Tuesday, 17 March 2015

And Northland might just be in Chretien's Quebec

“For 25 years, the people of Lac-St.-Jean and Chicoutimi were promised roads by the former Jonquière MP [Lucien Bouchard, former head of the Bloc Quebecois]. Now that they have a Liberal MP, they have hope.”
That was Jean Chretien, 2002.

Osborne, who has risen from electorate treasurer to potential MP in just weeks, even warned a flagship National roading project to extend State Highway 1 as a motorway further into Northland, could be derailed if Peters beat him.
"If the people of Northland want the Puhoi to Wellsford motorway extension, which is vital to open up Northland to our biggest market . . . if we want that, there's only one choice, and that's to vote for me," Osborne said.
If he lost the by-election there was a "real risk" the road might not go ahead.
Surely the PM will clear this up and confirm that his candidate really didn't mean what it sounds like he meant.


  1. I think he means that National would lose their majority (with Act), and the remaining parties have said they're against the road. So unless a deal was done the road wouldn't go ahead. Is that what it sounded like to you? Because it sounds reasonable to me.

  2. I guess it would depend on whether the motorway extension was conceived of after National knew there was a good chance of a by-election. I suspect not, but that would be the issue. For the most part, MMP, for all its faults, takes away the incentive for Chretien-style pork barrel politics. By elections in list seats is the exception to that rule.

  3. Puhoi to Wellsford (aka the "holiday highway") was an issue last general election, so pretty sure it wasn't dreamed up for this by election. I think if anything it's more a "bribe" to Aucklanders, or to put it another way, lots of Aucklanders want it.

  4. Why would getting a road require cross-party support? Doesn't NZTA decide on this stuff without having to go to Parliament?

  5. Because the road didn't meet NZTA criteria, so National promised to fund it outside the normal NZTA process (some time ago). Similar to Transmission Gully in that respect I think - it's something that those in the area think is painfully obvious is needed, but the formula says it has insufficient cost benefit. I suspect there are some things that the formula doesn't take into account.

    Either way, it was a political decision to do it, therefore it could be stopped by a political decision. If the balance of power changed then it could be a barrier to this road. I doubt it would actually get stopped as Peter Dunne would probably go along with it as part of his coalition agreement, but strictly speaking he's against it so strictly speaking National losing Northland could cause it to be stopped.

    Of course it's electioning and not real life, so it's legitimate to point that out. But it's not pork barrelling or bribing, it's just drawing a long bow.