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Mike Lee Is The Best Person To Sort Out Bus Strike: Business Association

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Mike Lee Is The Best Person To Sort Out Bus Strike: Business Association

"The chairman of the Auckland Regional Council needs to exercise some leadership if the standoff between NZ Bus and its drivers looks set to continue when schools go back from tomorrow," says the head of Auckland's largest town centre and key public transport hub.

"Mike Lee is the best placed person to sort this out if formal facilitation with the Employment Relations Authority continues to fail. He holds the purse strings as head of the regional body that funds NZ Bus, and he knows unions better than anyone," says Cameron Brewer, chief executive of the Newmarket Business Association.

"It is absolutely critical that this be sorted out by Monday morning at the latest when tens of thousands of school students start the fourth term. It will be very disruptive not only for Auckland schools, but families and businesses. As a key public transport hub with over 8,000 school students in close proximity, Newmarket will be more affected than most.

"From tomorrow it will be a completely different proposition. We've been lucky so far that it has been school holidays and so people have largely been able to work around it.

"Given buses are such a huge part of Auckland's public transport infrastructure, nothing else can take up the slack. Kids will be forced into taxis. There'll be standing room only in trains. Parents will be late for work. Shops won't be open on time. Roads will be gridlocked.

"For the sake of the public, middle ground now needs to be found. If any impasse is ongoing it often takes a respected and senior individual to sort it out - as we saw with John Key's involvement with the Hillary family and Auckland Museum's recent dispute.

"Otherwise Auckland is going to grind to a halt and potentially it could be socially and economically damaging. We can't forget that public transport is essentially a public service. Whatever side you take, the best interests of the public now also need to be considered.

"Mike Lee is considering standing for Mayor of the Super City. Now is his chance to prove his leadership. I appreciate that the Auckland Regional Council is winding up in 12 months time, but it now needs to take the lead on this. Let's not forget that ensuring Auckland has reliable public transport is a key regional council responsibility," says Cameron Brewer.

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