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Andrew Dickens: NZ lacks forward and proactive thinking

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Friday, 8 March 2019, 1:32p.m.
Photo / NZ Herald

Another week, another litany of examples that we are a terrible country when it comes to forward thinking and planning.

So I woke up this morning to Mike Hosking sighing and being concerned. The news that 40,000 people in rural and isolated New Zealand will never be able to stream the Rugby World Cup even if they wanted to. Their broadband is just not good enough.

No kidding.

Now I’m more confident than Mike about the whole thing. And I’m impressed at the way Crown Infrastructure Partners have been rolling out the ultra-fast broadband around the country because it’s a massive and expensive job.

To give you an example just to do Milldale a new suburb for 9000 residents is going to cost $45 million.

But the internet and broadband are not the newest technology on the planet. Decisions have been made to base everything on the internet such as the abortive census from last year. So the point is once we decided this is the way then throw everything at it.

And here’s a great point. Last century our grandparents took sealed roads and electricity and telephones to almost every house in NZ. It'll be the same with fibre. We just need to pull our finger out and maybe get some of Shane Jones pot of cash off him.

But I also woke up this morning to news that someone has decided that Auckland needs a light rail tunnel under their harbour and no new car lanes. I’m not going to talk about the pros and cons of this idea here. What I am going to note is that the last bridge was built 60 years ago. Two years later it was doubled in size. Surely after that experience planners back in the day should have realised we were going to need either a replacement or new capacity within the following 50 years. This sort of decision is one that should have been made a quarter of a CENTURY AGO.

Then there’s Queenstown and their desire for a tourist levy. There are only 24,000 ratepayers in Queenstown but the town has one of the highest visitor-to-resident ratios in the world.

As the mayor says "No other city or district in New Zealand experiences the ratio of 34 international visitors per resident. By comparison, the Auckland ratio is one to one and Christchurch is three to one,". So to fund all the infrastructure the tourists need is proving too much for the ratepayers.

I get that but why didn’t anyone get that as more and more hotels and businesses were given approval. It appears Queenstown had a terrible 20-year plan 20 years ago.

I know I’ve said this before and others have said it too but I’m just so tired of the reactive way we run this place instead of proactive.

Could we please stop putting band-aids on our problems.

ON AIR: Mike Hosking Breakfast

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