Going through the Kiwiblog list:
- 5 new schools? While the private sector closes good schools as it struggles to attract parents forced to pay twice for education if they want to opt out of the state sector. Wonderful stuff - Labour lite indeed.
- School refurbishments and maintenance? So did Labour do this on the cheap or is this just about bringing forward some paint and roof repairs that would have been done anyway? This is the economic equivalent of saying you can stimulate the economy if more windows are broken and need repairing.
- More special schools facilities. Any notion of how many will use these, and whether it would be cheaper to just pay the kids families' directly for a tutor?
- A trades academy on Southern Cross Campus in Mangere. So you couldn't give people taxes back and let them pay for this?
- Help schools accelerate existing building projects that have stalled. What the hell is THAT about? School's mismanaging funds? Funds cut for political or administrative reasons? Or is it just an admission that the centralised socialist education system provides opportunities for such unaccountable mismanagement?
- Upgrades and renovations to 10,000 state houses! Only worthwhile if they add net value to the houses, before they can be sold. I'm sure that is behind it all right??
- Small regional roading projects? Well given all road taxes are now spent on land transport, this is a subsidy for roads, but are the projects all of a high value? Hopefully we'll find out soon.
- Accelerating large state highway projects? Well here I can add a little value:
- Kopu Bridge replacement? Good, though a prime candidate for a modest toll, one sign this is worthwhile is that Jeanette Fitzsimons doesn't like it.
- Matahorua Gorge realignment. This is State Highway 2 between Napier and Gisborne. Not a bad project, but not particularly high value.
- Hawke's Bay Expressway southern extension. Oh please, this is far from necessary. Hardly any congestion or safety issues here (and you wonder why two projects in Hawke's Bay?)
- Muldoon's Corner easing. Removing a hairpin curve on the Rimutaka Hill Road. Sounds like a cheap alternative to Transmission Gully, improving the second route out of Wellington. Not a high value project.
- Christchurch Southern Motorway. By far the largest project, and one that does ease congestion. A major new route into Christchurch from the south will make living in Rolleston more attractive (seriously).
No extra money for Auckland state highways, which indicates how much Labour poured money into them.
So be grateful the package is rather small, its damage will be relatively small, but hey most of you want the government to "do things" right?