Thomas Coughlan at Stuff reports:
Another flagship Labour policy, Auckland’s light rail, is in crisis as deep divisions are revealed over a potential cost blowout of billions of dollars amid delays.
Firms involved in the project say the problems have cost them millions of dollars and are wrecking New Zealand’s business reputation.
So a total clusterf**k.
Newly elected Labour leader Jacinda Ardern labelled the plan “a game changer” and said it would be partly funded by petrol taxes. She promised to have it extend to Mt Roskill within four years of taking office.
And we’re halfway there.
Since the election, the project has been dogged by delays – delays that businesses say have cost them millions of dollars. Meanwhile, Treasury has warned the Government that getting it wrong could see the cost of the $6 billion project balloon like Edinburgh’s light rail, which took six years to build and cost twice its initial estimate. An NZTA source has confirmed this is still a possibility for Auckland’s light rail.
Has Labour ever costed a policy accurately?
In August the Government said work wouldn’t even start in 2020, as it still had to weigh up who would build and run the scheme, NZTA, its own transport agency – or the NZ Super Fund, which made a surprise, unsolicited offer to build and run the project in April last year.
Stuff can reveal that Transport Minister Phil Twyford – previously at the centre of the Government’s Kiwibuild debacle – was warned by officials the unannounced NZ Super Fund bid wasn’t up to scratch. In fact, the initial bid was just six powerpoint slides.
They’re delayed things for a year based on a six powerpoint slide bid? How incompetent can you get.
I was once on a board which had a subsidiary ask us to approve a major transaction for a new registry system, as it just hit the threshold for a major transaction. They tried to get us to approve it based on some powerpoint slides. We told them to go away and come back with a proper proposal and justification.
That was for a one million dollar project, not a six billion one.