Tree Protest in Whangarei
Hundreds of people from Whangarei are uniting in Mander Park to voice their opposition to the felling of 11 heritage trees. The trees are being removed to make way for a new slip road onto State Highway 1.
An active group on the issue has been WAGON, a group of Whangarei residents taking action to improve the city. James Bellamy a spoke for WAGON said:
“Today is a very significant day in Whangarei. People are making a clear statement to the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) and the Whangarei District Council (WDC) to halt the felling of 11 significant heritage trees until traffic flows are properly counted and alternatives are seriously considered.”
“As a city we need to think log term. According to NZTA’s own traffic counts, there were 800,000 fewer vehicle movements along this stretch of State Highway 1 in 2011 than in 2004. Traffic volumes are decreasing so we have to really consider the alternatives, especially when money is tight and oil prices are high”
“It is absurd that the Transport Minister Steven Joyce is in one hand undertaking these expensive unnecessary roading projects paid for by an overspent roading budget and in the other hand proposing to close Northlands Rail Line, with far less investment required.”
“An independent study on the Mander Park intersection in November 2011 has highlighted that the slip road is not required”.
“Mander Park was gifted to the Citizens of Whangarei in July 1906, for recreational purposes and newspaper reports of the time clearly state this. As a result many citizens of Whangarei are standing up to NZTA today, to stop them bulldozing their way through our space without proper consultation.”
“We have been asking NZTA and WDC for answers since the project became public. It is a real shame we have had to resort to protests for the answers”
“NZTA need to be questioned as they have waded into our local body politics and persuaded the WDC to embrace a project well before the public have been notified. The council should be backing the people”.
‘The trees are still standing and we are here to ensure they stay that way until NZTA investigate traffic flows thoroughly and realise this slip road is not required’