Wellington Scoop

Opposition MPs want govt involvement to solve bus problems

News from NZ National Party
Continuing issues with Wellington’s public transport system, including driver shortages and service cut backs, demand a genuine response from central Government, local National Party Wellington-based MPs say.

Associate Transport spokesperson Brett Hudson, MP for Hutt South Chris Bishop and National List MP based in Wellington Nicola Willis are calling for the Government to appoint a Crown Observer to help to resolve the long running bus services issues across Wellington.

“The Regional Council is responsible for the delivery of public transport, but their ‘big bang’ reform of the bus system has blown up in the faces of the very Wellingtonians who rely on that system, compromising their work, their lives and undermining confidence in the services,” Mr Hudson says.

“The Regional Council is responsible for creating this situation and has had eight months to fix it. On Friday I met with representatives of the Council to seek assurances about these matters. I left that meeting even more convinced that the Council needs help,” Ms Willis says.

“The Government can no longer ignore these issues, it must act in the interests of Wellington bus users and urgently appoint a Crown Observer to help the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) sort this out.

“A Crown Observer would have the power to assist the GWRC to resolve these problems, to monitor progress and to make recommendations to the Government about further action that may be needed.

“Ministers must not continue to look the other way while bus users continue to be left in the lurch,” Ms Willis says.

“Transport Minister Phil Twyford declined to get involved when the Wellington bus service problems emerged last year. Every day he has delayed action, people in the Hutt Valley have equally been affected,” Mr Bishop says.

“It’s simply not good enough for central Government to sit on its hands and allow people across our city and region to be impacted by poor decisions by Regional Council,” Mr Bishop says.

“Taxpayers up and down the country pay petrol taxes that are used to fund public transport systems like Wellington’s and they deserve to know that their taxes are being spent wisely,” Mr Hudson says.

“While the Government is happy to be hands on, tinkering to try to make unviable light rail systems seem otherwise, it’s all care and no responsibility when it comes to the services taxpayers are actually funding.

“Wellingtonians, New Zealanders, deserve better,” Mr Hudson says.


  1. Goose, 14. March 2019, 14:11

    Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t it a National Party policy that enabled the new tender and resulting shambles of the bus network to be inflicted upon Wellington?

  2. luke, 14. March 2019, 14:35

    Ironic really given the problems have arisen largely from the previous government’s PTOM race to the bottom competition.

  3. Mike Mellor, 14. March 2019, 16:30

    I’m no fan of PTOM, but it’s worthy of note that Auckland has completely revised its whole bus network (much larger and more complex than Wellington’s) under PTOM without anything like the issues that have been experienced here.

    While PTOM is certainly relevant, it’s the way that it’s been implemented that is crucial. As (sadly) in everything else to do with public transport – see for example GWRC’s Airport Flyer own goal – Auckland has handled it much better.

  4. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 14. March 2019, 19:14

    Mike. I think Anthony Cross was in charge of the recent change process at AT. He worked in my team to develop the new Wellington regional bus network in 1991, (the last comprehensive change to public transport in the Wellington region) when the industry was deregulated in 1991. Mike Gibson, who posts on Scoop, will remember him.

  5. Mike Mellor, 14. March 2019, 22:29

    Thanks, Chris – I remember Anthony Cross well. By all accounts he’s done a pretty good job in Auckland: their gain appears to have been our loss.