12 Sep 2011

Councillor 'denied urgent meeting' on RWC transport

11:51 am on 12 September 2011

A senior Auckland councillor says his moves to hold an urgent public meeting on Rugby World Cup transport problems have been blocked by the mayor and the council's chief executive.

The city's public transport system was beset by hold-ups on the tournament's opening night.

Trains and buses were delayed, while ferry services stopped altogether when Queens Wharf became too full.

The chair of the council's transport committee, Mike Lee, says he spent the weekend trying to arrange a public meeting for Monday and is frustrated and disappointed it has not been allowed.

He says elected councillors should be able to discuss what he describes as a shameful failure, because they are accountable to the people and need to know what has been going on.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown told Morning Report the delays were based on an extraordinary situation due to a massive turnout in downtown Auckland and won't be repeated.

The council-owned company, Auckland Transport, says it wants to establish all the facts before responding.

The Labour Party says the Rugby World Cup's Party Central was poorly organised and dangerous and the "shambles" was an embarrassment for New Zealand.

Labour MP Kelvin Davis says the buck stops with Mr Key and the Government should explain what went wrong.

Mr John Key says it is an issue for Auckland Transport and the waterfront authority.

The Green Party says the problem of Auckland's old and decrepit rail network was highlighted by the opening night "fiasco".

MP Gareth Hughes says it is clear that more trains needed to be put on and communication should have been better. He says it's a huge shame the rail electrification project hasn't yet been completed.