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Polity: Pork bridges

Written By: - Date published: 3:28 pm, March 9th, 2015 - 40 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, Economy, national, Politics, same old national, transport - Tags: , , , ,

polity_square_for_lynnReposted from Polity

National has announced:

As the Northland by-election campaign heats up, the government has announced it will replace ten single lane bridges on Northland’s Twin Coast Highway over the next six years.

Roading has been singled out as one of the issues in the campaign, and National’s transport spokeperson, Simon Bridges, said the bridge replacement programme will cost between $32 million and $69 million.

A sudden enthusiasm for local infrastructure projects on the eve of a tight by-election. What a remarkable coincidence!

I wonder whether the cost/benefit ratios on these bridges are up to scratch? Last year they sure weren’t, with National bribing people in the general election using really poorly justified roading projects:

If we saw this anywhere else, we would call this wasteful pork-barreling what it is. Corruption. Our regions deserve to have their roading projects considered on merit, regardless of who their MP is. They should not have to watch on as lower quality projects jump to the head of the queue just because some areas have a senior Minister as their local MP.

I’m all for fixing the roads in Northland, so long as the spending is shown to be effective. Let’s see whether National are allocating the money properly. To the OIA…


 

lprent: And does anyone care to guess if the “Taxpayers Union”, a poorly disguised National front will find this to be wasteful?

40 comments on “Polity: Pork bridges”

  1. Hayden 1

    lprent: And does anyone care to guess if the “Taxpayers Union”, a poorly disguised National front will find this to be wasteful?

    I don’t like defending those dicks, but they’re suspicious about it.

    • lprent 1.1

      Ah yes. The minimalistic response to show that they are alive. Ask for an explanation to arrive after election day.

      Contrast this with *any* statement about Labour or Green policies prior to the election.

      • Hayden 1.1.1

        Yeah, I’m not holding my breath for the follow-up.

        • It’s part of the Taxpayers’ “Union” strategy to occasionally disagree with the decisions of rightwing governments; it adds to their credibility as an “independent” organisation.

          Criticising this kind of obvious porkbarrel stuff doesn’t really cost them anything, and helps them in the long run.

  2. Clemgeopin 2

    Winston brings in 69 million dollars of projects to Northland even before getting elected!

    Each of those ten bridges announced by Bridges today should be named Winston’s Bridges.

    Winston’s Bridge #1
    Winston’s Bridge #2
    Winston’s Bridge #3
    Winston’s Bridge #4
    Winston’s Bridge #5
    Winston’s Bridge #6
    Winston’s Bridge #7
    Winston’s Bridge #8
    Winston’s Bridge #9
    Winston’s Bridge #10

    • Atiawa 2.1

      MMP Bridge # 1
      MMP Bridge # 2
      MMP Bridge # 3
      etc

      • Clemgeopin 2.1.1

        @Atiawa:

        Sure, but may be Key can include that question along with his very expensive personal hobby horse, ‘The Flag change’ referendum stunt. There will be not one, but two wasteful referendums anyway!
        Another question that could be included is :
        “Should National pay back the tax payers the cost of the bi-election in Northland, said to be over one million dollars, as it was caused by National due to its incompetence and dubious behaviour?”

  3. mac1 3

    I’ve said this under Open Mike but the fact that Minister Bridges is unable to show costings for these bridges except with a 215% margin ($32-69 million) means that this ten bridge offer is pure by-election bribery and pork barrel politics.

    It surely has not been costed as a Ministry proposal would be.

    Or is a 215% margin of error usual under National?

  4. Paul Campbell 4

    Here in Otago we have a rickety one way wooden bridge at Beaumont over the Clutha – all the traffic on Hwy 6 between Dunedin and Central Otago passes over it …. it was built in 1887 …..

    Is that how we get a new bridge built? we have to catch the young tobacco lobbyist they replaced Bill English with doing something absolutely illegal and imoral and force him to reasign giving us a by-election? but he’s a tobacco lobbyist, and they voted for him ……

    • lprent 4.1

      Sounds like a program. Umm try underage girls or even better underage transvestites.

    • Ad 4.2

      You’re in one of the blue-est electorates in the country. Give it a crack.

      QLDC managed to accelerate the Frankton Bridge well up the NZTA Southern programme with good old fashioned arm-twisting.

      Try emphasizing the safety benefits.
      Or turning it into a dedicated cycleway.
      They both work pretty well at the moment.

      • Paul Campbell 4.2.1

        well no, really Frankton got its bridge because it plays well with the rich donors in Auckland – Queenstown is rapidly becoming an Auckland annex

        The big problem is that Northland is using up the only available Winston, there really isn’t an equivalent to try and pull that game a second time with – as far as Nats and farm animals are concerned, it’s Southland and boys will be boys

        • Ad 4.2.1.1

          You seriously can’t find ex-Auckland Nat donors in the Clutha area?
          Every muffin-topped lycra-shrinkwrapped latte sipping saddo on the bike trail has been over that bridge from the Rail Trail. Trust me.

          Your political point that there’s no reason to do anything for Clutha because it’s a hard core Nat seat is tough on the government: if they had, they are paying back. If they hadn’t, they’re pork-barrelling.

        • Wynston 4.2.1.2

          “it’s Southland and boys will be boys”
          Sorry mate, but it is very definitely in Otago!

          • Paul Campbell 4.2.1.2.1

            The electorate is “Clutha-Southland” – it’s a bit of both

            • Wynston 4.2.1.2.1.1

              The electorate might be named that, but the bridge in question is in Otago.

              • Paul Campbell

                yes but the MP and tobacco lobbyist in question that we’d have to roll to get a new bridge is from Dipton

  5. Hayden 5

    Surely someone just needs to ask if the bridge project happens if Osborne isn’t elected. If “no”, then it’s quite clearly a bribe; if “yes” then there’s no reason to elect Osborne.

    • Clemgeopin 5.1

      I am skeptical if many of our journalists are that perceptive and clued on.

  6. Macro 6

    The Kopu bridge bought Scott S a few elections in the Coromandel – so it should work in Northland! /sarc
    Mind you he has to work at the “save a kitty” and “sausage sizzle” photo ops in the Hauraki Herald every week….

  7. irascible 7

    The Nats are living up to their reputation as the Party that can be bought by corporates as well as the Party that buys elections. Pork barrelling is taking on a new dimension under Key, Brownlee, Joyce and co.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    Pork barreling like this is another tick against electorates.

  9. Ad 9

    The Minister signs off the NLTP programme in June, and regional bids need to be in by early May. He does have the right to do this – he’s simply managed to get lucky with the timing (or the Office of the Auditor General could have a trace back of his decision-making process).

    We do need a little bit of room for democracy to have a say in how transport funding is allocated, or else it all gets left to the bureaucrats and their prioritization calculators. If I’d been Minister, I’d have done the same.

  10. Skinny 10

    Well after hearing the details of this by election bribe it’s obvious to the whole country who is in control of this campaign. Especially people from regions outside of Auckland & CCH.
    Very astute move by Peters to target both Northland & Auckland. By putting a spanner in the works of expanding out into the Auckland harbour, a very unpopular idea with Jaffa’s like Hooton.

    Marsden Point is this country’s only natural deep water port, and the big shipping lines are consolidating by building larger ships. For Northland he has hit a sweet spot bringing life to Marsden Point and the rail link.
    Motorists are fed up with trucks and the associated issues of deaths, surface damage, dust, which saw the formation of a broken, dusty road group, comprising mostly rural ex Nat votes (as they proudly call themselves).

    Then you have the rail foamers lobby group who got over 20,000 signatures of support when the Tories last tried to close the Northland line.
    Even retired Nat MP Phil Heatley got a shock when he surveyed his entire electorate seeking their concerns, Marsden rail link & saving the NAL came in high 3rd in the top 10. Many suspect National were about the close the line shortly, so Peters can pin them down on this over the campaign.

    The master is in control, who’s your daddy john Key.

    • Clemgeopin 10.1

      Audio from some traditional NATIONAL PARTY supporters and farmers from Northland. Straight up talk! (from radio NZ)

      [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ckpt/ckpt-20150309-1708-voters_sceptical_re_nats_bridges_promise-048.mp3" /]

      Skinny, will you be able to give an account of tonight’s meetings?
      Not just the one referred to in the audio, but I think (but not sure) there is a candidates meeting tonight. Yes?

      • Murray Rawshark 10.1.1

        I thought a lot of the rural voters would be turned off by the Sabin business, and then having an accountant imposed on them by head office. Despite their innate racist tendencies, they do have some sense of decency on other matters. I couldn’t see many of them ever voting Labour, but I think Winnie’ll pick up a fair few votes.

        If I were standing, it’d be on a program of rail, Marsden Point, renewable energy, and ripping up the tarseal on the roads to east coast beaches. Gravel roads would keep the Jafas and their Remuera tractors out, and would be a vote winner. (The last item may be slightly tongue in cheek.)

        • Clemgeopin 10.1.1.1

          I think that 2/3 of the very traditional National voters will still vote for Osborne. But the remaining 1/3 of them will definitely NOT want to support National in THIS by-election for various reasons. National may also get many (?) votes from the Cons.

          A few of the National supporters will abstain. Another few will vote for ACT. Some swing National voters that can not bring themselves up to vote for National, ACT, Winston or to abstain will give their vote to Willow-Jean Prime.

          But the BULK of the traditional Labour supporters, The bulk of the Greens, all of NZF, the bulk of the disenchanted National supporters, the bulk of the first time voters, some (?) Cons and the bulk of the elderly of all persuasions will give their vote to Winston, as that will be MOST advantageous to all of them and to Northland this time around.

          But in spite of all that, it could still be a close neck and neck race between Winston and Osborne because the huge moneyed machine of National party will throw everything they have got into the campaign to beat Winston….in my opinion.

          It isn’t over until it is over on 28 March.

      • Skinny 10.1.2

        It was held in Kaikohe, RNZ reports Carters patsy got laughed at and booed when he talked up 7,000 new jobs. Peters got cheered when he said anyone seen any of these jobs. RNZ reporter Lou Williams gave Peters the win, no surprise there.

  11. Tracey 11

    John Bain should be standing not Mark Osborne. I heard him this morning speaking after Joyce.

    “John Bain

    John Bain has lived in Whangarei for 40 years. He is a businessman who has many interests in sport. He plays golf and enjoys fishing when time allows. John has been on several boards to encourage sporting activities and is currently a Trustee on Sport Northland. He is a regional councillor, serving his third term. The Ambulance Service is a long-term commitment and John sits on three boards for The Order of St John.

    John is known for his 25-year chairmanship of Northland’s Rescue Helicopter Trust, which purchased the fleet on behalf of our community and were the first Trust to own and operate the service for a region in New Zealand. John has served three terms as a Board member of Northland DHB.”

    He said Sabin had been working with them for months on the bridges plan… long before December. He did speak very well. He stood as an Independent for Northland council.

    Here he is speaking about roading priorities in September 2014

    http://livenews.co.nz/2014/09/12/regional-land-transport-programme-2015-18-underway/

  12. Clemgeopin 12

    About the Winston inspired promises of ten bridges by-election bribe:

    Here are the latest opinions from Northland from the Northern Advocate Newspaper today:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/northern-advocate/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503450&objectid=11414723

  13. freedom 13

    Despite another bizarre attack in the House by Key, the real ‘gotcha’ moment of the day was Ron Mark revealing the majority of the newly announced bridges for Northland are not even included in the regional transport plan for 2015-2021

    Ron Mark : Can the Minister tell the House exactly when did he get the approval for the extra funding required for the New Zealand Transport Agency to replace the 10 one-way bridges on Northland’s twin coast highway—exactly when?

    Hon SIMON BRIDGES : This has been a matter I have been discussing with Northland since early on as a Minister of Transport, going up there in December and talking about it. Late last week a decision was made on this.

    Ron Mark : Can the Minister then enlighten the House as to what seismic change occurred last week when the regional land transport plan 2012-15 and the draft regional land transport plan 2015-21 do not say anything about replacing 10 bridges in Northland?

    Hon SIMON BRIDGES : It is good to see that the member cannot read. On page I think it is 34 of the draft regional land transport plan, it talks about three of the bridges in the programme—Matakohe, Kaeō, and Taipā. Unlike that member, we know the region very well.

    Ron Mark : Is it not a fact that there were no plans to replace 10 bridges on the Northland twin coast highway, and that this is pure pork-barrel politics of the very worst kind on the back of National’s disastrous polling in Northland for the Northland by-election?

    We all understand how National have their own meanings for most words, but 3 and 10 are very different things.

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