The Night-Mayor has begun

Len Brown ran around Auckland touting spending $5 billion for his train-set and now we can see the genius of Rodney Hide’s reforms when Bill English spikes Len’s pipe dreams. Now his Night-mayor has begun, there is no money for his big spending promises.

Speaking on Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon programme, he told Kathryn Ryan he could not rule them out but had not seen “any propositions anything like clear enough to be able to cost them.”

Asked if that meant no government money for Len Brown’s promised three rail projects, Bill English replied:

“We are not in a position to be able to rule anything in or out just because the propositions are still pretty airy fairy. I mean there’s a few people in Auckland who want extensive rail throughout the city. Rail, at our experience as owners of KiwiRail, is horrendously expensive, there is a very little return. Unless you have millions of people stacked up in high rise apartments such as they have in Hong Kong or Singapore, then its almost certainly wont be economic. So Auckland has to think through very carefully where to put their dollar. Then after that, I presume they will come and talk to government.”

He said the government spent around 5b on infrastructure around Auckland – $3b on roads about $1.5b on rail.

“So that’s spreading our investment across both private and public transport, though many of those projects were 20 or 30 years in the making, some of them just recent. So the idea was to finish the highway network, to get the current configuration of rail working well. Any further development from there will have to involve willingness on the part of Auckland users and ratepayers to pay for it.”

The Night-Mayor Len Brown is going to be grumpyLen Brown knew all along he wouldn’t be able to spend this money. He trotted around essentially fibbing to the people of Auckland about his plans for a rail network. he can’t even touch rates until 2012 under the set-up laws so he must have known that he couldn’t pay for them anyway.

Bill English hasn’t actually spiked Len’s plans as Len has known all along that there is no money for this, that just makes Len Brown a dirty little liar. But we knew this anyway when he refused to tell the truth over a mere $810 dinner at Volare. Now will he tell the truth over his more than $5 billion of rail promises and fess up to not being able to deliver them ever, in his short tenure as Mayor of Auckland City. Even if he is Mayor for two terms the rates rises he would need to fund his mad rail plans would see the end of him and still no rail. He knows it, we know it, when will Len fess up.

For spilling the beans on Len Brown’s lies, Bill English (and this really bites – gritted teeth here) gets Politician of the Week.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.