Here’s hoping Transport Minister applies Transmission Gully lessons (and delays) to Light Rail project in Auckland

The Transmission Gully interim review has found serious flaws at the planning stage of the 27km highway, “undermining” the successful completion of the four-lane motorway north of Wellington, according to Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Transport Minister Michael Wood.

Grant Robertson said the review found the public-private partnership (PPP) established under the last National government lacked the proper rigour and consideration.

The review was focused on how the project was awarded for the agreed price, whether the price was realistic, and whether the risks then identified were appropriately considered.

When  announcing  the  review  in  August last  year,  the  government said Transmission Gully would open by September 2021 but will cost another $208m to build, taking  the  cost  to $1.25bn.  Originally the  project’s  cost  was put  at $850m,   but Covid lockdowns  set it spiralling upwards.

At  that point in 2020 the government was  said  to have   “slammed” the delays and increased costs.

But hey – remember  that  Phil  Twyford  had   already  had  three  years as  Transport  Minister  to  expedite  the  project .  Yet all he  did was  order  a  review. Continue reading “Here’s hoping Transport Minister applies Transmission Gully lessons (and delays) to Light Rail project in Auckland”

Yes, we impose sanctions (when the UN says we should) and will despatch an Orion to ensure they aren’t breached

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has had a busy two days.  Hard on the heels of echoing the title of a book edited by academic writer Manying Ip to headline an important policy speech, she was announcing the visit here this week of Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne for ministerial consultations.  

That should be a fun event, especially Mahuta’s explaining some of the Five Eyes stuff that emerged from her policy speech.

 This morning, she was  answering RNZ questions about easing back from the Five Eyes alliance.

Asked about what this would mean for situations like Uighur Muslims in China – which other nations have put sanctions in place over – Mahuta said:

“New Zealand doesn’t have a sanctions regime like those countries.

“We favour diplomacy that involves dialogue, which ensures we build multilateral support for the things we advocate on that will protect our values and our interests.”

Mahuta said New Zealand could impose travel bans but it was “really important” that the country upheld international “rules and norms and the institutions that support that and ensuring that when we act that we act with the support of the United Nations”.

 In other words, if we have properly grasped her explanation, sanctions will be applied only when the UN says we should – and when the UN says we should, the sanctions become compulsory. Continue reading “Yes, we impose sanctions (when the UN says we should) and will despatch an Orion to ensure they aren’t breached”