The overly cautious $6.8b spend up is not transformational



So the terminally cautious Grant Robertson has finally undone some of the buttons on his budget corset that he and James Shaw straightjacketed themselves into by promising our Corporate Overlords that a Labour led Government would be just as austere as a National led one and has delivered a stock standard investment package that lacks vision, punch or hope.

• $6.8b for transport projects in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Canterbury, Queenstown
• $1.1b for rail, including more than $900m for projects in Auckland
• $2.2b for new roads in Auckland, including Penlink, widening SH1 from Papakura to Drury, Mill Rd four-lane highway
• Auckland Harbour Bridge ‘SkyPath’ for pedestrians and cyclists confirmed

Let’s get the stock standard comments out of the way, yes, these are good first steps, National underfunded for a decade and it’s shit that Labour has to fix all that obscene underfunding but all that said, this unimaginative attempt to look like something is getting done is barely a response to that decade of underfunding.

Grant is borrowing $12b in total, we can borrow twice that and it still won’t impact our credit rating, and a large chunk of that is on bloody roads and some patch up work to our poorly functioning public transport network.

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The rest of the money to be announced is equally barely keeping pace with the rapid population increase compounded by an unsustainable tourism industry that is stretching basic infrastructure beyond its capacity.

None of this is transformational and the depressing truth is that this might be the best Labour can actually manage.

I still think they deserve a second term because it takes that long to gain the courage to reform the neoliberal public service, but this is a tiny bandage for an amputated nation.


  1. Phase one complete. Now for phase two: steal all the oil and gas workers and steal a large chunk of the intensive dairy sector workers and redeploy them into The Renewables Sector.

    • Good idea Sam we have the people here but we need to invest in them they are in sectors like the ones you mentioned that are unsustainable.

      • Well it all depends on what happens to the education component of this spend up. Not even a government can throw a billion dollars at a nation and expect it to be effective. So re-educating more electricians, master builders and horticulturist so we can build a carbon farming economy to save on all the gulags comrade general.

  2. I get what you are saying Martyn, and supply one local example as to some of the Govt. timidity–apart from most of the Labour Caucus’ die hard commitment to neo liberalism of course!

    In Northland, slimy Nat MP Dr Reti runs front page local print ads in the Northern Advocate several times a week whinging about a four lane highway on SH1 from Marsden Point to Whangarei city. The world will be ending shortly if it is not done, and Labour causes fatal car crashes, is his rap. He said not a thing when his party was in office for 9 years. The road is needed no doubt, particularly if Auckland Port moves North, and to reduce the many unnecessary head on crashes. Raising benefits for example, before committing to this infrastructure, would not have gone down well at all with the provincial types. Though obviously it should not be either or, if the bloody Govt would drop that try hard fiscal austerity crap.

    Is trying to buy the support of National and middle class provincial types worth the spend? Not really, but much of this money had to be spent, but you know who would not spend it. Shane Jones will likely get a Marsden Pt to SH1 rail link too to assist his chances.

    So it sucks that the underclass is sidelined yet again. If the Govt. is re-elected cleaning out the public sector has to be a priority, all those over paid neo liberal pricks putting the slipper in.

  3. You can live under some motorways and highways but you can’t cook them up for dinner.

    This all sounds like an announcement from the nasty Natz and you could be forgiven for thinking what is really different when it comes to REAL CHANGE for all those who are just pawns in this NATZ – LAB neoliberal dance every three years.

    The Greens have been strangely silent on their position pre 2017 that to help combat climate change we should not be building less roads not more.

    I guess that is James Shaw’s influence , i never really believed him when he talked about his Green vision.

    Talk is cheap it is action and the courage of your principles that matter.

    Metria was the real deal before she was devoured by the free market cabal.

    They seem to be almost invisible in this coalition allowing themselves to be taken advantage of by Labour and NZ First’s agenda.

    • Remember they are not in Cabinet they are only a confidence and supply member of the coalition so t5hey have not quite got the same amount of influence.

      • Jeanette Fitzsimmons achieved the same level of influence without being in coalition or having ministers outside cabinet. Fitzsimmons also had an agreement with Clark fora bio fuel industry which sank without trace once the that piece of shit Key was elected.The Greens are ineffective because they are poseurs by and large the leadership especially. And for that reason I will not even consider voting for them this time around. And I have been a lifelong Green supporter.

  4. Is the sky path still going ahead as a PPP and to charge for walkers and cyclists while the rest of the traffic is free?

    It’s like COL is Natz and Natz are ACT… how did 1% of the ACT voting population manage to hoodwink the rest into going into neoliberal wonderland including all the other parties?

    Roads, roads, roads, build, build, build, growth, growth, growth..

  5. They did it to the Alliance party in 2003. They split the party and their vote. Now, theyre doing it to the Gweens but a little bit nicer. With $200m Haere ra money for their death dutys! Hehehe! Those sneaky bastards.

    • lol….bless their little green cotton socks …but how can the St Gweens support spending money on motorways?

  6. “Its Transformational!” Bye, bye widdle Gweenies! Ka kite! Haere ra! Here’s $200m to keep you going till the 19th September.

    • @Jody….”politics of kindness” does not include New Zealanders , especially the NZ elderly and those NZers and their children at the bottom of the heap …without houses due to big new immigration flow and overseas buying of houses…these people need motorways!….and it is kindness to big trucks and motorways for big new foreign population growth

      I can understand this . When I was a little kid I wanted a big truck like my Dad’s and I was given a nice red heavy metal toy truck, which I duly wrapped in a blanket and wheeled around in my dolly pram

      This is called the “politics of kindness” to trucks

  7. Today’s announcement shows that financially Labour doesn’t have a clue. We are a sovereign nation, so our Reserve Bank can create its own money supply just like the private banks can and do. Can it produce $12 billion without risk of inflation? Yes it can. … and with far less risk because its backed by the wealth of all NZ.
    And if it did, should it spend that money on upgrading roads? Not at all. Labour is still in thrall to the owner/drivers. With the rapid onset of the self-drive electric car and the electrified rail, we already have more roadage than we need. In twenty years we will not need half the roads we have right now. Labour hasn’t a clue and all those who think todays announcement is a good idea are also clueless.

    • Neoliberalism is not exactly on the ascendant at the moment.

      Which is pretty cool. It’s been the dominant ideology since I was a boy. This is fresh!

      External metrics such as the poverty rate have largely backed up Jacinda’s claims.

      “26 April 2019
      About one in six children (16% or 183,000) live below a before-housing-cost relative poverty measure, but that figure jumps to almost one in four (23% or 254,000) once housing costs are accounted for. And 13% (148,000) are living in households that experience material hardship – 6% in severe hardship.”- link:

      All these things cost a lot of money.

      New Zealand appears to have skipped the industrialization phase and went straight to services. Over half the economy are now in the services sector whilst industry comprise only about 20%. The choice of where to spend billions of borrowed money while avoiding the worst inflationary pressures in increased consumer staples and enjoying good inflation in wages seems obvious. (And when I say services I also mean service lines like road, energy, water, service lines ect).

      “The factory” in New Zealand are purely a national prestige project. Factories ship in nearly assembled products and only undergoes very limited final assembly in New Zealand, with the output entirely going to the 10% who are the only ones that can afford the $100k Remuera Tractors (SUVs).

      Previous government programs in socialist development failed were innovation hit the skids. New Zealand has been growing steady around 3% for a century. There has been slow downs after financial meltdowns like in 2008 but growth has been steady off the IT sector lately.

      IT appears to be a viable growth path, but it’s significantly slower than the double digit growth traditional export industrialization economies underwent.

    • But ‘the market’, ‘the market’, necessitating ‘growth’, hence addiction to this, too scared of cold turkey.

  8. Lets not get ahead of ourselves here as history has a lesson;

    The truly clinically serial perennially dismally hopeless Phil Twyford remains Transport Minister. History tells us that In a blaze of press releases he announced Skypath (walkway over Aucklands Harbour Bridge) in their first year. It simply never happened. They just announced Skypath, again. History tells us that Phil as a Minister never achieved anything, Jack Shit to be precise.

    The simple formula will therefore be Twyford = 0+0÷0=0. Well actually, the sum is impossible. Translated, nothing will happen! You can bet the cat on it.

  9. Coalition government has to be cheered for doing something. It may not be the best thing, the right thing, or even enough. But hey❗placing a mattress at the
    bottom of the cliff is noice.

  10. Lets not get ahead of ourselves here as history has a lesson;

    The truly clinically serial perennially dismally hopeless Phil Twyford remains Transport Minister. History tells us that In a blaze of press releases he announced Skypath (walkway over Aucklands Harbour Bridge) in their first year. It simply never happened. They just announced Skypath, again. History tells us that Phil as a Minister never achieved anything, Jack Shit to be precise.

    The simple formula will therefore be Twyford = 0+0÷0=0. Well actually, the sum is impossible. Translated, nothing will happen! You can bet the cat on it.

  11. Is the ‘Big Spend’ in Northland going to be nod & a wink to Northlanders to turnout for Winston or St Jones come the 19th September? Cause the Widdle Gweenies are going to be around on the 20th September!

  12. While reluctant to come across as, well, mad frankly, I reckon what should happen re splurging our money is a Royal Commission of Inquiry into past, and present relationships, specifically financial relationships, between Big Business and past and present politicians.
    And while the commission has their wigs on they should have a lingering look/see into the big four banksters.
    I know what they’d find because I am as brilliant as I am handsome. That’s known of me. True story.
    What [they’d] find is $billions sequestered and grifted into cosy little accounts here and off-shore. Remember the Cook Islands?
    There’d be way enough money to re build the rail infrastructure they stole and sold. Remember the swindle that was telecom? Remember? The two American telco’s who bought our telecom made their investment back in the first two years of operation. Gutting! That’s her name. Theresa Gutting. Lets inquire of her!?
    The bnz!? jimbo bolger and the bnz cluster ( AKA clever swindle ) fuck that made fay/richwite group many, many millions !? ( It cost us an earlier retirement from 60 to 65 and $300 million of ours flew right into michael fay and david richwhite’s pocketsessssss. ) Remember that one?
    graeme heart is the 178th richest person in the world and he started out by buying The Government Printing Office what’s-it for less than valuation! Lange wasn’t keen on the idea but douglas would have pressured him into it, I bet.
    Once we confiscate their assets under the proceeds of crimes act we could gold plate the rails of the railways from Picton to Invercargill.
    grant robertson will be cautious alright. Think near sighted special needs mere cat meets meth smoking Cobra in a deep dark cave. All they can hear from the inky darkness is roger douglas wheezing and hissing?

  13. ‘courage to reform the neoliberal public service,’ interesting thought. I have not seen or heard anything from the PM or Finance Minister that indicates they are willing or even want to distance themselves from neo-liberalism.

  14. Well done NZ First. The party that continues to outshine the others with its railway building programme.

    NZ First is the transformational party in this govt.

  15. Roads, roads, roads the Nat Govt planned to build. So much for reducing a carbon print of NZers, BS, just endless BS by a BS ‘leader’ and government.

    • Do we have a non BS government with non BS leaders. And whose the ones crying for roads isn’t it the same group crying for workers. And workers need a house, some may need a car and a school with teachers if they have kids, a GP etc do you get my drift and what does this do to our already overburdened infrastructure. Well we are seeing it now with sewerage in the Wellington harbour. This puts me of swimming and getting kaimoana isn’t this a breach of our TOW. Or is it fuck the TOW?

  16. Steve Keen predicted back in 2018 that there will be another global recession in 2020. If this happens, Labour and the Greens will have prevented the effects of this being blamed on them moving away from neo-classical economic orthodoxy (since they’re doing precisely the opposite), and will be free to respond to the crisis by doing exactly that. Which could open up space for a much more transformative second term.

    • Which could open up space for a much more transformative second term.

      I agree. Sometimes we have to do things that seem to take us away from a goal, for a short time, in order to actually get to that goal in the longer term.

  17. One question Martyn. Where are all the worker going to come from to build all of this shite?

    If we are to believe that unemployment is low and the utilisation index of the working age is at 68%, where to next?

    Do we immigrate people from Dubai, Qatar, UAE workers? Where are they going to live?

    • Too many men in China and India….I guess they will be heading to New Zealand to build motorways, invitation of the globalist politicians (sarc)

      ‘Too many men: China and India battle with the consequences of gender imbalance –
      In the world’s most populous nations, men outnumber women by 70 million. Both countries are trying to come to grips with the policies that created this generation of gender imbalance’

      …”Out of China’s population of 1.4 billion, there are nearly 34 million more males than females – more than the entire population of Malaysia – who will never find wives and only rarely have sex. China’s official one-child policy, in effect from 1979 to 2015, was a huge factor in creating this imbalance, as millions of couples were determined that their child should be a son…

      ( but hey lets not be racist about sexism…lets not speak of this ,the liddle St Gweenies, bless their little green cotton socks, do not like “crude racial profiling”

    • There is a steady flow of Indians coming as students and workers, all determined to get PR also, no shortage of willing migrants there. They claim they must get PR, as not succeeding means they would lose their face, their pride and dignity when coming home as failures. So NZ Inc has an ‘obligation’ to let them stay, they would think.

  18. Yes i agree with you Tiger Mountain, the public sector need a good clean out cause really they ain’t doing there job when we have what you call underclass. But without our underclass many of the public sector would not have a job or exist. We need to change our entire system and its gonna be hard cause we have protectionism. I have seen this in our justice system, having been to many parole hearings, why don’t they just give the person a longer sentence for heinous crimes like murder & rape. Also you have to be careful when dealing with the state I know I have challenged them and they fucken dig their heals in and they can be nasty when they forget i am the fucken victim. They forget they are public servants who should be looking after the best interest and safety of the communities they serve not them fucken selves.

  19. Good idea Sam we have the people here but we need to invest in them they are in sectors like the ones you mentioned that are unsustainable.

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