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  • rmacculloch

While Auckland Burns, Wet & Windy Wellington Wastes 1/4 of a billion dollars on a cycleway that follows a fault line for 5km & will host up to 360 "running" trips by 2030.

On a busy day, Auckland Harbour Bridge hosts over 200,000 trips. No money has been found for decades to build a second harbour crossing. Auckland's population, currently running at between 1.7 to 1.8 million, will shortly hit 2 million, given that NZ's population is increasing by around 100,000 a year at present and up to half of those will probably settle in the city. Auckland is getting bigger. Wellington is not. The bureaucracy there will not tell us how many are "working" from home. Most Wellington bureaucrats don't want to go into work anymore and their bosses are letting them get away with it. Lucky they don't work for Elon Musk or JP Morgan in which case they' be fired. Now we hear that a cycle track costing $236 million (given cost overruns it will likely end up being a whole lot more) is being built that runs exactly along Wellington's Fault Line for 5km. Given the thousands of civil servants being laid off in Wellington, the "working" from home culture there, and how every serious urban economist says its best to encourage density & not incentivize long commutes, what is the point of a cycleway connecting Lower Hutt with Wellington? Is it so Minister Bishop can be one of 360 people walking on it as he comes & goes from his Hutt South electorate, or Chris Hipkins can be one of 290 people riding an e-scooter on it as he goes to buy Fish & Chips in the Hutt where he grew up (which are the numbers projected to use it by 2030)?

Even given the number of cyclists they're saying will use the track - around 2,000 "trips" per day by 2030, which would suggest only 1,000 people going into work & back again - that's still a tiny number. Especially given that for much of the year it's wet & windy in Wellington & wont be used a lot on those days. There are just over 100,000 people in Lower Hutt, whereas for Auckland's projects the numbers are 10 times bigger. The benefit of spending 1/4 billion dollars on one of Auckland's pressing infrastructure needs is orders of magnitude higher. In a cost-benefit ranking of projects around the nation, which the new coalition is committed to doing, this cycle-way is far down the list. The project isn't environmentally friendly - they're dumping 144,000 tons of rock into Wellington Harbor & spending $10 million to try protecting fish. Wellington is lacking the agglomeration benefits that come with getting large numbers of cool, smart young people together in tight urban spaces to feed off one another & come up with new ideas & businesses that change the world. Why encourage those who even are in Wellington to go live in the Hutt? To paraphrase Rolling Stone Magazine, our Capital City has become a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of NZ, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into money that the rest of the nation makes so it can build things to save itself. Move the capital to Manukau City, by Auckland International Airport, and be done with it. Should Auckland not work, NZ will go down with it. When will Wellington get that point? Obviously never, because it wants to divert resources to itself.



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