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"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark". Or rather, a little closer to home.

The New Zealand Transport Agency appeared before select committee a fortnight ago to give a briefing on Let’s Get Wellington Moving.

The Board of NZTA is the independent body which oversees and prioritises land transport investment across New Zealand. They decide how, where and when your fuel taxes are spent.

It was a shock, to say the least, when they confirmed to us that they were not involved in discussions as to the announced proposal for Let’s Get Wellington Moving. Those decisions as to what’s in, what’s out, what’s sequenced when, and what will be funded to what percentage from the National Land Transport Fund were made in the absence of the very agency charged with those responsibilities. Instead the decisions were made by the Minister of Transport and a couple of local/regional body members (possibly with a side-letter from the Associate Minister.)

NZTA confirmed that had they been included in those discussions they would have advised that the second Mt Vic tunnel be prioritised ahead of mass transit.

That is reinforced by official documents, only recently released, which show that mass transit (particularly light rail) would, at best, offer only secondary benefits. Wellingtonians have been stitched up with a transport package which won’t solve our productivity challenges, will do almost nothing at all for private motorists and goods transport, and which will sting ratepayers with a $2.6 billion regional transport tax to pay for it.

All that decided without the involvement of the agency responsible for delivering it. With news such as this, it’s worth reminding ourselves that a fish rots from the head.

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