by Gareth Hughes
Just now the National-dominated Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee blocked my attempt at the committee conducting an urgent inquiry into the transport fiasco on the opening night of the Rugby World Cup.
It’s pretty disappointing that a committee made up mostly of Auckland-based MPs wouldn’t grant me leave. The decision continues the ‘blame someone else, but look like you are taking action’ approach adopted by the Government.
Auckland Council released their report on what happened yesterday, however this was far from an independent report. Essentially, the investigation was self-conducted and unsurprisingly reported back the problems, but not who was responsible.
The Transport and Industrial Relations Committee, made up of members from National, Labour and the Greens, is the appropriate place for a cross-party inquiry and could have looked at what role Government played in the embarrassment. I think it’s vital we ask: was the transport debacle caused by systematic bias against trains and buses in Government transport planning and decades of underinvestment? The committee has had a very light work load for quite a long period of time so had the capacity to conduct it – just not the will.
Friday night’s fiasco was unacceptable and risks undermining confidence in public transport for future games and risks Auckland’s reputation to host major international events. It is important to transparently and independently get to the bottom of what happened so we can make sure it doesn’t happen again.
I think the fear was an inquiry would show we need smarter transport investments like the CBD Rail Link to get our rail and public transport up to scratch, which isn’t a message the motorway-mad Government wants to hear.