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Bulldozers 1 Democracy 0

16 December 2005

Bulldozers 1 Democracy 0

Ignoring pleas from community representatives for time to consult the public, Auckland City Council last night voted to approve a motorway route that will bulldoze hundreds of homes, destroy green space, degrade the city's premier urban stream and add to the City's congestion.

"It is outrageous that the Council has chosen not to consult the affected communities on a development with such massive social and environmental consequences," said Living Communities spokesperson and Eden-Albert Community Board member, Phil Chase.

"It's not just communities that are getting bulldozed here but also the proper democratic process."

Transit New Zealand's revised plans for State Highway 20 were only revealed to the public on Monday, following a two year period during which no consultation with affected communities had taken place.

Transit told the City Council that if it did not approve the planned route yesterday, the entire project would be put at risk. "The public can only conclude that Transit New Zealand has blackmailed the Council in order to push through its highly controversial project," said Mr Chase.

Community Board representatives and some councillors had asked for the decision to be delayed until next year to allow for public consultation, but their pleas fell upon deaf ears. Even some of the councillors who voted to approve the route conceded that the process was undemocratic, acknowledging that Transit was 'holding a gun to their heads'.

"The timing of Transit's ultimatum, just before Christmas, seems highly suspicious, and designed to deliberately bypass the views of affected suburbs."

Only councillors Glenda Fryer, Leila Boyle and Neil Abel were courageous enough to stand up to Transit's bullying and defend the public's right to be consulted.

"History is littered with examples of decisions overriding the democratic process as a matter of supposed urgency," said Mr Chase "The outcomes have rarely been good."

ENDS

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