As the current COVID-19 crisis eventually starts to shift from lockdown to recovery, the phrase “never waste a crisis” springs to mind.

Already there is talk of a huge spend up infrastructure projects all around the country in a bid to help the economy and get people working. Although it’s not entirely clear how all these now out of work people are going to be able to quickly transfer to the construction industry to build all of this infrastructure.

But what we don’t build is just as important as what we do build and when combined with all of the other major issues we face we simply can’t afford to go back to business as usual afterwards. As such it’s imperative that the government also take the opportunity not to just build anything that comes up but to build things that will help us long term in addressing big issues such climate change, congestion in our cities and housing. This was a similar point made by Bernard Hickey recently as he encouraged the government to use this crisis as an opportunity to fund a once in a generation scale transformation of our country and economy.

However, it is also an opportunity to invest (let’s say $500b over 10 years) in our local economy, infrastructure and people to solve our underlying housing affordability and climate change crises. That would reassure businesses and consumers that there would not be a complete slump. It would also start solving some of the long term problems we know we have.

That means massive Government-led investment in public transport, affordable housing, education and health to be ready for when the global economy returns to life with much better wellbeing and productivity levels. Railway lines, apartment buildings, electric bikes, hospitals, schools and the like.

It’s hard to disagree with any of that.

This stimulus package will also be on top of the $12 billion NZ Upgrade Package announced earlier this year, which included $6.8 billion of transport projects. Notably, the projects making up the NZUP all tend to be fairly major ones that have long lead times for design and consenting. So much so that at least one is not even due to start construction till 2025.

With this new stimulus package we simply can’t afford to have people sitting around for 2-5 years waiting for that work to happen. This means it shouldn’t be comprised of a handful of big motorway scale projects but lots of smaller projects that are able to be quickly delivered all across the country. For transport we should also be looking to take advantage of lower traffic volumes to make much needed changes to our streets.

At the same time we probably need to rethink our assessment, approval and even construction processes. Far too often we’ve seen the business case process be used as a weapon against projects by overzealous officials. If we can address that as well as finding ways to speed up consenting we can probably see a lot more able to be delivered faster (and cheaper). We can also improved outcomes for construction too. In most projects, a huge amount of time, energy and money goes towards doing everything we can not to impact the movement of cars leading to a slow peel off of the band-aid instead of a quick rip.

Today the government have announced they’ve kicked off a search for infrastructure projects to fill the recovery pipeline.

The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say.

The Infrastructure Industry Reference Group, to be headed by Crown Infrastructure Partners chairman Mark Binns, will put forward to Ministers projects from the private and public sector that are ‘shovel-ready’ or likely to be within six months.

…..

However, the Government is also planning ahead for when that time comes,” Phil Twyford said.

“That’s why we are now developing a pipeline of infrastructure projects from across the country that would be ready to begin as soon as we are able to move around freely and go back to work.

“The types of projects the Government would consider funding include water, transport, clean energy and buildings. They would also have a public or regional benefit, create jobs and be able to get underway in short order,” Phil Twyford said.

The group, which includes NZTA chairman Sir Brian Roche, KiwiRail chief executive Greg Miller and Infrastructure Commission chairman Alan Bollard as initial members, will work alongside the Provincial Development Unit (PDU) which has spent the past two-and-a-half years working with regions and is well-equipped to identify priority, shovel-ready projects up and down the country.

……

“The reference group will be seeking out larger projects, those with a value of over $10 million, which would have an immediate stimulatory effect on the construction industry, its workforce and the economy.

“Smaller projects will be considered if they demonstrate a direct and immediate benefit to the regional economies and communities in which they are based. In the meantime, the Provincial Development Unit will continue to work with local councils to identify regional roading projects, particularly in the identified surge regions, to provide employment and boost local economies.

Separately they’ve also announced they’ll be making advanced payments to “transport construction industry contractors” so they can retain their workforce over the coming weeks and are able to quickly re-start work again.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has kicked things off the response to the government’s announcement by listing a bunch of projects the council could look to to ask for.

“There will need to be a spread of projects across the country and Auckland will be just looking for a fair share of those projects, reflecting the 34 per cent of the country’s population and 38 per cent of GDP that the city represents.

“We will provide a smorgasbord of projects that can start quickly and which align with the government’s economic, social and environmental objectives.

“Council officers will begin immediately to draw up a range of proposals, with input from Ward Councillors and Local Boards,” says Phil Goff.

The proposals could include the following:

  • Developing a rapid transit system to the North West
  • Funding light rail from the City Centre to Mt Roskill and Māngere
  • A fourth main trunk rail line constructed at the same time as the third to save costs
  • Increasing NZTA funding proportions for projects such as the Matakana Link Road, which could start immediately, and the second and third stages of the Eastern Busway to Botany.
  • Sped up construction of cycleways which could start immediately
  • Bringing forward roading renewals currently at the back of the 10-year Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP)
  • Creating a charging network and bus depots to accelerate electrification of the city’s bus fleet
  • Funding local roads in new housing developments such as Drury
  • Building infrastructure to allow intensive residential and commercial precincts around the new City Rail Link stations at Mt Eden, Karangahape Rd and Aotea Centre
  • Funding underground fresh, waste and stormwater infrastructure in regeneration programmes such as Tāmaki, and new developments such as the Unitec site
  • Bringing forward separation of wastewater from stormwater to clean up Auckland’s harbours
  • Cultural and community amenities such as building a Pasifika and Māori cultural centre at Manukau, Te Papa North.

I would also like to see

  • A faster and more widespread rollout of new and improved bus/transit lanes.
  • Better train stations with improvements such as better shelter, improved station access, easier usability etc.
  • Level crossing grade separation/removal.
  • Demolishing the Dominion Rd flyover to free up the space for urban redevelopment.
  • Busway enhancements to enable changes such as off-line fare payment and all door boarding.
  • Building a fleet of electric ferries (why not have AT/NZTA own them and lease them out to the operators like happens with the trains).
  • Rolling out a bunch of low traffic neighbourhoods.

I’m sure there are many more things that could be added to the list


Finally, no, just in case anyone is wondering this is not an April Fools post, that just doesn’t feel appropriate this year.

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164 comments

    1. I wouldn’t call the World Bank conservative. They have done some radical things in their time. From propping up dodgy regimes to creating a major debt problem in the third world to using aid as a means of controlling countries and pushing poorer nations into selling public assets. Liberal in the traditional meaning of the word is probably closer to the mark.

    2. PaulC – I agree with you. This is good opportunity to move to a sustainable environmentally friendly economy so we can start adapting to a warming planet.

  1. Considering we will be taking on an almost apocalyptic amount of debt, this spending really does need to unlock productivity in NZ. And that means waging war on congestion and radically overhauling public transport. This government also has a credibility crisis when it comes to delivery. I’m not optimistic but I am hopeful.

    I hope we can also put indulgences like ‘moving the port for the sake of buying NZ First a seat’ to rest for the foreseeable future/forever.

    1. Is it “apocalyptic”?
      Even if the current emergency spend were doubled our sovereign debt would still be less than the majority of OECD countries.

      1. Many OECD countries have debt out of control skewing statistics.
        Italy is now faced with putting up all public buildings as collateral for loans https://deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de/503139/Kommt-jetzt-der-Ausverkauf-Italien-plant-Verpfaendung-saemtlichen-Staatseigentums-gegen-Kredite
        Greece was bailed out of its crisis by the European Union in 2010 and repaid only a fraction of the money it was loaned. The EU is in worse shape now.
        Iceland defaulted on its debt in 2008, and debt default has also bankrupted Argentina, Russia, and Mexico, in modern times.
        Post Muldoon NZ was also nearly bankrupt hence Rogernomics was the only choice.
        It is very important that spending is productive. We have only just started paying back the money that National borrowed post GFC, and are a long way from the debt levels we had under Cullen.

        1. Debt should only really be used to even out spending over a few years. The modern world has made the concept of borrowing for investment normal, whereas in times past raising revenue was normal.

          I disagree that Rogernomics was the only choice, but a big overhaul of the tax system was required. Trouble is, it still hasn’t happened.

        2. Totally agree Heidi. The idea that getting into debt makes one more wealthy is clearly nonsense!

          It has it’s place, but not in lieu of basic fiscal balancing flows.

    2. All the recent reports on shifting POA to Northport support it and it makes sense and should go ahead. It would be a major stimulus and regional development project for Northland.

      If anything moves should now get underway to get this project started, even if just building the rail line to link the port to the rail network, as it certainly fits the prerequisite of a major nation building infrastructure project.

      Investigation should actually be made into building a new route for the North Auckland Line to link with the proposed route to the port, between Oakleigh and Mareretu running via Waipu along a similar route to State Highway 1. Much better grades and more direct route between Northport and Auckland. The new line between Marsden Point and Oakleigh would then continue on to Whangarei / Otiria / Opua.

      1. Oakleigh-Waipu-Mareretu would be a longer route than the existing NAL, and would also face much harsher terrain, so I don’t follow your logic at all.

        If one wanted a more direct NAL to Auckland, then Wellsford-Warkworth-Auckland is the obvious section to target. It would enable commuter rail up the shore, Orewa, Warkworth and beyond, as well as providing a better freight route.

        1. I don’t see the logic of moving the port at all, it would add a permanent extra cost for shipping goods in and out of Auckland. Pure pork barrel politics.

  2. Can we put the line “Sped up construction of cycleways which could start immediately” in bold and ALL CAPS for the infrastructure planners?

    When it comes to infrastructure projects which could start right away, cycleways are just about the lowest hanging fruit there is.

    1. Especially for Christchurch. We need the infrastructure spend because we were missed out of the previous upgrade announcement. Cycling infrastructure will be used as the city has a cycling culture and finally Christchurch City Council have planned ready to go projects. It is a no brainer.

      1. The best thing about cycleway infrastructure is that it’s comparatively inexpensive to build and (especially) to maintain.
        Long term; Christchurch should plan for busways. And those said busways should be designed for a possible upgrade to light rail at some point.
        Mainline rail corridors should be planned out for commuter rail.

    2. NZs largest import, oil, costs us about $8-$9 billion a year.
      The easiest way for us to increase our wealth, reduce deficits, improve emloyment is to reduce our reliance on oil. We need more solar power and wind power, bikeways, busways, ebikes, electric ferries. Countries like India, Australia, US, China have huge solar power farms

      1. I have my doubts about the cost and life of batteries but solar on school roof’s would be a relatively quick and easy and as schools are only open in the daytime no storage would be required. Also panels are easy to install so it doesn’t require highly trained staff with just the final wiring needed to be done by an electrician and then an electrical inspector needs to sign the work off. That’s if you can find one they are usually flying around on their private plane or cruising on their luxury power boat.

        1. We just did an installation on our local school. Just up and running before the lock down. Now it is earning a small amount of money for the school exporting power. Pity we dont have peer to peer trading so it could even earn more.

      2. Substituting imported oil and coal with locally sourced cheaper energy is a worthy goal. Our electricity supply also needs to be robust and reliable as it expands to provide for higher population and electric transportation.
        Our mix of electricity generation has changed and we are at increasing risk of blackouts in a dry year (when there is reduced rain/snow and the wind doesn’t blow). Our hydro schemes have relatively small-capacity reservoirs (typically up to 60 days of storage) and limited snow cover. Adding more hydro or wind makes the mix worse and risk higher.
        The overall cost of solar is still relatively high, especially if the cost of alternate night/winter storage/generation is included.
        We have GW of undeveloped geothermal resource, not something many other countries can consider or include in energy conversations. This is a reliable and relatively green cheap source of power, e.g 250MW Tauhara 2 currently being developed. I believe this is what New Zealand should focus on.

        1. Pumped hydro in the North Island to buffer much more frequent variations such as daily PV cycles and wind turbine variability would seem to have much better bang for the buck. Combine that with conversion of space heating and hot water heating to heat pumps to reduce demand and we could go a long way to de-peaking demand and supply.

  3. The problem is that Twyford isn’t competent to take on the naysayers in NZTA.

    There are problems at the moment, that I can’t discuss, with NZTA’s attitude to rail that is inhibiting KR from running the railway properly. In Auckland there is a great opportunity to stable all the trains and give KR an unprecedented opportunity to get all the faults fixed over the lockdown period (which I think will be 8-10 weeks)

    1. And this is the number one issue; competency. All the projects that Mayor Goff discussed – all great projects that I would support. And even borrowing $100 billion+ over the next few years to fund all these I am supportive. However, to date we have not seen any competency from this government.

      Take light rail – it was supposed to be done by next year; no, Mr. Twyford needs 2 more years of planning. I suspect for all the great opportunities, we will get roads and more of them because those are planned and ready to go. A bit like a few month’s ago big infrastructure projects. It was National’s plan warmed up.

      1. There is plenty of competency in this Government but, as in any organisation, there is plenty of incompetency as well

        1. @Adrian
          “I have yet to see the “plenty of competency” that you take about Christopher.”

          Then I suggest that you take off your National Party suppled glasses then

        2. How about a list of examples showing competency?
          All I can think of is: Kiwibuild, LRT, 1800 police, 300 working groups, strikes, trees, reducing gun licence interviews and background checks, gun buyback, secret meetings, secret agreements and letters, poverty and motels, cost of rent/living, the surplus, cameras on fishing boats, kermedecs sanctuary, pike river, not testing at the border, not testing in the community, delaying border shut, not quarantining post border shut, minimum wage increase in a recession.

        3. Just reminded of one, the decision to refurbish the electric locos and maintain use of NIMT electrification was very good, undoing what I consider to be one of the worst things National did and very poor strategic thinking.
          The guzzler tax / hybrid & electric car subsidy, was also showing promise, although not going far enough. So I’d call this competency too except it all got watered down and essentially scrapped. The incompetent majority triumphing over the competent. The lack of leadership really annoys me.

        4. @Christopher -Randal that’s a cop out and you know it. This government could not organise a piss up in a brewery. I think you need to take your rose-tinted glasses off and face some facts.

        5. The government has been generally very competent in its handling of the covid-19 crisis, both at both strategic (eg the lockdown) and tactical (paying out billions in wage subsidies in just a few days) levels.

          Sure there have been glitches, but it would have been a miracle if there hadn’t been in this unprecedented environment.

          It’s excellent that the government and the much-derided public service have stepped up so well.

    2. I have being trying to think about what the NZTA could be doing that is stopping Kiwirail from operating properly. Is it something to do with train running say level crossings or speed restrictions. Or is it a competition issue like the widespread issuing of permits for High Productivity Vehicles. Maybe its to do with maximum weights for containers for short trips from rail terminals to the customers yard. Perhaps its safety standard in rail yards for instance Wellsford yard was shut down. I happened to be passing through at Christmas so I had a bit of an eyeball. It didn’t seem so bad much better I would have thought than the forestry site where the logs would have being loaded at in the first place. So Christopher when time is right let us know.

  4. Be good to see KR reopen the Stratford–Okahukura Line. Lots of unemployment/underemployment in the area, shovel ready, not hugely expensive, fairly labour intensive.
    4th main too please and electrifying all the way to Hamilton.

    Can you please, please stop banging on about the Dominion Rd Flyover??
    Why on earth would you want to spend millions to destroy infrastructure which does the job (better than a standard intersection too), only to spend millions more, have huge disruption for arguably a worse outcome, and at the end of it all you’ve freed up a relatively small bit of space for your vanity project that will never return the cost of the effort!
    Maybe in 30 years if land prices go up 800%!

    1. Removal of the Dom Road flyover is a no brainer. I used to live right next to it, and not only it is an absolute eyesore, but it is a huge waste of space. Having such an ugly structure in the area definitely affects land values and therefore by removing the structure you can free up land for development, which is within walking distance of a train station, frequent bus routes and hopefully a future LR station, and significantly improve the amenity of the surrounding area.

      1. Your eyesore is another persons piece of art.
        If the landowners around it want to increase their value then they can pay the millions to demolish it and the millions more to replace it… I’m guessing there won’t be any volunteers! So that leaves council… why should the public find that simply to benefit private land owners? The amount of land freed up that the council would own is insignificant. As for LR, by all accounts it’s going to be elevated now so that takes away one of the biggest arguments put forward for removing the interchange.

        There are simply thousands of other projects that are more useful and simply a better use of public funds.

        1. Replacing the Dominion Road flyover with a level intersection is free. You can sell the very valuable land that you are currently wasting. Not only that, but people can then actuaolly live in a central location instead of going vroom vroom more quickly.

    2. When I run out of work I might write to Heritage NZ and ask them to consider a Category 2 listing for the Dominion Road interchange.

        1. I have been bringing them down one at a time out of fear someone would do exactly that. A big one on the western side is next. If they extend the lock down I will get on to it. It is important to prioritise removing natives from your property first and then any exotics people love and finish with the crap trees in case the rules change half way through. The rubber tree will be last.

  5. Shane Jones just on RNZ talking about infrastructure projects. No mention of climate change. He did not directly mention roads but that seemed to be the underlying assumption that the bulk of funding will go to roads.

      1. The hyperbole on here sometimes is incredible.
        Shane Jones is definitely more pro-rail than anyone in National or Labour…

        1. National wasn’t for rail and shut or slowed any progress in NZ. Auckland to Whangarei. Stratford–Okahukura. Kauri to Otiria. Freight from Taranaki to Tauranga. Napier to Gisborne. Main trunk line from Hamilton to Palm to was to revert back to diesel. No third line at the Wiri bottleneck. No Hamilton-Ak service. Redacted reports. More large trucks on roads.

        2. Actions speak louder than words. Its the 3rd year of his government and still no shovels in the ground for Marsden rail, NAL upgrades, Pukekohe electrification, 3rd/4th main, etc.
          Marsden rail was studied in detail around 2008 and some land was purchased. All that has been reported in the papers since is some geotech work. Surely Jones has a cuzzie or neph with a bulldozer who could get to work?

        3. So when nothing has happened; It’s NZ first’s government.
          But if something happens; It’s Labour’s government.

          Well actually; NZ first were behind securing the funding for the NAL upgrade and have been pushing for reopening the line to Gisbourne.

        4. Anthony – The NAL upgrades are in progress/happening not as we speak but back in action after the lockdown .

  6. How about start advocating for increasing platform lengths (and station access points) on the stations on the Southern and Eastern lines (and possibly the western line) so they can accommodate 9-car trains at peak (an increase of another 50%)?
    Then peak frequencies of every 10 minutes will be more than sufficient.

      1. To have increased frequencies, you would need a lot more trains. There is currently no where to store extra trains though. Once the latest new trains have all arrived (God knows how long that will be now with how hard Spain has been hit by Covid-19), all depots will be full to capacity as well as using Britomart and Manukau station platforms to store trains at night.

        A new depot is apparently planned for Pukekohe, with the entire station and yard layout there intended to be rebuilt as part of the electrification project.

        Will electrification to Pukekohe now get brought forward?

        Consideration could also be made to extending electrification and double tracking to Helensville to service the massive amount of growth in the northwest, together with building a new EMU depot at Helensville. This could be done in conjunction with the upgrade work planned for the North Auckland Line. This would provide additional network capacity which will be needed, along with building the Avondale-Southdown line, when the line to Northport at Marsden Point gets built.

        1. “Once the latest new trains have all arrived (God knows how long that will be now with how hard Spain has been hit by Covid-19)”

          Maybe move to local builds?

        2. @KLK:
          There are good reasons why there are less that 20 companies around the world who can make multiple units.

          Designing them and manufacturing them takes expertise (gained from experience) and requires dedicated tooling in dedicated facilities and a workforce with specialised skills.

          Most urban rail operators around the world only put out a tender for multiple rolling stock once every 10-20 years (sometimes more like every 30-40 years).

          So let’s say that NZ builds multiple units for Auckland instead of importing them from Spain. Given that nobody local has any expertise in designing and setting-up manufacture of them that will probably be imported form overseas. Once the order is finished; given that Auckland will not be ordering more EMU’s for some time and wellington is not likely to need any either; the workforce whose expertise was some investment would then need to be laid-off (many of whom might then take their skills overseas) and the expensive facility would at best sit idle.

        3. The latest order of 15 EMU trains began to arrive 6 years after the first. Assuming they’re 3 car trains and similar increase in demand, thats an average of about 1 car per 7 weeks.
          Surely Hillside or similar could be tooled up to make them?
          Part of Jones’ “manufacturing and other forms of industrial production based in the provinces would pick up the slack” from “tourism and international education”.

      2. There would need to be some big changes to the infrastructure and signalling system to allow more frequencies. The present network in Auckland is already running at near capacity and is a very fragile system, meaning just one issue of any sort on the network can quickly cause major disruptions.

        It has been suggested by some of those that operate the network, a much more reliable service with greater capacity would come with running a 15 min frequency but with all services being double (6 car) EMUs.

        The single biggest issue which is currently hampering the Auckland rail system is the ETCS system which the Auckland EMUs operate with in conjunction with the signalling system. Changing out the signalling system and installing a more advanced ETCS system which live updates, would help speed up the current operation. It is the ETCS which is causing the most amount of delays such as dwell times and trains having to crawl up the signals.

        Removing level crossings will also help speed things up as the current ETCS system has trains crawling up to signals before level crossings.

        Most recently there has been a hold up with the commissioning of the newest EMUs as they have been fitted with a new CAF supplied ETCS as opposed to the original Siemens system. It is still the same basic ETCS system though, so will still not address the issues mentioned above.

        Quadruple tracking the NIMT between Westfield and Pukekohe and triple tracking between Parnell and Westfield via Newmarket would considerably help speed up the network and enable new express services to operate which would be very attractive and popular.

        If quadruple and triple tracking occurs, all the stations on the Southern Line could also be rebuilt and lengthened at the same time for 9 car EMUs.

    1. Removing level crossings would have a greater level of resilience for the network, further separating the network reduces knock-on impacts of disruption in one network effecting another.

  7. “But what we don’t build is just as important as what we do build and when combined with all of the other major issues we face we simply can’t afford to go back to business as usual afterwards.”

    This, so much this.

    Arguably the best transport decision ever made in Auckland was to NOT build the eastern highway, that plan for a new motorway to vomit even more traffic into the city centre (so beloved of arguably Auckland’s worst ever mayor: John Banks).

    Beware, more than anything, a push to build additional road lanes across the harbour now. It is simply the same idea, from a different direction, but even more destructively and and greater cost. A firehose of traffic at the city and m’way system that can’t take any more, that we don’t want to have anymore.

    We do need an additional harbour crossing (after SkyPath) and that needs to be a rapid transit one.

    So let’s accelerate the planning for the Metro system that that will be part of. Let’s move the CRL crews on to the first stage of this as they wind down in 4 years time.

    Meantime, straight out of the lockdown, let’s get on with building the full City Centre Master Plan, it’s all ready to go: So much more value in building a great city for the future, not a shitty car drenched inefficient loser-vile.

    1. The North Shore should probably wait until other bits of Auckland get busways before we start digging them a flash rail connection, given they had a busway a decade before anyone else.

      1. They got a busway 8 or 9 decades after other parts of Auckland got rail and 4 decades after other bits of Auckland got rid of their light rail.

        1. “Other parts of Auckland” Ah yes, Auckland’s expansive rail network that everyone definitely has access to and hasn’t had the lines shrunk at all. Excuse me, I’m late for the 10:15am service from Waitekere to Howick.

        2. We need a lot more rapid transit everywhere. The time for bias against parts of Auckland other than your own is long past. All parts of Auckland need rapid transit, and that includes most of the North Shore – fyi I live on the North Shore and my nearest transit station is about 7km away. That is not good enough; there is much to be done, and much more than just ATAP.

        3. Agreed all parts of Auckland should indeed have a rapid transit network and moves should now be made to upgrade and expand the existing heavy rail network.

          The Second Waitemata Habour crossing should be a rail only tunnel with converting the Northern Busway into a rail line and linking it into the CRL tunnel.

          With one standard unified network, this would be more user friendly with the potential for easy one seat journeys which run from one side of Auckland to the other, e.g. Albany to Pukekohe via CRL Helensville / Swanson to Manukau via CRL and Eastern Line.

          Expanding the heavy rail network would be a lot quicker to implement too.

          With the downturn in air traffic, the importance of rail, either heavy or light, to the airport, is probably not going to be as high priority now, even after this pandemic has passed.

          It would make a lot more sense to scale back the light rail project to a Symonds Street / Dominion Road line (and remove the Dominion Road flyover at the same time) and a Queen Street / Great North Road / NW Motorway line to Westgate

        4. Why does it have to be rail though? The immense extra cost over converting the busway corridor to take light rail doesn’t stack up, it can never run freight down it if it connects to the CRL and there’s no heavy industry on the Shore worth connecting to.

          Granted, a rail line yes, but just because we can hook it up to the CRL doesn’t mean it needs to be full-blown rail.

        5. “They got a busway 8 or 9 decades after other parts of Auckland got rail ”

          Probably suitable for an area that didn’t really get developed until 8 or 9 decades after other parts of Auckland…

          “and 4 decades after other bits of Auckland got rid of their light rail.”

          Let’s hope they don’t have to wait an extra 4 decades after the rest of Auckland to get rid of their car dependency… 🙂

      1. Perhaps it’s a barometer of the rosiness of Auckland’s future:

        – If it takes them one week to close Queen St to cars, Auckland will lead the world in planning for a changing future.
        – If it takes them one month to close Queen St to cars, Auckland will at least be in reasonable shape to follow other cities in planning.
        – If it takes them two months, our incompetence at local government will plague our planning for a while to come.
        – If it takes them three months or more, we’re poked.

        1. There are laws against shutting Queen St to traffic for more than a certain amount of days a year. So central govt really needs to allow some flexibility here.

        2. This has been in the planning for a long time. 2012 CCMP, for example. AT will already have everything in place.

          Won’t it?

      2. “There are laws against shutting Queen St to traffic for more than a certain amount of days a year.”

        Is that true? I don’t think I have ever heard that before. i thought it was purely up to AT and AC.

        1. Alex. That is total nonsense, there is no law preventing a road controlling authority from controlling their roads. Including defining which vehicles, if any, can use them and at what times.

          I have heard this claim before, is ludicrous, or rather, frankly, bullshit.

      1. I imagine he would have if he succeeded with his Eastern Motorway dream. It was a $4 billion project in a city with a population of just under 400,000.

  8. Copy the Victoria state government’s “level crossing removal authority”as a stand-alone organisation.
    It should cover the whole country- the kiwirail drivers can tell some scary stories – but the obvious focus would be Auckland.
    As each crossing is removed it can be flagged as is done in Melbourne… another crossing removed, only (…..) to go.

    1. Yes all level crossings, including pedestrian crossings at stations, need to be removed around Auckland. There are many near misses nearly every day. The electric gates recently installed at some crossings are not effective as people still reach over and press the emergency gate release.

      There needs to be a rolling program of removing level crossings, particularly in urban areas or where State Highways cross rail lines.

      Rather than a separate entity just for removing level crossings, this would should be an objective of a new separate rail infrastructure agency. The idea of using the existing New Zealand Railways Corporation which currently holds all the rail land property, makes sense.

      The NZRC should be tasked with overseeing, planning, maintaining rail infrastructure, with KiwiRail being a rail operator company.

      I certainly hope the Government does indeed re-create the MInistry of Works as a Crown construction company, who could build all these grade separations and other major rail infrastructure projects.

  9. All these people calling for large amounts of money to be poured into horizontal infrastructure are ignoring or don’t understand current market realities. Prior to Covid-19 the horizontal construction industry in Auckland was running flat out. There are heaps of projects to work on and finding staff was getting incredibly challenging. I even heard about one multi-national contractor thinking about bringing in staff from Australia on a FIFO basis.

    After the lock down ends some private sector projects might be put on ice (mostly subdivisions and jobs for Auckland Airport) but that won’t free up that many resources. So who is going to do all the work brought forward by a post-pandemic stimulus?

    Outside of Auckland the industry is quieter so there is scope for more work to be delivered there. As others have mentioned this would be a good time to build more cycleways. There is also an opportunity to upgrade NZ’s much-neglected three waters infrastructure.

    I feel for those people losing their jobs right now but they can’t be quickly put to work in the construction industry. This isn’t the 1920’s, construction no longer involves a lot of men with shovels. Even the most basic construction jobs typically takes months of experience to be considered competent. Being a decent machinery operator involves years of practice. Trades and professional roles require years of experience on top of an apprenticeship, diploma or degree.

    The bottleneck for projects starting up in Auckland is finding enough skilled tradespeople and professionals. You can have as many unskilled labourers as you like on site but they can’t replace a drainlayer.

    1. If the Government does indeed take a more ‘hands on’ approach and decides to recreate the Ministry of Works, this organisation could be used as a large apprentice training ground as well.

      The Government really should look to do this on scale with rail as well. Separate out the rail infrastructure and have the NZ Railways Corporation running a large apprenticeship program as well. Fully reopen the Hillside Workshops and modernise and expand the Hutt Workshops to run apprenticeship training to build up the capacity needed to support a much expanded rail network as part of a large clean energy nation building project to stimulate the economy.

      Both the MOW and NZRC would be ideal for this as they would have the scale needed, are Government backed, and would be spread across the country.

      Shane Jones is really sounding good with quite rightly saying things are not going to be the same and things can’t go on the way they were, and that the Government needs to be more hands on. Promising times ahead for NZ at last after 30 years!

      1. I agree the MoW system was a good one for producing a lot of qualified tradespeople. However re-establishing the MoW would mean starting from scratch. It’d take years to do, plus another four years to train the first batch of apprentices. By the time the benefits were apparent the recession would be behind us.

        A more viable alternative would be for the government to just pay private industry to train apprentices. This would be much quicker to implement and likely cheaper too.

        1. Isn’t that what they do at present? It still doesn’t seem to have solved the problem of skill shortages. So there would seem to be room for both solutions. I understand one other role of MOW was to smooth out boom and bust in the construction sector.

  10. If newly arrived Philippino, Indian and Chinese immigrants can be taught to operate construction machinery, drive Class 5 trucks, and build houses, why can’t out of work kiwis be taught to do the same jobs. If unemployment soars, as predicted as a result of the current problems, then I believe that New Zealand citizens should get the first refusal at any jobs that are on offer.

    1. Those newly arrived migrants get brought over here specifically because they’ve got experience operating construction machinery elsewhere in the world. No-one in the construction industry goes through the hassle of recruiting someone from overseas who has no experience.

      1. And that’s probably going to be the answer in the short-medium term. Its what happened in Christchurch, after all.

    2. EvanJ the trouble when they start all this work and they try to employ these out of work people they won’t want to do anything because all they will to do is play with their idiot phones all day and drink coffee .And if you gave them a shovel they will be wanting to go to university to learn how to use it .

  11. Does anyone on here think that public transport demand will be affected by Covid-19 and peoples reactions to it? I would have though a massive cycling push is maybe an easier sell right now.

  12. A must do for old Goffy – Is to flog off the car parks.
    Looking at you Victoria, Downtown and Fanshawe.

    If Auckland is wanting to reduce car trips into CBD by 30% this is a no brainer. Besides AC has effectively outsourced parking to the private sector by granting all these resource Consents for car parks.

    I’m also hoping after all of this enforced working from home; people will realise the benefits of not having to go to the desk job everyday so demand may drop.

    Next step is to re-invest money into things people can tangibly see. What a legacy it would be to re-invest the 000s of millions made from the sale of the car parks into cycling infrastructure. It would also be a win if said car parks were then converted into high density living.

    1. Goff – as well as the Mayors of Wellington, Christchurch and any others who will listen – should use this opportunity to think about the role they want of cars, buses, bikes and pedestrians to access and move around their cities and implement it before everyone comes back.

      That’s specifically focused on cars and reducing their throughput. For Auckland, A4E could be implemented tomorrow. Street corridors for buses would be immediately freed up and room for cycleways made. In the blink of an eye. It would be the new normal for everyone once they return.

      I don’t know how long the infrastructure part of A4E was planned to take, but it could be done by December with the right will.

    2. Most commuters who drive in use company car parks. It will make it harder for people without car parks to support the theatres etc

      1. It will make it easier for people without car parks to support the theatres, actually. These carparks are no different from other carparks throughout the world: research shows the traffic and vehicle movements they create reduce both the amenity and safety for people on foot, including those coming from public transport.

        And we’ve had a good spate of “epiphanies” from even conservative commentators and politicians about how good public transport into town for evening functions and theatre is. (Before AT started cutting evening services, that is.)

        There are all sorts of fringe-user excuses against removing carparks, but the evidence is too strong to pay them attention. Car parking influences travel demand, land use, safety and carbon emissions far too much not to start some serious car park removal programmes.

      2. Alex – this notion simply doesn’t stack up.. Even if we removed the Rate Payer subsidised car parks. There would still be ample off street privately owned car parks to support the theatre goers who choose to drive…

        As Heidi mentions below there will always be some fringe users… from an overall utilitarian perspective these major off-streets are a relic of a bygone auto dependent world that we need to move away from..

        Also – Most theatre goers park at the Civic. Which i note Momoney didnt mention. Im not sure if that was an oversight… The Civic is essentially the basement for Aotea Square above. We can figure out something more useful to do with this space in the future…

  13. Another quick start infrastructure project would be to establish a new suburban commuter rail service within Tauranga between Apata-Mt Maunganui-Te Puke.

    Tauranga has now got Auckland style traffic congestion but the urban area is spread out along the rail corridors and would be ideal for a suburban rail service operation.

    The Pukekohe ADL DMUs should be bought by the Government and ideally vested in a new Govt owned passenger rail division, and fully refurbished and upgraded. Once the line to Pukekohe is electrified, some of the ADLs could be relocated to Tauranga to start the new suburban rail service there, for which they would be ideal for.

    Some could be retained in Auckland to operate an initial new service from Henderson to Kumeu or Helensville, as well as between Papakura and Waiuku. There is a lot of growth and traffic in these areas, especially Huapai and Waimauku, Drury, Karaka, Paerata, Patumahoe, and a new rail service using the ADL DMUs could be up and running quite quickly.

    A very low hanging fruit project using existing rail lines to provide much needed services.

    1. All excellent ideas.
      Those ADLs all appear to be in decent condition and serviceable. Except the pair parked up in Henderson yard.
      I would have thought there was plenty of engineering/Diesel engine expertise in Auckland to get these two DMUs serviced and running, more so now with current employment issues due to Covid-19.
      These would be ideal to get a starter shuttle service going Swanson to Huapai or even Helensville.

  14. Maybe the real mode shift won’t be private transport to public transport, but rather work from home as much as possible.

    1. Maybe, but there are still a lot of industries where I can’t see how that’s possible. Education and Health come to mind.

      On the other side, there’ll be plenty of white collar jobs who will be under pressure (from a talent perspective) to implement permanent a WFH solution (by permanent I mean only 4 days in the office, as an example). A lot of those types of jobs are in the CBD, so helping with congestion (for those who drive cars).

      1. I can’t help thinking that the current (alleged) shortage of office space will turn into a glut by the end of the year as companies can see the cost saving of working from home.

        This will then impact on all modes of commuting with a reduction over all modes. That means that the overall benefits of the CRL will not be realised, but at least it will have been done.

  15. It is very encouraging to hear Shane Jones’s comments about how the Government intends to respond to dealing with the fallout following the present Covid-19 pandemic. I believe NZ and indeed the world is going to be facing a major economic downturn and upheaval not seen in the lifetimes of many people today. It is going to be far greater than the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

    The fact that this Government is looking to solutions which differ from the neoliberal free market approach of previous Governments of the past more than three decades, is a very reassuring sign.

    I would strongly recommend everyone watch this which will give a much greater appreciation of how the Government should deal with this looming major recession and what it needs to do and consideration on the impact on the decision it makes has on people and on this country as a whole:

  16. Looks interesting. Part of the same series as “Land of Plenty” (I think it was called) and “Revolution”?

    Those are a really interesting look back at the decisions NZ has made and in some cases, you can’t help but think we made a few bad ones. Don Brash features a lot in that regard.

  17. What are the terms of reference for these industry leaders in their consideration of projects. Is locking in lower future carbon emissions a necessary tick box?

    1. I think we’ll achieve that reduction with the severe recession that we are likely to experience, the recovery from which may be prolonged

    2. No, from what I’ve seen the list is purely as described, all shovel ready or near shovel ready projects over $10M. I was quite surprised at a couple of those near the top (ordered by cost). Any political prioritization will be applied by the govt later

  18. The purpose of spending as I understand it relates to having money flowing through the economy.

    Assuming the above is true what about;
    – Increase in levels of free training (polytechnic’s and universities)
    – big spending on R&D
    – cash infusion into Local governments creating an incentive to employ more even if low level roles like cleanup of waterways (many roles Suffering at moment are these)
    – school upgrades. This is not necessarily buildings but playgrounds, fencing, etc
    – funding for community gardens/allotments to free up household spending and enable greater exports of food by major producers (also benefits of lockdown comes back in).
    – Air NZ being given a mandated list of international destinations they must service (say all cities within 5 hours having population over 1m), they could have any others they choose too. This would ensure regional connections will occur. Same should be done for regional, perhaps though having list of routes that must exist, and Air NZ must provide if others don’t.
    – One off funding provision for local charities, so they can upgrade facilities and operations.

    There needs to be consideration to who will likely struggle after lockdown. I would suggest retail and hospitality being the worst affected meaning this demographic should be a focus to ensure we avoid them NEET (not in employment, education, or training), and that I suggest is not solved with construction projects.

  19. With the loss of Tourism and Student education sector it seems to me that New Zealand is going back to how we were in the 1970’s. In those days balance of payment was the leading economic indicator. So if money is to be spent we should look at exporting or import substitution. Yes we should spend up on infer structure but don’t forget we need money to buy stuff we can’t produce. Food and forestry are the most obvious areas for increased exports with oil substitution the most obvious for import substitution. But could we resurrect clothing manufacture it was a big thing in those days and people were much better dressed. Don’t forget tourism is a zero sum game the loss of overseas tourists is offset by money saved by our citizen not traveling abroad. And internal tourism will be a bit of icing on the cake.

    1. In the 70’s NZ had a fixed currency so a lot of Government policy was devoted to protecting the currency at that level. A floating currency causes other problems particularly for manufacturing, but it frees us from all of that earlier nonsense. Now the exchange rate will automatically adjust as a result of two large parts of the economy being destroyed. That will naturally encourage import substitution and exporting without anyone needing to prop up inefficient industries.

      1. Yes I understand that however but isn’t globalisation the reason this virus has become so disruptive to the world health and economy. I always think that every country in the world should have 10 or 20 percent tariffs on everything.

        1. Ok what happens if India becomes a complete basket case because of the virus almost the whole worlds manufacture of ingredients for our medicine are manufactured there then shipped to China where they are combined into tablets and other doses. All the eggs are in one basket.

        2. Globalisation means we are all part of each others supply chains. That means we are more likely to have peace as nobody makes war against their own customers.
          The disease spread rapidly because of cheap international travel. We still have globalisation at the moment even though everyone is staying home.
          As for tariffs they are like blockading your own ports. Countries do it to pander to an interest group but they are at the expense of the wider population.

        3. Yes, I agree miffy. Eating wild animals is simply a part of the human story; diseases have started in all sorts of different ways. This disease spread rapidly because of, and is thus an externality of cheap international travel. Globalisation itself is not the cause of the disease. However, it does restrict our self-sufficiency. By definition, I guess. And global trade for the sake of global trade has definitely introduced pests and diseases for horticulture that we didn’t need. Perhaps the aim is to have a circular economy for essential goods and a global economy for services and luxuries, which can be turned off during crises like these?

        4. @Sarah
          “Eating diseased Bats is the root cause”
          Not true. Please get your information from better sources.

    2. Once the Pandemic is over; Tourism and overseas students will take a year maximum to be back.

      Personally; I think that in the last 20 years NZ put too many eggs in the tourism and overseas students baskets. I’d rather that some of the money from those sectors was invested into other industries for more economic diversification and thus resilience (like what the Spaniards did back in the ’70s & ’80s). And the amount of tourists and overseas students in NZ was straining the infrastructure. Yes there was some easy money to be made but going too much for the easy money never works out int he long term.

    3. After watching that ‘In a land of plenty’ documentary, I think I would be quite happy for NZ to go back to the way it was in the 1970s – people had a lot more job security, better incomes and living standards, and most had a reasonable chance of owning their own home. They got the basics right to ensure everyone in society had what they needed.

      The NZ society and economy of today has become heavily reliant on low wages along with cheap migrant labour predominately from third world countries, where people spend most of their days working and still have no hope of owning their own home, as houses are used as an investment commodity and not a basic living right. All of this to supply a bigger range of cheaper consumer goods and encourage more foreign ‘investment’.

      The noticeable increase in people sleeping rough in the CBD and in cars in a number of places in the past 20 years, and the reappearance of third world diseases, is a reflection of the society we have created.

      I won’t even start on the carbon emissions created by so many planes operating to provide cheap air travel. People used to predominately holiday and spend their discretionary income here in NZ in the 70s, which helped support the NZ economy and NZ jobs.

      This forced down time is a good chance to have a good think about where we go forward as a society from here.

      1. Foreign tourism has done much more for the economy and jobs since the 1970s than domestic tourism ever could have, that is becoming painfully obvious now.

        That’s not to say the boom on air travel has been a good or bad thing, but it’s a fallacy to suggest our economy was better off with domestic tourism.

        1. I think you’ll need to back that up, Jezza. International tourism has come at an enormous price. I think you’ve forgotten that “the economy” is much larger than GDP, and that our economy is heavily exploitative, of people, local environment and global environment.

          Include all externalities of international tourism, and include all benefits of a circular economy centred on environmental health and wellbeing of people – present and future – and I don’t believe you could make this statement.

        2. We’d have to ask Grace what she meant by economy, maybe I’ve misinterpreted it?

          Either way my statement still stacks up in the context of jobs, international tourism has generated far more jobs than domestic tourism ever could have.

          I agree there are significant downsides to mass tourism and I hope that the next couple of years will give us the chance to assess what is good and bad about tourism.

        3. Tourism injects something like 13 billion dollars into the NZ economy which would be more than 5% of that nation’s entire GDP.
          This obviously employs a lot of people. What would these people be doing for a job and what would their prospects for life be without Tourism and that money?

          Yes NZ’s seen some downsides of too much tourism and I would agree with anyone who thinks that it should be curbed to some extent. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

        4. jezza – Whilst international tourists have helped the NZ economy by becoming one of the top three export earners, it has come at a price to the environment, local communities ended up being dirty, low financial yield supermarket style of product.

          What NZ needs is low volume (up to a million per year of international tourists) sustainable environmentally friendly tourism that offer good financial yield quality tourism products and services and does not stresses the national tourism infrastructure, the environment and local communities.

        5. Jezza, I think you still need to back it up. Please show us your workings for how “few” jobs domestic tourism would have created in a people- and environment-focused economy. Make sure your model doesn’t include NZers being subsidised to travel internationally as they have been. And doesn’t include NZ companies being subsidised to emit CO2, pollute our waterways and create danger throughout the transport system as they have been.

          And in comparing it to the benefits to the economy by international tourism, make sure you attribute this huge cost of Covid to the right quarters.

          You can use “economy” to mean more than GDP without Grace’s OK.

        6. Kris – I generally agree with you, although I would add it’s the rate of growth that impacts most on infrastructure and local communities.

          The challenge is of course achieving that goal, most countries would like to focus more on high yield tourism.

          I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, or anyone else’s on how we could achieve that.

          Restricting the number of flights into the country would be the simplest, but that would put more into the airlines pockets and wouldn’t guarantee that those who could get in would be high yield or sustainable.

        7. Jezza – “The challenge is of course achieving that goal, most countries would like to focus more on high yield tourism. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, or anyone else’s on how we could achieve that.”

          Our current national tourism infrastructure can cope with 1 to 1.5 million tourists per year with out to much investment to upgrade it. To keep tourism on average of a million per year, the following would be needed –

          – raise the current NZeTA to NZ$100.00 per person 18 years and over if spending 7 or more days in country, $50.00 per person 18 years over is staying 3-7 days or $25.00 per person 18 years and over up spending up to 3 days stay.

          – Add 10% environment levy to non NZ residents and permanent residents to any campervan/motorhome hire where the vehicle has on board toilet and shower facilities. So call ‘campervans’ with no on board toilet/shower facilities is banned.

          – Ban all freedom camping sites except for fully equipped campsites like Top 10 sites, etc.

          By doing this, will eliminated the current low financial yield freedom campers.

          – Add 5% environment levy to non NZ residents and permanent residents hiring any rental car or mini bus to see NZ.

          The environment levy would go to DOC commercial arm Let to be established) to maintain tracks, historical sites, IWI cultural sites, etc

          The NZeTA still goes to a central fund for local town, city, district and regional councils to pay for national tourism infrastructure faculties in their area or region.

          For those visitors who want affordable way to see NZ, we need to have national public transport network operating a fully integrated ‘turn up & travel’ travel services for all urban, regional, inter-regional bus/coach, train and ferry services across all 16 regions allowing the traveler whether they are local or from overseas to travel from Kaitaia to Stewart Island using an ‘open’ nationwide ‘tap n travel’ payment ticketing system that accepts a branded ‘ta n travel card or Visa, MasterCard, Amex Dinners Club, etc contactless cards.

          The current ‘book & travel’ long distance train services operated by Kiwirail, the current bus/coach services operated under the InterCity and Skip brands and scenic coach and sightseeing services operated under the Great Sights and Fullers/Great Sights brands remain.

          I would add a more upmarket limited stop ‘book & travel’ scenic coach services that links the major tourist destinations through NZ for the independent who wants more of a point to point touring experience.

          Depending on how many airlines that will survive this pandemic, international air travel is not going to be cheap and tighter boarder health controls will mean low international visitors arrivals except from Australia which will reduce the chronic over crowding and pollution that mass tourism brings.

          When NZ moves to sustainable environmental friendly economy and market that, we will see international tourists who are prepared to spend to visit NZ.

      2. Grace – I agree with you. I would like to add, that NZ moves away from the current low wage wage, service based neoliberal economy that rely’s heavily on the global manufacturing, supply chains and trade to sustainable environmentally friendly economy so NZ can adapt to a warming planet.

  20. With what Matt L was saying about electric ferries for Auckland, if the Government were to fund them, they could have KiwiRail own and operate them, as they already operate the interisland ferries. This would keep the money in NZ, invested in a State-owned enterprise.

    1. Wellington is managing to fund and build its own electric ferry – the first in the southern hemisphere, apparently – so Auckland should be able to do the same.

  21. Electrification of all the main trunk lines would be a good way to reduce carbon, spread work around the country and should be able to get going quickly, especially if battery locos can allow the tricky bits to be missed out.

  22. Another project to improve the speed and capacity of the NIMT between Auckland and Hamilton could be to build a Whangamarino Swamp bypass and double-tracking with a new route for the NIMT along the middle of the Waikato Expressway between Mercer and Rangiriri.

    There is a large grass median strip along the middle of the dual carriageways on this section of the expressway, to which double-track rail lines could easily be added.

  23. Thats’ a nice wish list you’ve got there but the only shovel ready things really are the old classics like East-West….anything that requires an NOR that hasn’t been obtained yet won’t be part of this stimulus package. They’d have to use some special executive powers to bypass normal processes. Its frustrating because we have money and we have projects we know will work (good ol empirical data) – but the business cases, options assessments, design, consultation and hearings etc is just a quagmire that can’t be dismissed quickly.

  24. Wow. I didn’t actually expect such a good list coming from Goff… It will probably end up being just a wish list knowing the current government and agencies.

  25. The current COVID-19 pandemic is glimpse to what is to come as the planet warms.

    NZ’s current low wage service and consumption based neoliberal economy, where the working poor is still poor, the middle class is struggling and the wealthy are wealthier, relies on global cheap labour manufacturing, supply chains through free trade agreements and corporatism, is not compatible with any future global health pandemic/s and the increasing effects of planet warming.

    As the planet warms, NZ’s needs to move away from the current neoliberal economy and global manufacturing and supply changes, to sustainable environmental friendly social democratic economy based on local regional based manufacturing, 100% recycling, food production, etc as NZ beings an island nation, prepares for the worst case scenario that NZ becomes isolated and is self sufficient due to the effects of an increasing warming planet and future health pandemic/s.

    As sustainable environmental friendly social democratic economy, we need to have a modern take of what NZ was like in the first half of the 20th century that the state own strategic cost recovery assets like the national rail network, national state highway and regional roads networks, national public transport network, etc, and the state, corporate/equity/superfund/individual mum/dad invest into essential trading assets like Air NZ, Kiwirail Holdings – The rail operator, Chorus, an amalgamated wholesale renewable power generator (like the old the ECNZ) excluding business/house hold solar power generation, etc where with the government has at least 51% shareholding, ‘people’s’ investment banks like the old Ruralbank, Development Finance Corporation (DFC), etc and re-established of the State Advances Corporation mortgages as Kiwibuild mortgages.

    There is plenty of infrastructure upgrades beside building new roads, like urban and rural fresh water and sewerage network, future proofing coastal communities against climate change and so on.

    NZ needs a lot of out of the square thinking, planning and execution to adapt to increasing plant warming and future health pandemic/s

    1. There has been strong rumours in recent times that KiwiBank was looking to buy BNZ (another former NZ Government-owned bank). If this is true, it will certainly require backing from the Government – maybe the Government is looking to achieve the objectives you mention through again owning the much bigger BNZ?

      1. It does makes sense that the Kiwibank being jointly owned by the government, Superfund and ACC to buy BNZ from NAB to have a major NZ owned trading bank that has good international financial connections.

        Looking back to the past, the new entity would be a strategic group asset with BNZ being a trading bank for business and personal customers and Kiwibank being the modern take of the old Post Office Savings Bank with a larger urban, semi and rural branch network for small business and personal accounts, an agent for Kiwibuild mortgages and provide low interest credit cards and loans up to $100,000.

        As the planet warms, the government would need invest more money into the EQC to cover more natural disasters like storms, etc.

        The re-establishment of the old State Insurance would be required to cover commercial and personal property and personal losses due to planet warming related disasters since the overseas insurance underwriters have been threatening to under write property, etc for natural disasters.

        1. socialism doesn’t work.
          Trying to turn NZ back to the 1950’s economy is missing the point that mother England no longer buys everything we own.
          Turning everything into state controlled enterprises ignores how badly the state runs things.
          Giving people Low cost credit of up to $100,000 is just throwing money away.
          The world doesn’t work that way and the rejection of Corbyn and Sanders shows the world doesn’t want to work that way either.

        2. I think you will find with Britain out of the EU, it will increasingly look to strengthen its economic ties with Commonwealth countries, particularly NZ. UK PM Boris Johnson has already said he wants to see a closer relationship with NZ and is supportive of a free trade agreement with NZ:

          https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/09/uk-says-new-zealand-top-priority-for-post-brexit-trade-deal.html

          Things need to change in NZ. The current neoliberal path that NZ has been on since 1984 has not been for the better for a large growing number people, with the serious issues we are now seeing.

        3. Rogered by economics – It seems that you have your ‘here n now’ blue tinted glasses on. Neoliberal economics where the working poor is poor, the middle class is struggling and the wealthy is weather that relies on cheap labour manufacturing, supply chains and free trade agreements, hasn’t work and is no compatible with global health pandemic’s and planet warming, as specky COVID-19 has shown.

          A sustainable environmental friendly social democratic economy where the state owns key strategic assets and the state and the people who invest and jointly owned essential assets to encourage economic growth of the country is better than neoliberal economic we have now.

        4. For the record I voted Labour/Green at the last election.
          The UK needs to keep its ties to Europe. The EU is it’s closest neighbour and because of that, the eventual agreement will see an EU look alike deal for the UK, very similar to Switzerland. If not, it will be England and Wales going it alone.
          Capitalism is not going to be replaced by any Corbynesk dream of the State controlling industry. Look back to the mess the UK was in in the 70’s and the mess Venezuela is in now. That nonsense just doesn’t work.
          Global trade and supply chains are what is dragging places like India out of poverty. It may not be our cup of tea to work for a dollar a day making Apple IPhones, but that’s a dollar those people did not have before.
          Imagine a world in your ideology. Mobile phones would be assembled in Wanaka (replacing tourism as income) and would cost $4000 to buy as made on minimum wages. People would still buy the wanphone as even though it’s useless, the Government lets you borrow on your 100,000 limit at 0.01%.
          Of course that will only last a year as the Government will run out of money, borrowing at 15% to lend at 0.01.
          Is that what you are really proposing as a sustainable future?

        5. Rogered by economics – I voted Labour/Green. I am not sure what you trying to say in your post.

          A sustainable environment friendly social democratic economy is about making NZ to be self sufficient in manufacturing, food production, 100% recycling, economic activity at regional and national level etc in event NZ is isolated due to the disruptive effects of an in creasing warming planet.

        6. I found this today with Winston mentioning how many drug companies we use to have here .;-

          https://www.facebook.com/winstonpeters/videos/297450437886728/UzpfSTI5NzU1MTE5NzAyNDgxNjoyODE5ODM2NTUxNDYyOTIy/

          And when we did lockdown the country that manufactured 90% of the med’s we needed was also shut down too . So bring back locally made products ./

          And now the only ones we have are the gangs , the trouble with them they only make the wrong sort .

          As for the rest of this globalism , the trees that are send offshore why can’t the be process here if we can find out what china use them for or are they turning them into biofuel and not for construction .

          And when goods were made here you could get the stuff repair instead of throwing it away .

          And it was good to see a mining company being told today they couldn’t take the ironsand from Taranaki , Where we can use it here to turn it into a finished/value added product which is the way we used to do . Without having to import it and other things .

        7. “the trees that are send offshore why can’t the be process here”

          Because NZ is not a “low wage economy” and NZ has no competitive advantage in cost of capital, cost of machinery or even process engineering. The folks in China can add that value at much less cost.

          Why, if you are opposed to globalism, do you want to add more value to goods exported to China?

        8. “Socialism doesnt work”.

          Unless its called on to bail out neo-liberalism, as it has done (or will do) twice in 12yrs. Throw in the ’87 crash and, well….

          The truth is we need a compromise. The government owning some state assets would be part of that. I hardly think the govt could be any worse in some sectors, like banking. It all depends on what your goals are,

        9. P.S. I agree with Kris and think that democratic socialism is worth a look. At least in part.

          Neoliberalism has failed too many and benefited too few in comparison. Thats failure overall. The system must – whatever it is – benefit as many of the people as possible, not necessarily all.

  26. By the same token capitalism doesn’t work, either: companies got us into the GFC, governments got us out, and it’s governments everywhere – including the US and the UK – getting us out (fingers crossed) of the current crisis.

    Both the UK and (particularly) the US are very different from here (and from most of the rest of the world), and seeing what happened to Corbyn and appears to be happening to Sanders as an indication of what “the world” wants is just a bit ridiculous.

    Whether you like it or not, what the world resorts to in times of crisis is state control. The world does in fact work that way!

    1. I agree with you. The current neoliberal corporatism and creed is definitely not compatible to an increasing warming planet. The message is – adapt or face the consequences. COVID-19 is a glimpse to what will happen and we need to start adapting now.

      1. Seems they are
        Fortunately only half the Green Party share that view and Labour, the James Shaw side of the Greens, National and NZ First all are much more sensible.
        OMG, I can’t believe someone made me write NZF are sensible:(

        1. In case you hadn’t noticed, at the moment everywhere (perhaps with a few exceptions) is providing massive state support for businesses, with near-unanimous political support – in fact, many people are saying governments are not going far enough.

          Economies worldwide are being rescued by the most uncapitalist big-state policies that the world has seen for generations, supported by politicians of all colours.

          Sorry to add a dose of reality!

        2. Its bizarre how those who insist on continuing the profit/markets motive of neoliberalism also insist, almost without drawing breath, that the state socialise their debts when it goes wrong. Or dont even realise it when it happens (which is about once every 10yrs in Air NZ’s case).

          I think we have to accept the market doesnt deliver in some sectors (education, housing), almost cyclically destroys itself in others (financial markets) and works by and large for the rest (examples, please) then go from there on a compromise that reflets that reality.

        3. I should have added, I think a democratic socialist approach should be the way to go.

          We are in a boom-bust cycle, all the while most socio-economic and environmental metrics are going backwards. The current system is not working as it said it would. It would be stupidity to continue.

        4. With what the US is now going through with their health system being overwhelmed and the rapidly climbing number of deaths from Covid-19, as well as record numbers of people being put out of work, which will only increase so long as Trump refuses to order a full lockdown, Bernie Sanders may suddenly become a lot more appealing to many people there.

  27. The start date for the planned new Waikato commuter service has been delayed again:

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/120819441/coronavirus-start-date-for-hamilton-to-auckland-passenger-train-delayed

    There is mention that not as many people might want to use the new service now with the Coronavirus scare.

    This additional delay could be an opportunity to improve the service from the outset by building much needed new stations at Te Kauwhata, Pokeno and Tuakau from the outset as economic stimulus projects, which would help ensure as many people as possible can potentially use the service.

    The service should also run express from Papakura through to Otahuhu station and use the new third platform there, which would make the service more practical and attractive to use.

    The first train coming through in the morning should also run a service back to Hamilton and then return in the late afternoon to run the last service from Otahuhu / Papakura back to Hamilton in the evening. This would provide a service in both directions and would make better use of the trains rather than having them sitting empty in Westfield yard all day.

    1. It’s been delayed because station construction is deemed non-essential. Suggesting further stations be built before its starts will only delay it further.

      1. If it means getting more people on the service from towns where people commute to Auckland, and Hamilton, in sizeable numbers, then it should be considered, even if it does delay the start date. Better to get it right from the start than have a repeat of the Helensville trial service scenario.

        Building new stations will create new work and jobs, which could perhaps be carried out by the new Ministry of Works, providing economic stimulus as well as creating long-term sustainable clean energy transport infrastructure serving more people and communities.

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