I hope 2020 has begun well for you and your family, and that you enjoyed a lovely summer holiday.
Anne and I had one of our best holidays ever, and I’m now energised and raring to tackle the challenges of Election Year.
The election date has been set and in just over seven months New Zealanders will cast their votes. I’d like to say “choose our next government”, but Winston Peters has made that decision three times since MMP was introduced. That is fundamentally undemocratic and I’m very pleased that Simon Bridges has ruled Mr Peters out if we are given the privilege of forming the next government. Feedback I’ve been receiving this week has been strongly in favour of our stance.
Labour’s much touted “year of delivery” in 2019 proved to be the exact opposite. In an attempt to move beyond talk to action, they recently announced an infrastructure programme which largely re-committed to roading and other projects that originated under the previous National-led government but which in many cases Labour cancelled on taking office.
Much has been said about the paltry sum allocated to the South Island – less than $250 million (which is crumbs when you’re talking infrastructure) compared with $3.48 billion for Auckland projects – and they’re right to be incensed, but Waikato and Taranaki were also largely ignored. A larger sum was disguised as “Waikato/Bay of Plenty” funding, but almost all of it was for the latter with Waikato just getting a roundabout.
National had committed in 2017 to extending the Waikato Expressway from Cambridge to Piarere, but Labour stopped that.
The announced roundabout is a stop-gap measure to relieve safety concerns, but it’s not what’s needed. The failure to invest in this road could delay its eventual completion with Labour pretending they have solved the problem.
It’s easy to announce a big project but much harder to deliver it. These things need to be consulted on, consented, and designed in such a way that gets maximum value for the taxpayer. This takes a lot of time, skill and effort.
Labour’s record on delivery is terrible. It had years in Opposition to figure out how to deliver 100,000 KiwiBuild houses in a decade, only to give up after little more than a year of embarrassing failure.
Phil Tywford is making a complete hash of the Prime Minister’s promise to have Auckland’s light rail built by 2021. On current pace, it’s unlikely to be built this decade.
In contrast, National’s track record on delivering infrastructure is impressive. The Waterview Tunnel, Waikato Expressway, Tauranga Eastern Link, Christchurch Southern motorway and Kapiti Expressway were just some of the projects delivered by the previous Government.