Manage episode 360862594 series 2381161
There's an ad on ZB these days about reversible vasectomies.
It talks about how easy it is to make the wrong decision and then have regrets. The example it uses is the Auckland Harbour Bridge, which has become famous as the bridge that austerity failed to build sufficiently.
Back in the 50s the Bridge was proposed to be 6 lanes wide with a movable centre barrier. But to keep the cost down both economically and politically, only 4 lanes were built. Within 2 years the bridge was packed and 10 years later we had to add 4 more lanes at great expense.
It's a lesson we fail to learn.
We're currently in the middle of the same thing with Dunedin's new hospital. For the sake of a saving of 100 million on a 1.7 billion dollar project we were on the verge of cutting the construction of operating theatres and ward rooms. Facilities that will invariably need to be built in the future and ill inevitably be far more expensive to build.
It's the Bridge all over again.
The government is slowly crumbling on the issue but you have to wonder about the false economy and austerity that's on display, while at the same time 14 billion dollars is being earmarked for a light rail system that few seem to want.
The cost of projects and the politics of cost saving is all over water infrastructure decisions too.
Back in 1996 the Mangawhai District was agonising over an 11 million dollar wastewater scheme. Political arguments over cost saw the whole thing delayed by a decade, and when it was finally built it cost 60 million dollars. There was an outcry and a report that damned the whole decision making process and the Mangawhai wastewater project is held up as a poster boy for how not to do things amongst water engineers.
And now just 25 years later the project is nearly at full capacity and another 60 to 90 million dollars has to be spent and the District is once again arguing about cost.
And rightly so, as there are only 25,000 ratepayers in the District and they're facing a big bill. But for goodness sake, it's deja vu all over again.
So the Affordable Waters reform would spread that cost over a bigger population and save Mangawhai residents from the biggest bills.
But I'm not going to say that's the answer because there's plenty wrong about the 10 Waters concept.
What I do want to say is that New Zealand has a long and inglorious record in infrastructure planning and construction. And it's because politicians play political football based on 3 year terms.
It's costing us dearly.
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