The first half of an excellent piece by Kent Dunston of Save the Basin (which is opposing the construction of flyovers around the Basin Reserve by National):
Back in the halcyon days of the Muldoon administration circa 1979 the then-National government embarked on a series of large-scale interventionist construction schemes called ‘Think Big’ that were designed to transform the economy. The projects ranged from hydro dams to petrochemical plants and were amongst the largest-scale civil engineering works ever undertaken in New Zealand.
This orgy of infrastructure was immensely lucrative for the politically-connected construction firms of the day, but the profligate scheme was funded almost entirely through debt, which in turn contributed to the virtual collapse of New Zealand’s economy by the mid 1980s, thus ushering in the Rogernomics era.
Thirty years later, Transport Minister Steven Joyce is hell-bent on repeating the same failed experiment. Rather than petrochemicals and electricity generation, he’s intent on throwing $11 billion into New Zealand’s roading infrastructure again largely to the benefit of a few politically-connected construction firms.
Here in Wellington we’re on the receiving end of Joyce’s Road of National Significance, a four-lane monster highway running from Levin to the Airport. The project will cost billions more than budgeted once the inevitable cost over-runs have occurred, will slice through heritage areas, destroy homes and disrupt communities. And the Minister now admits that key sections Transmission Gully, the Terrace Tunnel, the second Mt Victoria tunnel don’t make any economic sense, even with the best creative accounting from the NZ Transport Agency.
– the rest of the piece is here. [hat-tip, Clarke]