16 December 2009

Government thieving from you to build a boondoggle

So Steven Joyce has just made a political decision to piss your taxes down a hole to subsidise the building of the Transmission Gully motorway.

He's bought a series of arguments that are sheer bullshit. Why? Because I saw the evidence a few years ago when they were rejected then.

Firstly, there is the nonsense that somehow Wellington needs a motorway with a huge viaduct to "connect" it to Kapiti and Horowhenua in the event of a major earthquake. Quite what Wellingtonians will gain from this is unclear when:
- There is only one bridge over the Waikanae River;
- There is only one bridge over the Otaki River;
- There is only one route along a faultline from the Hutt to Wellington city;
- Transmission Gully itself is on a faultline.

$1.5 billion is an expensive insurance policy.

Secondly, there is the nonsense that the coastal route would cost "as much". This could only possibly be true if you engage in ridiculous green-plating and gold plating of the coastal route. Why?

Transmission Gully duplicates about a third of the coastal route as it connects near Kenepuru not Paremata.

There has long been a designation for a bypass at Pukerua Bay, it would be little effort to buy back the few properties along the route.

The coastal route could be built along what is essentially a rather mundane coastal embankment that is already reclaimed. Paekakariki can be protected from the highway by some grade separation.

Paremata/Mana does not need a bypass, as the current route is quite adequate, and ultimately a bypass can be built at grade.

Transmission Gully has a cost/benefit ratio which means the gains in travel time savings, fuel savings and pollution are half the total cost of the road. It is a massive transfer to the property owners along Mana, Plimmerton, Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki, and many on the Kapiti Coast.

Oh and it can't be funded by road user taxes or tolls, so your income tax, GST and company tax will be subsidising a road, primarily for people to commute to primarily government jobs in Wellington.

Before Labour supporters have a moan, they ought to note they started it. They folded against the pressure of the one man party, Peter Dunne, and the Porirua City Council, to have taxpayers pay for one of the biggest boondoggles in New Zealand's recent history. Labour has spent $90 million on consultants to allow Transmission Gully to be built, now National is going to spend 13 times that to build it.

Oh and Labour destroyed the political independence of the former Transfund to separate decisions on building highways from funding highways (something National opposed at the time).

So the more things change, the more they stay the same.

You thought there was a budget deficit, you thought there wasn't enough money to give you a tax cut. No, there's enough for Peter Dunne.


Anonymous said...

Most of the present coastal route is pretty effective or could be made so at small(ish) cost. It would be nice to bypass Mana but I'm not sure how this would be achieved other than by a bypass around behind Cambourne. There is a rumour doing the rounds that mayor Prendergast and her husband bought properties along the proposed gully route. Who knows? Ian

Maximus said...

There is some pretty good discussion going on here: http://eyeofthefish.org/trannie-gully/ that you may want to wade into as well, if you were so inclined....