• Now updated with link to transport video from Wellington Constituency candidate Roger Blakeley

Save the Basin has asked Regional Council, Wellington City Council and Wellington Mayoral candidates three questions about the future of the Basin Reserve, whether they support a Basin Reserve flyover, and how they think Wellington should deal with the additional traffic forecast to enter the city from the north due to the Government’s motorway projects.

We’ll be publishing those answers this week. First, here are the answers from Regional Council (Greater Wellington) candidates – it’s important to know their views, as the Regional Council has a major role in transport planning.

Thanks to every candidate who responded – we appreciate you have a lot on your plates and lots of groups asking you to fill in questionnaires!

We suggest you also check out the Generation Zero local elections scorecards for a wider analysis of candidates’ views.

The Questions

  1. What in your view should be the future of the Basin Reserve cricket ground?
  2. Do you rule out supporting the building of a flyover at or next to the Basin Reserve?
  3. The scheduled completion of the Kapiti Expressway followed by Transmission Gully are forecast to flood Wellington with additional motorway-induced traffic from the north, including rush-hour commuter traffic. What measures do you propose to prevent this additional traffic degrading the liveability of inner-city Wellington and putting further pressure on Wellington’s transport system?

Who Gave The Best Responses?

Wellington Constituency: Of all the responses from existing councillors, I was especially impressed by the detailed thought Roger BlakelySue Kedgley and Daran Ponter had put into answering the transport aspects. Paul Bruce and Chris Laidlaw also gave strong, thoughtful responses very compatible with Save the Basin’s aims. 

Russell Tregonning, John Klaphake and (in lesser detail) Norbert Hausberg also gave responses that show they would be worthy additions to the Regional Council. Here I should add that Russell has a long track record of action to support sustainable transport and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Not surprisingly, we had fewer responses from other constituencies. Of those, Nigel Wilson (Kapiti) gave a particularly supportive response.

The Answers In Detail

Wellington Constituency

Roger Blakeley

  1. My view is that it should stay as a cricket ground. I support the 9 principles that Save the Basin set out to be used to assess Wellington Transport Proposals, including: “2 THAT the cultural, heritage, recreational and amenity values of the Basin Reserve Precinct are protected and enhanced”.
  2. Yes, I rule it out.Congestion at the Basin Reserve will not be solved by building an additional Mount Victoria tunnel and 4-lane highway to the airport. All that will do is attract more cars and create more congestion. It has been proven around the world that cities cannot build themselves out of congestion, by building more roads or flyovers or lanes. I am one of 8 candidates for GWRC who are standing on a platform of promoting light rail from the railway station to the eastern suburbs and the airport, which among other benefits will provide an enduring solution to congestion at the Basin Reserve.International experience is that the superior service provided by light rail attracts an immediate increase of PT patronage (by as much as 25%). That will reduce the number of cars on the road and free up space for better walking and cycling facilities around the Basin Reserve.

    The argument for light rail in Wellington is simple. It is a better solution to Wellington’s congestion problems than extra road tunnels and ‘4 lanes to the planes’. Why? Because light rail will have three times the capacity of two Mt Victoria tunnels (12, 000 people per hour versus 4,000 people per hour). Also, light rail will have half the capital cost ($450M-$650M for light rail versus $1billion plus for NZTA’s proposal for additional tunnels and a multi-lane highway to the airport). And light rail will solve Wellington’s congestion problems at the Basin Reserve and the city centre. Light rail would therefore be a better transport investment than more tunnels and wider roads.

    Anyone who has travelled on light rail in Europe, North America, Australia and elsewhere will know that cities have adopted or are moving to light rail. If elected, I will want light rail evaluated in the ‘Get Welly Moving’ project and then a compelling case put to the Government that light rail should be funded by government as a public investment with a better return than additional tunnels and wider roads. It should not be a cost on the Wellington ratepayer. It should be funded by a transfer of funding from the Roads of National Significance (RoNS) project from Wellington Airport to the Terrace tunnel, which has a budget of $1 billion plus. Yes, that would require a change of government policy that currently fully funds state highways but not rail or light rail. Recent announcements from Auckland Mayoral candidate Phil Goff in support of light rail, and strong interest in Christchurch, indicate that it is likely that Wellington would not be alone in raising this with the Government. The time has come for NZ to ‘get on board’ light rail

    The proposed route from the Railway station to the airport would include Taranaki Street, Wallace Street, the Regional Hospital, Newtown, and Kilbirnie. That is, it bypasses the Basin Reserve. It is not just a route to the airport. It will, over time, become an extension to the rail public transport spine (that currently stops at the railway station) to the CBD, eastern and southern suburbs.

    Light rail will be supported by a network of complementary bus services, which will be all-electric. ‘Bus priority’ will help buses to provide reliable on-time services. That will allow seamless transfers between light rail and buses.

    Light rail will be electric and have zero carbon emissions. This change will significantly support the necessary transformation to a low carbon economy for Wellington Region. I am also standing on a platform of GWRC setting a regional target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050,  which is a much stronger target than NZ’s INDC at the Paris COP 21 of 30 % below 2005 levels by 2030.

  3. The introduction of light rail, with a seamless connection to the rail network at the railway station, will provide a strong incentive for those people who bring their cars into Wellington, to work or shop from elsewhere in the region, to switch to rail/light rail because of the much improved service standard. In the longer term when the Matangi units reach the end of their working life, we could make the transition to one spine from the wider region into the Wellington CBD and eastern and southern suburbs, as advocated byTrams-Action.I would also support congestion charging or variable electronic road pricing, to provide a financial disincentive for people to bring their cars into the city centre. I support the Singapore model of variable electronic road pricing, where the price increases as congestion increases (which I have seen in action).

    Here is Roger Blakeley’s video promoting light rail for Wellington: https://www.facebook.com/roger.blakeley.58

Paul Bruce

  1. The Basin Reserve is the only cricket ground in New Zealand to have Historic Place status (Category II) as it is the oldest test cricket ground in New Zealand.The ground has been used for events other than cricket, such as concerts, sports events and other social gatherings.
  1. The Basin Reserve is special, and should be protected as much as possible from visual and noise of the traffic in its vicinity.  The flyover will not fix traffic problems because of induced traffic, it will damage the urban environment and the Basin Reserve, it will spread the noise and emissions from traffic to a wider area (because it is elevated), affecting surrounding schools in particular, and it will waste a large amount of the money needed for sensible solutions.
  1. Long-term resolution of congestion has to be a city-wide solution that reduces single occupancy private vehicles use, through the provision of an attractive wide range of effective transport choices, and disincentives such as congestion charges.

Norbert Hausberg

  1. Leave the Basin as is
  1. No flyover
  1. As discussed in other meetings, the council should actively build parking buildings around Johnsonville and Tawa to facilitate park and ride and stop traffic into the city. But most importantly we have to reduce the public transport fares and further improve services. A 50% reduction will start to solve some problems. Or even better like a mayoral candidates suggestion in Christchurch, free public transport.

Sue Kedgley

  1. The whole area should have a proper heritage listing and it should be upgraded into an international cricket ground. The old heritage grandstand should be renovated. If that is not possible, another grandstand should be built in its place.
  1. No I don’t support a flyover and there are no circumstances that would change my opposition to any flyover at the Basin Reserve.
  1. Yes, there are predictions that an additional 3-10.000 cars could come into Wellington once Transmission Gully is completed. Clearly we cannot squeeze thousands more cars onto Wellington’s narrow streets without causing paralyzing congestion in Wellington, and degrading our entire inner city environment. Therefore we need to look at introducing long-stay parking charges and a congestion charge, on the one hand, and upgrading the rail network so that commuters prefer to travel into Wellington by train rather than by car. The rail network can be further upgraded by  additional park and ride facilities, more affordable fares, more frequent train services and the development of a light rail network that would connect to the existing rail network, so that commuters arriving at the Wellington railway station can cross the platform, board a light rail unit and travel to their ultimate destination, whether it is in the city, the hospital or the airport. We also need to encourage flexible working hours so that people do not all seek to travel into Wellington at the same time and build the Petone to Wellington cycleway so that commuters can travel into the city by bike. Within Wellington we need to encourage commuters to walk, cycle or catch the bus to work by increasing pedestrian areas in the city and making them safer; by establishing a network of safe, separated cycleways and by upgrading our bus network and making it more reliable and affordable.

John Klaphake

  1. I have no fixed views on what it’s future should be. I do not support the idea it should be done away with. It is part of the city’s fabric and I think we should protect it’s integrity and use it as a public asset for the city and region.
  1. I am not a supporter of a flyover at or next to the Basin. I was dead against this right from the start and gave a great sigh of relief when NZTA finally saw it was not a goer. I thoroughly comment the Save the Basin Campaign for the work and commitment they gave to protect the integrity of the Basin. I have thought and do believe there are better solutions to be found – we just need to sit down on an open and collaborative way and work out the long term strategy for dealing with congestion in Wellington as a whole (not just at the Basin). Perhaps when we do that we may actually see if there are any precursors for that pinch point.
  1. Transmission Gully and Kapiti Expressway are a worry. How do we manage those extra vehicles coming each day into the city? I don’t think I have any particular solution that would solve that problem, but perhaps we need to look at a tax for cars entering the city, higher car parking fees(?). But this would have to be in conjunction with incentives to use public transport. Having said that, the incentive to use public transport will only work if public transport is convenient (park and ride facilities, stations at convenient places), reliable, regular and affordable (and with integrated ticketing that had a high frequency use discount built in to it).I do hold out a lot of hope for Get Welly Moving. I have been to a few of it’s meetings and believe that as long as we keep the focus here we might actually have some good outcomes. Certainly the survey results are very encouraging, but we don’t want these results just to be set aside as it makes progress.

Chris Laidlaw

  1. The Basin Reserve should remain as a test cricket venue.
  2. I rule it out. It is not the key to unlocking the city’s congestion problem. We need a wider suite of interventions identified through the N2A project.
  3. I will be preparing a proposal for the regional land transport committee designed to gain regional  support and government backing for a suite of demand management tools to be sanctioned -( congestion charging, road pricing) and persuade Wellington City Council to work with GW on a review of on-street parking in the city.

Daran Ponter

  1. The Basin Reserve should be kept, as one of the world’s most beautiful cricket grounds, and an historic and essential part of Wellington.
  2. I rule out a flyover, as it would ruin this historic and attractive area. I support at grade improvements in the short to medium term with a cut and cover tunnel in the medium to long-term (North-South or East-West) if required.
  1. I propose the following measures:
  • Reduced public transport fares and off-peak fares
  • Integrated ticketing to promote ease of transit through the City.
  • More effective promotion of car pooling.
  • Inner-City speed restrictions
  • New car parking buildings restricted to the outskirts of the CBD.
  • Public transport, cycling and walking only in Lambton Quay
  • Better provision for bikes on trains and 100% bus fleet with bike racks.
  • More park and ride facilities to the North of the City
  • Potential move to congestion charging

Russell Tregonning

  1. This ground should be kept as a major public space for sport & recreation.
  1. I rule out a flyover.
  1. The influx of vehicles to the city post Transmission Gully can be controlled by a combination of congestion charging ( successful in other cities e.g. London); better, cheaper and more frequent mass electric public transport, including suburban electric buses ( preferably smaller)  linking to light rail along the main transport spine from rail station to eastern suburbs via the hospital. Publicly accessible car-sharing fleets will also cut down on the number of cars on the roads as will better, safer cycling and walking paths to encourage more healthy active transport. We should not try and solve the increasing congestion by building more urban motorways which will only increase the number of cars in the medium to long-term, along with their increased air pollution, climate-hostile emissions &  car crashes, and the associated decrease in physical exercise.


Wairarapa Constituency

David Holmes

As a Wairarapa candidate I do not have the balanced information to be able to make judgement.

If elected to GWRC I would be in a position after reading and listening to all arguments answer these questions.


Porirua-Tawa Constituency

Heidi Mills

  1. My initial thought is that it is an iconic and unique venue for Wellington and Cricket/open air events, unfortunately its siting was not future proofed with growth and change constantly threatening its ongoing existence and the daily demands of today’s society. I think it would be sad to lose it and feel with some smart and sustainable thinking it could remain as an extraordinary venue for Wellingtonians and alike in future years.
  1. I don’t think a flyover is the answer to solving the traffic issues of Wellington and I certainly have never come across/driven over one that enhanced an area.
  1. A road users charge would limit the users of the already over populated roads and also generate income that could support other initiatives  – this has worked elsewhere in the world. Also, better provision, affordability and accessibility of a wide range of public transport options that meet the need of the user.


Joern Scherzer

  1. I don’t currently have a position on the future the Basin Reserve, I am open-minded about any options.
  1. Assuming the ground remains there, I don’t support a flyover.
  1. The public transport system should continue to be improved. That includes making it easier for people to use public transport, and also encouraging new users to get onto it. Integrated ticketing has been talked about for at least 10 years, and the current plans by the Regional Council to only have integrated ticketing across all buses (excluding trains) by 2018 are inadequate. This must come sooner. Other measures include the changes in the bus network, priority measures for buses, and investment in electric buses as soon as possible.


Kapiti Constituency

Nigel Wilson

  1. Increasingly cricket matches of significance are being played at the Westpac Stadium. However Test matches are likely to continue at the Basin. I think the Basin needs investment and a major refresh as a venue.
  1. I am not a fan of the Basin Reserve Flyover so for me I rule it out.
  2. I believe the Expressway and Transmission Gully will create logjams around Tawa and there will be a long crawl into the city from there during peak times. The answer is, as it has always been, significant investment in public transport. I am a supporter of Light Rail and would like to see a proper feasibility study done as soon as possible.