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Kate Hawkesby: Genter's 'secret letter' drama a waste of time

Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thursday, 8 August 2019, 9:20AM
Julie Anne Genter is refusing to release the letter, despite an investigation. Photo / Mark Mitchell


So what did we learn this week in regards to our most transformational open honest and transparent government yet?

Well we learnt that it doesn't include Julie Anne Genter. Or, at least, it doesn't apply to her.

She's still refusing to release a letter and make it public, despite an official investigation underway by the Chief Ombudsman.

She's dug her toes in.

The letter, which by now has probably gained way more notoriety than it deserves, was to Transport Minister Phil Twyford, about the Let's Get Wellington Moving project.

Basically the assumption is Genter is of the view that Wellington should really only be moving by bike or e-scooter, or possibly bus.

Though we don't know the contents of the letter, the concern here, given her anti-car stance, is that she wrote with her concerns over a second Mt Victoria tunnel. Because . . . cars.

God forbid Wellington moves with them.

Genter has confirmed to Parliament that the letter related to her concerns about the timing of projects within the Let's Get Wellington Moving proposal, particularly the tunnel, but she won't go any further than that.

She's claiming she doesn't have to release the letter because as a Green MP, she's not subject to the public disclosure requirements.

Nevermind that it just might be the prudent and decent thing to do.

It may also have shut this whole thing down instead of dragging it on so long.

But wait - she's also the Associate Transport Minister, although Phil Twyford claims despite this, she wrote the letter to him as Associate Minister, but expressing her view on behalf of the Green Party.

Genter though, said in Parliament, that she signed the letter as Associate Transport Minister, even though now the claim is she didn't write it in her capacity as Associate Transport Minister.

So far, so murky.

So the Chief Ombudsman's now investigating the secret letter, her refusal to release it, and whether it should be made public.

More time, more reviewing - just to examine whether the most open honest and transparent government should be a wee bit more open honest and transparent.

Just when we thought we had a government who were into accountability.

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