Another step towards Transmission Gully

April 17th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Gerry Brownlee announced:

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee is welcoming today’s announcement that the NZ Transport Agency has shortlisted two consortiums to deliver the long-awaited project. …

“This is another important step towards providing motorists and businesses in the lower North Island with a quicker, safer and more reliable route in and out of the capital, bypassing many of the bottle necks and hazardous areas that drivers currently have to deal with on this part of State Highway 1.”

The 27 kilometre long highway will form a key part of the Wellington Northern Corridor, one of seven key state highway routes being progressed by the Government as Roads of National Significance to reduce congestion, improve safety and support economic growth.

Mr Brownlee says the Wellington region has been waiting for Transmission Gully for over 70 years.

“Wellington is currently reliant on a two-lane highway that has trouble coping in peak times, and is vulnerable to closure in the event of crashes and natural disasters.

“Our capital city deserves better if it’s to reach its full economic potential, and the Transmission Gully route will help to unlock that potential.

I just hope a contract is signed before the next election so if there is a change of Government, the Greens can’t cancel it.

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26 Responses to “Another step towards Transmission Gully”

  1. tempest (29 comments) says:

    Hopefully the contract will have heavy penalty clauses for future reductions in project scope.

    Labour is going to have to tread carefully here next time they form a government. It is one thing to be onside with the Greens on transport while in opposition, but it will be another thing to actually start cancelling and rolling back roading projects that will be very popular with the big unwashed political centre, many of whom will quite like the thought of whizzing along a new motorway through Transmission Gully at 109kmh.

    Historically Labour and National have both been fairly consistent with road construction and improvements. Even Helen Clark understood this and poured money into many motorway projects in Auckland such as the 27km ALPURT Northern motorway extension, Newmarket viaduct,multiple major motorway extensions of the western ring route and an expensive reconfiguration of Spaghetti Junction. It will be interesting to see how Labour handles this as they will be depending on this centre vote. Anyone who really cares about public transport and biking to work will be probably already voting Green anyway.

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  2. Nick R (443 comments) says:

    If the Greens are part of the next Government they will have the power to cancel Transmission Gully if they want to, contract or no contract. You can do that sort of thing when you have the power to make laws.

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  3. greenjacket (348 comments) says:

    Nick R: are you saying that a government can dishonour its contracts? One of the founding principles of parliamentary government is that the Crown will honour its debts.
    It is great to hear what the Greens will do if they are ever in power – they will pass law for the Crown to dishonour whatever contract or settlement they like.

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  4. rangitoto (145 comments) says:

    @ greenjacket. They don’t need to dishonour any debts. Just print so much money it will cost almost nothing to pay them back.

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  5. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    Nick R: are you saying that a government can dishonour its contracts?

    Parliment is currently about to redefine one of the most fundamental structures in our society – in fact has largly already done so.

    Voiding a contract is pretty small peanuts in comparison.

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  6. Nick R (443 comments) says:

    Greenjacket – I’m not saying the Greens will dishonour a contract, or that they should. But if they have the numbers in the house they can (for example) pass a law stating that the road will not be build, the contracts are void and nobody gets any compensation. The current Government cannot force future Governments to follow a particular policy or build a particular road.

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  7. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    Awesome! :-)

    But as always, I refuse to get my hopes up until the main earthworks contractor is mobilised on site and a fleet of big Terex scrapers starts moving dirt.

    I’ll believe it when I see it, and not a moment before….

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  8. Data (22 comments) says:

    Scrubone you are right, Waitangi and ANZAC Day will never be the same. Is there no limit to this Government’s audacity.

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  9. campit (438 comments) says:

    Mr Brownlee said the project had been on the books for many years, and Cabinet’s approval last year of an application from the NZ Transport Agency to pursue a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to finance, build and maintain the highway had allowed the NZTA to move forward.

    This is raising a number of red flags… PPP’s have failed dismally in Australia, how will it work any better in NZ? Is it true that this project will drain $125m a year for the next 25 years from fuel taxes?

    How much will the toll be?

    Why is the Accident Compensation Corporations involved with one of the short-listed candidates?

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  10. Left Right and Centre (2,397 comments) says:

    I’ll believe it when I see it, and not a moment before….

    I’ve said ti before… all of those well-off Whitby folks waiting for their big road… it’s coming. They must love their suburb save for from their point of view the third entry/ exit to get to it….

    But it’s funny how things work out well for the well-off…. so… they keep putting up lovely new houses street after street… the nice new road will get there sooner or later you awesome people…. and then wallah!! A nice road for nice people… it had to happen.

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  11. queenstfarmer (696 comments) says:

    If the Greens are part of the next Government they will have the power to cancel Transmission Gully if they want to, contract or no contract.

    Not quite. It could be legislatively undone by the Government, but this would require far more support than just the Greens demanding it. Labour would have to go along with it, and Labour isn’t about to start passing laws to cancel lawful contracts.

    Labour and National, while political foes, are also a cosy duopoly in many regards.

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  12. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    Transmission gully will make getting the hell out of Wellington easier and better for a lot more than just Whitby people.

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  13. Elaycee (4,089 comments) says:

    greenjacket:

    …are you saying that a government can dishonour its contracts?

    Yup – they can. And they have. Just for starters:

    Don’t you recall the history of the many Government Superannuation schemes?
    Don’t you recall that in 2000, Labour cancelled the order for 28 x F16 aircraft for the RNZAF?

    So if the Gweens ever get near the Treasury benches, don’t think for a minute they wouldn’t cancel Transmission Gully. Because they know no better.

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  14. greenjacket (348 comments) says:

    NickR: “I’m not saying the Greens will dishonour a contract, or that they should. But if they have the numbers in the house they can (for example) pass a law stating that the road will not be build, the contracts are void and nobody gets any compensation.”
    Facepalm.

    NickR – if the government arbitrarily voids a contract without compensation, then by definition, it has dishonoured the contract!

    And in doing so it has just ridden right through one of the most basic constitutional conventions – that the Crown will always honour its commercial commitment. Generally, only states in very very very deep crisis default on contracts. But it is good to know that this is what the Greens intend to do if they ever form part of a future Government.

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  15. greenjacket (348 comments) says:

    Elaycee: “Don’t you recall that in 2000, Labour cancelled the order for 28 x F16 aircraft for the RNZAF?”
    That was a lease contract with a 180-day option to pull out by the parties. Even then, the contract imposed a substantial exit cost on the government which had to be honoured.

    Given Green statements, I expect any contract to build Transmission Gully will include massive exit costs if a future Government seeks to cancel the contract (lawyers will have a field day).

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  16. mikenmild (8,904 comments) says:

    Given the disastrously bad benefit-cost ratio for the Transmission Gully project, any costs incurred by a future government in exiting the contract may well turn out to be a rational investment.

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  17. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (530 comments) says:

    Sorry guys. Next Government will be Labour – Green and the Greens will cancel the transmission gully in preference to a mono rail project in Wellington.

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  18. thedavincimode (6,133 comments) says:

    Sir Cullen

    That or the fuckwit Brown’s mad hatter rail scheme which looks even better on paper. $1m/metre; 60% funded by taxpayers, 40% by ratepayers to benefit 10% of Auckland ratepayers for a return of … errr .. circa fuck all. What the hell, why not that and the monorail.

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  19. Manolo (12,643 comments) says:

    The economic illiterate Luddite Norman keeps bad-mouthing the project and will do whatever it takes to stop it.
    Even so, thousands of callow youth, gullible youngsters, keep voting for these bunch of communists disguised as environmentalists.

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  20. mikenmild (8,904 comments) says:

    I’d be interested in a comparison of the BCRs for the Auckland rail loop versus Transmission Gully. I wonder which is the worse investment.

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  21. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Do the research and tell us Mike.

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  22. Steve (North Shore) (4,330 comments) says:

    This morning I looked up the hill to see the motorway traffic heading into Auckland. This is 12km from the bridge and traffic way past Albany is stopped.
    Fuck Transmission Gully, fix the roads where the TAXPAYERS live and WORK
    Wellington has less than 400,000 people – get a fucking life and cope with traffic

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  23. Left Right and Centre (2,397 comments) says:

    RRM 4:47 pm

    And your point is…..??

    Where did I make the claim ‘only Whitby residents will gain from a new road’. I didn’t, did I? NEXT!!

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  24. campit (438 comments) says:

    Do the research and tell us Mike.

    I can help you there. Transmission Gully had a BCR of 0.6 before it became a PPP which, presumably, forces the BCR lower because of the extra financing costs.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3205082/Highway-upgrade-twice-the-price-of-Gully-route/

    There is a long way to go before this gets off the ground:

    Mid-2013 (Issue Request for Proposal: Formal bids on the project requested from the shortlisted consortia)
    End-2013 (Request for Proposal closes)
    Mid-2014 (PPP contract awarded)

    The devil will be in the detail. The Australian PPPs have been a disaster and the private equity firms shortlisted will be gun shy. There will be so much risk mitigation, such as guaranteed payments for the next 25 years regardless of traffic volumes. I can’t see this being signed off at all if the Government wants to be seen as rational.

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  25. mikenmild (8,904 comments) says:

    Well, if the government was being rational would it be pushing Transmission Gully at all?

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  26. burt (7,096 comments) says:

    This situation has been like this since the 60′s. The government de-jour will get close to signing up a contractor and then there will be either a change of government and it will be go in hold or the government de-jour will decide its not good for their election chances to push ahead and put it on hold.

    I’ll be absolutely stunned if this time us any different.

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