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Bypass treasures in ruin as Transit creams profit

Bypass treasures fall into ruin as Transit creams profit

Transit New Zealand has been treating houses in the path of the proposed Wellington bypass as a cash cow, Green MP Sue Kedgley said today.

Ms Kedgley, the Green Wellington Transport spokesperson, revealed figures from the Minister of Transport, which showed Transit New Zealand has received more than 10 times in rent what it spent in maintaining the buildings since mid-1997.

Over that period, many heritage buildings owned by Transit have deteriorated due to lack of investment, said Ms Kedgley.

The total rental income from properties Transit now administers along the proposed bypass route amounts to $10,313,918.15 yet only $879,237.50 has been spent maintaining the dozens of buildings Transit owns.

"Transit's predecessors took much of the land and buildings compulsorily under the Public Works Act. Now it appears they've been milking them for all they are worth," said Ms Kedgley.

"Transit ought to restore these cultural and heritage treasures and yet instead has thrown up excuse after tired excuse to explain why nothing has been done. Now, with the possible bypass delay, those excuses must stop."

Ms Kedgley is calling for the Minister of Transport to take Transit to task for not following through with its public responsibility.

"To receive so much and give so little back is totally unacceptable. Even worse is the fact that community groups have approached Transit on numerous occasions to offer help in restoring the buildings, and have been turned down flat each time."

"These are some of the most unique, historic buildings in Wellington, and should not be subject to exploitation by our roading authority. Many of the buildings are in such a parlous state that, if Transit keeps dragging its feet, there will be nothing left to restore.

"Possible future relocation is no excuse for ongoing failure to properly care for the buildings.

"It will be a tragedy if these buildings are allowed to collapse through bureaucratic inertia, excuses and neglect."

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