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: 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.


Nick Leggett Still Supports A Basin Reserve Flyover, Justin Lester Opposed, Jo Coughlan Says Zero Chance Of A Flyover

At last night’s Wellington Scoop Mayoral Candidates forum, I asked each candidate, given that we didn’t yet know what options would emerge from the Let’s Get Welly Moving process, whether they would pledge not to support or vote for a flyover at or near the Basin Reserve.

Of the candidates:

  • Justin Lester, Helene Ritchie, and Johnny Overton all gave a firm “no” to a flyover at the Basin.
  • Nick Leggett still supports a Basin Reserve flyover, and stated that he was proud to have supported the previous, failed flyover proposal “because it was funded”. His position appeared to be that Wellington should agree with whatever the Government was prepared to fund.
  • Jo Coughlan, Nicola Young, Keith Johnson and Andy Foster all said, with varying emphases, that a flyover was unlikely, or that there were better options, but didn’t give an absolute “no” to a flyover.

Save the Basin has also surveyed Mayoral and other candidates on their views of the future of the Basin Reserve and related issues. The deadline for responses to that survey is Friday, and we’ll be letting you know the results early next week. But for now, the answers given last night may assist you in deciding which Mayoral candidates to support.

Wellington Scoop, who did an excellent job of organising and hosting the forum, has put up a full report – it’s well worth reading!


So Many Candidates’ Meetings – So Many Questions They Need To Answer

It’s local body election time, and the candidates are subjecting themselves to a punishing schedule of meetings. With Celia Wade-Brown stepping down, the Mayoral election field appears to be wide open – and a number of the leading candidates have previously gone on record as supporting a Basin Reserve flyover.

So we think there are some important questions candidates need to be asked. Here are three suggested questions – but it’s always better to put them in your own words!

  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?

Of course, you may also have questions on other issues – for example, where do candidates stand on the proposed airport runway extension, or what’s their stance on light rail for Wellington, or what action do they plan to take on the threats climate change and sea level rise pose to Wellington?

The full schedule of local body election meetings is here: http://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/elections/elections-2016/meet-the-candidates

If you are in the inner city, there are four meetings to choose from next week:

  • Monday 12 September: Mt Victoria Residents’ Association meeting for Regional Council and Hospital Board candidates. Tararua Tramping Club, 4 Moncrieff St, Mt Victoria, Wellington 6011, New Zealand, 7-9pm.
  • Tuesday 13 September: Wellington Scoop Mayoral Candidates’ Meeting: http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=91992. PreFab, 14 Jessie St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand, 6-8pm.
  • Wednesday 14 September: “Can Wellington be the greenest little capital?” Mayoral candidates’ debate: http://www.sustaintrust.org.nz/event/mayoral-debate-can-wellington-be-the-greenest-little-capital/. Sustainability Trust, Forresters Lane, Wellington, New Zealand, 5.30-7.30pm.
  • Thursday 15 September: Mt Victoria Residents’ Association meeting for Mayoral and WCC Lambton Ward candidates. Tararua Tramping Club, 4 Moncrieff St, Mt Victoria, Wellington 6011, New Zealand, 7-9pm.

Meet The New Boss…

There has been a changing of the guard at the top of the Let’s Get Welly Moving team. Programme Director Jim Bentley has resigned to take up a position in Australia, and he’s been replaced by Barry Mein.

Barry Mein’s previous position was as Project Director for the Auckland Transport Alignment Project. LGWM says “Barry also brings a lot of transport, local and central government sector experience to the programme and will enable us to learn from the Auckland project, while recognising the uniqueness of our Wellington situation. We look forward to all the experience he will bring to this programme.”

On 7 September, we have our first chance to see whether Barry Mein will continue the generally positive and open-minded approach of his predecessor. Here are the details from LGWM:

Event: Let’s Get Wellington Moving conversation series

An invitation to the Let's Get Wellington Moving in conversation event on 7 September.
Join Let’s Get Wellington Moving onWednesday 7 September at 6pm at Prefab, 14 Jessie St, for a progress update, chance to catch up with the team and meet new Programme Director, Barry Mein.

Networking will be be followed by a couple of brief presentations and lots of time for questions from the floor. We look forward to seeing you there.

Please register for the event.

Basin Reserve Redevelopment: What Are Your Priorities?

Now that the Basin Reserve flyover proposal is consigned to the dustbin of history, work will soon begin on the redevelopment of the Basin Reserve as a cricket and recreation ground – and you have until 12 September to submit your ideas.


Here’s what the project team has told us so far:

We’ve been working on a number of engagement options including the website and general public feedback portal that went live over the weekend — http://redevelopthebasin.org.nz/

We are developing different ways for people to let us know about how they want to use the Basin Reserve and what we can do to make it better for the people of Wellington, both as a premiere cricket venue and as a recreation space.

These are going to be considered as part of preliminary concept designs that local architects, Tennent Brown, have been commissioned to deliver. Once the concept designs are ready, we can continue to engage with people to test and refine our priorities and options before any reports are taken to the Council.

The redevelopment will keep premiere test cricket at the Basin and open it up as a recreation space on non-game days. There will be fancy facility upgrades and better links for pedestrians and cyclists. With your input, we’re going to take a good thing and make it even better.

The Basin Reserve is one of the world’s top ten cricket venues. It’s also one of NZ’s most historic and picturesque cricket grounds. The Basin Reserve Trust has developed a Masterplan to present a 25-year vision for the future of the ground. You can find this plan online.

You can find more content from the project team (including videos and pics) at http://redevelopthebasin.org.nz/


Submit now: Wellington Airport runway extension proposal would mean years of extra heavy truck movements through the Mt Victoria tunnel & past the Basin Reserve

Heavy trucks don't play well with others

Heavy trucks: not a good fit for busy city streets

Wellington Airport is seeking resource consent to extend its runway 363 metres into Cook Strait. The economics of this move are dubious – not to mention the question of how much money ratepayers would have to shell out to pay for it – and there are significant adverse environmental effects.

But, from a Save the Basin perspective, the main concern right now is the effects of planned construction traffic on Wellington’s transport system, and particularly on State Highway 1 in the area of the Basin Reserve.

The airport company is planning 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 – and then those empty trucks will rumble and bounce their way back to the quarries.

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.

Stop and think about that for a minute. Whether you’re a pedestrian, a cyclist, a bus user or a driver, do you think those 620 heavy truck movements a day will improve your transport experience? And how about if you are a resident who is trying to live, work or sleep next to the route?

If that’s something you’d prefer not to experience, you can make a submission against the proposal using the form at http://www.actionstation.org.nz/wellington_airport_extension – you’ll find suggested submission points on the left-hand side of the form. Submissions close at 4.30pm on Friday 12 August.

Media Release: New Wellington Transport Principles A Big Improvement

The Save the Basin Campaign has welcomed the draft principles for assessing potential Wellington transport solutions developed by the Ngauranga to Airport Governance Group. Save the Basin, which was part of the successful campaign against a proposed Basin Reserve flyover, said that the principles showed the flyover proponents appeared to have learned important lessons from the failed flyover proposal.

Save the Basin Campaign spokesperson Tim Jones said “It’s great that at long last the New Zealand Transport Agency and its partners are considering the impact of roading projects on Wellington’s livability, heritage and environment. Wellingtonians have spoken strongly about keeping the compactness and walkability of our city and not having it ruined by motorways. If the Transport Agency had adopted these principles earlier, they would never have proposed a Basin Reserve flyover in the first place.”

“The flyover proposal was all about cars and trucks, with everything else relegated to an afterthought, but the new principles take a much wider view of what transport projects need to achieve. They recognise that transport projects need to improve rather than worsen environmental outcomes for the city and the region, including greenhouse gas emissions, and that such projects should minimise traffic in the CBD, respect the importance of Wellington’s character, heritage and natural environment, and improve resilience.”

“Previous proposals have been obsessed with building more roads in a self-defeating and futile effort to reduce congestion – an approach proven worldwide not to work – but these principles show that the agencies have been paying attention to modern transport thinking. They recognise Wellington City Council’s transport hierarchy, which puts walking, cycling and public transport at the top, and focus on improving journey time predictability.”

“We’re particularly pleased that these principles recognise that transport planning isn’t just about building more infrastructure. Transport behaviour change is just as important, and these principles acknowledge that transport demand management, and incentives to change modes, will be needed.”

But Tim Jones warned that a good set of draft principles didn’t guarantee good outcomes. “Community input has helped the Governance Group develop a good set of draft principles. But there is still a lobby out there that just wants to fill Wellington up with motorways, and so everyone who wants Wellington to have a modern, sustainable transport system that works for a modern capital city needs to keep up the pressure to ensure that these principles are fully reflected in the actual transport outcomes,” Tim Jones concluded.

310 Extra Heavy Trucks A Day Through Mt Victoria Tunnel – How Does That Sound?

Up to 310 extra heavy trucks a day rumbling from quarries in Horokiwi and Ngauranga, down State Highway 1, through the Terrace Tunnel, past the Basin Reserve, through the Mt Victoria Tunnel, and on through residential streets to Wellington Airport, day and night, for up to 3 years – and then rumbling back.

That’s what Wellington International Airport Ltd wants to inflict on Wellington’s residents and ratepayers. They are seeking $90 million from Wellington City Council, and more again from other Wellington-region councils and central government, to extend Wellington Airport runway 363 metres into Lyall Bay. And their resource consent application makes it clear the scale of the disruption their plans will entail.

There are many arguments against this plan – and you will find a lot of them on the Guardians of the Bays website. But even people who may not be opposed to a runway extension per se need to pay attention to the construction traffic implications, because they are serious both for road users and for those living near the planned route who value their lifestyle – and their sleep.

If you like a long read, Technical Report 9 is the core of the matter. This shows that the airport company wants to run up to 30 trucks an hour – that’s up to one truck every two minutes – through their central Wellington route during these times:

  • 9:30am to 2:30pm weekdays; and
  • 10:00pm to 6:00am weekdays.

So, in trying to avoid peak-hour and school pickup traffic, the airport company has opted for truck movements throughout the night instead. And it’s not just on State Highway 1 – the current plan envisages those trucks rumbling down suburban streets in Kilbirnie and Rongotai as well: day after day, night after night.

Right now, Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington and the airport company are batting the resource consent application back and forth. The Councils have expressed serious concern about the airport company’s construction traffic plans, and there may yet be changes before the resource consent application is publicly notified.

But unless the airport company’s plans change radically, you might want to ask yourself: does the Wellington transport system really need another 310 heavy trucks going back and forth a day? And do I want those trucks rumbling through my suburb? And if your answer is “no”, then you might want to make a submission about that when you get the chance in a few weeks’ time.

In the meantime, you can:

Trying To Help His Sister-in-Law’s Wellington Mayoral Campaign, Bill English Demonstrates The Government’s Basin Reserve Confusion

It’s a tough life being Minister of Transport Simon Bridges. He had ambitious plans to promote electric cars in New Zealand that were shot down by his senior colleagues around the Cabinet table, leading to a lengthy hiatus. Now one of those senior Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, has launched an extraordinary attack on the consultative decision-making process that was set up with the support of Minister Bridges in the wake of the New Zealand Transport Agency’s failed Basin Reserve flyover plans.

Perhaps sensing that his sister-in-law Jo Coughlan’s candidacy for the Wellington Mayoral race needed a bit of a boost, Mr English attacked Wellington’s transport thinking for not being progressive enough.

Leaving aside the wonder that, in 2016, a supposedly mature politician could think that building flyovers in the centre of the nation’s capital city constituted a progressive transport option, Mr English’s remarks completely discounted the Let’s Get Welly Moving process which is due to continue until early 2017, and which is being run by the New Zealand Transport Agency, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wellington City Council.

Fortunately, while usual suspects such as the trucking lobby popped out of the woodwork to support Bill English, Save the Basin and, in today’s editorial, the Dominion Post called out the stupidity of Mr English’s comments.

Maybe Mr English should stick to doing his job, and leave the transport thinking to those who are actually putting some time and thought into the matter.