Minister meddling in MPs’ meetings

Published: Thu 25 Jul 2019 12:03 PM
25 July 2019
Transport Minister Phil Twyford intervened eight times to block Opposition electorate MPs from talking to local NZTA officials, National’s Transport spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“The Minister must be sensitive about his Government’s complete lack of action on roading because he’s gone out of his way to stop some National MPs from having what were previously routine meetings with the transport agency.
“Documents obtained under the Official Information Act show Phil Twyford has recommended to NZTA officials that they not meet with National MPs on eight occasions. Meanwhile, all meeting requests from Government MPs have been given his blessing.
“Phil Twyford is clearly playing politics with access to officials who are meant to operate on a non-partisan basis.
“Judith Collins, Stuart Smith, Matt Doocey, Andrew Falloon, Nicky Wagner, Matt King and Andrew Bayly all had meeting requests declined.
“Rangitata MP Andrew Falloon met twice with local NZTA representatives last year, but that changed this year when he asked for a simple meeting with officials in their office – not a hazardous construction site – but was turned down.
“There was no reason for the Minister to decline this meeting other than the fact Andrew has been putting pressure on him to make the roads in that electorate safer.
“Since he became Transport Minister, Phil Twyford has canned the proposed four-lane highway between Ashburton and Christchurch, and cut $5 billion from the state highway budget to filter that money into Auckland rail projects.
“He’s cancelled, delayed or gutted a dozen major transport projects across New Zealand and hit struggling Kiwis with three fuel tax increases at a time when prices at the pump are some of the highest we’ve seen and the cost of living is getting worse.
“Phil Twyford’s budget cuts will make our roads more dangerous, and his reaction has been to stifle the debate by removing Opposition MPs’ access to NZTA officials.
“This is anti-democratic and strikes at the heart of what MPs are elected to do.”

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