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Skypath Proposal Cancelled

Skypath Proposal Cancelled

The Government has finally succumbed to the inevitable and thrown out the proposed $785 million cycle bridge across the Auckland Harbour.  

Opposition parties and a huge number of members of the public have called for the Government to scrap the cycle bridge from the time it was first announced up to the announcement that they have cancelled the proposal in its entirety.

Obviously the cycle bridge has been cancelled because the Government realised it was overwhelmingly opposed by a large number of New Zealander and had the likelihood of costing the government much support in the next election.

“The Transport Minister Michael Wood proposed that a cycle bridge be built across the Auckland Harbour as a result of a campaign by a very vocal minority of cycle enthusiasts in Auckland and right from the time of the announcement the proposal was rejected vociferously by a large number of people both in Auckland and across the whole of New Zealand.

We had at that time, hospitals at crisis point due to current skyrocketing levels of illness, short of staff and facilities to deal with them. We had 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 the Government had agreed to build a new walking and cycling bridge (Skypath) across the Auckland Harbour to satisfy an extremely vocal minority of the population.

Yet here we had a promise from the government to fund a bridge across the Harbour that is going to cost at least $785million.

A total of $685 million had been earmarked for the bridge itself, with an additional $100m for cycling connections on both the North Shore and city sides.

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

The $785 million dollars being committed to fund the Skypath could have been better allocated to other funding requests such as:

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

Or a combination of the above!

When the opposition had risen to a significant number that looked likely to affect the government’s ratings, the PM and her Senior Ministers came out publicly and put the proposal on hold.

Now, finally, after a period of agonising silence, the Minister has confirmed what nearly all of the general public expected would happen. He has announced that the Skypath project has been cancelled for good.

Now it has become just another of the Ardern Government’s long list of total failures.

This Government may be sensitive to shifts in opinion polling, but they are totally out of touch with the actual needs or expectations of everyday Kiwis.

Whilst it’s great that the Government has finally listened to all of the Skypath’s opponents and cancelled the project for good it is too little too late, as this should have happened months ago.

Up to date the project has cost the taxpayers of New Zealand $51 million dollars with further bills to come. A large percentage of that money will have to be written off as unrecoverable. And that is money that could have been much more wisely spent on the health budget at least.

Given the current situation where we have a global pandemic around the Covid virus and the likelihood that it will require a serious upscaling of the health system as a result, the original decision to fund a cycling and walking bridge across the Auckland Harbour was very close to insanity and any excess in the budget that could be used to fund such a vanity project should have been allocated to other areas as set out above.

The original decision by the government to promote Skypath as a $785million option for crossing the Auckland Harbour was at best misguided and a serious miss-judgement of public acceptance of this scale of foolishness.

Thank God real world reality has finally settled on this decision and this misguided Skypath proposal has been cancelled for good.

Andy Loader