Let’s Get Wellington Moving shake-up, officials signal budget blowout

Officials have signalled Let’s Get Wellington Moving (LGWM) is headed towards a budget blowout as they try to get the transport project back on track.

Last night funding partners met with the Minister of Transport after a review of the $6.4 billion project found it was at risk of failing.

LGWM is a three-way partnership between Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and Waka Kotahi NZTA.

The programme’s governance structure and leadership team is getting a major shake-up as a result of the review.

Alongside these immediate changes, work is also underway to address longer-term affordability issues and ensure the project has the funding it needs.

Officials have signalled “likely increases in costs compared to the earlier Indicative Package”.

The review, made public last month, found issues with the programme including leadership problems, a detrimental culture, and inadequate resourcing.

Transport Minister Michael Wood said this was unacceptable.

He gave officials a fortnight to come up with a plan to turn things around- a deadline that expired last week.

The LGWM Partnership Board has issued a statement following the meeting with the minister last night.

Their new plan includes dividing up some of programme director Andrew Body’s responsibilities.

A deputy programme director and expert in helping teams work collaboratively in joint ventures will become part of the programme’s leadership team.

An additional programme director will also be appointed to oversee a new short-term three-year programme to finally secure what were meant to be “quick wins”.

These include walking and cycling improvements as well as bus priority measures.

Specifically, this programme encompasses the Golden Mile, Thorndon Quay & Hutt Rd, the Cobham Drive crossing, and walking improvements in the central city.

An independent chairperson will also be appointed to the board.

The board acknowledged changes were needed to streamline decision-making and the programme’s governance structure.

Members said they welcomed the next steps.

Greater Wellington Regional Council chief executive Greg Campbell said the renewed focus would give Wellingtonians more confidence in the programme.

“The scale of transformation has always been a little daunting until now. Making the programme more bite-size helps reduce that and build trust. People will be able to see what’s being tackled and when and how they can input to key deliverables.”

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