Creative Wellington Protest Calls on Mayor to Save Trolleys
Creative Protest Calls Mayor to Save Trolleys as an Option to ‘Get Welly Moving’ in the Future
Paddling through the city in a cardboard ‘kayak bus’, a group of young Wellington residents is today calling on Mayor Justin Lester to stop the destruction of the trolley bus network.
“Will we have to wait until sea levels rise to get zero-carbon transport in Wellington?” asks spokesperson Kate Day.
“We are here because replacing trolleys with polluting diesel buses is ridiculous. As Wellington begins consulting on the Get Welly Moving plan, we invite Mayor Lester to stop the trolley wires coming down to preserve electric trolleys as a genuine option for the future.”
The group, calling themselves Wellingtonians for Non-Ridiculous Transport, say they are putting the ‘bus’ on the road to highlight the irresponsible direction of Wellington transport.
“Greater Wellington Regional Council’s decision to scrap trolleys, which are near carbon neutral, and lock in contracts for hundreds of diesel buses is irresponsible and unhealthy and the façade of a few battery buses won’t hide this fact.
“The GWRC’s decision flies in the face of New Zealand’s commitments under the Paris Accord, and will hinder the city’s compliance with any new Zero Carbon Act. It is also unhealthy; pumping more diesel fumes onto our streets, including into air vents that condition our office buildings.
“Since Wellington City Council has control over the wires, Mayor Lester must intervene.” Kate Day said.
Mayor Lester has so far not stepped into discussions about the fate of the trolley buses. While GWRC has responsibility over bus services and routes, WCC controls the trolley wire network, which is owned by council-controlled organization
Wellington Cable Car Ltd.
“We invite Mayor Lester to stop the wires coming down and to use this time to sit down again with Greater Wellington Regional Council Chair Chris Laidlaw and Transport Minister Phil Twyford to find a way to move towards an electric public transport fleet in Wellington.”
“Minister Twyford’s past decision not to save the trolleys was made on one of the first days he was in office. Now that he has had time to consider the government’s transport and climate action vision, no doubt he will now understand the need to support electric transport in Wellington,” Kate Day said.
The protest comes as consultation begins on the Get Welly Moving Plan outlining transport options for the city.
“If Mayor Lester will not delay destruction of the trolley wires, then the Get Welly Moving consultation is tokenism. What if Wellington residents ask overwhelmingly for better low-carbon options? Mayor Lester owes it to Wellington people to preserve the infrastructure that would make this possible.”
The group calls on the Mayor to halt destruction of the trolley wires during the consultation, and if people express demand for low-carbon transport, to have the conversations necessary to make this happen.
The group also calls on Wellington residents to use the Get Welly Moving consultation to call for low-carbon transport options for Wellington.
Media are invited to meet the kayak bus at 8:45am at the Civic Square side of Council buildings. The group will invite Mayor Lester to comment about 9am. The group will then paddle to the offices of Regional Council Chair Laidlaw and Minister Twyford in Thorndon.
Get Welly Moving consultation: getwellymoving.co.nz/have-your-say.