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“Bypass” Evictions Today – Response Tonight

“Bypass” Evictions Today – Community Response Begins Tonight In Civic Square

Today is eviction day for a group of residents and businesses in the path of Transit New Zealand’s proposed inner city “bypass” through Wellington’s historic Te Aro district. Yet Transit said last year this would not happen until the project was funded.

Community action in response to these evictions kicks off tonight with a street parade and celebration of Te Aro starting at 5.30pm in Civic Square and moving on to a mystery location.

Roland Sapsford, spokesperson for anti-bypass campaigners Campaign for a Better City (CBC) said Transit was being “confrontational” and had “abandoned common-sense” in evicting people from heritage buildings before even applying for money to build the bypass.

According to information released to CBC under the Official Information Act, Transit last year told the Ministry of Transport that evictions would proceed “if construction funding is granted”.

“The report, dated 28 June 2001, says all leases provide for termination when construction is to commence. It also specifically refers to notice to tenants coming after any granting of construction funding,” said Mr Sapsford. “Transit has not even applied for that money yet, but Transit and Wellington City Council (which also owns some of the properties on the bypass route) have told tenants to go.”

Legal action by CBC earlier this month delayed eviction of a WCC tenant until early March but Mr Sapsford said legal options against today’s evictions were limited. “Transit is acting as a landlord – its actions are legal but immoral and pointlessly confrontational” he said.

Mr Sapsford called on Transit to withdraw its eviction notices and instead do some long overdue maintenance on the heritage buildings and other properties it has neglected for years. “There is still a chance for sanity and goodwill to prevail – but I’m not holding my breath” he concluded.

Reclaim the Street parade begins tonight with speakers and music in Civic Square from 5.30pm and then moves to a mystery location!

ENDS

Further information: Roland Sapsford, CBC spokesperson, on 021 651105

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