Editorials 21 June 2010

June 21st, 2010 at 3:15 pm by David Farrar

The Herald calls for transparency around :

Devolution of social services to community groups is by no means a bad idea. It holds out at least the possibility of having a more effective impact on social problems than large, impersonal bureaucracies that lack the intimate understanding necessary for success. …

The Budget provided $4.8 million over four years to this end. It was a small amount in comparison to Whanau Ora’s $134 million over the same period and its aims were, in a sense, more ambitious.

Rather than a grass-roots social welfare initiative, it seemed that this was intended to advance the economic and entrepreneurial skills of Pacific Islanders.

I think most would agree that the intent is good.

According to the Budget papers, the money has been allocated to an organisation called the Pacific Economic Development Agency about which very little is known. Peda, as it is called for short, has an impressive-looking website that is long on high-sounding jargon and short on evidence of achievement.

And this is the issue. It appears PEDA has no track record in terms of delivering such programmes. Granting them $4.8m with no track record is a somewhat reckless decision. More sensible would be some modest initial funding to give them a chance to prove themselves, and then if they actually produce results consider increasing funding.

The other issue is how were they selected. They obviously made  a pitch to one or more Ministers. Generally work should be tendered as contestable by an agency – not by Ministers. Now of course many agencies design tenders so only one firm can “win”, so it can be better to be upfront and say these guys have an initiative worth supporting, so we will. But you better make damn sure they are actually capable of delivering, and that there is accountability for any funding.

The Dom Post lashes the so called train “service”:

Commuters who rely on Wellington’s dilapidated network to get them to and from school, university, work or other appointments can be forgiven for feeling a dejected sense of deja vu.

This time last year, KiwiRail’s passengers were so irate they sought compensation from the company as trains ran late, heating failed, and peak-hour commuter chaos too often reigned.

The result was a significant slump in passenger numbers, leading to a $2.5 million budget blowout for Greater Wellington regional council, which subsidises the commuter service that is owned and operated by the state-owned enterprise.

Last week, those who have persisted with the ageing carriages plying tracks that crisscross the region were grumbling again.

Several thousand passengers were, on average, 20 minutes late one morning, for example, when, in the latest in a series of hiccups this year, points failed.

Particularly grumpy were pupils who have missed many classes or been late for others. Samuel Marsden Collegiate pupil Georgia Smith estimated she had missed 25 classes this year alone because of late-running trains.

KiwiRail’s reluctant owner – the taxpayer, via the Government – acknowledges they are, hence its $550m overhaul of the capital’s entire network.

That major upgrade includes fixing the blessed points, and building a third line in and out of the central city railyards.

I’d be interested in data on what the true cost of a commute from say the Hutt to Wellington is, and how much the passenger pays, and how much taxpayers and ratepayers pay.

The ODT hails justice over Bloody Sunday:

The road to justice is often long and tortuous, but for the relatives of the dead killed on January 30, 1972, in Northern Ireland’s infamous “Bloody Sunday”, it has been interminable.

Thirty-eight years is more than a life sentence for the guilty; for the innocent it is an eternity.

Now, finally, all these years later comes the Saville Report – presided over by British Supreme Court judge Lord Saville of Newdigate – with its unequivocal exoneration of the victims and inescapable conclusion that the shootings were “unjustified”.

Thus, beyond the decades of accrued grief, the pain of false accusation, the chafe of implied terrorism on the part of the victims and their families – which cannot and should not be underestimated – there was the insult of justice denied; and, devastatingly, the unconscionable subversion of all that is right and good about the exercise of power in mature democracies.

What happened on that fatal and fateful day in the Derry winter of 1972 can now be seen for what it was: a blunder by military officers occasioning the needless killing of innocent civilians, followed by years of cynical evasion and cover-up.

Responding to the report on its release last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron told the House of Commons: “I never want to call into question the behaviour of our soldiers and our army, who I believe to be the finest in the world. But the conclusions of this report are absolutely clear. There is no doubt, there is nothing equivocal, there are no ambiguities. What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong.”

David Cameron handled the issue very well I thought.

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57 Responses to “Editorials 21 June 2010”

  1. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Perhaps we could invite Chris Carter and Len Brown to come to Wellington to sort out the rail service. Clearly they live by the railways motto “Take it easy, take the [gravy] train”

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  2. Lipo (229 comments) says:

    Quote was “Rather than a grass-roots social welfare initiative, it seemed that this was intended to advance the economic and entrepreneurial skills of Pacific Islanders.”

    DPF “I think most would agree that the intent is good.”

    David how can you even suggest splashing out taxpayer money to people based soley on race is a good thing.
    Think about it
    Does this type of expenditure not even cause any eyelids to bat anymore?

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  3. campit (467 comments) says:

    I’d be interested in data on what the true cost of a commute from say the Hutt to Wellington is, and how much the passenger pays, and how much taxpayers and ratepayers pay.

    You should also be interested to know that the NZTA calculates that for every dollar it spends subsidising public transport in Wellington, there are roughly $5 or more of economic benefits. (mostly to road users). For instance if NZTA subsidises Wellington PT by $4.31m more than it is currently, then this will yield $22.14m in economic benefits.

    http://transportblog.co.nz/2010/06/11/50-farebox-recovery-policy-a-joke-and-nzta-know-it/

    The same cannot be said for rate and tax payer subsidies for single occupant car use.

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  4. mjwilknz (605 comments) says:

    On the trains, I agree with DPF, it would be great to know a bit more about the cost. Is rail really worth the inordinate subsidies it likely receives, when that money might be better spent on roading/buses?

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  5. mjwilknz (605 comments) says:

    @campit, you’re right! It could be argued single occupant cars are receiving as much a subsidy as rail. What do you think of us making use of a tolling system to reduce the amount of subsidising going on for car transport?

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  6. s.russell (1,642 comments) says:

    I wonder what it would be like trying to get in or out of Wellington by road if the trains were abolished? Yes, we should know the costs and benefits as exactly as possible, but I suspect that campit is right: the cost of the alternatives to trains would be far far greater.

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  7. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    The Herald calls for transparency on PEDA??

    Jesus H Christ on a bike…!!!

    Really…???

    Billions after billions of tax payer money down the black hole of “Maoridom” over the last twenty years and suddenly the precious Herald editorial writer awakens like Rip Van Winkle and sees the need for “transparency”. Are these posturing lamers for real or what??

    And maybe they can leave off kissing Obama’s arse for a minute or two to demand a bit of transparency there too. Like that’s going to happen as soon as pigs pilot spacecraft around Jupiter.

    Posturing left wing frauds.

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  8. mjwilknz (605 comments) says:

    @s.russell, you reckon? If, when we ending rail services, we also introduced a better tolling service for the capital’s major roads, we might find that the reduced use of cars (because of the tolls) more than makes up for the greater road use resulting from the lack of trains. Do you know of any data or case studies that might tell us something about it?

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  9. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    I’ll tell you one thing: my car didn’t fail once in that entire period. If it does I can call on my neighbours. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always a bus running past every 15 minutes.

    Folks Wellington has a perfectly good transport network that is reliable, robust, and pays for itself without any budget blowouts. That system is called roads.

    Trains require subsidies for one reason only: they cost more than what users are willing to pay. This is only true for rail. Not for roads. Not for airlines. Not for sea transport.

    Ditch the trains, put a fraction of that $550 million into buses – it doesn’t take much – and give the rest back to taxpayers.

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  10. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    I think most would agree that the intent is good.

    I think it was Milton Friedman said, it is a mistake to judge a public program by its good intentions. He said this because the results are usually the direct opposite of what was intended.

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  11. mjwilknz (605 comments) says:

    Ben, careful mate! I think what campit was trying to get at was that, by paying for the capital cost and upkeep for roads, Government is also effectively subsidising them, too! Do you worry that traffic jams and so forth might become intolerable if we end rail without changing the structure of roads?

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  12. American Gardener (556 comments) says:

    “Granting them $4.8m with no track record is a somewhat reckless decision” -equally DPF there would be a danger that underfunding would cause failure in a service that may well have long term benefits. $4.8 million seems a small risk to take.

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  13. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    You should also be interested to know that the NZTA calculates that for every dollar it spends subsidising public transport in Wellington, there are roughly $5 or more of economic benefits. (mostly to road users). For instance if NZTA subsidises Wellington PT by $4.31m more than it is currently, then this will yield $22.14m in economic benefits.

    Who did that analysis? BERL?

    Sounds like exactly the sort of result a shonky, paid-for result would produce. “We assume all car drivers are irrational and derive no economic benefit from their driving…”

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  14. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    mjwilknz: yes, its a fair point, but Dave Heatley at ISCR has estimated that road user charges, including petrol taxes, etc, raise enough money to, give or take, pay for the roading network. So although roads are not pay per use, they are not subsidised by government.

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  15. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    @campit, you’re right! It could be argued single occupant cars are receiving as much a subsidy as rail. What do you think of us making use of a tolling system to reduce the amount of subsidising going on for car transport?

    mjwlknz: I don’t think this is right. Yes, you could argue for peak hour pricing and expect some efficiency benefits (although peak hour traffic in Wellington is hardly a real problem if you’ve lived most other places in the world!), but road users pay enough in road charges and petrol taxes to cover the cost of the roading network. There is, I understand, no subsidy for roading in NZ.

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  16. pollywog (1,153 comments) says:

    The difference between Pacific Economic Development Agency and Whanau Ora or The Pacific Island Business Development Trust which also recieved public funding is that PEDA is PRIVATE COMPANY owned by one man…JR PEREIRA !!!

    It is NOT a community group. So while the Herald Talks about…

    Devolution of social services to community groups is by no means a bad idea.

    ..what does it think about devolution of social services to PRIVATE companies that don’t have the backing of the community ?

    We know what Bill English thinks. He thinks its totally cool and doesnt have a problem with it. I would imagine that means Key is pretty relaxed about it too then.

    And what’s this from the same article ?

    Contrary to what the Finance Minister says, the Budget document specifically allocates the spending to Peda

    OH NO IT DIDN’T ???… did it just call Bill English A LIAR ???

    and that…

    the Government is making a lame and obvious attempt to rewrite history.

    …and then proceeds to state the gov’t is lacking a

    good dose of openness, transparency and accountability.

    when we all know it’s not the gov’t per se. Its just lame and obvious Bill English. The guy who thinks taxpayer money is his to give away to his mates on a whim and to take for himself for accomodation expenses to live in his own house.

    so…

    Now it needs to show the courage of its convictions and explain how and why the allocation was made in the first place.

    ‘it’ of course being Bill English yet again because…

    Anything less will feed the fires of suspicion.

    theres only one thing that needs firing in this whole stinkin saga and that is…

    BILL ENGLISH !!!

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  17. mjwilknz (605 comments) says:

    ben, ok, I see your point; subsidies aren’t the issue. That doesn’t mean, however, that the pricing of our roading system is perfect! Don’t you think it unfair to charge a poor bloke driving around at midday/in the evening to pay for a big motorway into Wgtn designed to handle rush hour traffic! (Although Wgtn’s traffic is less than other places’, it’s still a market; same as everywhere else!)

    Don’t you think a road tolling system might reduce the distortions of the way our roads are currently funded? That is, if you use it as an expensive time, you should pay for it!

    (Also, I enjoyed your comment on BERL. That does sound like something they’d do!)

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  18. campit (467 comments) says:

    Ben, up to 40% of your rates are spent on local roads.

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  19. campit (467 comments) says:

    … Also hidden costs from minimum car park requirements leading to poor utilization of real estate.

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  20. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Horomia questioned on Maori development spending

    THURSDAY , 17 OCTOBER 2002

    Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia today defended the Government’s spending of $400 million on Maori development initiatives and said the programmes were closely monitored.

    Appearing before Parliament’s Maori affairs select committee, the minister faced questions from National Party MPs about the detail and accounting procedures for the Reducing Inequalities Programme, previously known as Closing the Gaps.

    “This committee is not confident about these things … it has been like getting water from a stone,” said Georgina te Heuheu.

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  21. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    it has been like getting water from a stone

    Squeeze a stone you’re unlikely to get water. However, squeeze Parekura …

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  22. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    it has been like getting water from a stone

    Squeeze a stone you’re unlikely to get water. However, squeeze Parekura …

    Rocks actually have water in them, in many cases it makes up part of the crystal structure – it takes a hell of a lot of energy to produce an anhydrous rock.

    On a serious note, road users do not get subsidised roads and there is no need to toll them. We pay for them with petrol tax and RUCs.

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  23. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    Last week, those who have persisted with the ageing carriages plying tracks that crisscross the region were grumbling again.

    Several thousand passengers were, on average, 20 minutes late one morning, for example, when, in the latest in a series of hiccups this year, points failed.

    Interesting to see how the prejudices of rail-haters work. If I may, points are part of the track, not part of the “ageing carriages” that ply them.

    I live in a 100 year old house, and don’t have a problem with that, it works fine. The attitude of “This is old, so I’d better throw it away” is the whole reason we have a balance of trade deficit.

    And subsidies on the trains are hardly a heroic sacrifice by the car-loving rest of us. Imagine the congestion if every rail passenger drove their car in from the Hutt instead.

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  24. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Imagine the congestion if every rail passenger drove their car in from the Hutt instead.”

    Given the jams caused by rail crossings, especially at rush hour, it would probably lead to an improvement.

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  25. Repton (769 comments) says:

    They obviously made a pitch to one or more Ministers.

    It seems they made a pitch directly to Bill English. The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs apparently wasn’t involved until after the budget. Good summary of events here: http://publicaddress.net/system/topic,2558,hard-news-piss-poor-on-peda.sm

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  26. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    campit

    Ben, up to 40% of your rates are spent on local roads.

    Yes but that is a product of the fact that government takes $x from road users and only puts $x – y into roads, with the shortfall y being funded by rates.

    But, according to Heatley, $x is still large enough to pay for the roads. Road users do pay their way: roading is not subsidised.

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  27. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    a blunder by military officers the Israeli cabinet occasioning the needless killing of innocent civilians, followed by years of cynical evasion and cover-up.

    The narrative of the flotilla massacre over the next thirty years?

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  28. Sonny Blount (1,782 comments) says:

    Why do all the train users abandon them when it rains and take cars instead?

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  29. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    ben, ok, I see your point; subsidies aren’t the issue. That doesn’t mean, however, that the pricing of our roading system is perfect! Don’t you think it unfair to charge a poor bloke driving around at midday/in the evening to pay for a big motorway into Wgtn designed to handle rush hour traffic! (Although Wgtn’s traffic is less than other places’, it’s still a market; same as everywhere else!)

    I don’t know. How should an airport recover the cost of its runway? Who pays for the last 1000 metres only the 747s use? Its a hard problem and I suspect efficiency isn’t strongly affected by the recovery rule one comes up with.

    Don’t you think a road tolling system might reduce the distortions of the way our roads are currently funded? That is, if you use it as an expensive time, you should pay for it!

    I agree with you in principle. I do wonder if the efficiency gains for Wellington would justify the expense.

    (Also, I enjoyed your comment on BERL. That does sound like something they’d do!)

    Good old BERL. They are the gift that keeps giving :-)

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  30. campit (467 comments) says:

    Yes but that is a product of the fact that government takes $x from road users and only puts $x – y into roads, with the shortfall y being funded by rates.

    No that isn’t correct. There has been full hypothecation of road taxes for a number of years now. And as roading projects increase in size and cars get more efficient, the self funding gap will get bigger. Ruc charges weren’t increased last year either for truck trailers.

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  31. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Who pays for the last 1000 metres only the 747s use?

    Airport corporations generally charge a per-passenger fee on top of the plane landing fees. So the passengers on the Jumbo pay for that last 1000m.

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  32. mjwilknz (605 comments) says:

    Yeah, I agree with that, Ben – there’ll be no hard and fast method for cost recovery and efficiency is always a relative concept! However, I think a strong argument can be made for adopting better pricing than what’s currently used- that is, just some vague tax on fuel, which has absolutely no influence on where or when (what time of day) you drive!

    Surely, the experiences of London with its inner-city congestion charge and Melbourne with its the tolling system clearly demonstrate that the efficiency gains do justify the expense! However, I admit much greater efficiency gains will come for Auckland than for Wgtn. We could get the Dorklanders to break the system in for us and then install the refined product down here, eh? That’d save us a bit of hassle! :-)

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  33. Sonny Blount (1,782 comments) says:

    How do people that live or work further than 1 km from the station, get there and back? Does the distance affect the value of the land?

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  34. Sonny Blount (1,782 comments) says:

    When demand for something increases, there are two options. Increase the price, or increase the supply.

    If there is congestion it is because people want to use their cars, so maybe increasing road and parking capacity would be the reaction of a ruling authority that served its constituents.

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  35. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    campit: I think you are talking at cross-purposes, or obfuscating. Whether funding shortfalls appear/increase in future isn’t at issue here, and I’m not sure what “hypothecation” has to do with what’s being discussed here either. The question of subsidy turns on what roads cost to build and maintain, and what road users pay in road user charges. Heatley and ISCR have looked at this and think those two numbers are about equal: thus, no subsidy.

    We can hopefully agree a world where road users pay their way, including externalities, is preferred to one where they don’t. Ditto rail.

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  36. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    mjwilknz: Melbourne is very good: it is nice knowing you can get from point A to B with confidence on a toll road. But it must have cost a fortune to set the thing up, I suspect a good deal of those costs will be fixed with respect to city size, and measuring the value of the (tremendous) convenience they produce is hard.

    On the other hand: markets are good things! Be interesting to see a quality assessment (e.g. published in a reputable journal) of costs and benefits of those systems.

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  37. campit (467 comments) says:

    @ben, agree with your bottom line, but the numbers aren’t equal because a lot of what you pay in rates benefits the private motorist (and Heatley is not a credible source of information).

    If there is congestion it is because people want to use their cars

    If there is traffic congestion it can be for a number of reasons – no transport alternatives, poor urban design, or just too many cars in a confined area. Better solutions can be found than widening roads ad infinitum.

    @mjwilknz :

    Melbourne with its the tolling system clearly demonstrate that the efficiency gains do justify the expense

    When toll roads are constructed and charged at commercial rates they can be a dismal failure. Brisbane’s Clem 7 toll is about to go broke:

    The company behind Brisbane’s Clem7 tunnel is considering extending the toll discount for a second time to boost motorist numbers. An independent report out today claims RiverCity Motorway is making $870,000 a month but having to pay $8 million a month in interest on its $1.3 billion debt. RiverCity chief executive officer Flan Cleary says he has not seen the report but he questions the figures. He says it is too early to say if the group is going broke.

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  38. cha (4,028 comments) says:

    Melbourne, Brisbane and Route K.

    Route K lost $2.8

    Route K, the Toll Road, is a financial disaster and I predict the Te Puke Bypass will follow it and be another.
    I raise this subject as recent news reveals that Route K lost $2.8 million last year and has lost $ millions every year it has been operating. It is a Toll Road and is supposed to make a profit but debt on it has now reached $52 million.

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  39. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    campit

    @ben, agree with your bottom line, but the numbers aren’t equal because a lot of what you pay in rates benefits the private motorist

    I’ve made the point twice now. Rates are not relevant to the question of whether roads are subsidised or not. Whether it happens to be rate money or petrol tax that pays for the road is not at issue. At issue is what fees users pay to use roads. The fact that, once collected, some of those fees goes off to non-roading projects is neither here nor there.

    Think of it this way: if the government stopped using road user charges to cross subsidise other things, and simply ploughed road user charges back into roading and insisted those charges paid for the entire roading system, fees would be about what they are now. So: no subsidy.

    Heatley is not a credible source of information

    Sorry? Why not? He couldn’t be more independent in this debate. I happen to know Dave and I am pretty sure he is a fan of rail – but he has been prepared to let the numbers go where they take him.

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  40. Pete George (23,577 comments) says:

    There’s a lot of toll roads in Italy, at one stage we went through a system of roundabouts and interchanges having to pass through three toll booths one after the other to continue – I presume the bus driver knew where he was going and didn’t loop around to repeat the same toll.

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  41. pollywog (1,153 comments) says:

    Good summary of events here: http://publicaddress.net/system/topic,2558,hard-news-piss-poor-on-peda.sm

    Yeah it’s just a pity ol ‘hardnews’ Russell has gone a bit softcock safe cos he’s known about this for ages and it’s only since the story developed legs and got traction in the fringes of mainstream media that he decides which side of the fence to swing his ample butt over to.

    And now that the Herald has come out swinging against Bil English, Tapu Misa decided it’s safe to jump on and ride the PEDA diss wagon as well.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10653275

    Meanwhile most of y’all here pretend like trifling credit card reconciliations are more important than the Minister of finance and Deputy Prime minister lying, giving money to prop up his mates and passing the buck to a lesser minister to carry the can for him is all good.

    It’s yet another milestone in English’s track record of incompetency and failure. This time it’s a failure to exercise good judgment in playing foot loose and fancy free with the nations purse and parliamentary rules.

    Key should just grow a pair and sack his useless arse !!!

    I mean, how many more examples of failure and abuse of privilege does English have to provide for everyone to wake up to the fact that he’s not up to the job ?

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  42. mjwilknz (605 comments) says:

    Ben, I agree it would be good to see some numbers in a decent journal. While some costs must be fixed, I would suggest is unlikely that many of them are. A city with 3 million people, for example, must have many more cars than a city with 300,000. Of course, I’m just day-dreaming since I don’t have any numbers, although it is something interesting to think about.

    Campit and Cha, come on, guys. You produce a couple of examples of roads that aren’t performing as well as expected and you appear to suggest that, because of these roads, all private roads must be bad! You conveniently ignore any road’s profitability, as a toll road, is entirely dependent on what rents are paid to government. I’m not asking the earth here, but do you think you guys could get over your prejudices for a sec and think about this more carefully?

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  43. campit (467 comments) says:

    if the government stopped using road user charges to cross subsidise other things

    But they’re not. That’s my point. Thats what full hypothecation is.

    Rates are not relevant to the question of whether roads are subsidised or not.

    Rates are entirely relevant because rates are used to pay for (about half) the costs of building and maintaining the local roading network. The other half is paid for from NZTA funds.

    Look, I’m sure Dave Heatley is a top bloke, but I’ve read his paper and he fails to correctly analyse the subsidies that road users, in particular the trucking industry, enjoy. Instead he concludes that “Rail is likely to be increasingly squeezed between environmentally friendly sea transport and flexible road transport.”

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  44. cha (4,028 comments) says:

    Campit and Cha, come on, guys. You produce a couple of examples of roads that aren’t performing as well as expected and you appear to suggest that, because of these roads, all private roads must be bad!

    Well I never suggested that all private roads must be bad but I have been to Brisbane recently and heard the locals gripping about the Clem 7 tunnel that was sold as sound business sense but has turned out to be a hole that rate payers throw money into and listened to family in Tauranga piss and moan about the toll road fuckup.

    So an example of a toll road that has delivered what was promised would be most welcome.

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  45. campit (467 comments) says:

    mjwilknz not saying toll roads are bad, I’m saying its incredibly hard to get the commercial arrangements in relation to a PPP right so that the private partner makes a reasonable profit – but not so much that it is gouging the public and not so little that it goes broke. Objectively I think there are more examples of PPPs going bad and being bailed out than there are of successful ones.

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  46. campit (467 comments) says:

    Frustratingly the link doesn’t say which are profitable and which aren’t (or which are PPPs and which are state owned…)

    Had a laugh at this though:

    Auckland Harbour Bridge was opened in 1959 and operated as a toll bridge until 1984. In the 1960s a group of university students attempted to disrupt the toll system by repeatedly crossing the bridge using motor-scooters (to which a very low toll applied), and paying their toll in £5 notes; the hope was that they would exhaust the supplies of change held at the toll booths. However, the toll authority got wind of their plans, and laid in a very large supply of small change (copper coinage), so that the students were soon weighed down with large amounts of small change

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  47. pollywog (1,153 comments) says:

    By the way, nice softening up token acknowledgement job here on PEDA LTD, by only commenting on the Herald editorial as part of a wider issue of importance, like some 30 yr old massacre on the other side of the world and the Welli railways, both of which have no real relevance to NZers on the whole…pfffft

    …but hey, look over there. It’s a big fucking PEDA rock, representing the invisible Pasifikan underclass, on the tracks and it’s gonna derail the goods train that is Bill English cos he’s just been caught out lying again !!!

    Y’all do know that if this story goes viral in the mainstream you’re gonna look like ostriches with heads buried in the sands and blue National supporter flags sticking out your bums that i’ll use for target practise.

    Still, i guess no amount of spin can undo this twisting tale of lies, cronyism, nepotism, slush funds and rorting. Just keep silent and pretend it never happened huh ?…until it’s too late.

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  48. mjwilknz (605 comments) says:

    Really Campit? Objectively you think there are more examples of PPPs going bad and being bailed out than there are of successful ones? That’s a very bold claim! If there are so many examples of them going bad, why do you think so many governments are using them?

    Just like toll roads, it’s a good thing so many other countries are trying PPPs. Gives us Kiwis plenty of to learn from: http://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/bitstream/10092/211/1/12604296_Main.pdf

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  49. jarbury (464 comments) says:

    The PPP looking after London Underground collapsed completely…. I think Transport for London just bought back the second half of the contract, after having to bail out the first half a few years back.

    Ministry of Transport officials rejected the idea of a PPP for the Waterview Connection, even though they really really really wanted to recommend one. It just didn’t make financial sense (because the private sector generally has to borrow at a higher rate than the government).

    The $5 payback for $1 invested in Wellington’s rail network was calculated by NZTA. I got the figures from here: http://transportblog.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/oia-50percent.pdf

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  50. cha (4,028 comments) says:

    Fifteen minutes googling:

    Brown’s tube policy costs taxpayer £2bn.

    SLEx builder finds it hard to recoup investment.

    Sydney’s troubled Cross City Tunnel.

    Lane Cove Tunnel operator hits the wall.

    Sydney Airport Railway.

    Not a lot of success stories leaping out at me.

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  51. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    I never want to call into question the behaviour of our soldiers and our army, who I believe to be the finest in the world. But the conclusions of this report are absolutely clear. There is no doubt, there is nothing equivocal, there are no ambiguities. What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong.”

    Paraphrasing: “I never want to call into question the behaviour of our soldiers, but in this case I do and they were clearly in the wrong.”

    So Cameron has a cheek on both sides of the fence. Awesome! He’ll go far in politics.

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  52. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    campit

    >> if the government stopped using road user charges to cross subsidise other things

    > But they’re not. That’s my point. Thats what full hypothecation is.

    ACC is funded in part by road user charges. There is a fire service levy in there. I’m sure there are other charges in there. So road user charges do cover more than just roads.

    What is with this word hypothetication, which apparently means “The pledging of securities or other assets as collateral to secure a loan, such as a debit balance in a margin account.” What does this have to do with anything?

    And again you’re on about rates as a measure of cross subsidy. You’re flat out wrong on that. The one and only comparison establishing a subsidy for roads is a comparison between what road users pay in toto vs what roads cost. Rates can be required for reasons other than cross subsidy, e.g. road user revenues are being put into non-roading activity. Like ACC. That is what’s happening. Heatley has looked at this and says road users about pay their way.

    And before you simply repeat rates pay for roads, save it. I get the argument. You’re looking at the wrong thing.

    You’ll have to be a lot more specific about your problem with Dave Heatley. What does “Rail is likely to be increasingly squeezed between environmentally friendly sea transport and flexible road transport.” have to do with his analysis of road subsidy? About nothing I would say. Do you have a reason for rejecting Dave’s analysis, or is it just his conclusions you don’t like?

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  53. cabbage (455 comments) says:

    I gave up on the train years ago. I like knowing when i will arrive.

    Costs me either: $192.50 (incl parking) in the car. Or $38.50 on the bike.

    Both figures are for a weekly commute from Paraparaumu – Wellington.

    Economically, the bike is a no brainer compared even to the train.

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  54. Russell Brown (405 comments) says:

    Yeah it’s just a pity ol ‘hardnews’ Russell has gone a bit softcock safe cos he’s known about this for ages and it’s only since the story developed legs and got traction in the fringes of mainstream media that he decides which side of the fence to swing his ample butt over to.

    Er, yeah. That would be why I first blogged about it the day after the damn Budget.

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  55. Russell Brown (405 comments) says:

    The news that there’ll now be a witch-hunt over the PEDA leak to Richard Pamatatau is interesting — given that there would have been no need for such a leak had the offices of both English and Te Heuheu not been stalling OIA requests from Radio NZ, the Herald and possibly others for weeks.

    Something about holes and stopping digging.

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  56. pollywog (1,153 comments) says:

    Er, yeah. That would be why I first blogged about it the day after the damn Budget.

    Yeah and that’s what i mean about you knew about it but didnt take a stand or investigate it further til now.

    Let others do the hard yards and you pull up the rear to weigh in with your considered opinion from a safe distance and after a time…Lazy Russell., you really must try harder if you’re to win me back :)

    So what do you reckon? We all know English should at the very least apologise and offer to fall on his sword but it would be better if Key sacked him for being a useless prick instead.

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