Wellington Scoop

Speedier decisions? LGWM getting new chair and two new directors

Report from RNZ
Governance at the troubled Let’s Get Wellington Moving project is to be overhauled and an independent chairperson appointed.

A programme director and a new deputy programme director will be added to the leadership team.

Last month a review of the $6.4 billion programme found it at risk of failure, under-resourced and with a detrimental culture.

Project partners, the city and regional councils, and the Transport Agency met Transport Minister Michael Wood yesterday to discuss the findings of that review. They agreed to speed up decision making by simplifying the governance structure, and bringing in an expert in team collaboration for the leadership team.

No one has been removed from the governance and leadership team.

Other changes include speeding up projects for walking improvements, cycling infrastructure and public transport in a new, three-year programme. These include the Golden Mile, Thorndon Quay, Hutt Road, and the Cobham Drive pedestrian crossing.

More work would be done on planning options for larger projects like an additional Mount Victoria tunnel, a Basin Reserve tunnel and state highway improvements. These would go out for community feedback later in the year.

The Let’s Get Wellington Moving Partnership Board acknowledged there had been challenges with the programme and said it was looking forward to using the lessons learned. It said longer-term work was needed to ensure that the programme was funded and affordable – particularly given the challenges of Covid-19 and project cost increases.

“There is more work to do to develop long-term programme options, which will include public consultation later in the year.”

LGWM programme sponsor Robyn Elston from the Transport Agency said the changes would make it easier to make good decisions. “We need to be more agile and integrated so that our project teams can get on with delivering great outcomes for Wellington.”

Regional Council chief executive Greg Campbell said the changes would give Wellingtonians more confidence in the programme. “The scale of transformation has always been a little daunting until now. Making the programme more bite-size helps reduce that and build trust. People will be able to see what’s being tackled and when.”


  1. Save the Basin, 3. March 2021, 14:50

    Encouraging, but two crucial questions remain for us: (1) Will the roading changes LGWM proposes at the Basin Reserve be acceptable? Flyover debacle 2.0 must be avoided. (2) Will Michael Wood put mass transit ahead of building more roads in a Climate Emergency? [via twitter]

  2. michael, 3. March 2021, 15:38

    Why has no one been removed from the governance and leadership team? Why are the management team still in place? And why employ a new independent chairperson, a new programme director and deputy programme director to babysit the leadership team instead of replacing them?

  3. Ray Chung, 3. March 2021, 19:38

    I agree with Michael, what’s the point of adding another layer of management over the existing governance and leadership team? Why are they still there?

  4. Nicola Willis, 3. March 2021, 22:17

    Wellingtonians are fed-up with never-ending delays & excuses on Let’s Get Welly Moving. We want the Basin sorted out, the Mt Vic tunnel sorted out & modern public transport. Instead we’re getting talk about new job titles and new footpaths (if we’re lucky). Not good enough. [via twitter]

  5. Northland, 4. March 2021, 0:01

    Like an episode from ‘Yes Minister’, LGWM is the Department for Administrative Affairs. Their sole purpose to make it look like they’re doing something whilst achieving absolutely nothing. Jim Hacker would be proud!

  6. greenwelly, 4. March 2021, 9:19

    This announcement is total window dressing: ” a new, three-year programme. These include the Golden Mile, Thorndon Quay, Hutt Road, and the Cobham Drive pedestrian crossing.” All of these projects have already got pre 2023 delivery dates under the current scheme, heck Cobham Drive was supposed to be decided, announced and implementation begun in “late 2020″…

    LGWM’s biggest problem is opacity , it doesn’t regularly have board/management level meetings that publish records of what is going on. Without being able to actually see how things are going, the only way to hold it to account is to question it when it fails to meet a published milestone, which then generates the all familiar “it will take more time” … and does nothing for public faith in the programme, and the circle begins again.

  7. HR, 4. March 2021, 11:30

    So a report saying LGWM has wasted money results in us spending more money.

  8. James S, 4. March 2021, 12:21

    The “Let’s Get Wellington Moving” website is out of date. There are either no target dates for the different projects, or they have come and gone with no progress.

  9. Casey, 4. March 2021, 12:50

    Northland: We should give LGWM credit for achieving the thing they were set up to achieve – NOTHING. To my mind LGWM, now in its 5th year, is merely a delaying exercise to stave off making a decision whilst Wellington grinds towards an inevitable transportation halt. NZTA will only want a roading solution, councillors come and go each election cycle. Those with hands-on public transport experience are not around the table.

  10. Dave B, 4. March 2021, 13:25

    Nicola Willis, it is all very well clamouring “We want the Basin sorted out, the Mt Vic tunnel sorted out & modern public transport”, as if there is a simple formula for achieving this that all Wellingtonians are agreed on. If there was, it would have been done by now. The problem is there are a large number of options being looked at, and a large number of differing views on what should be done. This includes the basic question of whether building more road capacity is even a good idea in this day and age. Should mass transit be built first, to see if it reduces the need for more road capacity? If so, what sort of mass transit? Will the light rail proposals achieve the necessary objectives or should other alternatives be considered? Should greater car-dependency be encouraged and built-for, or should it be discouraged and steered-away from. These are basic questions which will shape the future of Wellington for decades to come, and there is as yet no consensus on what to do. You may have your view, but many people will disagree with you. LGWM has a hugely difficult task in charting a course through this and is wise not to simply capitulate to the loudest voices. The costs of dithering may be unfortunate, but they are nothing compared to the costs of committing to a wrong choice that worsens our problems. As evidence of how this can happen, I ask you to consider the legendary traffic-detriment caused to Auckland by inappropriate transport-decisions of the past. It’s easy to head down the wrong path. It can be hard to reverse back out again.

  11. greenwelly, 4. March 2021, 14:52

    @Dave B, “The costs of dithering may be unfortunate.” How long should it take? According to this, since 2016 LGWM have “Collected data /Developed scenarios/ Engaged the public/reported Feedback/ Recommended a Programme and then had an Indicative Package agreed by the Govt/WCC/WRC.” How much longer should we wait for something to actually start happening .. another 5 years? Heck they couldn’t even put in a set of traffic lights on Cobham (which was their preferred option) in the timeframe they gave.

    IF LGWM cannot create public support for itself, it will be destined to become a political football at both local and central government level and if that happens its future becomes very murky.

  12. Toni, 4. March 2021, 15:42

    Dave B, I agree with your sentiments but at some stage someone has to take the initiative and make a decision. It has been 20 years with months of consultation and no real action. By now LGWM must have enough reports, facts and figures, so it is time they stopped trying to appease everyone and got on with it. There will always be people against whatever decision is made. In the meanwhile Wellington is suffering badly from a lack of vision and action and is becoming an unappealing place to live.

  13. Dave B, 4. March 2021, 19:04

    Greenwelly, Toni, thanks for your replies. I acknowledge the frustration that ‘nothing is taking so long to happen’. But consider, that if LGWM had been rushed into making a decision prior to 2017 when the National Government was in office with its bent towards road-building and its aversion to anything on rails, the pressure would have piled on for a roads-heavy solution. In your view, would this have been good for the city? If not, then can you appreciate the value of delaying until this threat had passed? As things happened, Julie Anne Genter as the new Associate Minister of Transport was able to wield influence the other way and insisted that mass transit should come first. Some people vilified her for this, others praised her, and as far as anyone could tell, LGWM seemed to be leaning in this direction also. They did not simply rubber-stamp the prioritizing of road tunnels.
    Then along came Covid, lock-downs, and massive stimulus funding for “shovel ready projects”. Suddenly pressure came on from the Labour government to build whatever was furthest-advanced in the planning, seemingly no-matter what it was. Would this swing us back towards roads and tunnels, since planning for mass-transit has long been hampered by arguing factions and a scarcity of real expertise. Can anybody now guess what LGWM might announce when it makes a decision in a few months’ time? Greenwelly and Toni, will you welcome this decision, whatever it is, just to see some action?

    Toni. You say “Wellington is suffering badly from a lack of vision and action, and is becoming an unappealing place to live”. How much of this would you say is due exclusively to transport and therefore within LGWM’s purview? Are you perhaps over-blaming a lack of transport – decisiveness for Wellington’s wider woes? If LGWM recommended more roads for more cars, would this somehow make it more appealing? Be careful what you wish for!

  14. Toni, 4. March 2021, 21:53

    Dave, as far as Wellington becoming less attractive, it is not all down to transport, but a great deal is. Our public transport is appalling, with second hand polluting diesel buses replacing our trolley buses and timetables that too often don’t work, or buses that are cancelled. Time and time again I hear friends say they no longer come into the city as it is just too difficult. LGWM needs to make a decision and get on with a decent public transport system and whatever else is needed as well.

  15. Ralf, 5. March 2021, 8:46

    Let’s apply Brooks’s Law here “adding manpower to a late software project makes it later”. Though by adding management to a late project it will make much much much later.

  16. Groggy, 5. March 2021, 11:56

    So the answer is to add another couple of mandarins to the top table. Gee I bet that will make all the difference. Another half mill a year will be spent on salaries and lunches and still nothing will be achieved. LGWM laughing at ratepayers from the trough since 2016.

    The fact that their first idea to get us moving is more traffic lights on one of the most bottlenecked parts of SH1 shows how useless the whole programme is. Yet no-one is accountable and none of the current lead team are being replaced. Sir Humphrey would approve.

  17. wellygary, 5. March 2021, 14:23

    Dave B. “Can anybody guess what LGWM might announce when it makes a decision in a few months’ time? Will you welcome this decision, whatever it is, just to see some action? “ I will welcome being able to actually discuss and debate an actual proposal; at the moment all we have are vague categories that could be LRT or BRT, and some A4 slides. The public have nothing of substance to support, and even when LGWM are told the public support something like maximising pedestrian space on the golden mile, they then say well we now have to back and do more consulting with stakeholders (esp because the scheme they put up blows the budget).

  18. Ian, 8. March 2021, 8:13

    Bring back Julie Ann Genter as Minister and, now that blocker Winston has been banished for ever, we would get rapid progress on the rapid mass transit system.