NZTA has decided not to try to appeal the High Court Basin Reserve flyover decision

The New Zealand Transport Agency has decided not to seek leave to appeal the High Court decision which upheld the Board of Inquiry decision to decline resource consent for a Basin Reserve flyover.

Here is the NZTA statement: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/media-releases/transport-agency-decides-not-to-appeal-high-court-basin-bridge-decision/

The following paragraph is of especial interest:

Ms Chetwynd said that the High Court ruling means this project will not proceed as the Transport Agency does not have the required approvals. She says the Agency is committed to working together with the community and local councils, particularly Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council, to spark new conversations and ideas about the best way forward for delivering vital transport improvements for the Capital.

Who will be part of these conversations, and whose voices will be heard? It’s important that, this time, community voices and sustainable transport alternatives are to the fore.

Save the Basin’s press statement in reaction to NZTA’s announcement is below.

Save the Basin Campaign Congratulates New Zealand Transport Agency On Decision Not To Appeal Basin Reserve Flyover Issue Further

The Save the Basin Campaign today said that it was pleased that the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has decided not to seek leave from the Supreme Court to appeal the High Court decision on its proposed Basin Reserve flyover.

“It’s taken a long time for the NZTA to come to its senses,” said Save the Basin Campaign spokesperson Tim Jones, “but the decision not to pursue further legal action means central and local government and community groups such as ourselves can finally sit down and have a meaningful discussion about the best alternatives for Wellington.”

“That discussion needs to be about more than transport,” Mr Jones added. “As the Board of Inquiry clearly showed in its report, the landscape, urban design and heritage aspects of the Basin Reserve precinct are of vital importance. And what’s more, the transport issue is about more than the Basin Reserve. The decision not to pursue a flyover provides an opportunity for Wellington to develop a modern, sustainable transport system that is appropriate for the 21st century.”

“If central and local government agencies are ready to engage in open, constructive discussion,” Mr Jones concluded, “then Save the Basin will be keen to play its part.”

An Excellent Analysis By The Architectural Centre of NZTA’s Options

NZTA has until Friday 4 September to decide whether it will seek leave from the Supreme Court to appeal its defeat in the High Court over its Basin Reserve flyover plans.

While we wait to see what their next move is and respond accordingly, it’s well worth reading this excellent analysis of NZTA’s options by The Architectural Centre.

Some Media Reactions To The High Court Basin Reserve Flyover Decision

Cartoon: Ron Beernink

Cartoon: Ron Beernink

As we reported on Friday, the High Court dismissed NZTA’s appeal against the Board of Inquiry decision to decline resource consent for a Basin Reserve flyover.

There was a lot of media reaction to this decision – below is a selection.

As mentioned above, Wellington Scoop’s Flyover category is a great place to keep up with coverage and reactions. Here are some specific items worth looking at, none more welcome than the first:

Dominion Post editorial, Mon 24 August: Time to leave the flyover behind

TV3: Basin Reserve flyover a no go after appeal dismissed

Radio New Zealand: Basin Reserve flyover appeal rejected

Stuff: Basin Reserve flyover project killed off by the High Court

New Zealand Herald: Basin Reserve flyover project killed off

Wellington Scoop: Iona Pannett tells City Council to end its flyover fixation

Wellington Scoop: Seven years of community opposition, and the defeat of the Transport Agency

Wellington Scoop: News release from Richard Reid and Associates: Architect pleased at support for his Basin roading enhancement option

Save the Basin Delighted at High Court Decision

The High Court this afternoon dismissed the New Zealand Transport Agency’s appeal against the 2014 Board of Inquiry decision to decline resource consent for a Basin Reserve flyover.

The High Court decision is available here: http://courtsofnz.govt.nz/front-page/cases/new-zealand-transport-agency-v-architectural-centre-incorporated-and-ors

Naturally, Save the Basin is delighted! Below is our press release from earlier this afternoon – check out all the coverage and reactions to the decision on Wellington Scoop.

Save the Basin Campaign Delighted by High Court Decision

The Save the Basin Campaign today said that it was delighted the High Court had rejected the New Zealand Transport Agency’s appeal of the 2014 Board of Inquiry decision to decline resource consent for a Basin Reserve flyover.

Save the Basin Campaign spokesperson Tim Jones said that the Campaign was confident the Board of Inquiry decision would stand up under the High Court’s scrutiny, and that the Transport Agency had failed to mount a strong case. He also thanked Matthew Palmer QC, who appeared for Save the Basin at the High Court, and Nathan Ross, who assisted.

“Just because the Transport Agency hates to lose to community groups, that doesn’t mean it has the right to have decisions overturned that it doesn’t like,” said Tim Jones. “We hope the Transport Agency and the Government will finally take the message on board that a Basin Reserve flyover would be ugly, unnecessary, outdated and inappropriate, and that Wellington deserves modern, sustainable transport options that are appropriate for a modern capital city.”

“We hope that the NZTA and the Government have seen sense and will not seek to waste yet more taxpayer money on appealing this decision further,” Mr Jones concluded. “However, if they do try to pursue further legal avenues, we’ll be ready for them.”

Action Station makes a vital contribution to Save the Basin

Basin-2-cropped

As Wellington Scoop has reported, Community campaigning group Action Station has made a vital contribution to the campaign to save the Basin Reserve from a massive motorway flyover which the New Zealand Transport Agency wants to build there.

Despite a Government-appointed Board of Inquiry ruling in 2014 that a Basin Reserve flyover should not go ahead, the New Zealand Transport Agency took the matter to the High Court in July, attempting to overturn the Board’s decision.

NZTA is able to spend millions of dollars in taxpayer money to pursue its flyover obsession, which puts community groups such as the Save the Basin Campaign and the Mt Victoria Residents’ Association, which jointly opposed NZTA’s appeal in the High Court, at a huge financial disadvantage.

Save the Basin Campaign spokesperson Tim Jones said “We’re delighted that Action Station agreed to help with our fundraising. Their support allowed us to reach a new audience and provided a crucial boost to help us meet our fundraising target for our legal fund. Our supporters may not be able to spend up large with taxpayer money, as the Transport Agency does, but they make up for it with determination and commitment.”

For Action Station, Nina Atkinson said “ActionStation exists to make it easy for progressive New Zealanders to take action on the issues they care about. Hosting the crowdfunding campaign and asking our community to chip in for this people-powered effort was the very least we could do and we’re so glad it helped.”

basin_handover

Fundraising through Action Station raised close to $2000 for the legal fund. The cheque handover took place at Tuesday lunchtime at the northern entrance to the Basin Reserve, near where NZTA wants to impose the flyover monstrosity. The High Court hearing on NZTA’s appeal finished on 31 July, and the hudge’s verdict is now awaited.

Now It’s Save the Basin’s Turn: Week 2 At The High Court

Most of the first week of NZTA’s appeal in the High Court against the Board of Inquiry decision to decline resource consent for a Basin Reserve flyover has been taken up with the case of the flyover proponents: first NZTA itself, and then the Wellington City Council, whose submission supported part of NZTA’s case.We thank everyone who attended the High Court during the first week and sat through the NZTA and WCC submissions!

But now it’s our turn. Matthew Palmer QC, for Save the Basin and the Mt Victoria Residents’ Association, began presenting our case around Friday lunchtime, and he is currently expected to be continuing to present our case throughout Monday the 27th, and on into Tuesday. Philip Milne will then be presenting the case of The Architectural Centre, before NZTA gets a final right of reply.

So, if you can possibly get along to the High Court on Monday, or during the rest of the coming week, please do so. Here’s what you need to know about coming to the High Court:

http://savethebasin.org.nz/2015/07/19/the-nztas-high-court-appeal-of-the-basin-flyover-decision-where-when-and-what/

Media Coverage Roundup

Here is some media coverage, mainly focusing on our case:

The NZTA’s High Court Appeal Of The Basin Flyover Decision: Where, When and What

Here are all the practical details about NZTA’s High Court appeal of the Board of Inquiry decision to decline resource consent for a Basin Reserve flyover. Starts: Monday 20 July Where: High Court, 2 Molesworth St, Court No. 6 (Downstairs). When you enter the building, you will need to go down the lift to find the courtroom and viewing gallery. Ends: The hearing is set down to end on Friday 31 July. However, it may well finish earlier Times: Standard session times are 10am-5pm, with the following breaks: – 11.30-11.45am Morning tea – 1-2.15pm Lunch – 3.30-3.45pm Afternoon tea The judge may decide to vary these times, but will give notice before doing so. There is a cafe in the building. Connectivity: Phones are not allowed on in the courtroom, and unfortunately, there is no free wi-fi in the building. Members of the public: There is public seating in the courts. When you arrive, court officials will give you directions. Please note: there are only around 18 public seats in Court No. 6, so you will need to arrive early, especially on Monday, to ensure you get a seat. Do’s and don’ts Do: Come along when you can. It does make a difference, and you don’t have to stay for a whole day Do: Bring some reading matter for breaks and delays Do: Wear smart casual clothing Do: Rise to your feet when directed, or when the judge rises Don’t: Wear your “Save the Basin” T-shirt – it’s not appropriate for High Court (but we encourage you to wear it everywhere else!) Don’t: Talk, make exasperated faces etc. when in the courtroom Don’t: Have your phone turned on when in the courtroom Don’t: Bring food or drink into the courtroom – but remember, there are plenty of breaks during the day and a cafe nearby You can: Enter and leave the courtroom during sessions, as long as you do so quietly. What to expect – structure of the case How the case proceeds is up to the judge, so what follows is purely indicative, based on experience of similar cases. NZTA will present its case first. This may take up to three days. During this period, interactions will be between NZTA’s lawyer and the judge – don’t expect it to play out like a John Grisham novel, with dramatic cries of “Objection!” Next, the lawyers representing parties opposing NZTA’s case will present their case. At minimum, this will include:

  • Matthew Palmer QC, for Save the Basin Campaign and Mount Victoria Residents’ Association
  • Philip Milne, for The Architectural Centre

Finally, NZTA, as the appellant, will have the right of reply before the case concludes. Media coverage We understand that the Dominion Post, Radio NZ and Newstalk ZB plan to cover the case. Other media may also cover it. There was a preview of the case in the Dominion Post of Saturday 18 July: http://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/69988680/basin-reserve-flyover-battle-set-to-ignite-again-in-the-high-court When we might get a decision There is no fixed date for the judge’s decision, and we probably won’t get any advance warning of the decision release date. As a very rough rule of thumb, a decision during the final quarter of 2015 would not be unexpected. See you at the High Court – and please get in touch if you have any questions via stoptheflyover@gmail.com.

Help Save the Basin with an Action Station Donation!

stb_campaign

Contribute to Action Station’s fundraiser for Save the Basin!

The High Court hearing of the Transport Agency’s appeal against the Basin Reserve flyover decision begins on Monday 20 July. Save the Basin will be represented at the hearing by Matthew Palmer QC, opposing NZTA’s case, and we are in the final stages of fundraising for our legal representation.

That’s why we’re delighted that Action Station has come on board to help us reach our fundraising target. They will be presenting us with a cheque on July 31, when the Action Station campaign ends, so please contribute to help make that cheque as large as possible!

It’s also possible to donate via mail, Internet banking and our Givealittle campaign page.

Help Us Save The New Zealand Transport Agency From Itself

In less than four weeks’ time, on Monday 20 July, the New Zealand Transport Agency’s appeal against the Board of Inquiry decision to decline resource consent for a Basin Reserve flyover begins.

What’s astonishing is that the Transport Agency’s obsession with building a flyover at the Basin Reserve, no matter the cost to the taxpayer, no matter how outdated, ugly and discredited urban flyovers are, is being conducted in the face of research the Transport Agency itself has carried out. It’s described in this report:

Death of the car: Why Generation Y is turning to public transport

and you can find the study itself here:

Public transport and the next generation (NZTA Research Report 569, June 2015)

Historic New Zealand light vehicle traffic forecasts vs actual growth (Source: MoT)

Historic New Zealand light vehicle traffic forecasts vs actual growth (Source: MoT)

The Transport Agency is supposed to be building transport infrastructure to meet future demand – so why does it continues to build motorways, flyovers and the other expensive nostrums of mid-twentieth-century transport planning, instead of spending money on public transport infrastructure for which there is a large and growing unmet demand?

One reason is that a Generation X Government with strong ties to the trucking industry is still committed to its $12 billion Roads of National Significance boondoggle. Another is that the New Zealand Transport Agency was created out of two bodies: Land Transport New Zealand (the policy part) and Transit New Zealand (the road-building part).

Ever since then, Transit has been the large, well-funded tail wagging the small policy dog. Because what Transit knows how to do is build roads, lots of roads, big expensive roads – and by golly, they’re not about to let some pointy-headed policy wonks and their inconvenient research studies stop them.

It seems that, like an addict who knows he or she should stop but wants just one more hit, the Transport Agency is incapable of saving itself from its roadbuilding addiction. So we’re staging an intervention to save NZTA from itself – and save an iconic part of Wellington from NZTA. Donate to help us bring this tragic flyover addiction to an end.

 

European Cyclists’ Federation Supports Save The Basin

It isn’t just Wellingtonians, or even New Zealanders, who can see that building a motorway flyover at the Basin Reserve is a very bad idea. We’ve had support from overseas as well – residents of cities in which flyovers are being torn down as the outdated relics they are have been shocked to hear that New Zealand is contemplating building a new one in the centre of the nation’s capital.

The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) is the latest group to offer their support, and in their recent newsletter they carried an excellent article which concisely states the case against a Basin Reserve flyover and for a modern, sustainable transport system for Wellington. It’s well worth reading in full, but here is a key quote:

Major roads suck up resources that could be spent on infrastructure for cycling, walking and public transport and because of the principle of induced demand most road building results in increased congestion, not decreased. Conversely reducing road capacity by turning roads in to public spaces and green corridors actually reduces congestion, not increasing it. There is a growing body of cities that have implemented freeway demolitions with a huge positive effect on their cities.

Save the Basin is grateful to ECF for its support. Thanks, Kevin, Peter, and friends!

 

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