The Otago Regional Council is maintaining secrecy around its
procurement of public bus contracts, despite pressure from
the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) for the council to
adopt national guidelines.
The council will discuss in private the recent tenders for
Otago's public bus services during its meeting today.
Tenders closed on February 8 and a contract was expected to
be awarded by the end of this month.
But the council has refused to follow national guidelines,
set by the NZTA, in respect of public bus standards and
accordingly the NZTA has threatened to withhold funding.
Existing bus contracts expire in June.
Those who had tendered for new contracts were cautious about
commenting on the situation publicly, at least until the
council had made a decision.
ORC chief executive Peter Bodeker did not return calls
In December last year, the council called for public bus
service tenders under its new regional public transport plan,
which included standards contrary to those approved by the
The council's policy required public buses to be replaced
after 15 years, as opposed to 19, and comply with higher
NZTA planning and investment general manager Dave Brash wrote
to Mr Bodeker in late December, notifying the agency's
intention to withhold funding for any services procured under
the council's new tender process.
Mr Brash said the higher standards could adversely affect bus
users and ratepayers, through higher fares and reduced
''The NZTA has worked closely with council staff for several
months to help them make improvements and develop an approach
to procuring public transport services that will ensure that
every dollar invested will deliver good results for
ratepayers, taxpayers and bus passengers in the city.
''Despite our best efforts, the council has decided to
continue with a process that, in my view, will not do this,''
his letter stated.