The Otago Regional Council appears set to consider
handing responsibility for Dunedin's public transport network
to the Dunedin City Council.
However, ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead fired a shot across
the bow of Dunedin's City councillor Aaron Hawkins for
prematurely revealing the move yesterday.
Cr Hawkins, in a message posted on Facebook, announced the
ORC would meet next Wednesday to consider ''a proposal to
formally offer governance of public transport to the Dunedin
Contacted yesterday, Mr Woodhead would only confirm a paper
on ''public transport governance options'' would be
considered at the finance and corporate committee meeting.
The report would be considered in the public part of the
meeting, but details remained under embargo until released on
Monday, as required, he said.
When told Cr Hawkins - deputy chairman of the DCC's planning
and regulatory committee - had posted details online, Mr
Woodhead said: ''Has he just?'' ''That's an ORC discussion.
That's not a discussion with the Dunedin City Council at this
''I'm disappointed a Dunedin city councillor is commenting on
agenda items he has no say or input into.''
Cr Hawkins said when contacted it was ''public knowledge that
conversation was happening and that work was being done''.
''As a result, it's one of the most frequently asked
questions I get. All I was doing was reporting that meeting
Mayor Dave Cull would not be drawn on the merits of his
councillor's actions but agreed it was well known the
councils were considering a possible change.
On the coming ORC committee meeting, he said ''we know what
it's about, and we'll wait and see what the outcome is''.
Work towards a possible change was understood to include
talks between staff from both councils, although a planned
meeting of city and regional councillors - scheduled for late
last month - had been delayed.
Then-DCC chief executive Paul Orders had confirmed in October
last year work on a study being prepared by a consultant was
close to completion.
The study would compare Dunedin's network with others in New
Zealand and overseas and examine ways to improve the city's
public transport network within existing funding levels.
It would also examine the costs, benefits and problems
associated with a city council takeover of the network, as
well as possible improvements. Mr Woodhead would not be drawn
yesterday on whether the regional council was eager, willing
or reluctant to relinquish responsibility for public
''I'm not going to discuss any of the options. Let's wait
until it comes off embargo and we actually have our meeting
However, he confirmed managers from both councils would meet
soon to ''consider the decisions their respective councils
''It'll depend on those decisions as to how we progress into
Mr Cull said the DCC would have to consider a report on the
options, and the merits of any change, but it was
''appropriate'' the ORC did so first.
Any change would be ''months, not weeks'' away, he said.
''It's appropriate that ORC considers it first and then,
depending on what their conclusions are, we then can decide
what we want to do.
''It wouldn't just be dumped on DCC at a council meeting for
us to make a call. We'd clearly want council to look into it