Let’s Get Wellington Moving review: City’s transport plan at risk of failing

A review of Wellington’s $6.4 billion transport plan has found it’s at risk of failing to deliver a cohesive package, has a detrimental culture – and is inadequately resourced, the Herald can reveal.

Let’s Get Wellington Moving (LGWM) was put under the microscope in September and October last year during an internal review, or “health check”.

The project’s partners are expected to publicly release the review’s findings later today.

However the Herald has learned the report said LGWM, in its current state, is at risk of failing to deliver an integrated, cohesive, prioritised, and outcomes-driven package of investments.

It said this was due to the programme being led with a bottom-up approach and was process driven rather than outcomes driven.

“Capability gaps and under-resourcing have exacerbated the problem. There is no single point of failure, but critical improvements must be made across several areas”.

LGWM is a joint venture between Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

The plan includes doubling the Mt Victoria Tunnel, mass rapid transit from the city to the airport, bus priority, and better walking and cycling.

The review also identified resourcing issues, noting several key roles remained vacant or filled on a temporary basis.

“The programme’s current brand value in the market has meant that attracting and retaining talent is challenging.”

It found a lack of proven experience and expertise within the team in delivering complex and large scale projects within an integrated programme environment.

The review said strategic leadership was also lacking.

This is on top of a culture that was described as “detrimental” to a collaborative and productive working environment within the programme.

“LGWM has not evolved its own identity, people feel isolated and have a growing sense of frustration due to the work environment, a perceived lack of delivery and uncertainty of partner commitment.”

Yesterday the Herald reported the review was scheduled to be publicly released this month, following what has been described as a frustrating hold up.

In September last year LGWM programme director Andrew Body confirmed the project was undertaking an internal review.

Conducted by three independent reviewers, it was set to focus on governance, a gap assessment, people and culture, the baseline programme, and systems and processes.

The draft findings were due to be provided to the partnership board in October with a final report due in early November.

But come December it was clear no report had been finalised and the information was being tightly held.

It’s understood there’s frustration at a Local Government level that the report wasn’t released before Christmas, so issues could have been exposed, dealt with, and parties could move on before the start of the New Year.

A spokesperson for the LGWM partners provided no explanation for why it had taken so long to finalise the review.

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