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Sean Plunket talks with Adam Leslie on the cost of opening Transmission Gully – estimated at $337,000 – where did the $ go??


Sean Plunket tries to understand why the Transmission Gully opening cost #337,000 approximately. To do this he talks to an experienced events organiser. They had difficulty reaching $100,00 to 120,000. Adam Leslie could not understand, based on the information available, how the cost was assessed by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

I suggest a starting point might be the questions I set out in my earlier post

For reader ease, I repeat these below. I suspect the answers may well lead to other questions:

List of possible questions to be asked of NZTA

I doubt that this was the true cost the $337,000 approx, it may be the cash cost to NZTA but there is much more ‘hidden cost’. I know the arguments about ’sunk cost’ but my counter argument is what productive issues suffered as a result of this shindig.

What additional costs were incurred?

Who approved the spend?

What was the original budget? If within budget, why was it so high?

Is expenditure at this level the norm?

How much spend of this nature is incurred each year?

Were normal expenditure processes followed for this event?

Was the presence of the PM a factor in the cost?

Were there any special commemorative items?

Were there any cultural observances? What was their nature? Were there any costs involved?

Why 300 guests?

Were there outside contractors involved?

Who approved the contractors?

Were NZTA guidelines for contractor use followed?

Were any elements of the opening covered within BAU budgets for example traffic management?

I find the sum of $337,000 to be astounding. At the least someone has been very profligate, but reports of the event do not seem to suggest the guests were treated lavishly? So what was the money spent on?

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