Reports of underhanded tactics used to force a political deal on Wellington’s transport plans show they were gutted for the sake of the Labour-Greens relationship, Wellington-based National MP Nicola Willis says.
“Wellingtonians will be rightly shocked by reports of manipulative tactics used against city councillors to secure their support for the Government’s preferred Let’s Get Wellington Moving plan.
“First we have Green MP Julie Anne Genter using her Ministerial role to write secret letters pushing her personal political demands about what should be in and out of the plan. Now we learn that local representatives were led to believe that same Minister had veto-rights over the final Let’s Get Wellington Moving plan.
“Councillors are charged with advocating for the people they represent, but it appears they felt they had no choice but to accept the package as dictated by Genter and Transport Minister Phil Twyford.
“This reveals an appalling politicisation of what was billed as a collaborative and consultative process between central and local government. It calls into question the legitimacy of the $6.4 billion package and the sequencing of projects within it.
“It shows the transport priorities that were decided for Wellington were more about coalition politics than what the people really wanted.
“It’s also clear the Government has been misleading the public by claiming the Let’s Get Wellington Moving plans have universal support.
“We’ve now heard councillors at both WCC and GWRC vent frustrations, including Labour’s regional councillor Daran Ponter who said: ‘the things that have arrived on Wellingtonians' plate … are certainly not the things that they identified as projects they wanted’.
“Wellingtonians deserve better when it comes to their transport future.”