The 20 year plan

Over at NBR (sub needed), I review the Government’s 20 year infrastructure plan. A couple of extracts:

The most under-reported story of the week was the release of the country’s first ever 20 year infrastructure plan. The 141 page plan is our first ever stock-take of the national infrastructure yet it got a fraction of the headlines given to an MP musing on a blog about financial incentives to child abusers to get sterilised.

It is tempting to ridicule the notion of a 20 year plan, recalling that even the Soviet Union only had five year plans. But when it comes to capital spending on infrastructure, it does seem sensible to be looking beyond the next election. …

And on the roading side:

A user pays principle does raise the issue of whether or not the Government should have a fixed amount of petrol tax, or whether it should simply vary the petrol tax, so there is sufficient funding to pay for all roading projects that have a positive benefit to cost ratio. This could mean petrol costing $2 a litre, but it would mean safer and faster roads.

And some scepticism about the airports:

Rather boldy the Government declares that ports and airports operate within a competitive market, and the Government does not need to intervene with their investment decisions. I’d like to know how Auckland International Airport is in a competitive market. If Air New Zealand objects to increased landing charges, what are they going to do – land in Hamilton instead?

The full column is at NBR 24/7.

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