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Bypass Arrests Over-Reaction - Kedgley

2 May 2002

Green Transport Spokesperson Sue Kedgley today said the deployment of 20 police in riot gear to arrest 10 people occupying a heritage building on the route of the controversial Wellington inner city 'bypass' was a massive overreaction.

Around 20 police in full riot gear this morning smashed into a building in Tonks Avenue which was being occupied by opponents of the bypass and arrested around 10 of them.

"Instead of sending in riot police, the police and Wellington City Council should have adopted a process of calm negotiation," said Ms Kedgley.

"We are after all dealing with people who feel passionately about heritage buildings rather than with violent thugs.

"This is exactly the sort of unnecessary confrontation we want to avoid in Wellington. The last thing Wellingtonians want to see is violent confrontations."

Ms Kedgley said these unnecessary confrontations could be averted if the Council listened to Wellingtonians and put the project on hold.

Ms Kedgley said Te Aro was among the oldest and most important heritage area in Wellington and the Greens strongly opposed its senseless destruction simply to allow motorists to save around 90 seconds in a cross town journey.

"Building new motorways and motorway extensions is completely out of step with the direction smart progressive, modern cities are taking. Wellington should celebrate its heritage and move towards sustainable and modern transport solutions rather than constantly dragging up failed plans from the past."

Ends

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