“Bullying” Claims Over Motorway Plans


A Wellington newspaper report today suggesting a row between NZTA and the new Wellington council over the region’s motorway plans has led to suggestions of NZTA bullying.

The Dom-Post said that more than $2 billion of Government money could be lost if Wellington City Council fails to back the Transport Agency’s roading plans and NZTA had asked for clarity in a letter that will be with the council this week. It asks the council to hold an extraordinary meeting to sort out its definitive position on roading.

The report suggests NZTA is unsure whether the new eco-friendly Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is actually behind the NZTA roading projects that include a duplicate Mt Victoria tunnel, the four-laning of Ruahine St and a possible flyover next to the Basin Reserve.

The agency is preparing to release its consultation roading document with options for the Basin Reserve, a duplicate Mt Victoria tunnel and Ruahine St.

Anonymous sources from the NZTA were quoted in the Dominion Post today referring to elected Councillors as “silly buggers”. The source also implied that if the Council did not accept the entire proposed expressway package, the money would be redirected elsewhere in the country, rather than being put towards alternative transport options.

Greens’ co-leader Russel Norman says that the Government’s use of strong-arm tactics against the Wellington and Auckland City Councils to force through motorways is outrageous and inappropriate, and “it’s entirely inappropriate for public servants to attack democratically elected local body representatives.”

“The proposed motorway options that Mr Joyce and the NZTA are trying to bulldoze through in Wellington have not even gone to public consultation.

“It has been two years and Wellingtonians still have no real idea what is planned for the flyover at the Basin Reserve, the Mt Victoria Tunnels, or the four-laning of Ruahine Street in Hataitai,” Dr Norman said.

“Now the NZTA wants the Wellington City Council to formally commit to whatever the motorway builders have planned for the city, before their plans have become public, and before it has heard the public’s views on the impact these projects will have on the city.

NZTA's plans to ease Wellington's congestion threatened?

In the wake of the disquiet, the Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce has today reiterated its support for the proposed Levin to Wellington Airport roading investment and urged the city’s councillors not jeopardise the project.

Chamber Chief Executive Ken Harris said: “It would be disastrous if Wellington’s $2.4 billion of government transport investment was lost.  It has been allocated to Wellington and now is not the time for political point scoring,” said
“Business strongly supports this investment in upgrading State Highway One from Levin to Wellington Airport as does the community as a whole. We have got this far down the line but government has competing demands on the funds and if the region doesn’t show unity the whole lot is put at risk. The correct process is for the New Zealand Transport Agency to release its options for consultation with the people of Wellington.
“Wellington City Council must give an unequivocal statement that it accepts this process and welcomes the funding or it risks being lost forever.Wellington City Council consultation in 2008 found strong community support for investment in the Wellington City component of this road – including duplication of tunnels and addressing the congestion at the Basin Reserve.”
Mr Harris rejected any suggestion that businesses are against passenger transport.
“In fact we are strongly for it, but if Wellington wants to prepare itself for the future and accommodate its expected population growth then it needs this infrastructure investment. This is also an example of why amalgamation of councils must be considered so that decisions are made for the benefit of the region as a whole and are less susceptible to local politics.”

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  1. William M says:

    About time someone worked out that things were being done undemocratically!

  2. Patrick R says:

    This is the same tactic Joyce took to Northland: either support the Puford road or the money goes elsewhere…. if can stop the three totally uneconomic RoNS: Puford, Transmission, Waikato, where will he build his roads? The Chathams?

    2 billion could be so valuable in Northland: fixing state highway 1, taking the NMIT to Marsden Pt, fixing the NMIT, some passing lanes on SH16, and the balance on local roads… that would do wonders.

    I’m sure the same is true in the WGTN region.

    Joyce, the MoT, and the NZTA, are all antidemocratic. They should all pull their heads in and listen. And stop trying to force yesterday’s model on the country.

  3. Swan says:

    I wonder if Norman would say the same about teachers attacking democratically elected education ministers

  4. Matt says:

    Swan, if said democratically elected education minister (arguable, since Tolley is list not electorate) was being attacked for pushing through programmes of work over the objections of experts in the field, yes, I’m sure he would. Oh, wait, the teachers did attack her for pushing through national standards over the top of expert opinion that they’re a waste of time and money.

    I’m sensing a pattern from National. “We know what’s best for you, now shut up and say how wonderful our plans are!”
    And people called Labour a nanny state government.

  5. Matt says:

    if the region doesn’t show unity the whole lot is put at risk

    The whole Auckland region is showing unity over the CBD rail link, and Joyce still doesn’t give a toss.

    Speaking with one voice only matters if the Minister likes what he’s hearing.

  6. mark says:

    “NZTA’s plans to ease Wellington’s congestion threatened?”

    Can we change that image text to “NZTA’s plans for more of the same threathened”?

  7. Luke says:

    images like that shown will get worse under NZTA’s plan, not better.

  8. Luke says:

    @Swan democracy doesn’t only happen at elections, Ministers need to be held accountable for their decisions, and front up to people affected.


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