“Ministerial briefings show that the Government’s half price subsidy for public transport isn’t leading to any greater use of public transport, taxpayers are wondering why they’re paying millions in a cost of living crisis for policy that doesn’t achieve anything,” says ACT’s Transport spokesperson Simon Court.

“The briefing states “the half price fare initiative is not getting non-PT users onto the network” and “People who switched to public transport as a result of half-price fares rate the overall experience more poorly than existing users, so may be at risk of switching back to their previous modes, particularly if fuel prices reduce”.

“It is estimated the Government is paying $135.5 million for this subsidy, perhaps they should be spending this on ensuring the public transport system is reliable enough for people to actually use instead?

“It is classic Labour to rush the money out the door instead of diagnosing the problem and fixing it. Some of Transport Minister Michael Wood’s greatest hits include:

• $311.9 million on a 4.5kim shared path between Petone and Ngauranga – possibly the most expensive cycleway in New Zealand at $69,000 per metre

• $337,000 on an opening ceremony for Transmission Gully

• $44,320 on an engineering review of two spinning top sculptures on the Waikato Expressway

• $25 million on a new fit-out for the Waka Kotahi office

• $51 million on developing the Auckland cycle bridge that was subsequently cancelled

• $72.4 million on Lets Get Wellington Moving’s business case that creates no additional motorist capacity

“His department has also increased its communications team from 32 staff to 88 – 65 of whom earn $100,000 or more. It’s also come under fire for spending $30,000 on five giant zeros that light up.

“If Michael Wood wanted to really get people onto public transport he should address staff shortages and increase reliability. ACT’s immigration policy would make it easier for workers to come into the country.

“While in a cost of living crisis especially we need solutions that are well thought out and aren’t unnecessarily costly. Labour’s solution is always just to spend and hope. We hear ya.”

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Simon Court