simon Wilson points out there is a great deal for North Shore residents from ATAP including the following:
And the light rail is not yet funded and is not being funded by the regional fuel tax.
Jami Lee Ross claims the tax increases will cost Aucklanders hundreds of dollars a year. Wilson estimates the increases will cost the average car owner between $2.33 and $2.76 per week.
Ross also thinks that all Labour is doing is repackaging National projects. Some of them were but they were unfunded. Having a gazillion projects ready to go but not being funded is not the way a responsible Government behaves.
And National is trying to drum up anti Auckland resentment in the provinces even though Auckland will only be receiving 38 percent of the National Land Transport Fund over the next decade, despite growing much faster than the rest of the country. It is estimated that around 55 percent of all population growth in New Zealand over the next 10 years is expected to be concentrated in the Auckland region. Auckland has about a third of the country’s population.
The politics are pretty turgid and pretty ugly. Drum up resentment both locally over paying more money and nationally because Aucklanders are getting too much.
But the city needs this. Desperately. If you want to build a future proof properly functioning city this costs. And has to be planned for and funded.