“Waka Kotahi’s new Holiday Journey Prediction Tool sounds like something from a satirical News site. It would be a great source of Christmas amusement if it hadn’t just wasted an unknown amount of taxpayer money,” says ACT Transport Spokesperson Simon Court.
“Sixteen years after Google released Google Maps, in 2005, New Zealand’s transport agency has released a tool to help people plan their journeys, helpfully alerting them to traffic disruptions and delays. Where was the Minister asking the basic question, why wouldn’t people just use Google Maps, or Apple Maps, or even Waze, all free to anyone with a smart phone or laptop?
“Then there’s the real kicker. Some might say it’s good for New Zealanders to be independent of a corporation like Google, but the Government’s tool is based on Google Maps. It is simply downloading selective data from Google Maps. You are much better to go straight to Google and get the full experience.
“What does the new tool give you that Google Maps does not? Google Maps gives the shortest route according to real time traffic and is aware of large delays in real time. The Government has spent who knows how much simply helping people access a free App that’s advertised for four year olds.
“Adding to the tragicomedy, the Government’s new Holiday Journey Prediction Tool is not ready for Auckland, Northland, the Waikato, or Bay of Plenty -where half the New Zealand population actually lives- because according to reports the traffic there is too unpredictable.
“It appears this Government software project was supposed to be a big splash for the Government, but it wasn’t ready so they released it on Boxing day when people have already done half their holiday travelling.
“The Holiday Journey Prediction Tool is a great example of why we have Government waste. There was no Minister asking, ‘why wouldn’t people just use free apps that already do the same thing? What is the value add here? How do we justify spending taxpayers’ money on this?
“The Minister for Transport needs to explain:
- What does this app do that Google Maps or Apple Maps don’t
- When did this project start?
- How much did it cost?
- How many people are expected to use it?
“If the Minister can’t answer those questions it should be scrapped immediately. With a Government borrowing money week to week and inflation pressuring Kiwis from the pump to the checkout, we cannot afford this kind of waste.”