INDEPENDENT NEWS

Candidate says "NZ Bus Deserves to Lose Contract"

Published: Sat 31 Aug 2013 09:59 AM
Regional Council Candidate says "NZ Bus Deserves to Lose Contract"
NZ Bus, which has the contract to provide "public transport" bus services in the Wellington region, deserves to lose its contract with the Regional Council "if it doesn't pull its socks up immediately", says the MANA candidate for Wellington Regional Council, Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati.
As reported by Scoop, a joint Transport Agency/Police operation in Wellington this week "pink-stickered" 28 buses and removed them from service for significant fluid-leak faults. Police said the common theme among all 28 of the vehicles ordered off the road was serious oil leaks – an obvious fire hazard. Other significant faults detected on a number of buses included insecure fuel tanks and battery boxes, as well as faulty lighting. Vehicles that receive pink stickers must immediately be removed from service, reported Scoop.
MANA policy, in any event, is to push for a law change, says Ms Paretutanganui-Tamati, so that Regional Councils are allowed to bring the operation of public transport under their direct control and ownership. The Regional Council, as a publicly elected body should do exactly this, she says, but at present it is prohibited from doing so by law. But doing so would also enable the Council to ensure that bus drivers, along with all other Council staff, would be paid a "living wage", which is also a central plank of MANA policy, she adds.
She also points out that bus-drivers for NZ Bus are paid very little more than the minimum wage for working long shifts that usually include several hours of non-paid down-time during off-peak hours. "It was a persistent theme in the (still quite recent) spate of buses running over pedestrians in Wellington, that the drivers were keeping to tight time-schedules even when driving through Wellington's narrow streets", says Ms Paretutanganui-Tamati. "MANA policy is always to give People priority over commercial interests, and these sorts of problems with public transport being run by private commercial interests are an example of why direct control of it should be returned to democratically responsible bodies such as the Council."
Ms Paretutanganui-Tamati is standing for Regional Council on a platform including No user-charges for household water, Grass-roots democracy not a super-city, No drilling off our coasts, No fracking, Renewable energy including much more use of trolley buses, and making Wellington a living-wage region.
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