1. First the easy one to get out of the way, the one spread by some friends on the right - the route for this motorway has NOT been designated at ALL, the motorway designation for SH20 starts at Manukau and ended at Richardson Road. There is a gap thanks to Auckland local authorities dithering and abandoning the Avondale peninsula route option in the 1970s. So please don't believe private property rights for those on the route can be ignored - they did NOT buy land on a motorway route.
2. Idiot Savant says the announcement by the NZTA on the preferred route for the Waterview connection is “an affront to democracy”. Complete bollocks. When did people vote for the route of ANY road? It never happened for any other section of the Western Ring Route, nor the Northern Gateway, nor the Waikato Expressway, nor the Christchurch Southern Motorway. The system is designed to be a rational appraisal based on statutory criteria, not on counting the heads of the loudest. The USA has that, and you see bridges collapse due to lack of political interest. It is entirely within the role of NZTA to decide on its preferred route as the government wont be borrowing to pay for a greenplated route.
3. He also talks nonsense in claiming “the plan centres on using an existing rail designation for a motorway. So, Auckland won't be getting a proper rail-based public transport network because National will have already built a stinking great road there.” Funnily enough there remains room for the motorway there (the map he links to shows this) and even ARTA has no plans to built the Avondale-Southdown railway till 2030. The project isn’t worth it, so to claim Auckland “wont be getting a proper rail-based public transport network” because one line that would be barely used isn’t to be built, is extreme hyperbole.
4. Bomber at Tumeke thinks it is a conspiracy with National favouring its big business mates at Macquaries and hating public transport. For starters, Labour’s plans would have benefited Macquaries far more as it would have been a bigger scheme and a PPP. On top of that, the Waterview connection wont be tolled, nor will it be a PPP, Macquaries provides finance for PPP toll roads, it isn’t in the road construction business in New Zealand. The company can't benefit from this decision at all. So that makes this conspiracy theory totally fatuous. Tim Selwyn posts more intelligently on the issue to be fair.
5. The Standard tries to spin that the government is misleading on costs, something that NZTA clears up quite quickly. It also makes some of the same mistakes as others do.
All options require work at SH16 worth $242 million.
Labour wanted a four lane bored tunnel. $1.974 billion. National is now proposing a four lane mix of surface, bored tunnel and cut and cover tunnel at $1.165 billion, with provision for six laning built in (Labour’s option did not allow for that). That’s over $800 million difference. To put that in context, Transit’s total budget last year for ALL state highways activities was $1.2 billion. So National's proposal saves a lot of money, AND allows for future growth.
Labour had proposed a PPP for the motorway, so financing costs (interest) of $554 million had been included for its option. However, Labour had NO budgetary provision for the motorway at all. Financing costs are the costs of paying a PPP operator to borrow, build and operate the road. The money to pay the PPP operator would still need to come from somewhere
It did not know whether it would pay it back through general taxes or the National Land Transport Fund, or even some contribution from tolls. So the money for this motorway had to come from somewhere as yet unidentified. National is taking the money from road users, through the National Land Transport Fund. There isn’t enough revenue from road users to fund Labour’s proposal, so general taxpayers would have had to subsidise it.
In short, there was never money to build this motorway before (there was money for investigation and design), National has chosen one option (the most fair one, as it means road users pay for a road). Labour either would have to have chosen the same option, and take money from general taxation (from other spending like health), or take all the money from general taxation.
Finally, doesn’t this all show you how utterly inept arguments about things become when they are political? There is an alternative – it has been done in Australia – it means telling the private sector it can build, own and operate the road, and toll it, pick the route and do it all itself. It can even be paid a share of roading taxes collected from using the new road. Decisions like this should not be up to politicians – because they spend money like teenagers given dad’s credit card.