Shearer on the provinces

started off his heartland tour of the provinces with this speech:

Another example is the priority that Government gives to .

Over the next ten years it’s planning to spend over $12 billion on building new motorways.

The money for those new motorways comes from the same budget as all other new roads and upgrades are paid for. There isn’t some magical new pot of gold at the bottom of the garden that pays for motorways.

Almost no regional roads will be built or upgraded in the next ten years because the money is going into new motorways like the one from Puhoi to Wellsford.

It’s a nice to have, but when you spend on new regional roads, you get back more economic benefit than the cost of building them.

I can’t think of a worse example for David Shearer to use, in trying to make his case that National is spending too much in the cities at the expense of the provinces.

  1. The Puhoi to Wellsford road is in the provinces, and its main rationale is to support economic development in Northland. I can’t wait for him to head up north and condemn the road improvement as being anti-provinces. They’re keen as hell for it up in Northland.
  2. Labour proposes taking the money from a road to improve links to Northland and spend it on the Auckland CBD rail loop. That seems to me a great case of taking money from the provinces to spend in the cities.
  3. In the Mt Albert by-election David Shearer demanded the Goverment spend an extra $1 billion on changing the Waterview motorway, to help him win the seat. That would be $1 billion less for all other roading projects in NZ, if the Government had done what Shearer called for.

So really complaining about the spend on regional roads, when you want to spend around $3b more in Auckland on transport is ludicrous. Does no one in Labour bother to even think about whether what they say is defensible?

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