Rarely do we run a post here simply linking to other people’s work – but this article at Larvatus Prodeo by JohnL is exceptional. It completely demolishes the claims made by alleged BER “whistleblower” Craig Mayne – claims that have been bootstrapped into major media reporting of the BER that – and let’s be blunt – is mostly not true, and has been generally incompetent. Something we’ve been banging on about since the programs inception.
Much of the erroneous reporting of the BER comes back to the very same problem that we’ve witnessed in other areas (statistics, risk management, mildly complicated economic policy etc) – a lack of professional knowledge by the reporters themselves (especially those undertaking “analysis” pieces) on the actual topic at hand, in this case, the economics of the construction industry and the public policy mechanics surrounding public capital expenditure.
We’ve seen all sorts of nonsense reported such as journalists describing how some yahoo builder could construct a school hall at a far less cost than the company that won the tender – even though the builder’s quote isn’t compliant with school building standards (standards that are much higher than residential construction standards – something a great many people just do not know). Or how some school building cost X times more than an identical building up the road, while ignoring that one required a couple of hundred thousand extra on earthworks and utility infrastructure.
So please, read the piece – it’s good. There’s also an introductory piece attached to it that’s worth a squiz as well.
While we’re throwing links around, there’s another good piece over at Inside Story by Peter Browne – putting a counter-orthodox view of public opinion dynamics leading into the 2001 election where September 11, Tampa and Howard’s Treasury-as-ATM machine were all getting tied up into the one big public opinion ball.