Wellington Scoop

Justin Lester wants to create a regional transport authority

Report from RNZ
Wellington mayor Justin Lester says that if he gets another term in office, he will be pushing for a regional transport authority to take over public transport, parking, and roading.

Public transport is currently controlled by the regional council, with local councils controlling parking and roading, with funding and assistance from the NZTA.

Mr Lester said the region-wide authority would be governed by a combined committee of elected councillors, but local councils would still own the assets.

He said that would let local councils have more of a say in transport projects.

“We have a whole lot of people relying on public transport but we’ve had little insight into, or ability to participate in, the operations of the buses for example and that would give us the opportunity to have more of an insight and to have more of a collective say for Wellington.”


  1. Goofy, 14. July 2019, 17:52

    Not good enough, it’s shutting the gate after the horse has bolted. If you let me be mayor again I’ll shut the gate. Sounds to me like more lame excuses.

  2. Guy M, 14. July 2019, 18:20

    Just do it.

  3. Madeleine Simpson, 14. July 2019, 18:58

    Not good. And not good enough. Why keep the Council at all if they just privatize and outsource all their responsibilities? What good has any govt committee ever done? Nothing. The elected Councillors obviously know nothing about public transport.

  4. Roy Kutel, 14. July 2019, 19:21

    At last! Somebody up high has been listening to me go on about the need for a Public Transport Authority for over two years! GWRC needs to be abolished. May this be the very last regional council election for Wellington!

  5. Andrew, 14. July 2019, 20:57

    Fine to announce this but what mandate does the mayor have to induce any change? My guess is none. Populist politics in election year.

  6. Spinner, 14. July 2019, 22:05

    Hang on. Does the Regional Council’s land transport committee not exist anymore? Cr Foster used to sit on it and the mayor too – well, mayor Wade-Brown did. Does the Chair of the transport committee no longer sit on the Strategy committee of the Wellington City Council? What is Justin Lester talking about here – another committee made up of City and Regional councillors? That’s not Mr Lavery’s long held objective of outsourcing transport and minimising elected input….. Is that really what Lester is talking about? What asset ownership is he talking about? The buses that the Council used to own and run? They were sold off long ago…by a Labour mayor and chair.

  7. Harry Welsford, 15. July 2019, 5:27

    A buzz word committee made up of the Councillors who don’t know what they’re doing and admit they have “no insight.” This plan would just mean more costly bureaucracy.

  8. Gary Froggatt, 15. July 2019, 7:30

    Unless a regional council owned and operated the buses we will be in the same position. Whatever they call it, a council needs to control the routes, the timetable, the bus drivers, the drivers’ daily shifts and the depot infastructure. This will save ratepayers millions in profits currently being paid to private owners. And it may be too late, as all depot land and the buses have been sold off to private owners. New depot land will cost millions. We should never sell our strategic assets but lease them instead. To maintain the required standard of buses they should be owned by the city too and leased. Better still let’s give notice that at the end of current contracts the city will not be renewing.

  9. Ms Green, 15. July 2019, 10:47

    Well said Gary. Way to go instead of yet another Transport committee…called an Authority by Lester when we already have one or more. I smell a rat (another one).

  10. Dave B, 15. July 2019, 12:43

    I belive organizational structure matters far less than commonly touted. It’s the leadership within in it that makes the difference. You can have a text-book-perfect organizational structure but if the people managing it are clueless, incompetent, arrogant or agenda-driven, then the outcome is unlikely to be good. On the other hand, competent, motivated and visionary leadership that is also willing to listen, to self-question and admit when it is wrong, can inspire confidence all round and get good results even if the organizational setup is lacking.

  11. Kara Lipski, 15. July 2019, 15:28

    Live and learn from Auckland’s experience with AT. The PTUA in Auckland found it difficult to consult with AT once it became independent of the Auckland Council. And our Mayor was heard to say at a select committee that he supported GWRC. That meeting was about the bustrastophe in Wellington city.

  12. Vee, 8. August 2019, 22:15

    Anyone but Lester!

  13. Marion Leader, 9. August 2019, 7:28

    Kara, I was there when “our Mayor was heard to say at a select committee that he supported GWRC”. It was last September and he is still letting us down for some reason to do with politics, I suppose. Not good enough.