Govt roading consultant cost under fire
Mon, 16 Jul 2012 12:07p.m.
Labour has slammed a $200 million spend on transport consultants for the Government's roads of national significance as a reckless waste of taxpayer money.
Government documents, released to Radio New Zealand, show about $216m has been spent in the past three years on investigation and design work for five of the seven roads - with $200m of that paid to consultants.
The work has been carried out on SH1 from Puhoi to Wellsford, Auckland's Western Ring Route, the Waikato Expressway, Wellington's Northern Corridor and Christchurch motorways.
Of the $216m figure, nearly $92m was spent on work done on the Wellington corridor.
NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says the $200m spend on consultants is reasonable, as it is not unusual to spend 10-15 per cent of a project's cost on investigation and design work.
The project is estimated to cost more than $10 billion over more than a decade.
Labour's transport spokesman Phil Twyford says the spending is irresponsible, and shows a "mad dash" by the government to get the roads designed and built.
"In a country the size of New Zealand you cannot build all of those motorways at once. Even if they were all to go ahead - and there's no certainty they will - the builds would have to be staged over a period of time.
"Instead of proceeding in a staged way, the Government has gone on a spending binge, throwing cash at design consultants for these projects all at once," he says.
Mr Twyford says a review of NZTA last year found it could save money by delivering the same services in-house.
"It is inevitable some of the $200 million will have been wasted."
NZTA last week announced it was scrapping a proposed four-lane expressway from Otaki to Levin, which was set to be part of the Wellington's Northern Corridor.
Instead the existing road will be upgraded, saving $300m from the estimated $400m cost of the expressway.
Mr Twyford says he expects more cuts will take place because of pressures on the transport budget.
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17/07/2012 1:42:47 p.m.
Roads of national significance are just that, which means they are large scale, and expensive. Would you rather throw $92 million in to feasibility studies and preliminary design, to find it is a bad idea, or throw $2 billion in to building it then realise there was no point? If the project does come to fruition, the $92M you have already spent has created a foundation product you continue on, so it becomes part of the project. You may also want to consider this "waste" of money resulted in a saving of $300 million on a project that, after investigation, was not viable. The other way to look at it is EVERY product you buy has had R&D put in to it. The cost of this R&D is placed on to the cost of the product you have purchased. Why does no one complain about that? It is the same as we have here...
16/07/2012 5:39:07 p.m.
This must show people where the governments real interests are.....while most of us are struggling to make ends meet due to the unnecessary austerity measures there is still plenty of money to spend when the Nats want to pay for private schools, tax cuts for the rich and contracts for their rich mates
16/07/2012 3:45:28 p.m.
$200 million spent on projects over $10 billion, nothing but a fuss over nothing. Fay would you prefer they do not high the engineers and specialists? because this is how roads all around the world are built, unless if you want third world dirt roads that constantly collapse. Ruz, thank you for showing the intelligence that lacks when the media just try to scare monger
16/07/2012 3:21:35 p.m.
National isnt against throwing exhorbitant sums of money at consultants for week that may not even happen,
Half of this money was probably toilet paper... half the plans probably wont even go ahead.
But whats 100 Million between mates?.
16/07/2012 12:58:42 p.m.
So John Key tells everyone else to tighten their belts... except for his govt's favoured consultants. One rule for this govt's mates and another for ordinary kiwis. The rot keeps on coming.
16/07/2012 12:57:39 p.m.
In some peoples minds it seems okay that a reckless waste of taxpayer money is being spend on 'consultants' yet poor people in need of taxpayer assistance seem to cop a lot of bad comments, hate and resentment.
16/07/2012 12:48:06 p.m.
This story is a little bit misleading. Investigation a design work is not undertaken by pen-pushers, but by technical specialists susch as engineers and roading architects. All of these experts would work for design consultancy firms and are doing work that used to be undertaken by the former Ministry of Works. This design work has to be done before anything can specified and built, but the public might get the impression that it is consultancy work that is wasteful and can be done without, when it is essential.
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