Written By: - Date published: 11:08 am, October 27th, 2015 - 25 comments
Written By: - Date published: 9:04 am, July 1st, 2014 - 27 comments
The Government has almost finished a $100,000 project to strengthen a bridge it will now tear down and replace as part of its new roading package. The $3m to $5m cost to replace the bridge, with construction due to start next year, was a “massive investment while there’s other more pressing priorities in the region”. Who would have thought that pork-barrel road projects had such poor cost/benefit reasoning behind them. Heckuva job, Gerry. OIA time
Written By: - Date published: 12:12 pm, June 16th, 2014 - 57 comments
This morning I was reading the Transport Blog on The Draft 2015-2025 Government Policy Statement released by the Ministry of Transport. This is the main starting point for a number of the transport planning documents over the coming decade(s). Somehow based on what looks like a delusional belief that people are going to start driving more as the price of petrol is going up, the MOT is planning about $17 billion dollars to be sunk into (what I think will be) white elephant new roading over the coming decade.
Written By: - Date published: 1:02 pm, October 3rd, 2013 - 11 comments
There’s a way of giving people bad news called in PR circles a shit sandwich – basically you give people something happy and fluffy, then the bad news, then something happy and fluffy so you can brush on past it.
Written By: - Date published: 9:52 am, August 30th, 2013 - 188 comments
If you had $3 billion to spend on transport over 25 years, what would you do with it? Increase spending on cycling facilities six-fold and give all our cities Amsterdam-like sustainable transport? Increase the amount spent on public transport by over a third? Or, build a duplicate motorway for 3% that Wellington’s population will use, at a cost to the taxpayer of $30 per commuter per day
Written By: - Date published: 7:21 pm, August 27th, 2013 - 72 comments
It’s all drama today as Patrick Gower discovers that Labour’s leadership candidates are using their parliamentary flight allowance for the debates. As if selecting the leader of a parliamentary party isn’t a parliamentary purpose. If you’re going to play crusader, Mr Gower, how about looking at how much of John Key’s $650,000 travel budget goes on trips to high-five schoolgirls or play in toy boats?
Written By: - Date published: 7:33 pm, May 9th, 2013 - 158 comments
National admitted today that the sale of Mighty River cost around $100m, and that the paltry 2.5% of New Zealanders who bought an average of $8,000 each are not typical Kiwis. The figures themselves are shocking but the politics is really revealing. English didn’t try to avoid the unpalatable failure of asset sales, he was flippant. He is so out of touch he doesn’t see the problem.
Written By: - Date published: 4:37 pm, April 26th, 2013 - 22 comments
I like my employer, and they’re not ungenerous. But I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t spend $250,000 on helping me to get another job – and one that I’m a long shot for at that.
As Tim Groser’s employers, you’ve got to wonder just how generous we as voters are being. And why either he doesn’t think we’re good enough employers and wants to leave, or why National want rid of him.
Written By: - Date published: 12:01 pm, March 1st, 2013 - 33 comments
So far, the government has spent $33 million on Transmission Gully. They’re planning on spending another $30m just to sign the contract on the Public-Private Partnership. That’s over $60m down the drain on a project with only $360-$500m of benefits before a single metre of road is built. All up, the cost will be $3.4 billion – trebled by using the PPP model.
Written By: - Date published: 8:27 am, November 1st, 2012 - 65 comments
Campbell Live had a piece on Monday based on a leaked report into the benefit cost ratio of National’s Kapiti Expressway project. Now, in its evidence to the EPA hearings on the project, NZTA has claimed the BCR was 0.93 – ie you only get 93 cents worth of gain for each dollar spent. It turns out that was a massive exaggeration. In reality, we get 20 cents of value for every dollar spent.
Written By: - Date published: 6:50 am, August 13th, 2012 - 4 comments
The Nats spent $420,000 on branding for the Ministry of Science and Innovation, which only existed for 18 months before being swallowed by MoBIE. It included money for branded play putty… Shearer’s right: “The Government’s supposed public service reform is an incoherent ego trip for ministers.”
Written By: - Date published: 10:15 am, August 12th, 2012 - 58 comments
Research from the Green Party shows that the $12 billion ‘Roads of National Significance’, the bulk of the next decade’s transport budget, would be on routes that carry just 4% of the country’s traffic. So, the other 96% of us are paying nearly $3,000 a head for roads that bugger all people will use. Traffic on many of the routes is actually falling.
Written By: - Date published: 9:53 am, July 30th, 2012 - 4 comments
Consultants SKM wrote a report in 2008 that said the Puhoi to Wellsford Holiday Highway wasn’t worth the money it cost. Then, once National came in and decided the Holiday Highway was a ‘Road of National Significance’ they commissioned SKM to write a new report, which praised the project. Now, they’ve handed SKM lucrative contract for the investigation work. Is this what the $200m of taxpayer money spent on RoNS consultants so far has been going on?
Written By: - Date published: 6:57 am, July 26th, 2012 - 26 comments
John Key’s grasp of his own asset sales policy is being revealed to be shakier by the day. He doesn’t know how it would hurt the government books. He flips his position on water rights each day. He doesn’t know how much a looters’ bonus of free shares would cost. And, yesterday, he didn’t even realise that $56m is budgeted to cover sharebrokers’ fees for the looters.
Written By: - Date published: 10:05 am, July 16th, 2012 - 31 comments
RNZ is reporting that National has spent $216m just on the investigation and design stage of its Roads of National Significance so far (and that’s only 5 of the 7 projects). Most of it on outside contractors Look, I get this kind of shit can be surprisingly expensive. But nearly quarter of a billion dollars just for investigation and design? With these projects involving a 260km of highways that’s nearly a million dollars per kilometre, a thousand dollars per metre, just on planning!
Written By: - Date published: 7:05 am, July 6th, 2012 - 56 comments
You know how the Government is so skint, and absolutely much get back into surplus by 2014/15, that it has cut education at every level, cut conservation, cut home insulation, cut Kiwisaver, cut Working for Families .. etc etc. They even created a new super-ministry to cut costs. And what’s the first action of Mobie Dick? $2.2 million sunk into Aussie V8s.
Written By: - Date published: 9:45 am, June 29th, 2012 - 40 comments
We’re getting used to the Nats running bash the beneficiary /poor /Maori /unemployed /criminal /etc distractions but it’s getting pretty bad when Bill English gets in on the act. Weirdly his idea of drug-testing beneficiaries seems to have been picked up from a Daily Show piece on how it failed in Florida – costing money, not saving it, and proving beneficiaries use drugs less than the rest of the population.
Written By: - Date published: 8:58 am, June 20th, 2012 - 4 comments
So, National is using a Public Private Partnership to build a school in Hobsonville. You’ve heard of PPPs. They, like all privatisation, are billed as somehow unleashing the magic of the market to reduce costs. But the reality is they turn the taxpayer into a dairy cow to be milked by private profiteers. And this school is no different: it’s costing us more, and the profiteers are racking it in.
Written By: - Date published: 11:15 am, May 30th, 2012 - 33 comments
National blew the VIP entertainment budget for the Rugby World Cup by $5 million, despite none of the promised big names actually turning up. They got the extra dosh out of Mfat’s budget. In unrelated news, the government is cutting the Greens’ Warm Up New Zealand programme, which has returned four times its costs in benefits. There’s no money, you see.
Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, May 29th, 2012 - 17 comments
National is crowing that 8,600 people downloaded the Budget App. Pity it doesn’t work. And, of course, you can view the budget via your phone or tablet’s browser already without an expensive app. The Nats reckon the $59,000 cost is ‘free’ because it came from printing fewer paper editions – a bit like how if you save $100 at a sale it doesn’t matter if you set $60 on fire.
Written By: - Date published: 12:03 pm, May 18th, 2012 - 12 comments
The government is, softening us up for higher prescription charges, fewer teachers, and a further assault on beneficiaries. Meanwhile, they’re spending billions on “Roads of National Significance” that do not meet basic cost-benefit tests, to service a declining demand for road transport. The Greens are right: this is not “fiscally responsible”.
Written By: - Date published: 6:48 am, April 24th, 2012 - 51 comments
The FYI project and I/S at No Right Turn have uncovered what appears to be massive abuse of expenses by Genesis CEO Albert Brantley, whom we pay $1.2m a year. It puts me in mind of Marie Antoinette. And we know what happened to her. Almost as shocking is the small stuff. Lucky Genesis is subject to the OIA, for now, so this guy could be found out.
Written By: - Date published: 7:25 am, April 17th, 2012 - 65 comments
The government has splurged $20m putting 3,300 unemployed people through 6 week-long military ‘boot camps’ ($6K each). Result: up to 3 years later, only 19% have jobs. Compares to the typical stint of unemployment of 12 weeks. Looks a lot like the Nats are pouring money into a programme that makes unemployment worse. out of sheer ideological idiocy.
Written By: - Date published: 8:38 am, April 11th, 2012 - 12 comments
As the Nats try to spin us into accepting another zero budget, focus is turning to 2 big holes that their policy decisions have created. First, the $1b+ a year spend on the low to negative value Roads of National (Party) Significance. Second, the $1b+ annual cost of the 2010 tax changes. That’s $2b+ that could be spent elsewhere, avoiding spending cuts without more borrowing.
Written By: - Date published: 6:40 am, April 11th, 2012 - 190 comments
The Rightwhingers are saying extending parental leave is too expensive. We’re talking about a tiny sliver of government spending – 0.2% to be precise. And a tiny fraction of what the government is borrowing. If money is really so tight, there’s plenty of poor quality decisions that National could reverse first.
Written By: - Date published: 8:16 am, April 2nd, 2012 - 61 comments
Cabinet today will decide whether the Crown will pick up the tab for Judith Collins’ defamation suits. The suit against RNZ, whose offence was to do live interviews, is particularly egregious and calculated to chill media comment. It will be unprecedented for the public to pay for a minister to take defamation suits. But we will. Anything less will be a vote of no confidence in Collins by her colleagues.
Written By: - Date published: 8:33 am, March 14th, 2012 - 22 comments
The Nats abandoned their wastewatch.co.nz site a few years back after being unable to identify significant waste. They should have just waited a few years. Now, the examples are neverending.
Today’s case: Steven Joyce’s plan to publish the average incomes of graduates of different courses. A huge administrative task to tell us nothing.
Written By: - Date published: 10:05 am, March 9th, 2012 - 25 comments
Can anyone tell me why the Nats are spending $300m to build and $36m pa to run a 960-bed PPP prison when there are 2000 spare beds in the system and prisoner numbers are projected to fall? Or why Joyce is cutting a dirty ‘convention centre for pokies’ deal when international convention numbers are falling? Or why they’re spending $1b a year on low BCR highways when vehicle numbers are falling?
Written By: - Date published: 12:13 pm, February 15th, 2012 - 42 comments
Gerry Brownlee has weakly attempted to fob off the decline in benefit:cost ratio of highway projects under National. ‘Sure’ he says ‘we’ve been funding projects that barely break even while high BCR spending like early childhood education gets cut, but things will turn around’. Um, no. Look at the projects National has on the horizon, […]
Written By: - Date published: 8:17 pm, February 7th, 2012 - 129 comments
Tariana Turia is making hollow threats to leave the government but she might be pushed first. Winston Peters has wasted no time showing how opposition politics is done, using his first question time back to skewer Turia, exposing the massive rorting her Whanau Ora programme. Turia made a slush fund for her mates with our money. She has to go.
Written By: - Date published: 7:33 am, February 4th, 2012 - 36 comments
Almost missed among all the blacked out paragraphs of the Transport Briefing to the Incoming Minister are 2 interesting graphs. While not explicitly mentioning peak oil, the graph of the National Land Transport Fund shows a massive shortfall in revenue in a ‘high oil price, low growth’ scenario. The other shows how low-quality National’s highway spending is.