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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    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago

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