National's train station policy launch breached rules - Auckland Transport

The National Party did not ask Auckland Transport (AT) whether it was allowed to launch its transport policy from a train station on Sunday - and AT says it breaches their policy.

AT sent a pointed email to all political parties on Wednesday saying "Auckland Transport has a clear policy around its facilities and any other resources not to be used for electioneering purposes." 

The email specifically points out that policy announcements are included in this. 

When questioned, AT spokesman Mark Hannan said National did not ask for advice on whether it was allowed to use the Papakura train station.

When asked whether the party just turned up, Mr Hannan said that was his understanding.

Auckland Transport policy email
Auckland Transport sent this email to all political parties. Photo credit: Supplied

When Newshub approached National's campaign manager Steven Joyce for comment on Wednesday afternoon, his office said it was not aware of AT's email.

A party spokesman later said in a statement: "Our event was very popular with our supporters and we ended up with a bigger crowd than expected, meaning we had to move the venue slightly."

He said National had received AT's letter and "will ensure we comply with its clear instructions going forward".

Labour's spokesperson for transport Michael Wood said National made mistakes because they got spooked and rushed out the policy.

"It's kind of embarrassing to have the Minister of Transport and the Prime Minister breaking Auckland Transport rules when they are announcing the Auckland transport policy.

"If they can't organise their own Auckland transport launch properly, it's no wonder the Auckland transport is such a mess."

During the policy announcement, Transport Minister Simon Bridges denied National had rushed out its announcement in order to match Labour's transport announcement, which was also on Sunday.

The Green Party's transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said National should have asked permission, but conceded it's increasingly difficult for political parties to reach people in public spaces.

"I do think it's fair enough that parties should ask permission before staging something as large as a campaign launch, but I find it really concerning that we wouldn't be able to hand out leaflets in a train station or otherwise be present because there aren't many opportunities now for reaching out to people in public spaces."