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  • rmacculloch

If the Coalition Agreement Stands, Wellington Will Cease to Exist as a City and become a Town, maybe a Village.

The Coalition Agreement between National and ACT states as a "principle" that decisions now will be "based on sound public policy principles, including problem definition, rigorous cost benefit analysis and economic efficiency".

What is cost-benefit analysis? It is not simply calculating the ratio of the benefits to costs of a decision and choosing to invest money when the benefits exceed costs. No, it involves calculating those ratios for all prospective projects and ranking them from highest to lowest. Given a limited budget, one must select projects with the highest ratios until the budget is spent. On this basis, Wellington should be left to fail. Why? Since its pipeline of proposed infrastructure projects, ranging from the Mount Victoria Tunnel to port facilities to fixing water leakage problems involve relatively limited benefits & massive costs that make no sense when compared to the urgent requirements of Auckland.

How come? Auckland's population is four to five times Wellington's, so the benefits of sorting its ailing infrastructure are far greater. What's more, one of our biggest earthquake fault lines runs through the Treasury, Reserve Bank & Beehive in Wellington. The cost of infrastructure there is huge. Projects like Transmission Gully failed cost-benefit analysis. Its benefits were dwarfed by those of similar projects in Auckland, which were not done because of the money spent on that Gully. Most bureaucrats aren't physically going into work regularly in Wellington - it's on a scale to which the Departments won't admit. Many are no longer based in Wellington, instead "working" remotely from elsewhere.

It may sound stark, but Wellington city no longer adds up. It is built on subsidies and backs of others. The costs of running it are no longer justified. An unshakeable implication of the Coalition Agreement is that Wellington should be left to fail and many of its Ministries moved out. When I once lived in Bonn, it was Germany's capital. Although the capital moved to Berlin, six Federal Ministries kept their headquarters in Bonn. Similarly, NZ ministries like Social Development should be moved out of Wellington. The only reason Wellington is kept going is that many of our bureaucratic & political elite live there & want to spend the nation's increasingly scarce resources on themselves.



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