It’s hard to be excited about this infrastructure announcement today.
We should be excited. Look at the state of the roads in this country - we are desperate for a big infrastructure spend.
Ask anyone living in most towns and cities this country. Ask them what they need to get rid of congestion and they’ll be able to point to something.
So we should all be excited and grateful that, finally, this government is prepared to put some money into roads.
And yet, it’s hard to be, isn’t it?
For a start this government’s already being disingenuous. How much do you think was announced in spending today? $12 billion?
Wrong. It’s just a little bit more than half that - $7 billion.
What’s happened to the other five billion? Well, they’re saving it for a rainy day. They’ll be happy to take the credit for spending that cash today, but they haven’t.
And as for this nonsense that this is a once-in-a-generation spend up. That’s a wish. $7 billion? Councils across this country are spending $91 billion on infrastructure over the next 10 years.
That’s a once-in-a-generation spend up - $7 billion doesn’t touch the sides.
And it’s really hard to be grateful when most of what’s been announced has been announced before by a previous government, then stopped by this government, now resurrected by this government.
We just wasted two years on roads we need. Take for example the Melling interchange in Wellington. That should already be well under construction. Thanks to Labour and the Greens killing it two years ago, it’s now only going to get started in 2022.
So yes, we should be grateful. At least Grant Robertson and the Government have realised they were wrong to cancel roads and are prepared to man up and do a U-turn.
It’s a just bummer they wasted time. They’re still not spending anything like enough, and they’re trying to trick us into thinking they are.