The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union has welcomed a series of infrastructure commitments from National Party Leader Judith Collins, but is raising concerns about a lack of commitment to cost-benefit analysis.
Ms Collins said: “My Government will be informed by processes like NZTA’s Benefit-Cost Ratio analysis, and by advice from the Infrastructure Commission. But we will not consider that analysis or that advice to be holy writ when making decisions about major transformational projects. Think about all of the Roads of National Significance the National Government built.”
Union spokesman Jordan Williams says: “Judith Collins has announced a hugely ambitious and expensive suite of projects. The $31 million package will be funded with borrowed money – around $17,000 per household – and will be paid by future generations. It’s vital that each project is approved on the basis of delivering real value for future taxpayers, not just good headlines for today’s politicians. While Judith Collins’ vision sounds great, we’d urge National to prioritise the projects that hold up on a value-for-money basis, and abandon the ideas that don’t.”
Welcoming a signalled review of the $360 million pegged for SkyPath, Mr Williams says: “Taxpayer funding for SkyPath was always an expensive pet project that would only benefit a tiny number of well-off Aucklanders. It has already had two major cost blowouts without work beginning. We predict that if taxpayer funding is withdrawn, private investors will put forward leaner, self-funded proposals for non-vehicular harbour crossing.”
“Light rail down Dominion Road was another taxpayer-funded white elephant set for major delays and blowouts. We’re glad to see National focusing on a more realistic heavy-rail proposal.”
The Union also welcomes a commitment to repeal the Resource Management Act, saying: “The Resource Management Act works as a major regulatory tax. It introduces huge compliance costs on developers, and the taxpayers who fund infrastructure projects. Because it limits housing supply, it locks younger New Zealanders out of home ownership.”
“Finally, Auckland commuters will of course welcome the repeal of the Regional Fuel Tax – a cruel tax that disproportionately hits the poor and drives up the cost of all goods and almost all services.”