The Transmission Gully highway project out of Wellington has hit the headlines this week for being a scandalous waste of public money. When the Nats were in power, I lobbied hard for them to take the right approach to evaluating these kinds of big capital expenditures, as well as proposed regulations. Namely, to adhere to properly conducted, "cost-benefit-analyses" (CBA). This is how all serious countries approach such matters. By and large, the Nats were entirely disinterested in my exhortations. Their preference was to instead rely on the "discretion" of certain senior politicians as to whether such projects were given the green light, or not.
One of the projects which failed CBA when the Nats were in government, was the "Transmission Gully" project. The Dominion Post (below) reported at the time, in 2010, that "The Gully route has a benefit-cost ratio of 0.6, meaning the costs would significantly outweigh the benefits". That is, it should never have been built.
Until both of our political parties start taking a professional approach to economic management, expect more of these kinds of failures to occur.
For sources, see: