I am a oddity in Auckland. I grew up here and only of my parents was a migrant – from the King country. Which probably demonstrates where my parochialisms lie. I like having a city in NZ that is big enough to be diverse enough to be on the world stage for business. That is why I stay here working exclusively on exporting intelligence and tech to the world rather then having left decades ago to get closer to my markets.
But the current rate of migration to Auckland at present is frigging ridiculous. We need to cut back because currently we are close to exceeding the “Very high migration scenario” outline in this report from stats. As long as the aussie economy stays in the doldrums and the lazy set of bozos in the National government in Wellington remain addicted to the unsustainable economic growth and taxes from nett migration, we have to plan on having a city of between almost twice the current size and more than 3 million in about 20 years.
But of course National definitely aren’t prepared to pay the costs of having high nett migration levels. Unlike Labour they are scared witless of giving Auckland the ability to take measures early enough to deal with it themselves. For instance the regional fuel tax due to take effect in 2009 that National government canned after they took office and ruled out again earlier this year. But also they appear to be interested in making sure that few of the transport taxes raised in Auckland go to benefit the rather large Auckland supercity.
So Auckland continues to get their historic less than half of the road related taxes raised in the region being used on transport related projects. The National government spends the difference outside the region or on projects in Auckland with no apparent economic justification that appear to be explicitly designed to increase congestion on our narrow isthmus. Meanwhile our congestion gets worse through their inaction on public transport and the rail freight that suits our geography.
The funds that National spend in the region often don’t appear to be related to Auckland. For instance, the ‘holiday highway‘ appears to me to be related more to the development of land banks up to Wellsford for development and the interests of Northland than the economic good of the Auckland region. The economic case for it doesn’t exist. It just has some kind of vague “good for northland” label on it without any attempt to quantify the benefits for Auckland or even Northland. Certainly the cost-benefit analysis that was provided was easily out-performed by either doing nothing or just doing a few passing bays and reducing corners.
National appear to have learnt from the lesson of the holiday highway. They now don’t even bother getting their NZTA minions to actually figure out if the taxes that they are spending are worth anything. Take the East-West route for truckers… or look at Simon Wilson’s take at The Spinoff on it.
I particularly liked this bit talking about Simon Bridges our erstwhile Minister of Transport lying about local support for the project…
He repeated the inaccurate assertion that this is a project of long standing: “This is a project that’s significant, that Auckland Council has prioritised, that Auckland business has prioritised, not just over a few years, over a very long time.”
The EWL is not mentioned in the Auckland Transport Alignment Accord (ATAP), which is the agreement signed last year between government and council on the way transport projects in the city should be progressed. Why not? Then finance minister Bill English explained at the time that because it was one of the Roads of National Significance (RONs) and planning was well underway, it didn’t need to be. But work hadn’t started; the road wasn’t even consented. English was effectively suggesting the government believes that when a roading project is especially important it doesn’t need to be subjected to the normal scrutiny.
FFS. This is road that is going to cause massive amount of disruption to a significiant industrial areas of Auckland, along with the main tourism entry point to New Zealand, and an idiot pretending to be the minister in charge is lying about local government support?
The East-West Link is likely to cost close to $2 billion. As Harriet Gale discussed here yesterday, a part-alternative, to build a third rail track for freight in the area, would cost less than $60 million. Curiously, Minister Bridges also told The Nation he had not seen any details of the third-track proposal. In fact, it was submitted by KiwiRail for the 2017 budget. What is the minister telling us when he says he is not familiar with the budget proposals of his own officials, made just a few months ago? The third track, for the record, was rejected.
Probably because while it is a lot cheaper and less disruptive, it doesn’t help the trucking industry and National. It is just a far better alternative for Auckland. We don’t need more trucks filling on our roads – that is about a third of the reason that our existing southern motorways is clogged. You only have to drive it on a weekday to see them filling the road. The only rationale that I can see for the Est-West Motorway is to make it easier for trucks to fill SH16 in going out of Auckland in both directions. Why in the hell would Aucklanders want that enormously expensive boondoggle over a freight line that does the same thing at a fraction of the cost.
Meanwhile there are a few projects that National has actually funded that are useful for Auckland rather than their voters outside of Auckland. Like the double tracking and electrification of commuter rail and the SH16 motorway. However the defining characteristic of those projects was that they were already existing and funded projects from the previous Labour government. There are other useful projects directly caused by those projects like the SH16 widening or like the City Rail Link. The latter was pushed forward by the local government paying for the design and over the strenuous foot dragging about funding by the National government.
National appear to be completely uninterested in spending Aucklander’s transport taxes on Auckland. Instead they want to put in boondoggle roads that have no economic measurable benefits for Auckland while increasing the road congesting trucks on our roads. While at the same time massively hiking up the nett migration that mostly stays in Auckland.
Why do National hate Auckland?
BTW: Try to stay reasonably on my topic.If you don’t know it then read the policy before commenting. I’ll tolerate disagreement and robust debate. But I have a three month ban button and a lack of interest in warnings just waiting for diversion trolls because I just dislike you.