It is appalling enough that Mr Bridges tried to suppress the release of the Wiri to Westfield rail line business case, particularly given that we are all shareholders in KiwiRail. This is yet another example of Establishment Parties slowly bending the public service to their own ends, instead of doing what they should do; serve the public.
While the Ombudsman has successfully twisted Mr Bridges arm to release the paper in question, he has still held back the most important piece of information - the benefit cost ratio (BCR). The BCR tells us whether this is a good investment or not. Given the Government is squandering billions on roads with questionable BCRs (such as the East West Link), the public deserves to know what the BCR of this investment is.
Benefit Cost Ratios
The Opportunities Party (TOP) wants to see rail funded in the same way roads are. For many years the Government has been pouring billions into roads, despite the fact that the return on these roads is questionable. We should be looking closely at rail to see if the investment is better spent there.
Recently the Government has been making signs that it wants to head in this direction. That should be the rational thing to do after all – to put money where the return on investment is best. This Government is supposed to understand business, and this is the way business makes it’s decisions. It is also important to note that rail is safer and has fewer emissions than cars; which is important given we need to be fossil fuel free by 2050.
For some reason however Minister Bridges seems to be resisting the first opportunity for a transparent conversation about road and rail. Suppressing the benefit cost ratio suggests he has something to hide. Is it because this rail line has a far better return than the Government’s East West Link road project? Or is it because a freight rail line doesn’t offer the same photo opportunities?
Until the numbers are made public, we can only guess. What are you hiding Mr Bridges?