Budget has just been announced, and I’ve still to go through it, but a couple of things sprung out to me.

Public Housing – $3 billion

“Robertson said the Government would build 3000 new state homes by June 2025. The new public houses were expected to cost $3.1 billion in capital investment, on top of $465 million operational costs.”

By my basic arithmetic, that means the cost of each house is $1.03 million each. That obviously must also include the land cost, but still – that’s outrageously over the top. I guess that is not including the massive cost of running Kainga Ora as well (as that should be taken care of by the 0.465 billion cost of that!), but this really should be either half the price, or twice as many houses. Maybe even a third the price or three times the number of houses.

Infrastructure resilience – $6 billion

“Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced a $6 billion spend, to fund a National Resilience Plan in response to Cyclone Gabrielle and other extreme weather events.

“It was unacceptable that basic lifeline services like telecommunications, power and transport links were knocked out for so long,” he said.

That is fantastic – great news. To my mind, that means new bridges, new construction. New, better towers for telecoms? Bridges for rail as well as bridges for road. Let’s build them better this time.

Railways – $959 million

KiwiRail is in line to receive an extra $370 million, to repair its railways and consider how it could expand the national rail network. As part of the “Future of Rail” programme, KiwiRail was asked to prepare “a detailed business case for electrification of the North Island Main Trunk line”.

The bulk of this funding, $383 million worth, would arrive in 2025. The Government also committed to paying its 50% share of the increased cost to finish Auckland’s City Rail Link. It would provide $197 million in capital investment to finish Auckland’s underground rail network, with Auckland Council expected to match this investment.

I’m celebrating wildly already – finally, looking seriously at completing the Electrification of the Main Trunk Line. There is only about 60km at the Auckland end, and another similar sort of amount at the Wellington end. Even at an outrageous $1million per km, that should be doable with about $120 million to get the job done. And even more exciting, money to repair the existing railways and also look to expand – that might be more like Repair the Long-Lost and forgotten dregs. Will they even reopen the line back up to Wairoa, at last?


Judging by what Greater Auckland have found out, the price that KiwiRail are planning to electrify railway lines is based on an approx $5m per km, as can be seen by this graphic below, borrowed from Greater Auckland and added to by the Eye of the Fish.

courtesy of Greater Auckland

85 km @ $5 million per km = $430 million

68 km @ $5 million per km = $339 million