“The government’s latest announcement about its plans for light rail in Auckland is, as New Zealand First said a year ago, a massive cost blowout and ten years of chaos for Auckland,” says Winston Peters Leader of New Zealand First.
“Back then Labour was pressing forward with their plans in the coalition cabinet when the original costings were so farcical that we refused to support it. Not one of the questions we asked about the potential for a blowout in costings were back then seriously answered.”
“We made it clear that it would lead to a decade of chaos for commuters and that costs would inevitably blowout to between $10-15 billion from the originally estimated $1.8 billion – which it clearly now has.”
“Worse still, when the auditor general saw their tendering process, he wrote a scathing analysis in November last year about how they had breached the procurement rules that all public entities must follow.”
“As former Labour Finance Minister Sir Michael Cullen said, ‘light rail was an idea whose time has passed.’ He further said that Labour ‘had dismissed the enormous cost and disruption and arrived at the solution before adequately analysing the problem.’
“New Zealand First was accused back then of being a negative handbrake in government, but all we were asking for was balance, experience, and plain common-sense being applied to all government policy,” says Mr Peters.