Rather than taking a fact-based approach to whether throwing $2.4 billion of taxpayers money down the rat-hole that is Wellington’s bit of the Roads of National Party Significance, alleged leaders of the business community are busy claiming some kind of mystical dewy-eyed benefit will magically accrue from more roads.
Step up to the plate, Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Ken Harris. Here he is in full flight:
“It is crucial that the proposed investment between Ngauranga Gorge and the airport goes ahead,” chamber chief executive Ken Harris said.
“Freight volumes are expected to increase 70 per cent by 2030. This, combined with projected population growth and growing visitor numbers, means that infrastructure needs to be in place to meet the increased demand.”
Uh, yeah. If you’d bothered to actually read the NZ Transport Agency’s own documents, Ken, you would have seen that there’s a benefit/cost ratio on this roading boondoggle of only 0.4. Spend a billion, get back $400 million – and yes, that includes every benefit that the Transport Agency could find down the back of the sofa, including freight growth. From the look of the methodology, they appear to have even counted some benefits twice, just to, you know, make sure they hadn’t missed anything.
So perhaps the hard-working Ken can explain why destroying hundreds of millions of dollars of economic value is a crucial investment? No? Didn’t think so.
Our advice to Ken: stick to what you know. Nothing difficult like maths or long division or reading complex documents or thinking for yourself, but something more in keeping with your role as the Chief Executive of Wellington’s business lobby group. Like golf. But get your caddy to calculate the score, because you’re definitely not up to the job.