Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Back in June, Phil Twyford asked Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee some pointed questions about his predecessor's apparent interference in the decision to allow Snapper cards to be used in Auckland. Brownlee's response was clear: there was no meeting with Snapper, and there was no interference. "Ministers have had no involvement in the decision to include Snapper in the integrated system."

Today, it turns out that there was a meeting, and the decision to include Snapper was "a policy decision rightly made by the Minister."

Pretty obviously, those last answers are inconsistent: you can't both have no involvement and be a policy decision properly made by the Minister. Which suggests strongly that Brownlee misled Parliament in June. But there's also a strong whiff of corruption as well. Someone met with a Minister (making sure to disguise it in the Minister's official diary), and suddenly the Minister instructs their department to open up a contract, letting them make millions of dollars (and then apparently millions more if they sue Auckland Transport for dumping them for non-performance). Its a perfect example of why we need transparency around lobbying - and why National fears it.

[Hat-tip: Sacha Dylan]