It’s time for the Government to intervene in the Wellington bus fiasco by using its powers under the Local Government Act, local National List MP Nicola Willis says.
“Wellingtonians are rapidly losing confidence in the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s (GWRC) ability to resolve the ongoing problems with the bus service.
“It’s now been 11 weeks since the new bus network was launched but I am still hearing daily from constituents whose lives have been disrupted by illogical routes, overcrowded buses and ‘ghost buses’ that never appear.
“The Government must step in and appoint a Crown Observer to support the Council.
“The previous National Government introduced new powers to ensure the Government can act where a significant problem exists with the performance of a local authority.
“A Crown Observer would have the power to monitor the Council’s progress in addressing the problems, assist the Council to resolve the problems and make recommendations to the Minister on whether further intervention is required.
“At a Parliamentary Select Committee hearing last week, elected Councillors and appointed officials seemed to be in denial about the extent of these issues.
“They said a review of the overall network design wouldn’t happen until next year. The Council Chair Chris Laidlaw struggled to identify what went wrong and officials expressed satisfaction in their planning processes.
“This is next-level denial and it’s not good enough. The Government needs to stop sitting on its hands while this fiasco unfolds.
“The Government provides millions of taxpayer dollars to support public transport in Wellington. Wellington’s quality public transport systems are a key part of what makes this a great city to live in. All that has been put at risk by the GWRC’s botched changes to the bus network.
“This fiasco has gone on long enough. The Government must act urgently and appoint a Crown Observer to the Council.”
Links to relevant sections in the Local Government Act 2002