Here's the critical bit of the exchange:
Dr Russel Norman: So is the Minister saying that these roads of national significance projects—$14 billion worth of spending—are being supported by the Government because they made political decisions in Opposition that these were good ideas, long before the business cases were ever completed and before Treasury’s better business cases for capital proposal guidelines were used to assess them, so they are political roads of national significance, whether they make any economic sense at all?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I can tell the member that we were not willing to let the traffic in Auckland park up until the middle of 2010 while we figured out a new set of business case guidelines. So the member is correct. The decisions about those projects were made before July 2010. We believe that they are sound projects. But I would suggest to the member that it would be helpful if he would apply the same rigour of analysis that he applies to roads, to rail projects, which on the face of it do not look to meet too many—if any—economic criteria.
Starting with the suggestion that traffic would have had to have parked up. Traffic volumes have been static, or dropping.
The belief that the projects are sound defies the analysis; most of the projects will cost more than the benefits they deliver. This is faith-based government.
Beastie Boys - Ill Communication, 1993