Both Phil Goff and Maurice Williamson have had a crack at Simon Bridges in the Transport Select Committee in what could be the precursor to next year’s mayoral battle.
And from the headlines you’d have to say Williamson won…because he is the headlines and Goff is a few lines further down the articles.
Transport Minster Simon Bridges has faced a grilling over Auckland’s transport woes – and has been forced to defend the Government’s performance on a major project to one of the Government’s own MPs.
During Parliament’s Transport Select Committee meeting, Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson heavily criticised Government handling of the Auckland Manukau Transport Initiative (Ameti), after Auckland Transport announced it was axing a major part of the project without NZTA’s knowledge.
“Earlier this year, a body called Auckland Transport… made an announcement, a public announcement, which was like a nuclear explosion in my electorate in the east,” Williamson said.
“That a massive project called Ameti, which had a massive thing called the Reeves Rd flyover, was now being canned and the voters in my electorate went up like a Roman candle.”
In February, Auckland Transport announced it would defer the $170 million flyover to next decade, to fund other public transport improvements.
The flyover was to reduce traffic on Pakuranga Rd by about 40 per cent during peak travel hours.
Williamson said that since then, he and other MPs had held meetings with Auckland Transport chair Lester Levy, in which they were told they were not initially briefed on the announcement because Levy “couldn’t brief every man and his dog on decisions they were taking”.
“What I also found was this dysfunctional dislocation between Auckland Transport and NZTA, and given (NZTA Chief Executive Geoff Dangerfield) is on the board of Auckland Transport, how the hell [is it that] one body didn’t know the other was making such an announcement where Ameti and the Reeves Rd Flyover were part of the National Party’s second priority for the last election…”