Norwegian opposition criticizes price of new government quarter: “36 billion kroner is too much”

Marit ArnstadPhoto: Terje Pedersen / NTB
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With the Center Party (SP) at the forefront, the political opposition is, to put it mildly, critical of the price tag of the new government quarter, set at more than NOK 36 billion.

“The cost is too high,” SP’s parliamentary leader Marit Arnstad told news bureau NTB.

During the Norwegian parliament’s (Storting) question time on Wednesday, the Center Party asked several questions about the new quarters to Minister of Local Government and Modernization Nikolai Astrup (H). 

The main question from SP was why the government decided on a project with solutions and a price tag that neither Oslo nor Norway’s districts want.

“What we want to know is whether the Conservatives are willing to discuss downscaling the project,” Arnstad said.

“Few alternatives”

Astrup, for his part, acknowledges that it was not desirable to spend so much money.

“We are proposing this because there are few alternatives, (and those alternatives are) more expensive or not very appropriate,” Astrup noted. 

According to Astrup, the comprehensive security measures both above and below ground in the government quarter will cost the same no matter the size of the complex. 

The new quarters are being built after the old ones were severely damaged in the July 22 terrorist attack in 2011.

FRP also skeptical

The Progress Party (FRP), the Labor Party (AP), and the Socialist Left (SV) are also skeptical about the use of money for the construction of the new government quarter.

“Double the price per square meter of what a hospital costs, including equipment. That testifies to the fact that the planning here is too expensive,” FRP’s Helge André Njåstad emphasized in the Storting. 

SV’s Karin Andersen believes that the Storting cannot consider the matter until the government has provided better information.

Eirik Sivertsen (Labor Party) wanted to know what measures the government has taken to reduce the costs.

“We have scaled down the government quarter by 28,000 square meters,” Astrup noted in his reply to Sivertsen.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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