Wellington Scoop

A delay that hasn’t been announced

by Lindsay Shelton
It was strange yesterday to read opinions from the Chamber of Commerce about a Let’s Get Welly Moving decision that hasn’t been announced.

“It’s disappointing that there’s been a further delay before the public can see what’s being proposed [for solving transport problems], but there seems to be little option,” said the Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Milford.

There was more in yesterday’s press release.

“I understand part of the reason for the delay is that public consultation pointed to a lack of specifics on impacts, and a lack of commitment to light rail, and preserving a corridor into the future that could allow for that.”

What delay? You won’t find a word about any delay on the LGWM website. Its news section hasn’t been updated since February, and its latest progress report was released in the same month.

The Regional Council is one of the partners in the LGWM project, but its online news section contains nothing on the subject that John Milford is commenting on. And though the city council is another partner, its website also has nothing about a delay.

LGWM needs to confirm – or deny – that publication of its transport scenarios has been delayed. If it’s confirmation, then it should give the reasons. And it should also provide a new timeline. Its website promises that there’ll be community feedback on preferred options in early 2017, but this hasn’t happened.

There was talk last night that the government wants the Wellington transport issue sidelined till after the election. Which doesn’t sound like a healthy scenario. But in the absence of any information on a delay to a process that started promisingly but now seems to have been running interminably, people are bound to start guessing.

Mr Milford tries to have it both ways. Having said the delay is disappointing, he then contradicts himself.

“No one minds delays if it means we can get these things right and they don’t have to be revisited in the future, and in a way that prevents them from being hijacked by minority groups.”

Minority hijackers? Does the Transport Agency share such concerns? Mr Milford needs to give us more details of his concerns about hijacking. The rest of us just want to see the transport options, and to start participating in the promised consultation.

[Since this article was published, we’ve found a Stuff interview with LGWM’s Barry Mein published on Sunday, in which he said the transport scenarios would not be ready for consultation till October or November, because community workshops brought to light concerns about a lack of information on the proposed solutions’ specific impacts, and a lack of commitment to light rail. “There were questions around how the solutions would impact on the problems, and that requires a lot of modelling. We need to be able to quantify it for people to say: ‘This is what this option would be like, and this is how it will perform’.”]


  1. Tony Jansen, 24. May 2017, 10:56

    It is difficult to have any faith in organisations that have shown so little good faith, honesty, openness and a willingness to engage with the public as well as a genuine commitment to best practice and outcomes for Wellington City and surrounding regions.
    The LTSA/Transit/Roading NZ has long been a tool of the National Government and thereby biased to delivering roading only options. The other parties in LGWM have been little better in their behaviour. GWRC has destroyed integrated ticketing by handing over the passenger rail services to a foreign multi national. Lately they have participated in awarding low ball contracts to external bus companies at the expense of the drivers, the city and the environment. Wellingtonians are now faced with a generation of lowly paid drivers driving polluting diesel buses whilst the existing city provider will no doubt be forced to shelve their plans for dual powertrain units to be fitted on their buses. It would not be surprising either to see this company sold off in the near future. So instead of one provider committed to electric buses we have numerous providers committed to maximising profit by lowering wages, working conditions and polluting the environment running diesel vehicles. Hoorah.

  2. John Milford, 24. May 2017, 14:19

    Hi Lindsay, our PR was in response to this DomPost report. Thanks, John.

  3. KB, 24. May 2017, 17:47

    Obvious reason for the delay is one they can’t publicly state: They want to see who wins the election before committing or ditching light rail.

  4. MFG, 24. May 2017, 21:26

    It’s no surprise that there is further delay given none of the work done by LGWM to date – which includes surveying, marketing, establishing principles, engagement, data gathering and analysis, model building, community workshops etc – has bothered to consider the real world effects of anything. It’s all been far too removed from reality. They have no idea what the scenarios let alone the options may mean in terms of actual effects.
    At least the old Inner City RoNS programme run by NZTA had the pragmatism to look in detail at the effects, have the hard conversations with the hundreds of affected property owners and make the call on a preferred option. We are still many years from getting back to that point, if indeed we ever get back there.

  5. John Rankin, 24. May 2017, 21:45

    Who are these “minority groups” the Chamber accuses of trying to “hijack” the LGWM process? Perhaps Mr Milford would like to name these extremists to whom LGWM should not listen.

    The Chamber needs to decide whether it wants to be part of the solution, or part of the problem. Right now, CofC comes across as part of the problem, which is a pity. One might have hoped the Chamber would welcome the constructive and inclusive approach LGWM is taking.

    Wellington will live with the results of the LGWM process for a long time so isn’t it better to take the time to get it right?

  6. TrevorH, 25. May 2017, 21:05

    The tweely named LGWM charade seems to be an excuse by second rate politicians in comfortable sinecures for continuing inaction while enjoying their perks of office.

  7. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 26. May 2017, 13:24

    @TrevorH. Or maybe the best chance in a generation to plan and build an integrated balanced transport network in Wellington.

  8. Ross Clark, 20. June 2017, 21:50

    And another sentiment they dare not admit to: that they will never be able to “plan and build an integrated balanced transport network in Wellington” (tnx CCF for this line), without Central Government agreeing to pay for at least two-thirds of it. Follow the money! (or the lack of it)

  9. Michael, 21. June 2017, 20:13

    @Tony Jansen = well said!

    Wellington is the big loser in all of this and will increasingly become unattractive for inner city dwellers. The noise from existing diesel buses is bad enough so I can’t imagine what it is going to be like by the time we have dozens more belching fumes and making their noisy way through the city.

    Maybe the council should consider handing out face masks for city dwellers or perhaps subsidised doctors fees for those affected by pollution??