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Skypath (cycle and walking bridge)

Skypath (cycle and walking bridge)

V’s

Reality

The Herald on the 26th June 2021 reported Babies with burning temperatures forced to wait on hospital floor.

“Newborns with burning temperatures and mums who’d just given birth were forced to wait on the floor at Middlemore Hospital for hours as the spread of winter viruses soars.

Experts warn hospital visits for flu-like illnesses are skyrocketing like never before due to babies and children having weaker immune systems from lockdown last year.

ESR (Institute of Environmental Science and Research) data shows weekly presentations at six main hospitals across the country for the most common flu-like illness, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), has jumped from just five in mid-May to 204 last week.

ESR only recorded 34 RSV hospital presentations between April to September in total last year.

On Monday, Middlemore Hospital recorded its busiest day in history for pediatrics – the department which specializes in treating sick children.

There were 140 patients under 18-years-old who visited the emergency department (ED) on that day alone – and half of those turned up between 4pm and midnight, data from Counties Manukau District Health Board showed.

Usually, there are about 50 patients in that age bracket presenting to ED per day, Dr. Vanessa Thornton, clinical director of Middlemore Hospital’s ED, said.”

We have hospitals at crisis point due to these current skyrocketing levels of illness, short of staff and facilities to deal with them. We have a shortage of acute beds at the Starship children’s hospital and a serious deficit in funding to allow hospital waiting lists for elective surgery (such as hip replacements, etc.) to be reduced yet this Government has agreed to build a new walking and cycling bridge (Skypath) across the Auckland Harbour to satisfy an extremely vocal minority of the population.

This bridge is being touted as another way of reducing our carbon emissions when in fact it is a gross waste of public funds that will reduce the emissions from fossil fuelled vehicles by such an infinitesimal amount that it will be almost un-measurable!

We have a government that has for years now, been promising a large increase in the numbers of police on our streets, a large increase in the number of nurses in our health system, an increase in the number of elective surgeries to be carried out etc, and failing to deliver on any of these promises with more often than not, the excuse being that they haven’t got the budget to do so.

Yet here we have a promise from the government to fund a bridge across the harbour that is going to cost at least $685million, and if history is to be replicated a total cost well in excess of this figure as is often the case with infrastructure projects, when extras and inflation are taken into account.

Starship Hospital urgently needs 10 new state-of-the-art intensive care bed spaces, and with each bed space costing more than $400,000 the $685million projected cost could pay for at least:

  • 11,000 Graduate Police Officers
  • 1,370 new state of the art intensive care bed spaces;
  • 12,500 new nurses
  • 3,100 new ambulances
  • 11,800 replacement knee operations and 12,500 hip operations
  • 1,000 new state houses at a cost of $650,000 each

Or a combination of the above!

If the government was to start on a new harbour crossing (realistically most likely to be a tunnel) that is required now to alleviate the traffic problems at present, it could be designed to carry mass transit options and on completion it would reduce the demand on the current bridge, allowing for the dedicating of lanes solely for cycling and walking.

Given the current situation where we have a global pandemic around the Covid virus and the ever present possibilities that it could appear here, requiring a serious upscaling of the health system as a result, it is my opinion that this decision to fund a cycling and walking bridge across the Auckland Harbour is very close to insanity and that any excess in the budget that could be used to fund such a vanity project should be allocated to the other areas set out above.

This decision by our government to promote Skypath as a $685million option for crossing the Auckland Harbour is at best misguided and a serious miss-judgement of public acceptance of this scale of foolishness.

We have people living in chronic pain as a drain on our economy, when in fact they could with replacement surgery become once again a productive member of our population helping to improve our economy yet the government has prioritised Skypath ahead of them. 

Unbelievably misguided foolish decision making that is totally removed from any sense of reality!!!