On a road to nowhere

Written By: - Date published: 12:58 pm, July 28th, 2011 - 16 comments
Categories: sustainability, transport - Tags:

The government has put out a new policy statement on transport. Total funding is unchanged. But cost of the RoNS is rising before they’re even built. So, it’s more money into white elephant highways. Less money for road safety, local roads, road policing, and public transport. Stupid myopic policy.

The Nats are still planning the same 7 RoNS. Like the Holiday Highway and Transmission Gully whose costs were already higher than the benefits. They’ve lifted the funding range for new state highways by 7% to 2019. To pay for it, road safety spending is slashed 29%. Public transport infrastructure down 30%. Road policing 15%. New local roads cut 30%.

It’s sheer fucken madness. The GPS says that road crashes cost the country $3.8b a year. So why would you cut spending on preventing that cost to fund some highways that aren’t worth the cost?

Oh, and remember that the basic funding for the Land Transport Fund, most of which goes on highways, will come from asset sales if National wins.

When are they going to update the cost benefit analyses of the RoNS? Last time they did it was at the start of 2009. Price of petrol was 70 cents a litre cheaper then. And even at that price they didn’t make sense.

Level of irresponsibility in sinking all these billions into worthless projects while cutting important stuff would be jaw-dropping, if you believed that the government was trying to get us value for money. It’s not. It’s trying really just handing billions to its construction industry mates and win a few votes in the exurbs.

16 comments on “On a road to nowhere”

  1. freedom 1

    quick question, If National haven’t been able to build a cycleway, how do they expect to manage the construction of a highway?

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      The cycleway was essentially an unfunded brain-fart by newly minted Minister of Tourism John Key.

      • freedom 1.1.1

        and what a smelly one it was. I know farm dogs that deliver less noxious aromas.

        but it was the flagship of their new jobs strategy, it was going to supply 3,000 people with employment, it was going to deliver thousands of tourists, and it was always going to be a joke.

        the question remains though, what happened to it? It had a chunk of funding. Where is the result?

      • Carol 1.1.2

        I have heard someone on the Panel praise the opeining of a leg of the Cycleway (I think it was David Slack).


        More than 90 unemployed young people have been working under the subsidised Community Max scheme to build one of the 18 initial “great rides” planned nationally, in this case from Opua in the Bay of Islands along a disused rail track to Okaihau and then through farmland to Horeke on the Hokianga Harbour.

        About 800 cyclists turned out for the opening of the first stage, from Okaihau down the western side of Lake Omapere to Kaikohe, on May 29.

        But it’s still really peripheral to the kind of transport and production that NZ really needs.

  2. Afewknowthetruth 3

    All governemnt decisions are driven by dysfuntional ideology which is completely detached from reality (psychotic) They’ll keep doing it till they can’t. And ordinary people will probably keep voting for lunacy until they can’t.

    The siren has been screaming at air-raid level since 2005 and people still don’t connect the dots on peak oil, climate change and financial meltdown.

    Unfortunately the system is not likely to completely implode for another couple of years. Demand destruction is probably keeping pace with oil depletion for the moment.

    If the maniacs who control the US government decide it’s time to attack Iran the game will come to a fast end (which is why I think they will not attack Iran).

  3. U 4 United 4

    I thought this post was about Labour and its dumb leaders.

    • ropata 4.1

      Peter Dunne, your hair gel is affecting your mental processes. A brain transplant from a cauliflower should improve matters.

  4. Carol 5

    And is Nikki Kaye still banging on about how much National are doing for Auckland public transport, and slamming Labour for not having done anything for useful?

  5. It is interesting that Transport dislocation may be the biggest issue for the human race in the future and yet a very coherent direct post does not attract much attention. 

    Better obviously to talk about polls.

    When we run out of cheap oil soon people will look back and say “feck, how did I miss that, why didn’t I insist in the transport system being made more sustainable?”

    But Joyce will have kept the sponsors happy and Key(s) will have the important line on his CV.

    Some people’s priorities are interesting. 

  6. Georgecom 7

    Refer back a few days to a post (a reprint of a Dennis Tegg blog) on 21 July about looming oil shortages. The governments “response” to the possibility of a looming oil price spike consists of (1) building more highways (2) promoting a very small increase in bio-fuel production (3) hoping we will strike oil at some point in the future (4) promoting the uptake of electric cars.

    That last “response” is one I find interesting. Assuming that as the price of oil increases the will be a large migration of people to electric cars. A few problems with that “response” include the ongoing recession (people holding on to their cars rather than buy new ones) and future predictions regarding the number of electric cars on the road (the MED predict 5% of the vehicle fleet in 2020 2will be elctric cars).

    However, if electric cars are our salvation to high oil prices, then electricity generation will be a key sector in our future transport security.

    Why then, for heavens sake, a “plan” now to sell of 49% of the power generators?

    “Mum and dad” investors may be offered them first, but it won’t be long before cashed up foreign companies and banks buy up a sizeable share. A good chunk of ownership goes to foreign hands, along with the profits generated.

    So, the government has its hopes pinned on electric cars in the next few years. In the mean time they are proposing to sell 1/2 of the key asset upon which our future transport would depend.

    Someone please, anyone, explain to me where the rationale is in this.

    I often hear people complain about siloised decision making. Does this government not think through its decisions before making them. The lack of dots joining here seems staggering.

    Minister of Transport Joyce – lets encourage electric cars.
    Minister of State Assets Ryall – lets sell our electricity assets

    Potential high (near) future oil prices = electric cars will cover the gap = power generation becomes even more critical to our future transport needs = lets sell off 1/2 of our power companies.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Someone please, anyone, explain to me where the rationale is in this.

      Oh, that’s easy – the plan to sell our assets is solely to transfer more of our wealth to NActs rich mates. No other rationale can even be considered because none of them make sense.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      However, if electric cars are our salvation to high oil prices, then electricity generation will be a key sector in our future transport security.

      Electric trams, mini buses and trains are our salvation to high oil prices. Personal car transport will be for multimillionaires. And at some stage, not even then.

      • Georgecom 7.2.1

        You know that and I know that. Another good reason for maintaining ownership of strategic power assets.

        Bill hasn’t quite grasp that however. Whilst the govt is investing some money in electric rail it is putting more into roads…so we can all drive our electric cars on them. The point about not selling a strategic transport asset, which would complement his ‘answer’ to oil prices rises, hasn’t yet sunk in for Bill it seems.

  7. Afewknowthetruth 8

    Prior to the mass production of bicycles, most people did not travel further than they could walk.

    That is where we are headed.

    For a while the roads National are building will be useful as cycleways…… until NZ cannot obtain replacement tyres. However, severe climate change and general ecological meltdown may occur before the world is unable to manufacture enough bicycle tyres to go round.

  8. ChrisH 9

    5 out of 7 of the current batch of RONs are in the wider Auckland region, Whangarei-Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga. If you look at Figure 10 here http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/AboutCouncil/PlansPoliciesPublications/theaucklandplan/discussiondocument/Documents/theaucklandplanpeopleandinfrastructure.pdf you can see that this is a completely linear corridor, made for rail.

    What this basically means is that the GPS is really all about Auckland, it’s effectively Albany-based Transport Minister Joyce’s plan to stuff things up for Len Brown as much as possible.

    It’s the sort of strategy the American Tea Party would come up with if they were in charge of New Zealand’s transport policy and blocking every sensible proposal that Len Brown comes up with.

    — If you live anywhere else other than in Auckland, you’ll be paying for it.

    — And if you live in Auckland, you’ll be suffering from it.

    Over to you Steven, explain why I’m wrong.

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