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  • Andrew von Dadelszen


What has gone wrong with Tauranga’s Bus Service? The numbers tell us that ‘All in not well’ with our buses.

I chaired the Regional Council’s Public Transport Committee from 2005 to 2010, and the Regional Transport Committee from 2005 to 2008. I was proud of the growth in our services over that time – but the current situation (see the patronage graph below) is just not acceptable.

Tauranga City Councillors think that they should be running the buses; but then they want us (through our Port dividends) to pay the bills. I am totally opposed to this, because the current councillors have a proven track record of incompetence and poor governance.

You only have to look at their lack of vision, and unwillingness to genuinely fund any visionary projects (just look at the mess in the CBD). The Tauranga Amenities Group (driven by our city’s great philanthropist, Paul Adams) had a vision for downtown Tauranga, but the ‘tall poppy’ syndrome meant that our City Councillors wouldn’t give it a serious consideration.

There is no way that I would trust the current City Council with this responsibility – it is just another ill-conceived power grab.

Yes – the new Bus Contract still has big issues., but the biggest is that, while supporting the Bus Blueprint (the strategy developed for the bus service under the new contract), Tauranga City Councillors made no commitment to funding the agreed, required roading infrastructure (which is their responsibility).

The bottom line is Tauranga Ratepayers can't rely on our City Councillors to prudently manage our existing assets - let alone giving them the responsibility to also manage our buses. All that they can think about is the $2 billion nest egg in the Port shares - they think that it should be theirs - and yet in the local government restructuring of 1989, the Regional Council got $46 million in Port assets, and the city got $46 million in Electricity assets. Both enterprises grew fantastically, but the City cashed their investment in - while the Regional Council played the long game (now worth more than $2 billiion today). That is called good governance - something TCC has been lacking for years.


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