The HOP Card fiasco has continued in the last couple of days, with articles in the NZ Herald, on the news, on the radio and now in parliament – with Phil Twyford asking some questions yesterday around whether Auckland Transport were pressured by the government to allow Snapper to launch its product as a rebranded HOP card back in the first half of 2011. Here’s the video:
The transcript can be read here.
At first glance there’s nothing particularly interesting about the answers – except perhaps to the very last question:
Phil Twyford: Did his predecessor intervene on behalf of Infratil to pressure the Auckland Regional Transport Authority, and, subsequently, Auckland Transport, and the Land Transport New Zealand boards to allow the Snapper card to be rolled out in advance of the integrated ticketing system?
Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: No, that is not my understanding. The member may want to take that up with Auckland Transport.
I may be reading a bit too much into this, but it seems a bit odd that Brownlee has effectively asked Phil Twyford to take the issue up with Auckland Transport. Does that mean there might have been? Does that mean Brownlee’s just sick of answering questions about something which is largely a local issue (although the fairly significant NZTA funding contribution to integrated ticketing should make it a matter of concern for the government). I guess time will tell.
Time will also tell in regards to whether Snapper can meet the November 30 deadline. They say they can, so perhaps all we can do is take their word with some whopping great penalties if they don’t meet the deadline. It might also be wise for Auckland Transport to start looking for a Plan B if Brownlee holds true to his promise and NZ Bus are “off the run” come November 30 if Snapper can’t deliver. After all around half of all PT trips in Auckland are taken on NZ Bus services.