An internal review, or "health check", of Wellington's $6.4 billion transport project will be publicly released this month following what's being described as a frustrating delay.
In September last year Let's Get Wellington Moving (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.
Just before Christmas, Transport Minister Michael Wood confirmed that he had not seen a copy of the review, in response to a written parliamentary question by Hutt South list MP Chris Bishop.
"While I have not received a copy of the review, the Let's Get Wellington Moving Partnership Board has received a draft Report from the team that undertook the health check, and is working through its findings, Wood said.
"Once this process is complete, the report will be finalised and the Board will consider releasing it to the public."
Wellington Mayor Andy Foster and Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) chairman Daran Ponter hadn't seen a copy at that point either.
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.
In response to questions from the Herald, a spokesperson for the LGWM partners confirmed a final review has now been completed, but provided no explanation for why that had taken so long.
The spokesperson said they expected the review would be published publicly this month.
"One of the key findings is that there is a need for all three partners to confirm the desired outcomes of the programme to ensure it delivers the best possible transport outcomes for Wellington over the next 10, 20 and 30 years."
It's understood some of the findings are less than rosy and work is already underway to implement improvements.
"LGWM partners welcome the review's findings as a useful guide to areas for improvement to set the programme up for success", the spokesperson said.
Wood's office confirmed last night the Minister had only just received a copy of the review.
LGWM is a joint initiative between Wellington City Council (WCC), GWRC, and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
In 2019 the Government announced the $6.4 billion project, which included doubling the Mt Victoria Tunnel, mass rapid transit from the city to the airport, and better walking and cycling.
The internal review is not the only thing Local Government partners were expecting to see before Christmas.
In September last year the Herald revealed the draft indicative business cases for two major projects in LGWM were behind schedule by up to eight months
Tender documents state drafts were due on the second Mt Victoria tunnel and mass rapid transit by the end of that month, but enquiries made by the Herald confirmed they had since been scheduled for early to mid-this year.
GWRC chairman Daran Ponter said at the time the delay wasn't entirely unexpected but also that it wasn't a good look.
"Wellingtonians have had the Let's Get Wellington Moving carrot dangled in front of them for quite a long time now and I think we all want to see the projects actually moving."
There's a sense of irritation at the pace of the project at a Central Government level too with local MPs, including Grant Robertson, saying on the 2020 campaign trail "we've just got to get Let's Get Wellington Moving moving."
Robertson added: "and make sure the Local Government authorities join Central Government in getting the money in."
WCC has painted a grim picture of "getting the money in" in its briefing to the incoming Transport Minister.
It said the LGWM programme was unaffordable in its current form without new funding tools.
The document said the council wanted to talk to the Minister urgently about LGWM's delivery and governance models, overall affordability, and potential new
funding tools to "decide whether any changes are required to ensure success."
Although an official information request revealed Mayor Andy Foster had not received any advice, reports, or exchanged correspondence regarding financial commitments to LGWM between March and October 2020.