Joyce: Puhoi Will Happen Subject To…


The Puhoi highway will proceed, “provided it stacks up on the standard business case analysis,” the Transport Minister Steven Joyce told parliament this afternoon.
And he said the proposed CBD rail loop business case is being reviewed “because it is crucially important when one is talking about notional future demand to make sure that one has it based in fact.”

He once again repeated that that that the motorway project between Puhoi and Warkworth “carries more people per day than the entire Auckland commuter rail network.

“The difference between projects that carry traffic already and projects that might carry traffic one day is that we have to look very carefully at the assumptions of those that might, whereas the reality of those already carrying that sort of load is in front of us today.”
He said that at lunchtime today he had met with a number of members of the Northland transport community, including members of the Northland Regional Council, the Kaipara District Council, also the Whangarei District Council.

“They were all united in their approval for the Government’s project for Pūhoi to Wellsford and asked us to complete it as soon as possible.”

Greens’ transport spokesman, Gareth Hughes. had asked if the minister, as the new Auckland super-city council has called for, would review the cost effectiveness of the new motorway north of Auckland?

Steven Joyce said sarcastically: ” The member seems to be of the view that it is a fantastic idea, as the previous Government did, to bring three lanes of traffic north of Auckland to a halt in a paddock outside Pūhoi with one lane after that. I do not think that it is. I think that with the established demand created it is necessary to provide an alternative route. On that basis, we will be proceeding with the project, provided it stacks up on the standard business case analysis.

Joyce: Not just an holiday for highways but for every day

Joyce again talks up Puhoi

When Greens co-leader Dr Russel Norman interjected telling the minister to take the idea “Jurassic Park. Let the dinosaur speak,” Mr Joyce quipped:

“The only dinosaurs around here are the Green Party members, who seem to think that the answer is that if we all worked with spades we would all be a heck of a lot more productive. No, we will not be seeking to do that. The project will be going through the normal process. We will seek a review of the business case for the central business district rail tunnel, because it is crucially important when one is talking about notional future demand to make sure that one has it based in fact.”




  1. DanC says:

    You can change the perception of the business case into the favour of what ever the big boys want. Such a shame. Yes it would be nice to have the Puhoi to Wellsford road done. But the CBD rail loop would be nicer & makes sense. I hope the general public get up an arms if the road wins.

  2. Vote National - Kill Rail says:

    And if Joyce meet with the Auckland commuters they would be united in the need for the rail tunnel!

    Though, now he’s bringing the “standard business case” line into his speeches it makes me wonder, has he realised it is a huge white elephant in his closet?

    Vote National - Kill Rail

  3. BD says:

    So what happens if the highway doesn’t stack up then? Will the government still proceed with it? There are a lot of loop holes in this argument, we know full well that National want this road to be built, even if it means paying their own agency who is review the anaylis to lie about the economic value of the highway.

    If the rail loop did stack up, they would still be saying this is not a good investment, disgusting guys!

  4. Cam says:

    So when “one” is talking about future transport projects one must make sure of all the facts must one?

    Look seriously we have to look beyond this guy. The CBD loop is not going to progress under him it’s as simple as that despite some people’s optimisim. The project will go ahead at some stage because it makes sense but it wont be under this government. All transport dollars are tied up in roading so even if he was pro CBD loop he does not have any money to put into it.

    He would see $2 billion as a horrendous waste of money. Watch for him to come back in April and say that:

    “the patronage projections for the business case are flawed and highly questionable the wider econmic benfits overstated and the project just not affordable at this time. The government’s position is that while this project may have merit in the future currently roading has to be the priority as this is how most Aucklanders and indeed most New Zealnders choose to get around. The government is committed to investment in public transport as evidenced by the recent $1 billion investment in Auckland’s rail network, however in tough times like this projects have to be grounded in reality and have to be affordable. If Auckland wants to fund it in the short to medium term they will have to go it alone”

    Or something very similar.

  5. mark says:

    So throw them out over this. It will be a tricky thing to handle, but anger at a government holding Auckland back is a dangerous thing at the polls.

    Look what it did for Banks, who was seen as a Wellington crony by quite a few. It did him no favours. If played well, Auckland swing electorates may go to the left in good numbers. Especially if fuel prices rise further, while the minister talks roads.

  6. GJA says:

    @Cam - will you be standing in the general election in November? You already have the correct words and know how to speak like a real politician, lol.

    Seriously, I think you are spot on.

  7. Cam says:

    Yeah it’s pretty easy to mimic after listening to Joyce for the past couple of years.

    Look for him also to quote some previous report from years ago which puts the proposed date for construction of the loop at 2035 or something like that. He knows he does not have to win the argument just muddy the waters sufficiently to slow down opposition.

    @Mark I wish that was the case but too many of the general public don’t follow these issues as closely as posters on this forum. Also many who would be in favour of the CBD have other issues they vote on that are more important to them.

    Sadly I think he can get away with it and he knows it.

  8. Rationale says:

    Going on the usual form I think that this is the start of a backdown by Joyce - wise decision. He can get out of it easily by saying that this is “standard practice” with any (major) decision he makes.

  9. DanC says:

    Will Joyce and crew be out this year? I am thinking more along the lines of yes.

  10. jarbury says:

    Surely the follow-up question to Steven Joyce must be”

    When the Minister said that the Puhoi-Wellsford road would proceed “…provided it stacks up on the standard business case analysis” did he mean that the project will not proceed if its cost-benefit ratio falls below one?

    Is the Minister aware of a SAHA international report which states that the BCR for Puhoi-Wellsford is 0.4 and when can we expect him to be cancelling this pointless project?

  11. Patrick R says:

    Yes and how can he insist that CBDRL needs proof of future passenger growth [which is, in fact already there in the business case] but that Pu-ford requires no such case. And being a toll road, and one that duplicates an existing road, will clearly carry fewer vehicles than the current one.

  12. Cam says:

    Guys what you are doing is putting together rational arguments which is all well and good but like I’ve said these don’t matter to SJ in this case, he’s not going to look at your well constructed argument and go “you know what you are right, my behaviour has been inconsistant and the points you make are all vaid, i’ll reassess what we are doing”

    He decided long ago that he was right and he didn’t get where he is today by listening to all points of view and then carefully proceeding. Your arguments don’t matter to him in the slightest. He’ll make the evidence fit his argument not the other way round.

    The only thing that could possibly change his course is serious political pressure, the prospect of National being in danger of losing a serious amount of votes. Sadly that looks unlikely.

    I think we just have to get used to the fact that while the CBD loop will happen eventually it wont happen under the present government. Which means we are probably about 10 years from the thing getting started. Just saying..

  13. Luke says:

    one thing we can do is embarrass Nikki Kaye. She has been invisible since the election and totally silent on this project that would be transformational for the CBD.
    Auckland Central is a marginal seat and the nats would hate to lose it. Might not be enough to start but could well be enough to keep the ball rolling on designations and purchases.


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