What is Phil Twyford hiding?

Minister of Transport Phil Twyford needs to front up and admit that his officials recommended against the shambolic process he’s undertaken for Auckland light rail, National’s Transport spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“Auckland light rail is a complete mess and is no closer to being delivered three years after Labour first promised it.

“Instead, Mr Twyford is leading a shambolic process where his Government’s own agency is bidding for the project against an international consortium.

“This process has been criticised by the EMA, AA, Greater Auckland, and Generation Zero, and seems to be inconsistent with the Government’s own procurement guidelines.

“Last week Mr Twyford told Parliament that his officials had not recommended a process that would have allowed all participants the opportunity to bid. He was forced to correct his answer the next day, admitting that it was an option presented.

“However, it remains murky as the Government has redacted multiple sections from the June 2019 Cabinet Paper relating to light rail, including the section that contains alternative recommendations and options to the approach proposed by Mr Twyford and adopted by Cabinet.

“The Government needs to front-up and be clear that it went against official advice on what would be the biggest infrastructure project in New Zealand history.

“Value for money, particularly after the devastation to the Crown accounts thanks to COVID-19, should be imperative.

“Light rail was one of Labour’s key election promises in 2017 but nearly three years later and there’s no plan, no business case, no costings, no consents, and no start date.

“Today Phil Twyford would not even confirm it would be taken to Cabinet before the pre-election period begins.

“This is another case of this Government talking big but they simply can’t deliver.”