Tuesday, May 12, 2009

National makes right decision over Waterview

Transport Minister Steven Joyce has made a good decision, he has rejected the greenplating of the last section of Auckland's Western Ring Route, in favour of a trenched surface motorway.

About time, I was alone in saying this in July 2008!

In other words, the Waterview extension will be just like every other segment that has been built or is under construction now. Look today at the other segments:
- Greenhithe deviation (built trenched surface motorway)
- Upper Harbour bridge duplication (built as bridge not a tunnel)
- Hobsonville deviation (to be built as trenched surface motorway)
- Manukau extension (under construction as trenched surface motorway)
- Manukau Harbour crossing (duplicate Mangere Bridge, with widening of existing trenched surface motorway)
- Mt Roskill extension (recently complete trenched surface motorway).

Why was Mt Albert special other than it was in the former Prime Minister's electorate?

More importantly, why should the taxpayer subsidise this?

So he also saves the taxpayer from having to subsidise the motorway. It can now be fully funded from the National Land Transport Fund, which itself is funded from road user charges, all fuel taxes and motor vehicle registration and licensing fees. This is distinctly unlike the electrification of the Auckland rail network, which Auckland rail passengers aren't paying a cent towards, in fact they don't even pay half the cost of providing the existing trains.

Of course the property owners along the route will be upset, and rightly so. Labour was willing to pillage taxpayers to drill under their homes, will National force homeowners to sell? The better approach will be to offer to buy the route on commercial terms, rather like the French do. The French offer to pay well above market rates for land, so they have a range of route options - French motorway are mostly tollways admittedly so even paying a lot for the land can still mean a profitable route. Tolling this small segment isn't viable (the whole route may have made more sense, but has already been ruled out because Labour committed money to the other segments), but still a business-like approach could speed up route acquisition and get the road built. However, nobody should be forced to sell.

So now we have National making an economically rational decision. Labour wanting to borrow over a billion dollars to build an undersized motorway and put it in a tunnel to bribe an electorate (anyone want to shout pork really loudly?) and the Greens worshipping trains, which would not relieve congestion, provide an alternative for 99% of the freight that would use the motorway and no evidence that a rail line could be remotely economically viable. Although the Green's own transport plan includes a busway along this corridor - hmmmm?

Well done, I did say for the Nats to do this before.


In February 2008, Labour wanted to make the route a PPP, which would require heavy taxpayer subsidy, supported by Peter Dunne when he was whoring on the left side of the house.

In July 2008, Labour announced $5.5 million to further investigate the Waterview tunnel, and I commented then on how it could have been a surface motorway, before others did.

In October 2008, the Greens launched a transport plan that included a busway along a motorway between Waterview and Mt Roskill see the map here.

In January 2009 I advised Steven Joyce to spend another 6 months reviewing the Waterview extension, which he promptly did.

In February 2009, the MOT released the business case information about the Waterview extension. I noted the main reason the project is expensive is because the designation for the route was abandoned in the early 1970s by local government.

In May 2009 I noted that as an election issue it really shouldn't be that important, as only a National MP could ever make a difference.

Of course now, it wont make any difference at all. Neither a Green, Labour, National or ALCP MP will change this decision. So perhaps Labour can stop promising to spend money that isn't theirs, and the Greens can stop claiming they can make a difference, and the people of Mt. Albert can choose someone based on character and philosophy, not a pork barrel issue?


Anonymous said...

There is no fucking way whatosever I want my fucking tax dollars going to pay some (mostly) labour-voting hovel "owners" above-market rates to get out of their lean-to-shacks before the D9s come through!

If they don't move, we send the dozers in anyway. Problem solved

This road was designated something like 40 years ago. IF we must pay people, pay them the nominal market price say at the price in 1967 when NZ adopted the dollar. $14,000 seems about right.

And yes: we should build this at 8 or 12 lanes - ideally right through the labour-voting slums.

Libertyscott said...

Anonymous, you're incorrect. The route is NOT designated. The designation ends at Richardson Road, Auckland local authorities removed the designation beyond that point in the early 1970s.

That's the issue. The road was going to go along Avondale towards Rosebank Road for many years, but this was abandoned as too costly.

Property owners rights, even those of Labour voters, must be respected.