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Questions remain over Minister’s Snapper meddling

Phil
TWYFORD
Transport Spokesperson

6 November 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Questions remain over Minister’s Snapper meddling

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee has left a string of unanswered questions following revelations that indicate his predecessor Steven Joyce intervened inappropriately on behalf of Infratil-owned smart card operator Snapper in its ticketing roll out in Auckland, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Gerry Brownlee hasn’t just been economical with the truth, he’s been downright evasive.

“He wouldn’t confirm or deny Snapper CEO Miki Sziksai’s report that Mr Joyce had told NZTA officials he expected Snapper would be free to roll out its card in the Auckland market. The Minister’s inappropriate meddling went against official advice and ultimately led to delays, budget overruns and possible legal costs for taxpayers and ratepayers.

“So what did Mr Joyce say in that meeting? What assurances did he give Snapper about its role in the integrated ticketing project?

“And what did he subsequently tell the chair and chief executive of the NZ Transport Agency about Snapper’s role?

“Mr Brownlee said Mr Joyce’s focus had been on ensuring the integrated ticketing project be based on an open standard and competition. If that is the case, why was he meeting with Snapper and Infratil to discuss their participation in the scheme?

“If it was just about an open standard policy to ensure competition, then what other operators were invited to join the project or was it just Snapper?

“And given that NZTA and Auckland transport officials had been advising for months against allowing Snapper to run their own data clearing-house alongside the project’s central database because of the risk to the project, why did the Minister over-ride that advice?

“Gerry Brownlee told the House he is not responsible for what Snapper CEO Miki Sziksai said in his letter to Steven Joyce, but surely he is responsible for reassuring the public that the Government is dealing with large commercial contracts in a way that is ethical and in line with the Cabinet Manual.

“So far he has failed to do this,” Phil Twyford.

ENDS

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