Green party MP and Auckland Central MP Chloe Swarbrick is welcoming indications from Transport Minister Michael Wood that there is now political will to see the concerns of Waiheke residents and ferry users addressed.
Invested parties on Waiheke now appear to have some light at the end of the tunnel and Swarbrick says the “expectations of locals, a community that has been waiting for 10 years, has been rewarded after an “arduous journey”.
The city’s Green MP called on Minister Wood to “use his power” to remove the exclusion and make the route a contracted service similar to changes made on the Devonport route.
Unlike other public transport including a whole raft of new inner-harbour ferry routes around the harbour, Waiheke ferry service operator Fullers 360 holds an exemption to the regulated and subsidised fare model enjoyed by other operators and its own operations elsewhere on the harbour routes.
The Minister said he would use an Order in Council process under the Land Transport Management Act 2003 to bring the all-inclusive model into being along the lines of the contract now contemplated for Devonport.
He has also indicated he would prefer that Fullers360 and Auckland Transport (AT) hammer out a party agreement, but would step in with executive action if no deal was reached.
• Jim Birchall and Liz Waters
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