$2b for Christchurch

Vernon Small at Stuff reports:

The Government has taken another $2 billion hit to its books as the estimated cost of the rebuild continues to escalate amid signs the bill could grow even more.

Yesterday, Prime Minister John Key revealed the forecast cost to the Government had risen from $13b to $15b since the Treasury’s December update was issued.

The new figures, to be included in the May 16 Budget, would also show the overall capital cost of the rebuild would soar by a third to reach $40b against December’s $30b estimate.

Speaking at the National Party’s Mainland Region conference in Hanmer Springs, Mr Key said the new figures showed the extent of the challenge of rebuilding the -damaged city.

“This is the largest and most complex, single economic project in New Zealand’s history. The scale of the rebuild is unprecedented,” he told delegates, who had earlier negotiated a mock “toll booth” placed by anti-privatisation protesters at a bridge on the way to the conference venue.

Even the Crown’s spend of $15 billion must be several times bigger than any other project in NZ? What would be the biggest to date before the earthquake?

UPDATE: I’m informed that the only “project” that has been a larger spend for New Zealand was WWII. Puts it in perspective.