One of the biggest problems Grant Robertson’s going to have delivering his sixth budget on Thursday is just getting us to believe to him.
This budget- we’ve been told- is going to be about infrastructure.
Hands up- who believes this Government when they announce they’re putting a huge of money into building infrastructure?
Yeah, probably not a lot of us.
We all remember the big song and dance announcing the bike bridge to Birkenhead, or the Light Rail in Auckland, or the Let’s Get Wellington moving project in the Capital. And we all know where we’re at with those projects.
In order: Cancelled, not started, one pedestrian.
But let me also tell you about the New Zealand upgrade programme, which I’ve been personally watching for years.
The New Zealand upgrade programme is a bunch of extremely important roads, which this Government cancelled when they came in in 2017.
But then, in an obvious election move, just a day after announcing the 2020 election date, Grant Robertson brought them back.
But after the election- what a surprise- some of the most important roads were downgraded and cancelled in 2021.
Mill Road, south of Auckland, alternative to SH1 upgrade- cancelled.
Whangarei to Port Marsden- cancelled.
Takitimu Northern Link- second stage cancelled.
Then fast forward to last Friday, and we find out that even the roads that did survive might now be ‘rescoped’. I'm taking about Otaki to north of Levin and widening the Southern Motorway from Papakura to Drury.
So here we are again, just before an election, and Grant Robertson is about to announce a massive infrastructure spend.
How many of us are actually going to fall for that again?
I think five and a half years of a complete lack of delivery is finally catching up with these guys.
That really limits what Robertson can do on Thursday. The only available trick to them is to hand out money. Because that’s believable. The money’s in the bank, done, no promises broken.
So expect that on Thursday. Because what else can they do?
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