Wellington Scoop

No government intervention to save trolley buses – Twyford

The new government is not going to intervene to save Wellington’s trolley buses.

The NZ Herald this morning reports Transport Minister Phil Twyford as saying the Government would not step in.

“We’ve decided that central Government will not be intervening to stop the decommissioning of the trolley buses.”

Asked if the regional council could have done better, Twyford said: “I don’t want to get into that. It would have been nice, I think, if the council had had a plan to … have a seamless transition from the trolleys to electric buses, but that’s not the case. It’s a shame, but the costs would be prohibitive for central Government to get involved and prolong the life of this ageing infrastructure.”

He said the Government’s policy statement on transport would prioritise reducing carbon emissions.

“What that means in local government is that we’re looking to accelerate the roll-out of low-carbon public transport, and in Wellington I think that’s going to mean electric buses, and we will work the local councils to make that a reality.”

RadioNZ also reports that Mr Twyford has ruled out intervening to save Wellington’s trolley buses – this is because, he says, the cost would be too great.

Mr Twyford told RNZ he spoke to officials yesterday and concluded it would cost too much to reverse the decision. Tens of millions of dollars would have to be spent on cancelling contracts with companies which had hired staff and equipment to decommission the wires, and restoring decommissioned buses.

But Mr Twyford said he wanted issues like this dealt with better in future and promised a government policy statement requiring passenger transport systems to be developed with climate change to the fore.

Pointless promises: Greens and NZFirst say they would keep the trolley buses


  1. Citizen Joe, 31. October 2017, 13:19

    So much for climate change! RNZ announced that world CO2 levels were at record levels today at 9am. Then two hours later, Phil Twyford at 11am announces that from tomorrow, 1st November, Wellington and New Zealand will be emitting more.

    Why? Prohibitive costs says Phil. So stopping GWRC spending $11 million to take our wires down will cost more?

    Clearly, Wellingtonians have voted Labour for far too long. Wellington is just too comfortable: National ignores us as too hard to get and Labour just forgets us.

    As a wise Aussie said to me, it’s best to live in a marginal seat and then you always get some money spent on you. How to do this, get people to vote for the ones who are polled to come second. Oh and lets get rid of the useless GWRC and reclaim Wellington City assets for Wellingtonians.

  2. Save The Basin, 31. October 2017, 14:49

    A massive failure of governance, leadership and vision…[via twitter]

  3. Bikerider, 31. October 2017, 15:12

    Phil Twyford , just some days in office and already talking rubbish.
    That was indeed quick. It is costing more to take the lines down than to fix the substations and since there will be no quick transition to a generally cleaner public transport system it would make economic and ecological sense to keep the electric buses until we have a clean alternative.
    Instead more stinking poisonous diesel fumes for Wellingtonians.
    I know what i am talking about since I bike in this city every day. Trust me people are getting seriously sick from the fumes and while other cities around the world are stating to ban diesel vehicles in cities, Wellington is getting more, starting with handmedowns from Auckland.

  4. David Bond, 31. October 2017, 15:51

    @ Phil Twyford: “Tens of millions of dollars would have to be spent on cancelling contracts with companies which had hired staff and equipment to decommission the wires, and restoring decommissioned buses.”

    Newsflash Phil: Tens of millions of dollars WILL have to be spent to decommission the wires, and then MORE tens of millions to purchase new unproven battery buses. And the so-called “ageing infrastructure” is generally in good condition. We will be throwing away a valuable asset here. I hope you are clear on this.

    Failure of our new Green-leaning govt to intervene here is likely to cost more and deliver less than the alternative of retaining our existing 100% electric trolleybus network. This decision is a feeble cop-out. Has Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter been consulted over this? Hard to believe she is happy at such a defeatist approach.

  5. Voter, 31. October 2017, 21:23

    So much for Labour support for climate change and low emission transport.

  6. Lindsay, 1. November 2017, 9:17

    Auckland is getting light rail and what’s Wellington getting? We are getting Auckland’s old diesel buses.

  7. Michael, 1. November 2017, 9:19

    Well here’s the first of most probably many turn-arounds by the new government. They say what the public want to hear to get in and then all of a sudden there are many reasons why they cannot do what they promise = politics! Roll on the smelly very noisy second hand buses for our second-hand capital city.