Wellington Scoop

Restructuring the Transport Agency

by Peter Dunne
Like many residents of Wellington, I was delighted when the High Court ruled that the appeal by the Transport Agency against the flyover alongside the Basin Reserve was to be rejected. And I want to say that this is the time to drop this crazy idea.

Not even the Transport Agency can hold itself above the law in this regard … we do have an agency here that, in my view is now out of control, …

I think this creates an opportunity to restructure the Transport Agency, to make sure it becomes far less of an arrogant “we know best” organisation, that works closely with the local authorities and the people that it represents and serves, and implements solutions that meet the community’s needs, not the aspirations of the engineers within the Agency.

What the flyover decision showed in Wellington was that the presumption that this phenomenon built around the edge of the Basin Reserve could resolve all our problems was completely ill-founded.

In fact the city council’s proposition some time ago of looking at a light rail link with a tunnel through the Mount Victoria area linking through to the airport, makes far more sense, and I believe that the rejection of the flyover now opens the door to reconsidering that proposition, along with the spine approach that the regional and city councils have previously put in place for transport in Wellington …

They need the Transport Agency to be a partner in that process, not the independent “we know all” arbitrator, that decides from its lofty status what the best solution could be. When you have an agency that loses so consistently in the court of public opinion, now in the courts of law, now with local authorities, and yet still seems to think that its view is right and needs to be proceeded with, then you have an Agency in crisis.

An edited version of a Parliamentary speech given today by Peter Dunne, the MP for Ohariu.


  1. James Fraser, 2. September 2015, 21:59

    Sanity in the corridors of power…at last!

    Many thanks Peter for standing up to the Petrol Heads.

  2. RS, 12. October 2015, 14:16

    If anyone knows what Wellington NZTA is really like it must be Peter Dunne. He’s stood by and watched the appalling behaviour of this agency against the communities of Takapu Valley and Tawa recently, all for a road that NZTA can’t and won’t justify.

    NZTA is a brutal agency that does not appear to be able to work with anyone else. They behave like a dictatorship and need to be reviewed.

  3. Ange, 12. October 2015, 22:07

    Great to see an MP fighting for what’s right rather than going for the brownie points of popularity. Well done Peter Dunne. We need more MPs like you to make these Government Agencies accountable and honorable.

  4. Chris, 13. October 2015, 19:25

    It makes no sense to me that the New Zealand “Transport” Agency is apparently by law not allowed to spend money on transport solutions that are not of demonstrable benefit to road users — see various articles about public transport spending, the closing down of the Capital Connection, the inability to get a decent passenger rail link to Levin, etc.

    Maybe they *are* a bunch of petrol-heads who think “More roads are the answer! Now, what was the question?” But the statutory restrictions they’re working under can only make it worse. Yes, please restructure NZTA, and sort out the way government spends money to remove this bizarre obstruction to holistic, sensible transport planning.

  5. Charles, 14. October 2015, 20:23

    Dead right Peter. The NZTA needs to have a broader based transport policy than just roads, roads, roads. Truth is, they are taking their lead from their political masters who are ideologically opposed to railways, and will undermine them at any opportunity. The National led government are never ever going to do the right thing by the country and its transport, environmental and future proofing needs. The NZTA will only change direction when the country does, and elects a government with forward looking policies that puts us on a par with more advanced European cities (London, Paris et al) with proper transport links.) Peter – please think carefully about who you support at the next election – we are all living with the fallout of bad transport policy.