Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party
Documents released under the Official Information Act reveal Steven Joyce wanted to dump the Auckland integrated ticketing project soon after he was elected because he thought Snapper could do it instead, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.
Communications between the Minister’s office and transport officials in the December 2008 to March 2009 period show Mr Joyce asking officials whether there was an out clause in the tender process, whether the project could be stopped, and why $100 million was being spent when Snapper could do it privately.
“From the moment he was elected Mr Joyce was itching to halt the integrated ticketing scheme, and allow Snapper to do it. Correspondence from Snapper two years later indicates he instructed officials to allow Snapper back into the project, after they had lost the competitive tender and against advice from officials.
“There is evidence in the hundreds of pages released under the OIA that Steven Joyce was successfully lobbied by Snapper and its parent company, Infratil, to push officials to let them back into the project.
“Intervention by the Minister in a commercial contract for a project worth $100 million of public money is a breach of the Cabinet Manual and Public Finance Act, so this clearly warrants an independent investigation.
“Current Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee has made it obvious in the House he sees nothing wrong with what Mr Joyce did, and doesn’t intend to do anything about it – so I will.
“I am forwarding the 1481 pages released by NZTA, Ministry of Transport and the Minister’s office to the Auditor General. I am asking her to review the documents in relation to the role of then-Minister Steven Joyce in the decision-making process that led to Snapper Services being allowed to roll out the Snapper card in advance of the full integrated ticketing system being set up,” Phil Twyford said.
The Auditor General is already examining Snapper’s role in the scheme in a general investigation by her office of the integrated ticketing project.