A controversial trip to China to investigate trackless trams and light rail for Wellington has been pushed back until after this year's local body elections.

The trip follows the $6.4b Let's Get Wellington Moving transport package announcement.

The plan prioritises mass rapid transit at an estimated capital cost of $2.2b, but what technology will go on the route is yet to be decided.

The "study tour" proposal sparked by Wellington City Council copped criticism from some regional councillors when they received the plan to visit Beijing and Zhuzhou at the end of this month.


They expressed concern about the lack of detail and sending councillors on a trip so close to the election in October.

Estimated costs for the trip were $5500 a head with senior officials from NZTA, WCC, GWRC and the Government invited.

Mayor Justin Lester confirmed the trip had been put on hold, with necessary approvals unable to be obtained in the time available.

He said the trip would still go ahead some time in the future.

"You can't make a decision on a $2.2b project without seeing the range of technologies available and how they perform in real life, in particular trackless trams".

Regional councillor Roger Blakeley said the trip felt like a
Regional councillor Roger Blakeley said the trip felt like a "junket". Photo / Richard Robinson.

Regional councillor Sue Kedgley was among those who voiced concern about the proposed trip saying the plan was "thin" with no schedule or itinerary.

The decision to postpone it was a sensible one, she said.

"I would expect that if the proposal is made in the New Year that it would be a fully costed and properly explained itinerary, so that ratepayers can see exactly what is proposed and what the money is to be spent on."


Kedgley did not have a problem with key transport councillors going to investigate the technology and said it would be valuable seeing it in action first-hand.

But the point was those key transport councillors are up for debate in a few months' time.

"It would be a shame if we paid for someone to go up to China and then they weren't a councillor after the election", she said.

Regional councillor Roger Blakeley said he'd prefer the trip to be organised by Let's Get Wellington Moving rather than Wellington City Council taking the lead.

"We didn't see any organisation, we had no information about it, it felt like a junket because we didn't see any more information than that."

Blakeley also wanted to know more about who was organising the trip at the China end.

"We have got to be absolutely squeaky clean on this sort of a trip to make sure there are no vested interests involved."