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HDPA on JAG's letter: Ideological stubbornness will grind cities to a halt

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Thursday, 8 August 2019, 4:25PM
Julie Anne Genter will have to live with the legacy of bring the capital to a halt. (Photo / NZ Herald)

If you’re not keeping an eye on this business with Julie Anne Genter’s secret letter, I strongly urge to watch this.

Because if the rumours are true, then what’s going on here is terrible behaviour by a minister, and an ideological stubbornness that threatens to grind cities around this country to a halt.

This isn’t just about Wellington, although it is Wellingtonians who are affected this time. This is about the way that Julie Anne Genter runs her portfolio.

So what’s happened here is that Wellington descends into traffic gridlock at least twice a day during weekdays. It needs three central city roading projects desperately: a solution to the Basin Reserve, a second Terrace Tunnel, and a second Mount Victoria tunnel.

It was going to get all three, and then JAG got involved. She wrote a letter to Transport Minister Phil Twyford and after that, none of the three were happening anymore. Not in any meaningful way anyway.

So Wellington is stuck with a traffic problem for the rest of the working lives of probably most of the city workers.

Opposition parties have called for Genter to release the letter, but she wants it kept a secret. She says she’s entitled to free and frank discussions, especially since she sent it in her capacity as a Green MP. Not as a minister. Although she wrote the letter on ministerial letterhead, and signed it as the Associate Transport Minister.

So that’s clearly a load of tosh: she wrote and sent it as a minister.

Now the rumours are that the reason she won’t release the letter is caused she packed a tanty in it and threatened to resign if the tunnel went ahead.

And what’s more, that she threatened to pull Green Party support from the Labour-NZ First Government. We know this because several Wellington City councillors have now gone on the record saying that they met with the mayor Justin Lester, who told them this.

He denies it. You decide who you choose to believe: one mayor or several councillors?

This is disgraceful. To hold a city to ransom, to condemn that city’s motorists to decades more congestion over an ideological stubbornness.

Julie Anne Genter can choose to continue to withhold that letter if she wants to, but then she will have to live with the legacy of grinding the capital city to a halt. And we haven’t even started on the matter of her personal integrity, why would I even bother?

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