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:

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: 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: 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 —

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


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 – 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.

What Principles Should Be Used To Assess Wellington Transport Proposals?

Image from FIT Wellington

Image from FIT Wellington

The Ngauranga to Airport Governance Group has completed the first phase of the Let’s Get Welly Moving process, and is now calling for proposals on proposed transport solutions.

But what principles and what process will be used to assess those proposed solutions? Given NZTA’s approach to the Basin Reserve flyover project, in which the movement of cars was prioritised above all else, it’s vital that the assessment process acknowledge that moving cars from Point A to Point B is neither the only, nor the most important, priority.

With many other groups, Save the Basin took part in a process in 2015 to develop engagement and assessment principles under the aegis of Grant Robertson MP. These principles were agreed upon and delivered to the Governance Group before the engagement process started. The Save the Basin Committee has recently reviewed them, and we still think they are the best basis on which to conduct the assessment. Here they are:

  1. THAT transport solutions at the Basin precinct are developed as part of tangible steps to reduce the City’s carbon footprint.
  2. THAT the cultural, heritage, recreational and amenity values of the Basin Reserve precinct are protected and enhanced.
  3. THAT public access to and use of the Basin precinct is preserved and improved.
  4. THAT access planning balances the needs of all transport flows – walking, cycling, and public transport, as well as private vehicles.
  5. THAT public access and traffic improvements are robustly informed.
  6. THAT the focus for improvements start with simple at-grade solutions.
  7. THAT conflict between different access modes is minimised.
  8. THAT a transparent and replicable approach is adopted to the sharing of data and information, enabling all parties to understand bring expertise to the table.
  9. THAT alternatives / future options are kept open (future proofed).

Principles 1 and 9 are of particular note. With the Government now having committed to greenhouse gas reduction targets under the Paris Agreement, and with Wellington City Council’s recent CEMARS certification, it is now even more critical that whatever solution is developed needs to actively contribute to meeting greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and targets – and should certainly not make greenhouse gas emissions worse, for example by inducing traffic.

As for Principle 9, the rapid changes in both transport behaviour and transport technology to which attention was paid at the Basin Bridge Board of Inquiry, have since continued and intensified. This means that this would be a particularly bad time to be committing Wellington to major new roading infrastructure that might rapidly become a stranded asset. This provides further support to Principle 6, which is where we believe the focus for solution development in and around the Basin precinct should be placed.


It was good to see some respect for Save the Basin in this Dominion Post editorial on the future of the Basin Reserve:

Save the Basin Submission to the “Let’s Get Welly Moving” Engagement Process

The first phase of the Ngauranga to Airport Governance Group’s Let’s Get Welly Moving process, which is designed to find out what principles people in the Wellington region think should underlie Wellington transport planning, draws to a close at the end of May.

You can see the timeline of the full process here.

You can fill in the survey on the site, or if you want to engage in a deeper way, you can send your thoughts to That’s what Save the Basin decided to do – our submission to this first phase of the process is below, and you are welcome to adapt it for your own use. A number of these points build on our September 2015 Op Ed for the Dominion Post.

The next phase will be a call for proposals to rethink Wellington transport. We encourage you to put forward proposals that enhance Wellington role as a city for people, not a city for cars – and that ensure the Basin is not again put at risk.

Basin Reserve rainbow. Photo: Patrick Morgan.

Basin Reserve rainbow. Photo: Patrick Morgan.

Save the Basin Campaign Inc: Submission in response to the “Let’s Get Welly Moving” Engagement Phase


As set out in its Constitution, the Save the Basin Campaign Inc has the following purposes:

(a) Promote, preserve and protect the historic character of the Basin Reserve area

(b) Promote high quality urban design and environmental management of the Basin Reserve area

(c) Promote an appropriate role for the Basin Reserve area in the development of a high quality, sustainable transport network, recognising the importance of the Basin to the public transport spine, and the importance of walkability and public transport for the users of the area

(d) Do anything necessary or helpful to the above purposes.

These purposes both explain why our Campaign was completely opposed to the proposed Basin Reserve flyover and took part in two successful rounds of legal action to prevent it gaining resource consent, and why we will oppose any future attempts to build a flyover or other transport infrastructure at the Basin Reserve that threatens the character, landscape, urban design or heritage of the Basin precinct – whether or not such infrastructure is presented as part of a larger package of resource consent applications.

Equally, however, these purposes allow us to participate in discussions about appropriate, sustainable transport developments that involve the Basin Reserve precinct, and thus we are pleased to see the breadth of the engagement process that the Ngauranga to Airport Governance Group has chosen to engage in as the first phase of its Let’s Get Welly Moving process.

Our submission covers three broad areas: the wider transport context, our comments and concerns about the rest of the planned consultation process, and our views on what should be done at the Basin Reserve.

Save the Basin took part in the development of the engagement and transport planning principles for the post-Basin environment submitted under the aegis of Grant Robertson MP, and those principles should also be regarded as part of our input to the engagement process.

The broader transport context

The present engagement process is being carried out at a time of rapid and disruptive change in transport thinking, transport behaviour and urban design – change which means that business-as-usual thinking is no longer appropriate.

These changes include:

  • the Government’s signing of the Paris climate change agreements and its commitment to an associated greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, meaning that serious steps will need to be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport
  • increased readiness by both central and local government to fund and provide infrastructure for active modes and public transport
  • the increasing acceptance that building new roads induces further traffic congestion, as amply demonstrated by many local as well as overseas examples
  • the post-2007 breakdown of the previously accepted correlation between population growth and growth in VKT, as notably seen in changes in young people’s transport thinking and behaviour
  • the advent of disruptive technologies such as the wider uptake of car-sharing arrangements; electric vehicles; and driverless cars, with their associated requirement for far less road space
  • a refocusing of urban design, in cities as diverse as Seoul and New York, to put people first rather than cars first.

In our view, a prudent response to these developments by the Governance Group should be to focus on transport behaviour change while also looking to make incremental improvements in transport infrastructure that do not commit the city to major infrastructure developments which may well be rendered redundant by transport behaviour changes, and which would foreclose other, more appropriate responses.

The engagement process: comments and concerns

While we welcome the change in approach represented by the “Let’s Get Welly Moving” (LGWM) process, we still have some concerns about how this is being carried out, and suggestions for improvement:

Methodology and weighting of responses received

The first phase of the LGWM process has been carried out region-wide. However, given the potentially competing interests involved, we submit that there should be a methodology which gives most weight to those most directly affected by potential infrastructure changes along the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor: that is, those who live closest to them.

Calling for proposals

The next stage of the process includes calling for proposals. As such proposals can be both time-consuming and expensive to develop, especially for community groups with limited access to professional resources, we submit that the Governance Group should make available independent advice to assist those who wish to make proposals to do so – similar to the role the “Friend of the Submitter” plays in complex resource consent hearings.

Modelling: assumptions and processes

The modelling tool(s) chosen, and their underlying assumptions, will be of crucial importance in assessing the proposals received and developing scenarios based on them. Therefore, we submit that an “open Government data” approach should be taken to the development and use of these modelling tools. This approach should both

  • allow and encourage the involvement of those in the wider community with expertise in the analysis and use of Government and modelling data to engage with the modelling process and challenge modelling assumptions and processes, with the aim of producing a modelling process that truly reflects the realities of the rapidly changing transport environment, and
  • take account of the range of ways in which the Wellington transport system may develop.

Consultation on scenarios

This is currently scheduled for January to March 2017. However,  our experience is that it is extremely difficult to get people engaged in consultation processes during January and early February due to family commitments over the summer holiday period. Therefore, we submit that this consultation period should not begin until February 2017.

The future of the Basin Reserve: Save the Basin’s position

We believe that the starting point for consideration of the Basin Reserve’s future needs to be the final report of the Basin Bridge Board of Inquiry. We are disappointed that, so far, this does not appear to have been the case. While the immediate response of the applicant was to comb the report for possible grounds for appeal – an approach which proved unavailing in the High Court – the Governance Group should instead pay careful attention to the Board’s findings, which make clear the significance of the Basin Reserve and its environs for Wellington and its residents.

As those findings make clear, a narrow, transport-only focus on the Basin won’t work.   What is needed is a long term vision and plan to protect and enhance an iconic cricket ground, create more open and green space, end urban blight and develop a transport space that accommodates pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users and cars.

The Board identified that the following options were worthy of further consideration:

  • the Basin Reserve Roundabout Enhancement Option (BRREO) – an at-grade option that doesn’t involve bridging or tunnelling;
  • Option X proposed by The Architectural Centre; and
  • a tunnel option suggested but then discarded by NZTA.

Given the rapid and disruptive changes to transport outlined above, we believe that the best option for the Basin is the one which involves the least infrastructure development and provides the most flexibility for future developments. This is the BRREO, or a similar at-grade option. However, the other options foregrounded by the Board should also receive careful consideration.

What should happen next?  Here is our 7-point action plan, some of which is now underway:

  1. Reframe the Basin as a sporting, urban development and heritage area as well as a transport corridor.
  2. Create a master plan for the whole area. Its national significance needs to be given appropriate recognition: instead of seeing the Basin, Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, the Governor General’s residence, numerous local schools and the heritage of Mt Victoria as isolated pieces, the rich history of the whole area should be celebrated.
  3. Go through a robust process to evaluate transport options. Start by carrying out small improvements to bring relief to frustrated transport users, and evaluate these before considering whether a more expensive option is justified. Ensure that, following the Wellington City Council’s “transport pyramid” approach, the needs of walkers, cyclist, and public transport users are given precedence.
  4. Upgrade the Basin and strengthen and preserve the Museum Stand.
  5. Prioritise a Reserve Management Plan for the Basin (as already agreed by the City Council) that will establish key principles on how the ground should be preserved.
  6. Put in place heritage protection for the whole ground in the City Council’s District Plan.
  7. Re-develop Kent and Cambridge Terraces as grand public and private spaces, well connected to the Basin

The Basin Reserve is a place of local, national and (especially in its role as an international cricket ground) international significance. We support options that preserve and enhance its status. We do not support options that put that status at risk.


Please Submit On Wellington’s Low Carbon Capital Plan – Deadline Friday – Submission Guide Now Available


Image from FIT Wellington

Image from FIT Wellington

Submissions on Wellington City Council’s Low Carbon Capital Plan close on Friday – and now there’s a helpful submission guide you can use, prepared by Wellington climate action group Keep a Cool World.

Why should you submit? Because Wellington City Council has learned how to talk a good game on climate change, while continuing to make decisions that result in increased greenhouse gas emissions that make climate change worse – like supporting further road-building that will lead to increased emissions from induced traffic, or backing an airport runway extension that, if it goes ahead, is projected to lead to a major increase in both truck movements through the central city, and aviation emissions.

Wellington City Council claims to be a leader on climate change action, but for that claim to be credible, its actions have to match its words.

The Keep a Cool World submission guide takes you through some good points you can make, but please adapt it to make the submission your own – cookie cutter submissions are generally less effective!

You can submit as follows:

(If you are submitting by post, you’ll have to be very quick to meet the deadline! There’s a printable submission form at

Remember, the deadline is this Friday – so please act today!