Public Meeting for a Congestion Free Wellington: Thursday 25 May, 6pm, Wellington Central Library

  • What: Public Meeting for a Congestion Free Wellington
  • When: Thursday 25 May, 6-7.30pm
  • Where: Mezzanine Meeting Room, Wellington Central Library

The “Let’s Get Welly Moving” official process was supposed to deliver modern, sustainable transport options for Wellington. But it increasingly looks like a smokescreen for “four lanes to the planes”.

This public meeting will help us fight back against motorway madness and in favour of a liveable capital city that puts people first. It’s been called by a coalition of local groups concerned about the future of Wellington’s transport system, including Save the Basin.

Come along, invite your friends, and let’s make sure the outcome of this process is a liveable capital city with great public transport, streets, walking and cycling.


Let’s Get Welly Moving’s Engagement Process: A Smooth Surface, But Lots Of Paddling Beneath

The Let’s Get Welly Moving (LGWM) public engagement process has gone through another of its seemingly endless permutations, with a series of workshops and meetings during March and April giving participants the chance to state their priorities in areas including public transport improvements, state highway improvements, encouraging active transport (walking and cycling) and transport demand management.

But while the public face of LGWM is this slowly unfolding public consultation process, there’s a whole lot more going on behind the scenes. Some officials, politicians and lobbyists are pushing strongly for state highway “improvements” to soak up the lion’s share of the funding available for Wellington transport.

If that happens, then consequences could include building duplicate Mt Victoria and Terrace tunnels, four-laning State Highway 1 as it passes through the city, or undergrounding at least part of State Highway 1’s route through the CBD.

And what about the Basin Reserve itself? Well, after the comprehensive and epic defeat of the New Zealand Transport Agency’s Basin Reserve flyover proposal, LGWM is still talking about the possibility of … a Basin Reserve flyover! Maybe a smaller flyover, maybe a flyover with nicer decorations and a better colour scheme, but a flyover nevertheless.

To be fair, we have no evidence yet that LGWM has settled on a Basin Reserve flyover as its preferred option for that part of the transport system. LGWM’s High and Medium state highway improvement options include grade separation at the Basin Reserve. That could be achieved by a flyover, a tunnel, or a cut-and-cover option. But it’s very clear that a flyover is still on the table as a potential option.

Which raises the question: does the Transport Agency still think, as its own internal report on its failure at the Board of Inquiry suggested, that the main problem with the flyover was that they didn’t sell the idea well enough? Because if they think that was the biggest problem with their proposal, then they really need to go back and read the Board of Inquiry findings on why a Basin Reserve flyover was such a terrible idea.

When Let’s Get Welly Moving started out, it was supposed to be a chance for a rethink, a chance for the three constituent bodies – NZTA, Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington – to move away from the outmoded transport approach that more motorways meant less congestion and a better transport system, when the evidence both New Zealand and worldwide clearly shows the opposite.

More roads means more congestion, a worse transport system, a less liveable city and yet more greenhouse gas emissions at a time when the Government, the City Council and Greater Wellington have all made commitments to reduce such emissions.

So it’s depressing, if not surprising, to hear that the road-builders are making the play once again – even though one of the key objectives of the project is to reduce dependence on private vehicle travel.

The only thing that will save the day and ensure that the central city is not ruined by still more roads is public pressure. If you think that coming up with good solutions for Wellington transport should involve:

  • taking meaningful action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • becoming less, not more, dependent on the private motor vehicle
  • improving public and individual health through encouraging activity and reducing harmful particulate emissions
  • making Wellington a more liveable city
  • preserving and enhancing public spaces such as the Basin Reserve
  • making Wellington better and safer for pedestrians and cyclists
  • moving towards setting up a modern, efficient light rail system along with a bus system that meets users’ needs
  • concentrating on managing travel demand
  • and avoiding burning massive amounts of public money at concrete shrines to the car

then it’s time to speak up. Tell your local and regional councillors that you don’t want the car-dependent future that the road-building and heavy haulage lobbies are trying to foist on you. Make that message very clear to your MPs and local election candidates at the forthcoming election. Don’t vote for candidates who want to focus transport spending on motorway building.

Engagement is great – so long as that engagement is meaningful. Officials may want the pond to stay unruffled, but the time has come to start making waves.

Same Old, Same Old: The Draft Government Policy Statement On Land Transport

The Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport is the context in which all Government land transport policy is developed – and ever since the current National-led Government came to power, successive Government Policy Statements have been heavily focused on roading, despite the clear evidence that building more roads does not solve congestion.

Unfortunately, the latest draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport shows no sign of changing this.

Its strategic priorities are unchanged from the 2015 GPS (p. 8):

The three strategic priorities, continued from GPS 2015 are:

  •  economic growth and productivity
  •  road safety
  •  value for money.

Strikingly missing from these strategic priorities is the environmental performance of our land transport system. Perhaps that’s because it’s already bad and rapidly getting worse: whether in regard to the serious local health effects of particulate emissions from transport, the effect of motorway-building on urban environments, or the urgent need to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport.

The New Zealand Government has ratified the Paris Agreement, taking on a commitment for a substantial reduction in New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. Land transport is responsible for around 20% of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the volume of transport emissions has been rising steadily. Land transport is second only to agriculture as a greenhouse gas emitting sector.

The Government is relying mainly on a move to electric vehicles to reduce transport emissions. However, the composition and replacement rate of the New Zealand vehicle fleet both mean that, even if such a change were to occur, it would not occur either fully or quickly enough to produce the level of emissions reduction required.

Therefore, one of the aims of the Government Policy Statement should be to drive a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from transport. This can be achieved by prioritising the use of public transport and of active modes and the provision of the necessary infrastructure, and by deemphasising the provision of infrastructure for private motor vehicles, which will in turn encourage more journeys by what is currently a highly polluting motor vehicle fleet.

Based on this draft Government Policy Statement, the ratification of the Paris Agreement is not being reflected in actual Government policy.

How to submit

Submissions on the draft Government Policy Statement close at 5pm on Friday 31 March 2017. Details of how to download the draft Strategy, and make submissions, can be found on the Government draft GPS page at

The Covers Are About To Come Off New Wellington Transport Plans

Ever since late 2015, the Let’s Get Welly Moving project set up by NZTA, Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington (Wellington Regional Council) has been working away behind the scenes to take a fresh look at Wellington’s transport, access and mobility needs in the wake of the defeat of NZTA’s proposed Basin Reserve flyover.

As part of their announced commitment to openness, LGWM ran extensive public engagement in early 2016. Since then, however, and despite the recent release of their progress report (PDF, 2MB), it’s all gone a bit quiet.

But at long last the covers are about to come off LGWM’s thinking. Have they been planning for a sustainable, multi-modal transport system, with an emphasis on walking, cycling, and modern, environmentally friendly public transport – or will it be all about “more lanes to the planes” – or will they try to please everyone?

And what do they have in mind around and near the Basin? Will the future of the Basin Reserve be safeguarded, or will it once again be put at risk?

We’ll start to find out at two LGWM workshops later in March – but attendance at these workshops has been strictly controlled, and that raises its own set of questions.

Save the Basin looked at these issues in a Dominion Post OpEd that appeared on Wednesday 8 March:

On the same day, Michael Barnett of FIT Wellington drew attention to NZTA’s motorway-oriented mission mindset, and the regressive impact this was having on attempts to develop a sustainable transport system for Wellington:

Meanwhile, in the courts…

We hear a lot about “four lanes to the planes”, but what if the planes don’t come? Wellington Airport has been pushing its runway extension plans hard, but their economic analysis amounts to “build it and they will come”. That may have worked for Kevin Costner in the movies, but it rarely works in the real world.

And in any case, the runway extension project continues to run into delays and legal troubles. Here’s the latest from opposition group Guardians of the Bays:

At this point, the future of the project, and whether the planned resource consent hearing in the Environment Court will even go ahead, is unknown. Maybe there are better things to spend the transport dollar on than building motorways to an airport that can’t get its act together?

If the project did go ahead, it would lead to years of additional heavy truck movements – up to 60 truck movements per hour, thirty out and thirty back – around the Basin Reserve. Save the Basin thinks that’s a very bad idea, and we’ll be drawing attention to the implications of that during the Environment Court hearing on the project, if the hearing does ever go ahead.




Capital Workers Ditching Cars, Says Dominion Post – 2017 Will Show Whether Transport Planners Are Up With The Play

Active modes, 1935 style

Active modes, 1935 style, at the Basin Reserve

The lead story in last Saturday’s Dominion Post was unequivocal: “Capital Workers Ditching Cars”, it said.

Stuff, the online equivalent, had a considerably less dramatic headline for the same story:

Wellingtonians among Australasia’s keenest public transport users but still keen to improve:

But the message is much the same.

That’s good news at the start of a year in which important decisions are likely to be made about the future of transport in Wellington. The NZTA/WCC/Greater Wellington Let’s Get Welly Moving project is running half-day workshops in February which will represent the first opportunity for the public to get to grips with LGWM’s transport thinking for Wellington in the wake of the defeat of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover.

Will LGWM’s transport thinking reflect recent developments in transport, mobility and access? Will it allow for a rapidly changing transport environment in which the need to:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport
  • increase resilience to climate change and natural disasters, and
  • account for improvements in light rail, growing demand for walking and cycling infrastructure, the rise of electric vehicles and vehicle sharing, and the prospect of autonomous vehicles

makes traditional “predict and provide” road planning increasingly outdated?

February should start to tell that story. Let’s hope it’s a good one, and if it isn’t, let’s be prepared to work to make it better.

Let’s Get Welly Moving Reveals Its Transport Objectives For Wellington

The long-running “Let’s Get Welly Moving” process that was set up after NZTA failed to get approval for its proposed Basin Reserve flyover is beginning to produce some results – and that means that supporters of sustainable transport options need to get involved to ensure a good outcome.

First, here’s how you can do that:

Let’s Get Wellington Moving have announced they plan to run some half-day workshops with the public in February to help them test and evaluate the draft ’scenarios’ they’ve been working on for Wellington transport – which will be the first sign we get of the next round of proposals for transport near the Basin Reserve.

LGWM say that they will select participants who represent a “balanced sample of interests”. But to give ourselves of the best chance of a good outcome, as many Save the Basin supporters as possible should sign up and say they want to attend.

To sign up, you need to complete a short (5-minute) survey, here:

But Let’s Get Welly Moving has also been making presentations to the City and Regional Councils – and we’ve learned that they have adopted the following five objectives for Wellington’s transport system:

A transport system that:

  1. Enhances the liveability of the central city
  2. Provides more efficient and reliable access for all users
  3. Reduces reliance on private vehicle travel
  4. Improves safety for all users
  5. Is adaptable to disruptions and future uncertainty

We understand that the City and Regional Councils have signed up to these objectives, which you can find in this public document:

and there’s more detail, including a useful summary graphic, in this Appendix:

These objectives look encouraging. Two of our key arguments against a Basin Reserve flyover were that it reduced the liveability of the central city and increased reliance on private vehicle travel, so the first and third objectives would make it very difficult for a flyover proposal to be put back on the table as an outcome of the Let’s Get Welly Moving process.

More generally, these look like good transport objectives for Wellington to follow – though the second objective could conceivably still be used by the four-lanes-to-the-planes crowd to argue for more roading, so they’re not an automatic win.

But – and it’s a big but – there are still substantial pockets of political opposition to those objectives, and to the third objective in particular.

That’s why we need to make sure that there’s a strong voice at the February workshops in favour of a more liveable city and reduced reliance on private vehicle travel. Sign up now to make sure sustainable transport voices are heard loud and clear!

Co-Convenor’s Report to the 2016 Save the Basin Campaign Inc. AGM

The Save the Basin AGM was held last night, and my Co-Convenor’s report was adopted. I’m publishing it here as my summary of where things currently stand on the Basin and related issues – Tim Jones

UPDATE: NOTE FROM FRIENDS OF THE BASIN: Members of Save the Basin, Mt Cook Mobilised, Mt Victoria’s Residents Association, Newtown Residents Association, and other interested people have met to coordinate activities and share information about the development of the Basin Reserve Cricket Ground, and to work toward influencing decisions to create greater community use of the grounds and to protect its heritage. If you are interested in further information, or want to participate in this group, please contact

The Past Year

My Co-Convenor’s Reports to the 2014 and 2015 AGMs were both dominated by news of court cases – good news! In 2014, I was able to report that NZTA’s plan to build a Basin Reserve flyover had been defeated at the Basin Bridge Board of Inquiry. In 2015, I reported that NZTA’s appeal of that decision had been defeated at the High Court. In both cases, Save the Basin Inc. was one of the groups that played a big part in getting the right decision.

As I said in 2015, this was a major victory for the four groups that appeared to oppose NZTA’s appeal: The Architectural Centre, Mt Victoria Historical Society, and Mount Victoria Residents Association and Save the Basin Campaign Inc. – and a most welcome vindication for the Board of Inquiry’s patient, thorough and decisive analysis and decision.

Another year on, there is no big legal battle to report on, since NZTA chose not to pursue their vision of a flyover all the way to the Supreme Court – but while the issue has had a lower profile over the past year, plenty’s being going on behind the scenes.

In the wake of the High Court decision, two new official processes were set up: Let’s Get Welly Moving and the Basin Reserve Redevelopment Project. Let’s Get Welly Moving is a joint project between NZTA, Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington to reconsider transport options and projects around Wellington – not just at the Basin, and not even just along State Highway 1. And the Basin Reserve Redevelopment Project is Wellington City Council’s project to revamp the Basin itself, both as a cricket and as a recreation ground. The decision on the future of the Museum Stand is separate from but related to this project.

Save the Basin has met with senior staff from both projects, multiple times in the case of Let’s Get Welly Moving. Unfortunately, both projects have been bedevilled by staff turnover in key positions, including the original Project Directors of each project taking up other positions and having to be replaced. This has slowed the momentum of each project, and we are concerned that, so far, there appears to have been little communication between the two projects or their personnel.

Let’s Get Welly Moving has been carrying out extensive public engagement, and conducting research to inform its decision-making. It’s also been developing a suite of transport modelling tools designed to better capture the reality of a modern multi-modal transport system. Its original schedule has been pushed out a little, and it is now meant to come up with a range of scenarios for Wellington transport – not limited to the Basin, and not limited only to building infrastructure – by around March 2017. At this stage, with alternative options going on the table, I expect the Basin debate will sharpen once again, and Save the Basin’s voice may need to be strongly heard.

The Basin Reserve Redevelopment Project has also held public consultations, which Save the Basin contributed to, and the Council’s decision on the fate of the Museum Stand is expected in 2017.

The 2016 local body elections

Had the outcome been different, the 2016 local body elections could have partially or completely derailed the processes discussed above. Of the three leading Mayoral candidates, both Nick Leggett and Jo Coughlan wanted “four lanes to the planes”. Nick Leggett was an unrepentant supporter of building a Basin Reserve flyover, while Jo Coughlan proposed to short-circuit the LGWM process entirely by grabbing hold of a supposed billion dollars’ worth of Government funding and making a decision about the future of the Basin by Christmas 2016.

Neither prevailed. Justin Lester, who won convincingly, was a consistent opponent of a Basin Reserve flyover while he served as Celia Wade-Brown’s Deputy Mayor, and he now leads a Council which, in my opinion, has moved slightly further away from the views of the cars-above-all-else lobby. Similarly, while we were disappointed to lose such strong advocates of sustainable transport from the Regional Council as Paul Bruce and Nigel Wilson, and it was a disappointment that supportive candidates such as Russell Tregonning did not make it onto that Council, the signs are cautiously positive for more modern, sustainable, and forward-thinking transport policy in the Wellington region – though much still depends on the Government’s attitude.

The transport portfolios as the City Council have gone to Chris Calvi-Freeman and Sarah Free, while Paul Swain will no longer be leading the transport portfolio for the Regional Council. I’m hopeful that these changes will mean a greater openness to the notion that transport in a modern capital city is about more than moving more cars more quickly.

One other issue on which Save the Basin has submitted is the proposed extension of Wellington Airport’s runway, which is currently the subject of a resource consent application. As a group, our primary concern here is construction traffic. The airport company has asked for consent to run 23-metre long heavy trucks day and night, from 9.30am-2.30pm and 10pm-6am, along State Highway 1 for 3-4 years (and possibly up to 10 years) to transport up to 1.5 million cubic metres of fill between Horokiwi and Kiwi Point quarries and the airport. The planned route goes around the Basin Reserve and through the Mt Victoria tunnel – and the airport company is projecting up to 620 of those heavy truck movements a day, at a frequency of up to one heavy truck movement per minute. We consider this would have a serious impact on residents along the route, on the safety and comfort of other road users and pedestrians, on the transport network, and on the environs of the Basin Reserve.

Conclusion and thanks

While 2016 has been a relatively quiet year in comparison to the previous two, that may well not be the case in 2017. Therefore, it’s important for Save the Basin to remain active, both to advocate for the future of the Basin Reserve as a cricket and recreation ground and public facility, and to maintain our standing in terms of future decision-making processes, and any legal processes that may arise from those. I’d like to thank Treasurer Ross Teppett and committee members Kate Zwartz, Judith Graykowski, Alana Bowman and Pauline Swann for their hard work and support, and to all our supporters who have stuck with us and continue to work for a better future both for the Basin Reserve, and for Wellington’s transport system.

Tim Jones
Save the Basin Campaign Incorporated

Updated: Wellington Mayoral Candidates State Their Views On The Basin Reserve

The Survey

Save the Basin 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 have already published responses from:

Today, here are the views of Wellington Mayoral candidates. (Note: Nicola Young is also a Lambton Ward candidate for Wellington City Council, so her answers should be read in the context of what other candidates for that Ward say.)

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!

UPDATE: Mayoral candidate Jo Coughlan sent in a late response, and this has now been included and reflected in the comments below.

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? If you won’t rule it out, under what circumstances would you support a Basin Reserve flyover?
  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?

Justin Lester’s response reaffirms his previous strong opposition to a Basin Reserve flyover, as does Helen Ritchie, who also demonstrates that she has been thinking in detail about improving the sustainability of Wellington Transport. Both Justin and Helene have been on record for some time about their opposition to a Basin Reserve flyover.

Jo Coughlan’s response has a number of positive elements, including her support for the Basin and her recognition of the rapidly changing nature of transport and transport behaviour.

However, there are two major points of concern with what she proposes: firstly, she praises Let’s Get Welly Moving but then proposes a “fast-track” approach that would render LGWM largely irrelevant – which is exactly the type of “decide now, consult later” approach that helped to sink the Basin Reserve flyover proposal. LGWM is due to report in early 2017 – why attempt to override that process?

Secondly, while her recognition of changing transport behaviour is encouraging, it isn’t reflected in a rethink of her “four lanes to the planes” slogan, which is a prime example of the outdated and discredited cars-first model of transport planning.

Keith Johnson’s response is an attempt to find a balance between the two main positions on Wellington transport – “more roads” vs “more sustainable transport” – though we would question whether these two positions are equally valid in an era of rapid climate change.

Nicola Young is very supportive of the Basin, and inclined against a flyover, but not totally prepared to rule it out. Her proposed transport solutions are still very car-centric, however.

Johnny Overton says some good things about transport, and rules out a flyover, but as he wants the Basin Reserve redeveloped to prioritise solving transport issues, these points may be moot.

What About Mayoral Candidates Who Didn’t Respond?

Andy Foster and Nick Leggett did not respond to the survey.

Of these, Nick Leggett’s position is the clearest: at the Mayoral candidates’ meeting on 13 September, he stated that he was and remained a proud supporter of a Basin Reserve flyover. So, do not vote for Nick Leggett if you oppose a Basin Reserve flyover.

Andy Foster had a similar position on a flyover to Jo Coughlan, saying “I don’t think a flyover will be there”.


On the specific issues of a Basin Reserve flyover and the future of the Basin Reserve, Justin Lester is the best of the leading Mayoral candidates. All other candidates except Nick Leggett have at least some positive positions. Keith Johnson’s and Helene Ritchie’s answers demonstrate that they are thinking closely about transport solutions for Wellington. Jo Coughlan has moved some way in her thinking, but her desire to short-circuit existing processes and push through “four lanes to the planes” is a major concern.

As mentioned earlier, though, the candidates’ positions on a wide range of issues – not just the Basin – deserve to be examined.

The Answers In Detail

Jo Coughlan

  1. I think the Basin could be better linked to the City and would like to see it utilised even more often than it is.
  2. I think the horse has bolted on the flyover and it’s unlikely to come back as an option now.I am keen to see a creative and pragmatic solution to congestion problems at the Basin Reserve.The City, Regional Council and the New Zealand Transport Authority are doing great work on ‘Let’s Get Wellington Moving’ to consider an integrated citywide network.But as part of this exercise we need to find a way forward urgently on the Basin Reserve.  The solution needs to be one that the people of Wellington, the cricket community and local residents are happy with.I don’t have fixed views on what the solution might be but a creative city needs a creative solution. We must get on and future proof Wellington’s roads for the next 100 years of growth. Electric cars and buses need roads too.

    There are already some interesting concepts out there including another tunnel alongside the Basin. I am sure there are other great ideas out there too.  This is the kind of vision we need.

    Post election my Capital City Infrastructure Advisory Group will be addressing key infrastructure projects for Wellington including roading around the Basin Reserve and we will work closely with central government to ensure Wellington receives its share of national funding for these projects.

    I do think that we can find a solution that will deliver benefits to public and private transport and which will enhance the experience for pedestrians and cyclists.  Right now the Basin is an island surrounded by heavily trafficked roads.  I would like to see the solution link the Basin more directly with the city and Memorial Park on one side and with the three schools and Government House on the other.

    The key thing is we crack on and do not delay any longer.

  3. As a city we are going to be faced with two major transitions. One is demographic. This includes more people, more of them will be living in city centre and the population as a whole is aging. The second change – and the really exciting one – is that the nature of transport is going to evolve, and probably evolve quite quickly.We’re already on the cusp of autonomous cars, and the impacts of climate change mean that we’re going to likely electrify much of the fleet, including buses and the freight sector. So the mix of vehicles on the roads could change quite radically – we may own fewer cars but use them more often for brief trips. Thanks to autonomous vehicles we may be able to fit far more of them in a given road space. They may well be much quieter than current cars, and some of the things we do with vehicles at the moment – like small high-value deliveries – may transition to other technologies, such as drones. And in an increasingly health-conscious world, many more people may opt for active modes like walking and cycling. Biking to work could be far more attractive if there’s far less exhaust pollution and safer roads.We are moving fast to an electric fleet of cars, and I want to accelerate this trend by ensuring we have the best infrastructure for these vehicles. (I’ve recently announced a target of 75% of the council fleet to be electric by 2020). I commend NZ Bus for their plans to transition to a fully electric bus fleet – this is exactly the sort of solution Wellington needs, and everyone agrees we need those noisy and polluting diesel buses off our roads. I will work with the Regional Council wherever possible to help ensure that our bus fleet is 100% electric within 10 years. The environmental impacts will be significant and positive.Buses are facing the same congestion as cars, and our road system is not as safe as it should be for cyclists and pedestrians. So I want to ensure Wellington has a first-rate transport network that relieves congestion on key corridors for both bus and vehicle users, and which safely separates cyclists and pedestrians wherever possible. The reality is that our topography makes this challenging from a practical point of view. We need to be pragmatic about the solutionsIt’s apparent that we need plenty of flexibility in our transport network. My transport plans are designed to give us the adaptability in our key transport corridors that we’re going to need to thrive. We have physical constraints in Wellington, and our geography dictates many of our transport solutions – so we need to plan accordingly.

    As a city and a nation, we’re big enough and capable enough to move forward in multiple areas at the same time. So I’d like to see the double tunnelling of Mt Victoria, The Terrace and four lanes to the planes at the same time as I want improvements to the cricket ground at the Basin Reserve, at the same time that I want to push forward with the harbour cycleway as a step in a joined-up cycling network across the city, as well as integrated ticketing on our public transport. All these things can be done in parallel, and I’m hopeful that – with some close collaboration with central government – we can get funding for a pretty big part of it.

    One of the keys will be stepping away from unhelpful political labels and rigid ideologies. Yes, I’m in favour of more roads – of the right types, in the right places. Yes, I’m in favour of more cycleways – of the right types, in the right places. Yes, I’m in favour of being able to take the train and the bus from Johnsonville to the hospital using a single ticket. Yes, I want to improve our urban design with appropriate and thoughtful projects. Yes, I want to see more people on foot and on bikes, heading to school and work.

    So our challenge as a Council – and one which I will fully embrace as Mayor – will be to work collaboratively on the full range of transport solutions our city needs, so that Wellington continues to grow and thrive.

    I will work closely with Central Government to ensure Wellington receives its share of national funding for these projects.

Keith Johnson

  1. I expect it to continue in its current role but I have not ruled out the longer-term possibility of lifting it 2+ storeys and using the footprint to solve roading problems, provide a right  of way for a rapid transit line, and create parking for both Basin Reserve functions and park-and-ride options
  2. No, I don’t support a flyover – not under any circumstances. What’s done is done.
  3. Traffic is a manifestation of a wider demand for accessibility and mobility and its existence and growth is directly related to land-use choices. Frankly, we also really need a region-wide accord on planned decentralization – one that gives Porirua and Hutt City – Petone much enhanced roles – I would try to persuade Central Wellingtonians of the eventual virtues of this approach.
    I am also very sceptical about the hoopla surrounding the continued enhancement and gilding of the CBD with wish-list / vanity projects and have been interested to observe that many Berliners have recently voted against the ‘suffocation’ that is developing from over-rapid, over-intensive development.

Keith also sent these additional thoughts proposing a Transport Accord:


What then is needed is a negotiated Transport Accord that provides for trade-offs over a 25 year or longer horizon to gain a Win-Win outcome.

As a prelude to the negotiation of The Accord, I would commission a study from highly reputable environmental-land use-transport consultants, with the tender being awarded by open competition. The commission would include widespread consultation with affected parties and interest groups.

A possible sketch of an Accord outcome:

B get, say, the completion of an inner city dual-carriageway that gets traffic motorway traffic out of Vivian Street, the completion of State Highway 1 from the Terrace Tunnel the Airport up to Roads of National Significance status [including Mt Vic tunnels] and a solution to the Basin Reserve Problem that delivers grade separation and a right-of-way for a rapid transit system.

A get, say, more or less everything else that they want, including the calming of traffic in the CBD, rapid transit facilities and the partial pedestrianization of Lambton Quay and Courtney Place.

As for the Basin Reserve Cricket Ground, the solution may lie in a multi-purpose development that lifts the playing and spectator surfaces by one or more storeys. Remember we are talking 25 – 50 years to completion.

With respect to rapid / mass transit, I have suggested a bus-based ‘Swiss Solution’ for the medium term:

I would also like to put in place serious advance planning for a light rail rapid transit spine. My preferred route at this stage is largely that proposed by Dr Roger Blakeley which would run from the railway Station into Taranaki Street and thence to Kilbirnie under the Mt Victoria hillside behind Wellington Zoo. I would like to see the line go underground before the Karo Street – Taranaki Street junction and continue underground across Mt Cook and Newtown and thence to Kilbirnie.

If I am elected Mayor in October, I will make the negotiation of a Transport Accord my Top Priority.

Justin Lester

  1. I’m a big cricket fan. The Basin Reserve is and should remain one of the world’s best cricket grounds and a key part of Wellington’s heritage. I will work with the Basin Reserve Trust to upgrade the Basin and improve its facilities to ensure its future as a test cricket ground.
  2. Yes, I’ve ruled it out and I didn’t support the last proposal. My preference is a cut-and-cover tunnel like we see at the Arras Tunnel.
  3. With the changes taking place at Kapiti and Transmission Gully we will see larger numbers of cars coming into Wellington. We need to address some of the congestion points on the state highway network and focus car traffic on the state highway network and away from Wellington CBD. My strong preference over time is to reduce the amount of traffic along the Quays so we can better connect the CBD to the waterfront.
    I will have a strong focus on public transport to help reduce the number of cars coming into the city. My priorities will be to work with Greater Wellington Regional Council to freeze public transport fares for the next three years, introduce student concession fares and provide more park and ride facilities outside of the CBD. I will continue to support better walking and cycling routes because 21% of Wellington commuters currently walk (17%) or bike (4%) to work and I think we can improve this further. 

Johnny Overton

  1. Sorry people, but I’m in favour of redeveloping the Basin Reserve in a way that would alleviate the current traffic bottleneck in this area. I’m more of a big picture person, so I’ll leave how this could be done to the experts.
  2. Yes, I rule out a flyover.
  3. Ideally our getting around woes could be alleviated by constructing a well planned, integrated, mixed modal transportation network, & an alternative north/south route. This process would take time & be costly, so our immediate focus should be on getting on with the job of removing the bottlenecks that currently exist. The Basin Reserve is one of these problematic areas, which is why I’m against the planned upgrade. Improving commuter train service & incentives to use them would be useful. Reducing the need to commute in the first place, should also be a priority. This could be achieved by developing more localised workplace, learning & recreational environments.

Helene Ritchie

  1. Council has put aside $20m for an upgrade. I insisted on a reserve management plan being done first….and would drive that to happen as mayor. I would like to see far greater use of the Reserve…as a public is poorly and infrequently used at present.
  2. Yes, I rule out a flyover
  3. No one solution or easy solution.Mass transit-public transport:
  • Light rail (Government funded) -3 times the capacity, half the cost, available before any “four lanes to the planes” are completed…or may be even started….
  • Increased Commuter ferries as part of our transport network
  • Shared cars
  • Shared taxis especially at peak times from the Airport (Eastern suburbs)
  • Maybe another lane will fit around the Basin Reserve
  • Park and Ride at key access points into the CBD. (long overdue)….
  • A secondary school in Karori  on the Teachers College site
  • Safe cycling and walking
  • Urban design and planning around nodes…for compact accessible living in the suburbs and in the CBD
  • Await Let’s Get Welly moving outcomes.
  • I would love to see Jervois Quay tunnelled and green cover…with a plaza –but that will never happen!

Nicola Young

  1. The Basin Reserve cricket ground is Wellington’s village green, and needs to be used more widely by the community – not just for cricket.  Council has included the Basin Reserve masterplan in the Long Term Plan, which includes a $21million upgrade over the next 10 years.
  2. I’m very aware of local concerns about the impact of both congestion, and the look, feel and efficacy of the solutions, but I can’t rule out anything that’s unknown, although I’m certainly not a flyover fan. It all depends on the complete package; the aesthetics of any proposal must be taken into account.
  3. Half the central city traffic is just trying to get to the other side of the city, so we need to improve State Highway 1 by cut-and-covering Vivian Street, just like the Arras Tunnel. This would remove intersections, making SHI faster and, therefore, more attractive for cross-city traffic, leaving the central city for its vehicles that need to be there (and local residents). This would also improve the liveability of the central city (NZ’s fastest growing residential area).

Updated: Wellington City Council Candidates State Their Views On The Basin Reserve

  • Now updated with response from Mazz Scannell (Lambton Ward candidate)

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.

Yesterday, we published responses from Regional Council candidates. Today, here are the views of Wellington City Council candidates. (Note: We’ll publish Mayoral candidates’ responses tomorrow, including those candidates who are also standing for the Council e.g. Nicola Young.)

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.

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? If you won’t rule it out, under what circumstances would you support a Basin Reserve flyover?
  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?

Lambton Ward: Consistent with her long-term opposition to a Basin Reserve flyover and support of sustainable transport initiatives, Iona Pannett gave a strong response. But the response from almost all the candidates was encouraging, with Brian Dawson and Milton Hollard all appearing worthy of support. Troy Mihaka’s answers to Questions 1 and 2 are encouraging, but his answer to Question 3 less so. On the basis of their answers, I would not recommend voting for Dave Gee or Tony Jansen. Nicola Young’s response is published together with the responses of other Mayoral candidates.

Mazz Scannell’s response was added on 27/09/16. It is generally supportive of the Basin and opposed to a flyover, although her transport answers are still strongly roading-focused.

Other wards: I was generally encouraged by the level of support for the Basin, and opposition to a flyover, among candidates for the other wards who responded – many of whom supported the idea of a cut-and-cover tunnel at our near the Basin for roading.

Jill Day and Peter Gilberd (Northern Ward), Chris Calvi-Freeman and Rob Goulden (Eastern Ward), Brendon Bonner and Brent Pierson (Southern Ward), and Rayward Chung, Paul Douglas and Matthew Plummer (Onslow-Western Ward) all gave responses Save the Basin supporters can be comfortable with.

It;s very encouraging to see this level of support for the Basin Reserve, and opposition to any future flyover proposal, coming from candidates across the city.

One thing that’s clear from several of the responses is that a number of candidates are not familiar with the Let’s Get Welly Moving process and/or the Basin Reserve Redevelopment Project. Should those programs be making themselves more widely known?

The Answers In Detail

Lambton Ward

Brian Dawson

  1. The Basin is an iconic piece of Wellington history. We need to preserve and enhance that and maintain it as a test cricket venue whilst also encouraging wider use.
  2. As far as I’m concerned the flyover is dead and I’m not interested in supporting it or more roading in general.
  3. We need to lower inner city speed limits and restrict access to shared use in the future. I will be wanting to work with Regional councillors and others to look at mitigating any such effects. Ultimately we need to be focused on enhancing public transport and encouraging its use, including via park and ride facilities.

Dave Gee

  1. It is pretty clear the facilities are fast becoming unfit for purpose
    and the Basin is at risk of losing test venue status. The ratepayer
    has been asked to fund 21 million in upgrades. I am not convinced this
    is money well spent. It seems to me that this money is being spent
    primarily for the benefit of Cricket Wellington. The funding even
    includes building Cricket Wellington offices. That is not the
    council’s job. The Cricket Wellington CEO did say one interesting
    thing, which was that the Basin needed to be hosting one-day
    internationals or risk becoming an expensive white elephant. So would
    one-day internationals be played at the Basin? I’m not convinced. And
    I think a ‘build it and hope they come’ business case is pretty
    flimsy. I think that we had a chance to have a new stand and
    facilities provided by NZTA in conjunction with the flyover project.
    Ultimately I think tests could be played at the stadium. After all,
    wasn’t that the sort of thing it was built for? If Cricket Wellington
    wants to have things like $9 million dollar floodlights at the Basin,
    they can pay for them.
  2. No I do not rule it out. In fact I openly support it, unless the
    government commits to a four lane tunnel from the basin through to the
    Terrace tunnel.
  3. As mentioned above, I think a four lane tunnel from the Basin through
    the Terrace tunnel (including duplication of the Mt Victoria and
    Terrace tunnels) is what really needs to happen to get State Highway 1
    off the streets of the inner city e.g. Vivian Street.

Milton Hollard

  1. The Basin Reserve should  be kept essentially  as public  open green space without undue intrusions. Presumably under the “Master Plan” being developed by the Basin Reserve Trust, Cricket Wellington and WCC this historic reserve  will remain a cricket ground  of national and international significance but continue to  be available for other sports events, concerts and gatherings.  I’m not a cricketer and not able to comment on  specifics, like the grandstand(s), outside tiered seating and the Cricket Museum, but there should be proper  engagement with  the adjacent  local community on the shape and effects of the redevelopment.
  2. Yes, I rule out any flyover. It would overshadow the reserve, contribute to urban blight,  quite possibly be a potential earthquake hazard, and it’s so much the product of  ‘50s or ‘60s thinking. (I supported the Stop the Flyover campaign.)
  3. I don’t have a definite answer, pat or otherwise, to that.   I hope the “flood”  of traffic  coming south  to Wellington  will be diluted by there being comparatively    fewer vehicles on the Centennial Highway when the alternative  Transmission Gully route is completed,  and that at the Pauatahanui  interchange a substantial number will turn off onto SH 58 through Judgeford towards the Hutt!  (Wishful thinking?)More roads tends to mean more vehicles on the road, filling  the added capacity, but I’m inclined to think provision of parking on the periphery of the inner city for non-residents, such as off the semi-industrial   Vivian St and  off Customhouse or Jervois Quay (but not so as to detrimentally affect the waterfront and viewscapes),   should be considered, in conjunction with a  park-and-ride arrangement.    (Unfortunately, parking buildings have often  been placed right  in central city locations, such as Lombard Lane, though the Courtenay Central/Reading Cinema parking  building accessed from Wakefield St isn’t perhaps  so bad,  and off-street car parks where they exist  are often inadequate as well as unsightly.)Better public transport, including having   routes people want and more capacity,  would help, and light rail should be reconsidered. One optimistic sign is that because of road traffic delays  rail passenger numbers have “surged”, with an increase in peak hour patronage  on the Kapiti line to 287,000 for February 2016   compared to 247,000 for February 2015  (Dominion Post, 19 March 2016, p.A2).Provision of cycleways in the CBD where possible and on major routes (including the proposed Great Harbour Way) might  help too if the Council sticks to the  programme.

Tony Jansen

  1. A bit unsure on the future of the ground. It is an expensive white elephant tbh. To save it we really need to come up with a plan to reimagine or repurpose it to maximise public use. How about covering it and turning it into a 10000 all seat concert venue?
  2. A big NO to a flyover or bridge or similar. If we keep the ground then we need to push LTSA for cut and cover as minimum option.
  3. We need to start disincentivising people so they don’t bring their vehicles into the city. Remove roadside parking, cteate mixed use areas, pedestrianise more of the inner city, promote cycling and build an inner city cycle way etc.
    We need a city for people not vehicles.

Followup from Tony Jansen

Yes I’ve seen a few cricket matches at the Basin too but for the money spent on it the usage has to be far more significant than the meagre cricket usage it has got. And at the moment that is nil. Sorry but cricket fans shouldn’t be holding the City to ransom over this facility. I think either it gets mass public use or it goes tbh.

The transport solutions would be much easier to finalise and agree on if the Basin was not their and you’d even have a better chance at light rail if that’s what you want. We could also create a fantastic boulevard all the way to Newtown – our own Antipodean version of the Champs Elysees?

I am not wedded to keeping the Basin just for it’s own sake. After all Arsenal don’t play at Highbury, West Ham do not play at Upton Park and even Wembley was demolished, so there is no reason to fear demolishing the Basin either. Use the Cake Tin for cricket. It is after all an oval so can’t see why we cannot play all forms of cricket there.

I like the idea of a Chinese Garden but not where it is currently planned. The waterfront – in particular Frank Kitts park – is just fine as it is.

Troy Mihaka

  1. The Basin reserve is an iconic venue in Wellington and New Zealand. I would like to see the preservation of such an iconic facility, and see it receive more use.
  2. I do not support the Flyover. Wellington is not a concrete jungle, like Auckland, nor do we want it to become one. The Basin Reserve is a beautiful piece of green space with many uses for our community and I would not want to see it lost to development. I believe there must be another way to fix this issue, one which the community will support.
  3. Increasing existing capacity through Wellington on State Highway One will make it easier for the traffic to flow through our city. We must focus on Wellington’s bottleneck points, such as the Terrace Tunnel and Mt Vic Tunnel.Initiatives such as lowering speed limits and adding pedestrian only sections to the golden mile will make the city more people focused. As will encouraging the use of public transport for inner-city residents and those who work at inner-city businesses.

Iona Pannett

  1. The Basin is a special ground and its status as one of the leading cricket grounds must be preserved. The ground should also be available for community use (as it was historically) and its status protected under the Council’s District Plan and in a Reserve Management Plan which Save the Basin and the Mt Victoria Historical Society have advocated for so successfully. It is also one of the few green spaces in Te Aro so this should be celebrated by opening up the ground more.
  2. I do not support building a flyover at the Basin Reserve under any circumstance. The Board of Inquiry rejected it and this ruling should be respected. I have spent many years opposing a flyover and will continue to do so if anyone resurrects the idea.
  3. This is a difficult issue to resolve as the Government having encouraged the traffic needs to figure out where it should go. I do not support the continuation of the motorway network throughout the city. The two proposed tunnels do not stack up economically and will degrade Wellington’s special character.
    So we need to try and persuade people to use the trains and buses instead of the motorways to come into the city in the first place. If this is to be done, fares need to come down and the modes need to be reliable and attractive to use. Funding these alternatives is difficult under current Government policy settings as most of the money is going into new roads.
    Wellington should also be able to impose a congestion charge but this will require legislative change. A default way of doing this is to increase parking charges.
    In terms of traffic issues around the Basin Reserve, there are a number of solutions which should be looked to manage congestion better including light rail, cycle paths and attractive landscaping to make it more attractive to walk around.

Mazz Scannell

  1. The Basin Reserve cricket ground is a cultural and heritage site of significance. As a cricket ground its currently not used enough and as a community resource its not available. It would be a win if the one-day cricket series and the three-day international series were located at the Basin. I understand much of the work towards this goal has been commenced and the Basin is included in the 25-year master plan developed by the Basin Reserve Trust.However, it has to be asked if we can wait 25 years to totally address this issue, as it is a co-requisite to other large pressing projects.The grounds should be available for community use and as it is one of the green spaces located in The Aro precinct and as such it should be considered a community resource. The Council can facilitate the discussions regarding wider use and protect the status under the Councils District plan.
  2. Absolutely. As councillor I would prioritise finding a way to improve the flow of traffic, creating a clear run to the hospital and improving our ability to move to and from the eastern suburbs. WCC has to have upfront conversations with NZTA on what they want and expect from their road systems. NZTA is heavily moderated to reduce costs which means they will push for the best budget fit, rather than the best solution. We saw this with the flyover. It’s a national road – State highway 1 and Councillors must make their expectations clear from the start.  As a city, we owe it to the residents and NZ give it our best shot from the very beginning – the scoping stage, not after the drawings are on the table.
  3. Firstly, the public transport options into Wellington from the Coast and the Hutt Valley have to be running efficiently and in a timely manner for the commuter. These initiatives are the responsibility of the Regional Council but the Wellington Council also has an obligation to make sure these initiatives are implemented in a timely and logical manner.In addition:
  • Discounts for students have to be addressed. Students could afford to live further from their educational institutions if the cost of transport was lower. Few students can afford a $50 per week transport charge.
  • There needs to be one transport payment system with no penalty to those changing transport within a section.I do not hear councilors on the Wellington or the Regional Council talking about the practical side of increased public transport. In order to facilitate increased use parking facilities at the railway stations that service the commuter transport spine have to be improved and enlarged.The good thing is that better public transport for those of us that work in offices is being discussed. The cost to tradespeople who cannot afford to live in Wellington but service Wellington has not. If a plumber has to travel from Waikanae to Wellington for work, the cost of a poorly performing roading system has a direct effect on the success of that business and the cost of those services in lost opportunity and productivity. We need to support everyone who works in Wellington not just those of us who drive a desk. The plumbers, electricians, builders and so forth need to access their employment market in a manner that makes sense. The alternative is that these essential services will become a very scarce commodity for those of us who live in the city.

    As to livability, the separation of the Te Aro flat by State Highway 1 was a poor planning decision. The cut and cover option to keep the historical feel and character of the Te Aro flat area is my preferred option to the crazy bisecting highway we currently tolerate.

Northern Ward

Jill Day

  1. I would like to see it remain. Green spaces in the city are valuable and it’s also a place of historical significance for Wellington.
  2. Yes, it’s already been established by the wider community that the fly-over is not an option. A cut and cover tunnel, like the Arras tunnel is a more favourable option.
  3. With an increasing population and more cars, it is important that Wellington prioritises development of walkways, cycleways, public transport routes and roading in general. Consideration needs to be given to how these all interact and how they improve accessibility for Wellingtonians. I would like to see a public transport system that is both convenient and affordable for everyone.

Peter Gilberd

  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 a cut and cover tunnel, like the Arras tunnel, as the current configuration is causing a traffic bottleneck.
  3. To reduce the  traffic coming into the central city, there needs to be a significant upgrade of public transport, including improved public transport services from the Kapiti coast, and park and ride at the periphery of the city. At the same time, the interests of north Wellington residents and commuters must be protected, as these suburbs must not be treated as car parks. Walking and cycling should be encouraged. If the problem becomes too bad, then we will have to use some of the solutions that have been adopted overseas. In all of this, decisions should be based on modelling by engineers, not preconceived ideas.

Graeme Sawyer

  1. It is lovely and Iconic, but i am not wedded to ratepayers shelling out tens of millions to preserve a relic that few use or even see. Buy all means, if you can increase its practical utility, I’d support it more…..
    I come from the northern suburbs which are burdened with over 60% of AL wellingtons residential growth, and almost all of its new “families’, and we have a severe shortage of recreational facilities. Driving to the eastern suburbs for such from the northern ward is no longer desirable or even feasible. So that money is better spent providing recreational facilities where tomorrows families will need it – in the Northern Ward. .
    If money were no option (and that’s a very large if’ – , I’d dismantle the stands and re-build the basin reserve entirely 20 m. higher in the vertical plane and put roads & parking beneath it – This would allow the field to be widened a little. If NZTA could cover half of that cost, maybe this could be feasible?
  2. I wont rule it out entirely, because ultimately a solution to the traffic problems MUST be found and agreed upon. …. BUT I am very strongly opposed to the flyover concept – its an environmental abomination. I prefer almost any subterranean options.
  3. Grade separation right through the CBD is essential in my view – shame on WCC 10 years ago fro failing to do this with the inner city bypass – a tragic opportunity lost!
    Cut-and-cover should extend all the way from Mt. vic tunnels to terrace Tunnels, and if necessary, a toll charge to pay for it. Congestion charges at peak times throughout the city to discourage private Motor vehicles (stick), and increased Public transport services to ensure more of the “right” people movers can actually get through the city (carrot).

Eastern Ward

Chris Calvi-Freeman

  1. It should stay as green space.  I have no strong views as to whether it should remain exclusively a  cricket ground or be used for other sporting or recreational purposes, but it should not be built upon or otherwise destroyed.
  2. I would certainly rule out building a flyover as per or similar to the failed NZTA proposal.
  3. In the short term, I believe we need to develop a new solution to the Basin Reserve’s traffic congestion.  This could conceivably be a cut & cover route for SH1 or a new road alignment with at grade intersections.  This should accommodate cyclists and pedestrians as well as motor traffic, be bus friendly and, if possible, be compatible with any future light rail alignment.  Implementing this new solution should be concurrent with or directly followed by a second Mt Victoria traffic tunnel, on the proviso that this second tunnel has superior walking and segregated cycling facilities as well as the two traffic lanes.  We should also commence a thorough investigation into a future light rail route between the railway station and Miramar/the airport via the CBD, Courtenay Place, the Basin Reserve, Newtown and Kilbirnie/Rongotai.  I would not rule out passing the light rail route under the Basin Reserve, which could involve some temporary but not permanent disruption to the sports ground.

Rob Goulden

  1. The ground should remain and normal upgrades and maintenance carried out as with any Council asset.
  2. I think the recent Court decision has ended the idea of a flyover. What I would like to see is a roading  solution where the route is trenched and covered which allows for road use, increased bus services and other forms of public transport depending on what Wellington wants for its future.
  3. I think we need to remove the bottleneck at the Basin reserve area particularly if WIAL and Council goes ahead with the Airport extension which has many hurdles to cross including business case, resource consent and funding issues. I like the idea of a trenched road at the Basin which is cut and covered. (open minded about this) I would like to see stronger public transport solutions in the form of more buses particularly with a very strong senior and student population. I would like to explore more the idea of transport hubs where we try and discourage cars from outside the city coming in. Park and ride options would be good in the outlying areas.

Robert Murray

Intro: Firstly, I am standing for the Eastern Ward and so I’m representing the needs of the residents of the Eastern Ward. Reasonable access to/from the City is one of their major requirements and needs to be addressed immediately. While I have seen some grand proposals, we need a basic fix NOW. Currently people use cars and so that needs to be addressed. Its all well and good for those with a 20 min walk to work to extol the benefits of walking but that is not always practical.

  1. Have no problem with the Basin – except perhaps its underutilised.
  2. Not ruling it out long term: there might be merit in one from Patterson to Rugby. However my plan to immediately ease the Basin traffic should render this unnecessary. FYI: I believe we should immediately use the school bus lane in Dufferin St as a lane to Newtown for the 23hrs its not being used as a bus lane. Together with phasing the lights at Dufferin and Rugby Sts to match the Karo Drive phasing, and an extra lane on Sussex, this should alleviate much of the congestion at the Basin until the second tunnel is built.
    I don’t believe I’ll live long enough to see such a flyover. There also may be a need for a bridge for city bound traffic from Sussex to Cambridge once the current Mt Vic tunnel becomes one way. I’m not a believer in cut and cover for Karo Drive although I do believe Karo Drive should be two way which would create one traffic route and allow Vivian St to become a city street and that may justify putting it in a trench – but again: long after I’m gone.
  3. Two lanes to airport and 2nd Mt Vic tunnel (and maybe 2nd Terrace tunnel – I don’t know why the middle lane can’t be tidal) needs to be started immediately to keep that flow running. If we can maintain a flow that will minimise the effects of increased traffic volumes. I have to say that people who choose to live somewhere do have to accept both the positive and negative qualities of their choice and inner city dwellers have to accept that traffic density, parking, noise and pollution are part of their choice. Another part of the problem is everyone’s fixation with growth as being increasing numbers rather than growth in the abilities and incomes of the current residents. Wellington is not suited to growth in numbers so the effects of such growth will be felt by everyone, not just inner city residents.  I’m not in favour of dictating to people where they live or how they get around, whether by constraint or persuasion.

Southern Ward

Brendon Bonner 

  1. Keep it.  As a life time resident of the Southern Ward originally from Newtown, I love the Basin.  The patch of circular green that you can sit from the Lookout on Mt Vic is an oasis of calm in that part of the city.  It is part of our community’s heritage and sporting history – leave it alone, only touch it to genuinely care for it and improve it!
  2. Yes.  While other solutions  to the traffic woes of the eastern suburbs may cost more, we need to consider more than just bottom line accounting here and look beyond the $$ signs.  The ‘look and feel’ of a city can have a huge impact on the well-being of the community in that city – a piece of Soviet Realism in the form of an utterly out of place, massive concrete flyover, just does not fit with how Wellingtonians want their city to look.  At this point in time I am happy to support a ‘cut and cover’ solution.
  3. I see the completion of the Kapiti Expressway and Transmission Gully as adding more strength and options to the roading infrastructure we have now.  The existing SH1 and SH2 options were just too limited and we owe it to our citizens to build up the resilience of Wellington region in preparation for future shocks and economic growth.That said I do not want to see these roads used to flood our city with “additional motorway-induced traffic from the north”.  I would hate to see caravans of one occupant cars pouring into Wellington via these routes.So our rail network must be constantly improved and MADE CHEAPER to economically incentivise people to leave their car at home!Then our (cheaper, greener) bus system must be ready to get them from the railway station into the city.In this area the Greater Wellington Regional Council has the key role, however there is nothing to stop Wellington City Council (and myself if elected) from vigorously ‘lobbying’ GWRC and central government and NZTA about the improvement of public transport for our region and city when we have such a vested interest in it.

Brent Pierson

  1. It is a Reserve and should remain so for ever. It a public asset.
  2. I never have and never will support a flyover close to the Basin. Would support a cut and cover solution.
  3. We need to find a solution to the traffic movement across the city to the airport.  I would drop Karo drive into a cut and cover half open tunnel, cut and cover around Basin, second tunnel through Mt Victoria and motorway to airport. Central government needs to come to the party, delay is not an option.

Onslow-Western Ward

Rayward Chung

  1. I grew up attending St. Marks School opposite the Basin Reserve and have very fond memories of this park and absolutely support retaining it.  I consider the cricket ground to be an integral part of the Basin Reserve and of course should be retained within the Basin Reserve.
  2. We certainly have a need to enable traffic to move swifter around the Basin Reserve into the Mt. Victoria tunnel.  I’m not sure exactly where the bottleneck is, but I’m taking a guess that it’ll most likely be where the road goes from two lanes into a single lane going into the tunnel.  So I’m not at all sure whether building a flyover would solve this bottleneck?  It seems to me that the present two-three lanes around the Basin Reserve isn’t the problem but the tunnel with only one lane in each direction.  If this is correct, then we need to widen the tunnel rather than have a flyover to the tunnel.
  3. I haven’t read any reports stating this but assuming that it’s correct and if significantly more traffic comes into Wellington, then I’d investigate building car parks on the outskirts of the city with train service boosted so that motorists can bring their cars to these parks, park there and catch the train into the city.  As an added disincentive for motorists to drive into the CBD, I’d install an ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) system similar to that used in Singapore charging a variable toll to drive into the city.  This toll will vary depending on the tine with the most expensive being during business hours.

Paul Douglas

  1. It’s an icon, needed well into the future for Wellington’s population groups, for the purpose of fun, which includes cricket and/or appropriate sports & activities, especially for recreation.
  2. Yes, I rule out supporting the building of a flyover at or next to the North side of the Basin Reserve. I support a SH1 road “along the surface” in the plan position of the defunct/rejected flyover linking to the Aras tunnel that way. That would travel over a cut-&-cover tunnel linking Kent&Cambridge to Adelaide Rd, with associated road works around the Basin, which includes turning Sussex into a Culs-de-Sac and the blocking off of Sussex St from direct access to  the Aras tunnel as per its current traffic flow.
  3. You could have drones controlling speeds or flows via speed traps (0.5x1m white paint strips) & video & communications with relevant authorities. Have adequate break down laybys. Reduce congestion by encouraging use of “Heavy Rail” (which is a fantastic service at present from the North & Wairarapa & back), and build a new “Light Rail” network with loops in stages in the City areas. See my “GetWellyMoving” submission. That may add an extra “Road & Light Rail” Mt Victoria tunnel going in another loop (not in my submission) going from the Basin &/or the Newtown Hospital to the airport & back.

Matthew Plummer

  1. Expanded capacity to 18,000. Our long-term plan should be to play all international cricket at the Basin, with the Caketin redeveloped in the late 2020s as a rectangular pitch.
  2. I’m instinctively a flyover skeptic – I favour tunnelling SH1 under Mt Cook, and so avoiding Te Aro, the Basin and Ruahine St widening. If a flyover is ‘inevitable’ I’d want to see a much better integration of the flyover with the surrounding urban environment. I feel it is up to NZTA and the City Council to make the case for how this could be done successfully. But to be clear – I love the Basin Reserve as it is, and want to see the environment around it improved (hence my advocacy for a Mt Cook tunnel).
  3. See above.



Updated: Wellington Regional Council Candidates State Their Views On The Basin Reserve

  • 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:

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.