Steven Joyce doesn’t yet buy the Auckland CBD rail link business case.
He said it “could be a good project for Auckland” but in his mind there are too many unanswered questions from the recently released business case.
And asked in parliament this afternoon if there is any other political figure less enthusiastic than himself, the transport minister said “Possibly the minister of finance (Bill English)” – whom he then noted was nodding his head.
He said the CBD link could be a good project for Auckland but there are questions he insisted that are not covered in the business case that needed to be answered first:
The business case appears to assume a level of existing infrastructure which doesn’t exist
It appears to under account the additional infrastructure that is required
It doesn’t say how many extra people would use the project compared to the electric network without the tunnel
It doesn’t tell us how many cars would it really take off the road and would it really reduce congestions
It doesn’t tell us when Britomart would run out of capacity without it
The Minister said all these questions need to be answered before the Government gets out its cheque book and starts waving it around.
And when Labour’s transport spokesman Darren Hughes asked Steven Joyce: Which project has the higher benefit cost ratio: the Auckland CBD rail loop or the Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance, the minister oddly insisted “neither” and that they were both 1.1 at the Treasury discount.
” I refer the member to table E-1 on page 6 of the recently released Business Case Auckland CBD Rail Link, which states that at an 8 percent discount rate and including wider economic benefits, the benefit-cost ratio is 1.1. The benefit-cost ratio calculated in exactly the same way for the Pūhoi to Wellsford road of national significance is also 1.1, and it can be found on page 8 of the project’s summary, I say to the member.”
The minister then launched into his ongoing argument that the “transformational” method used to calculate the benefit in the CBD business case, according to Treasury, has “no theoretical or evidential underpining whatsoever.”