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Simon Bridges Dirty politics - TOP

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?

 

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    • Oliver Krollmann
      commented 2017-06-18 12:41:06 +1200
      Sorry for posting again … my original comment must have been too long because it didn’t want to save …
      As for passenger transport, I don’t see the numbers there, either, and I also think that it’s about time to work smarter instead of sticking to old-fashioned workplace models. Many of us work in the service industry, riding a desk and driving a computer all day. What’s the point of dragging us into some high-rise in the CBD of some megacity every day, which takes us two hours to get in to and another two to get out of? Why can’t we work from home or local business and office hubs in suburbs and regional towns that are connected via high-speed internet and use solutions like telepresence or videoconferencing instead when we need to meet with people?
      So many transport problems of today seem to be man-made, just because we stubbornly stick to old-fashioned behaviours, like driving when everybody else is driving, or because a calendar or clock tells us that now it the time to do so. Because of that every transport solution has to be sized to meet this artificial peak demand. If we worked smarter and travelled less at the same time (or in general), the transport infrastructure we have might already be more than enough.
    • Oliver Krollmann
      commented 2017-06-18 12:40:11 +1200
      I live in Northland, where rail is discussed passionately, particularly as an alternative to logging trucks, however, so far nobody has been able to get the numbers to work, to make it commercially viable. Either nobody wants or is able to pay the commercial rates required, or the additional handling of putting it from truck on rail and back on truck drives up the cost too far. Subsidising rail with millions or billions of dollars per year just for the fun of having it isn’t in anybody’s interest, either. I can understand that an electrification of the vehicle fleet and investment in proper roading infrastructure presents the better solution for a small country like us, to meet our carbon-zero obligations as well as to stay competitive in domestic and international markets. I do support a user-pays approach, though, meaning that transport operators have to pay their fair share, to contribute to the construction and maintenance of roads, and I also think that the quality of the roadworks has to improve dramatically. The patchwork that is being done in my area at the moment is just not good enough, and we need to revert back to a medium-to-long-term and quality-focused view of investment in infrastructure.
    • Mary Coach
      commented 2017-06-17 12:58:10 +1200
      Have wondered for a long time why we aren’t using more rail for passenger transport where there may be a call for it. Other than in Auckland and Wellington and expensive tourist transport in other parts of the country, most of the rail system is mainly for cargo. Being from Tauranga I have thought a passenger connection through to Auckland may be a viable option although I confess I haven’t seen the figures to confirm this whether this could be so, and whether there are other areas of New Zealand where this may also be a possibility. Does anyone know if any research been done on whether this is something that is actually viable, and has it been done for other areas in New Zealand (have looked but couldn’t find any), or is this government only interested in supporting roading as has been suggested by other comments.
    • Ken Henderson
      commented 2017-06-16 21:18:51 +1200
      The opinion of many thinking people is that funding for both rail and road transport should come from NZTA in order that a level playing field is provided ie that funding would provide the road surface and the rails etc. The Minister of Transport, Simon Bridges is generally nowhere to be seen when Kiwi Rail achieve something newsworthy for example the reopening of the Midland line ahead of schedule after the fires. Of course the National Party do not generally support rail transport as evidenced by funding huge road projects of dubious merit . It is time this “criminal” neglect became an election issue. NZ has signed up to the Paris Accord on global warming yet at the same time we are shutting down the NIMT electrics. Future generations will not thank us for failing to deal with the issues of today.
    • Ben O'Brien
      commented 2017-06-16 20:16:41 +1200
      There is no way that the trucking industry pays the full cost of the damage they do to roads, meaning that other road users and the taxpayer have to pick up the tab and the trucking industry gets a subsidy to compete against rail. As a taxpayer and road user I object to that.
    • David Jones
      commented 2017-06-16 18:10:25 +1200
      National Party election campaigns are heavily funded by the road transport and bus and coach industries. Donations are from individual members so impossible to trace without very full disclosure. As a result billions of unnecessary and ineffective roading ventures are currently being built. The only way to level the playing field is for road AND rail infrastructure to be paid for by the NZTA – as roads are at present – and above road/rail costs to be paid for by the operator, trucking companies and Kiwirail.
    • Oliver Krollmann
      followed this page 2017-06-16 18:02:41 +1200
    • Jennifer Snadden Snadden
      commented 2017-06-16 17:46:08 +1200
      I totally support this policy plank put forward by TOPS. As they say, it makes real sense if we believe we can achieve an emissions-free target from fossil fuels by 2050. TOPS has long-term vision for our country … the other major parties are operating on a 3-year turnover with only the retention or seizing of power in mind.
    • Tim Harrison
      commented 2017-06-16 17:34:58 +1200
      Amazing and encouraging to see some positive thought going into rail as an option. Please keep it up