The Government must confirm whether it plans to entrust Greater Wellington Regional Council with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to build a light rail network following the bus network shambles, National’s Associate Transport spokesperson Brett Hudson says.

“Today’s news of an impending strike by bus drivers underscores the mess the Regional Council has made of designing and implementing the city’s new bus network.

“The services are causing constant headaches for residents right across the city and have been since July. All the while industrial action has been underway, culminating in today’s vote to strike indefinitely.

“Faith in the Regional Council has been severely undermined, yet the Government is expected to soon announce it will write the Regional Council a taxpayer cheque for hundreds of millions of dollars to design and build a light rail network.

“How could the Government trust the Regional Council with so much money and responsibility when it continues to prove it can’t manage the city’s existing public transport?

“The Government has proven it will forge ahead with bad priorities even when it’s clear it should change tack. They’ve already announced they’ve pulled $5 billion out of state highways to fund pet rail projects of abysmal cost effectiveness.

“Taxpayers deserve value for money and the analysis is clear that the business case for light rail doesn’t stack up. Bus rapid transit is a much more cost effective solution and would secure a route that could be used for light rail in the future is the business case works – provided of course it could be competently managed.

“The Government must reassure the public it is not going to make a bad decision even worse.”

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