Government admits 'inappropriate' role in Tranzit's Wellington bus chaos

The Ministry of Social Development has admitted it played an "inappropriate" role in Wellington bus service contracts, as commuter chaos continues.

Wellington's bus driver union says Government officials undermined its workers by lining up hundreds of unemployed people to get behind the wheel.

It has released documents showing how the new company, Tranzit, was working with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to get unemployed people on the road.

It was wanting to recruit 200 bus drivers by July 1 this year.

The deal has since collapsed after questions from Government ministers Peeni Henare and Carmel Sepuloni, and MSD deputy chief executive Viv Rickard admitted its role was "inappropriate".

"It wasn't appropriate for us to be actively promoting employment opportunities while industrial unionised action was happening, and stopped our support until further notice," he said.

"It would've been seen as inappropriate by both our clients and the bus drivers involved in the strike for us to be helping Tranzit hold information sessions for the jobs they were striking to keep."

Paul Snelgrove, Tranzit's Managing Director said it was "astounded at the scale of political involvement" in stopping new jobs for unemployed people.

"There is a national shortage of bus drivers in New Zealand, which is why we have to promote bus driving careers to people outside the industry.

"We're astounded at the scale of political involvement to end advertising bus driving, mechanical and administration jobs for unemployed people."

The collapsed deal helps explain the chaotic lead-up to the new contract.

The 200 drivers haven't materialised, and the union dispute with Tranzit and the council isn't sorted either, meaning the road chaos continues.


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