The appointment of prominent transport blogger and architecture photographer Patrick Reynolds to the board was controversial.
He had been mocked for his lack of governance experience at the time he was appointed and drew the ire of Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, who was not impressed by two-year old tweets attacking him and his party, NZ First.
The documents reveal that Reynolds self-nominated as a potential board candidate on February 11 of last year.
His nomination was picked-up by Ministers who appear to have championed it despite the Ministry of Transport repeatedly leaving him off lists of preferred candidates. The Ministry didn’t include Reynolds in its list of preferred candidates, even after interviewing him.
In the middle of the process of Reynolds being appointed to the board, around the time interviews were being conducted, he went out to dinner with Twyford and Associate Minister Julie Anne Genter at Wellington’s Ortega Fish Shack.
In replies to written questions, Twyford has said that the NZTA board was not discussed at dinner, despite Reynolds being in the middle of the appointment process.
Bishop, who received the documents under the Official Information Act said it stretched “beggars belief” that Twyford and Genter did not discuss the board appointment process at dinner with Reynolds.
“You’ve got a situation where they’re right in the middle of appointing him, they go out for dinner with no officials present and no notes taken and they have a fish dinner at Ortega – it’s very fishy business going on here,” Bishop said.
So Reynolds self nominated (something you’d probably only do if someone suggested it to you). He wasn’t on the short list of candidates. He had dinner with Twyford and Genter and then got appointed but they claim they never discussed it with him.