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Nats’ motorways going on the credit card

Written By: - Date published: 7:20 am, August 15th, 2012 - 44 comments
Categories: debt / deficit, transport - Tags:

Transport spending has always been paid for out of road taxes. But National’s roads to nowhere cost too much and road user tax revenue is stagnant because traffic volumes are responding to high petrol prices.

They’ve added huge top ups from general tax but it’s still not enough to meet the rising costs of the motorways. They’ve cut every other area of transport spending to the bone. Still not enough.

Now, National’s going to start borrowing for their motorways. They’re going to chuck it on the credit card, rather than re-examining whether they should be building these projects at all.

With petrol prices nudging the all-time record and traffic volumes falling, you have to wonder why we would take on debt to fund $12 billion of uneconomic roads on routes that only 4% of drivers use.

[just listening to Morning Report. They’ve got a infrastructure building company shill on for a soft interview saying that borrowing for building these projects is great. He’s already lied about the total cost of the RoNS and their benefit:cost ratio. Later, they’re having Gerry Brownlee on for a soft interview. Phil Twyford and Julie Anne Genter each got a single line in the reported piece. Nice balance guys.]

44 comments on “Nats’ motorways going on the credit card”

  1. The benefit cost ratio is the essence of why this is such a dumb idea.  Why borrow money to invest in something where the return is less than the cost of borrowing?

    And these guys are meant to be economic geniuses? 

    • Bored 1.1

      Mickey , are you being deliberately obtuse about the “economic geniuses”? Its political, they don’t give a fekk about returns. Are we not allowed to say out loud that this represents deliberate corruption, giving money to their mates in the roading construction and transport sectors?

    • KJT 1.2

      Not so stupid when you see the extent of support NACT gets from the trucking lobby.

    • Polish Pride 1.3

      Interesting that under a ‘Resource Based Economy’ rather than the current monetary one. Building the roads wouldn’t be a problem and wouldn’t require borrowing.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1

        Even under Positive Money system there would be no need of borrowing. The government prints the money at 0% interest to pay for the roads to be built and then raises taxes slightly to offset the increased spending.

        • Colonial Viper 1.3.1.1

          Yep. Either taxes or savings rates could be raised in order to withdraw excess money from circulation.

          • mike e 1.3.1.1.1

            not if that sector is isolated like the CHCH rebuild.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1.1.1.1

              Um, what?

              Government prints money to rebuild Christchurch essential services and homes, bills the insurance companies.

  2. Hilary 2

    There was an earlier comment (before 7) by Julie Ann Genter that this had been tried and failed in Queensland and many big projects are now in receivership. That, of course, wasn’t repeated in the main bulletin..

  3. Tom Gould 3

    So these Tories are borrowing to build roads that lose money while selling highly profitable assets? What kind of fiscal fool does that? Of course, Business NZ and the Chambers of Commerce say it makes perfect economic sense. If there was ever an example of craven Tory quislings suspending orthodox business judgement to suck up to their Tory mates, this must be it.

  4. Ken Shirley just told a porkie on National Radio by saying that the Waterview Extension has a benefit cost ratio of 4.  The figures I have seen for this project are 1.1 to 1.5.  There is a treasury paper from 2009 that assesses the BCR at 1.15 admittedly including financing costs.

    The main benefits are travel times and reductions in congestion.  As has been said many times when oil prices peak again and fewer people can afford to drive the benefits will not be there.

    • Tom Gould 4.1

      Radio New Zealand News is running the ‘one to four’ number as fact, no mention of Shirley but they did mention Waterview. Their earlier bulletin today noted Waterview was outside the borrowing scheme. So they don’t even read their own news copy. What a bunch of lazy useless dickheads.

  5. Lanthanide 5

    I thought Phil Tyford did pretty well on the National Radio interview.

  6. captain hook 6

    It is becoming more and more obvious that this is a government of arrivistes who are now completely drunk with power.

  7. AmaKiwi 7

    Tom Gould: “borrowing to build roads that lose money while selling highly profitable assets.”

    This government is led by some very intelligent people, which means this is not a business error, it is corruption. Admit it happy, honest Kiwis. Some of our politicians are thieves.

    Does anyone doubt the need for referendums to veto laws passed by parliament?

    If your Tory friends object to veto referendums, remind them of how many times Dictator Helen passed bad laws, how many times they would have liked to have the people overturn one of her laws.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      This government is led by some very intelligent people, which means this is not a business error, it is corruption. Admit it happy, honest Kiwis. Some of our politicians are thieves.

      QFT

      And most of those thieves are in NACT.

  8. ad 8

    I can’t understand what the security is for these proposed loans.

    Can you really take a mortgage out on a road? Would be a pretty odd kind of receivership if the loan was nupaid.

    Anyone enlighten me?

    • Crown guarantee.

      Although National did a lot of work in the 1990s on the privatisation of roads.  Apparently Williamson thought he was close to perfecting a model but they could not work out what to do with intersections between different TLAs … 

    • Crown guarantee.

      Although National did a lot of work in the 1990s on the privatisation of roads.  Apparently Williamson thought he was close to perfecting a model but they could not work out what to do with intersections between different TLAs … 

  9. Tracey 9

    Selling infrastruture to borrow for infrastructure?

    Will we be in the same net position PLUS INTEREST REPAYMENTS

  10. AmaKiwi 10

    Depreciating versus appreciating infrastructure.

    Over time a power company holds its value and may increase in value. (It owns all the best hydro and geothermal locations. The demand for power keeps increasing.)

    Roads are a steadily depreciating asset. Like a house, they are deteriorating from Day 1.

    So it’s selling appreciating infrastructure to buy depreciating infrastructure.

    “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

    • Lanthanide 10.1

      I think that’s a very blanket generalisation that isn’t really true.

      A road needs maintenance, just like a house. A power plant also needs maintenance. It’s easier to maintain an existing road than it is to build an entirely new one from scratch – so a road still maintains value in the form of the opportunity cost it would entail to replace it or not have the road to begin with.

      Also, an earthquake in the southern alps could easily render all of those hydro dams worthless, or changing rainfall patterns could significantly reduce inflows. Geothermal plants also rely on a nearby water source (usually a river), which can again be impacted by changing rainfall patterns. And it’s even possible (although unlikely) for a geothermal hot-spot to rapidly cool due to below-ground changes.

      All we’re really talking about here is the timelines and useful life. A nice tagline from Six Feet Under seems appropriate: Everything. Everyone. Everywhere. Ends.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        Well lets not just pick on the power companies. A massive Southern fault earthquake is likely to render a lot of assets pretty worthless. Similar to what happened in Christchurch.

        Also, the fact that real economy assets need maintenance is not new, right? Financialised assets don’t need similar maintenance…but financialised assets have been shown to be able to “vapourise”…

    • Bored 10.2

      A little considered reality is that hydro power stations have a finite life span unless dredged etc. NZ rivers carry not only a vast amount of water but also vast quantities of sediment. Our rivers are high gradient causing high velocities and high turbulence (means they carry material really well)…they drain fast eroding mountain uplift areas, plus massive glacial sediment deposits….(means there is lots to move..imagine rivers of gravel).

      The Waitaki dams will outlast all of us by a considerable time, but they will fill in without intervention. Have a look at the west end of Benmore next time you pass, its getting very shallow compared to what it was 30 years ago.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    With petrol prices nudging the all-time record and traffic volumes falling,

    And what most people don’t understand is that as demand falls fuel prices will go up as the fixed costs of supplying that fuel aren’t going away which means that each litre of fuel sold carries more of the fixed costs. Fuel prices are at near record but the price of oil is actually quite a bit less now than when those prices did hit that record.

    • think you should forget about the cost of oil as an argument against road spending. cars may not be oil powered that much longer, but humans wont give up personal mobility and security( in your own locked 4wd versus standing in someones vomit while being sneezed on with public transport), so roads will be with us for the forseeable future. the car will be a computer guided blob powered by compressed chookshit, but there will still be roads. the romans pretty much got them right 2000 years ago, even invented the overpass.

      • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1

        cars may not be oil powered that much longer, but humans wont give up personal mobility and security

        If they ain’t oil powered then they ain’t going to exist.

        • Colonial Viper 11.1.1.1

          Everyone into a $50,000 Prius please.

          Oh shit, they just happen to be oil powered too, Mr Andersen. BTW peak US passenger vehicle miles was 2002. Its been falling ever since.

  12. brybry 12

    I wonder. Was the Nats about-turn on the Wellington War Memorial project due to the fact that they suddenly realised that it too is actually a road project?

  13. t gilmour 13

    Read “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”
    by John Perkins – then it all makes sense

  14. jack 14

    Hey Viper, you believe that hype? Obviously someone who wants to sell his book.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      Have you got an actual rebuttal or are you just talking out your arse?

    • Colonial Viper 14.2

      Hey Viper, you believe that hype? Obviously someone who wants to sell his book.

      The “hype” that the Saudi Royal Family agreed to US requests that Saudi oil would only ever be sold in USD? And in exchange, the US would guarantee the security and power of the Saudi Royal Family, providing it with the most modern arms and other assistance?

      That’s not hype buddy, that’s the last 50 years history.

      • Tracey 14.2.1

        Ah Saudi Arabia. Despite the USA launching military crusades in the name of freedom and democracy in other middle east countries this one remains untainted by such quaint notions. And barely a murmur from the US.

        However recently the King decided to let women vote. In 2015. Isn’t that lovely of him?

        “Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has granted women the right to vote and run in 2015 local elections and to be appointed to his advisory Shura Council, but some women’s rights advocates are not satisfied.

        The decree, announced Sunday, is part of King Abdullah’s gradual opening of Saudi Arabia to various rights for women, said Qamar-ul Huda, a specialist on Saudi Arabia at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

        Huda noted that two years ago, the king opened a fully integrated co-ed King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, or KAUST, in the town of Thuwal. The king also appointed the first female deputy minister — of women’s education.”

        Perhaps King Abadullah could be the next GREAT NZer appointed in a foreign country??

  15. jack 15

    Draco, I presume you want facts… I oftened wondered why people like this gentleman who speak about very sensitive issues and is still alive to talk about it. This is why I question his motives. Would you speak knowing someone is in the audience that might pop you off? Are his convictions that strong that he would give up his life?? Or are these corporate people letting him talk for a reason. Maybe someone has an answer.

  16. jack 16

    I might add, I do believe him. Probably 9.5 out of ten wouldn’t. I lived in the states most of my life and have seen the dwindling of the middle class… how the corporations bought elected officials and the news media. He’s right about the 2 political parties making no difference. Key is doing it here. No doubt about it. Soft media and dumbing down the public. Even Key’s “personality” is being sold on tv. That’s how he won. Oh, and the misleading polls… that played a huge part. I do believe this guy but I wonder why is he still alive?

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay
    The Government is pleased to confirm funding for improvements to radiology and surgical services at Hawke's Bay DHB, Health Minister Chris Hipkins says.     "The Minister of Finance the Hon Grant Robertson and former Health Minister Dr David Clark approved funding for Hawke's Bay DHB’s redevelopment of their radiology facilities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
    •    New funding for four beds at Napier’s Springhill Residential Addiction Centre •    A new managed withdrawal home and community service, and peer support before and after residential care at Tairāwhiti DHB  •    A co-ordinated network of withdrawal management services throughout the South Island •    Peer support in Rotorua and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
    Introduction, seafarers and POAL Good morning everyone, I am delighted to be online with you all today. Before I begin, I have to acknowledge that COVID-19 has disrupted the maritime sector on an unprecedented scale. The work of seafarers and the maritime industry is keeping many economies around the world ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
    A $13 million investment from Government will create jobs and improve the resilience of the rail connection between Christchurch and the West Coast, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau say. The funding comes from the tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Major investment in safe drinking water
    The Government is investing $761 million to assist local government upgrade under-pressure water services across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  The announcement was made at the site of the water bore that was found to be the source of the fatal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
    Recognised Seasonal Employers and migrant seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand will be able to continue working and supporting themselves with more flexible hours and roles, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. The time-limited visa changes are: Stranded RSE workers will be able to work part-time (a minimum of 15 hours ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
    The Government is making immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while also ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. We are: Extending temporary work visas due to expire by the end of 2020 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
    Professor Peter Skelton CNZM has been appointed as Chief Freshwater Commissioner and Alternate Environment Court Judge Craig James Thompson as Deputy Chief Freshwater Commissioner for the newly established Freshwater Planning Process (FPP). Environment Minister David Parker today also announced the appointment of Chief Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Queen’s Counsel Neil Campbell has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Campbell graduated with a BCom and LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1992. He spent two years with Bell Gully Buddle Weir in Auckland before travelling to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
    The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to better enable the development and operation of commercial film and video facilities in Christchurch. The Proposal, developed by Regenerate Christchurch in response to a request from Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
    The Government has launched a bold plan to boost primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade, while protecting the environment and growing jobs. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today released Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential, a 10-year roadmap to unlock greater value ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
    A new approach to prevent family harm that encourages greater collaboration across government and community groups is being celebrated at the opening of a new facility in Auckland. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today opened the Multi-Disciplinary Family Harm Prevention Hub Te Taanga Manawa in Lambie Road in Manukau. The facility ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
    The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. “That decision needs to be informed by policy analysis that is still to be completed. As a result it will be up to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
    The history of Rāpaki is being restored through the inclusion of te reo in thirteen official place names on Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula and around Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō, the Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, announced today.   “I am pleased to approve the proposals from Te Hapū o Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
    Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan Woods.  “Last week Air Commodore Darryn Webb and I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
    Grant Robertson has today announced the first major release of funding from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced at Budget 2020.  “Today we’re setting out how $80 million will be invested, with $54 million of that over the 2020/2021 financial year for organisations from community level through to elite ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
    The Government is maintaining current levy rates for the next 2 years, as part of a set of changes to help ease the financial pressures of COVID-19 providing certainty for businesses and New Zealanders, ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “New Zealanders and businesses are facing unprecedented financial pressures as a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Extended loan scheme keeps business afloat
    Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme has already been extended once, to 24 July. Revenue and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says it will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New investment creates over 2000 jobs to clean up waterways
    A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today. The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects put forward by local councils receiving $62 million and the Kaipara ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago