- Date published:
8:09 am, June 25th, 2020 - 16 comments
Categories: assets, auckland supercity, privatisation, Public Private Partnerships, public transport, transport, uncategorized - Tags:
Good apart from every conceivable political angle for the government, granted. The political angles are well covered elsewhere in the NZHerald, Stuff, and TVNZ. Neither the Prime Minister claiming regularly on radio that the NZInfra version would help pay for our retirement, nor a single relevant Minister or public sector department, comes out of this mess well.
But the delay is good.
Firstly it will enable a future public sector to coldly evaluate whether Public Private Partnerships really represent value for money. This is a vital job for the Infrastructure Commission, MoT, and Treasury. There is no reason not to publish Gateway Reviews for example. There’s also a task for DPMC and the SSC to ensure that Crown entities like NZSuper don’t do another deliberate sabotage of other Crown entities like NZTA like they did over two years. The Transmission Gully project recovery and cost recovery debates are at least a year from settling, and the project will have a procurement stink over it for years to come. Notably the SH1 Ara Tuhono project is well underway, and while it’s encountered reasonable delays it’s still progressing steadily.
In short the public sector needs to get its shit together on this. There will be more funds approach us for more transformative-scale projects, and this scale of procurement needs strict discipline.
Secondly it gives breathing room for the construction industry. With rail, water, and motorway jobs going gangbusters in the Waikato-Auckland region, teams and clients need to see jobs completed and successfully handed over to prove that there really is internal capacity and expertise to take on this scale of work each year. The Americas Cup and APEC infrastructure surges will be completed later this year. The delay balances the work pipeline.
Thirdly the City and the Government need time to catch up with each other. After going into a pure alliance for the Link Alliance heavy rail job, they figured out halfway through that critical things were missed. Things like ensuring that the private landowner capital value uplift gained by proximity to mega public transport projects wasn’t simply privatised into Paritai Drive, and instead was properly taxed to ensure that some of that windfall unearned capital value increase went to funding the job. Kainga Ora didn’t have time to embrace it.
Finally there’s the land and the people. With near-zero communication to potentially affected Auckland locals about the project for years, no one had a clue what was going on and local and international elites were making all policy-patrician when in fact were just making bank. The NZTA notion of a nationwide public transport ticketing card was near death, and this would have killed it. Auckland Transport, who started the job, were shut out. As were all of Auckland’s transport NGOs. Mana whenua were nowhere. It was set up to be litigated from Environment to High Court no matter what the decision was.
By capital value this is the largest botch-up by this government or indeed any government in New Zealand.
But this failure, massive though it is, also gives us time to sort out the very large political, public sector, local government, and industry problems that would have collapsed the job worse than Transmission Gully and on an unimaginable scale.
Trust me we dodged a cannon-ball.