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Kedgley calls on Clark to stop the bulldozers

29 September, 2004

Kedgley calls on Clark to stop the bulldozers

Green MP Sue Kedgley is calling on the Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage to intervene and save Wellington's historic Te Aro precinct in the same way as she has saved two iconic Northland buildings.

Ms Kedgley praised Helen Clark's actions in footing a $10 million bill for a Northland bypass road to protect the 19th century Kemp House and Stone Store and called on her now to show the same zeal in saving Wellington's historic precinct that is slated to be bulldozed for an unnecessary inner-city bypass.

"Like the Prime Minister, the Green Party values our heritage and believes it is worth protecting," said Ms Kedgley. "Why, then, is the Government and its transport funding agency paying $10 million to preserve Northland's heritage, and $40 million to destroy Wellington's?

"It is rank hypocrisy to build a bypass to save heritage in one location while building a bypass that will destroy heritage in another. The Te Aro historic precinct is only under threat because local politicians and road-obsessed officials took no account of heritage in choosing the original route."

Ms Kedgley acknowledged that the Kemp House and the Stone Store were of national significance and said that the affected part of Te Aro was also of extremely high heritage value.

"Transit New Zealand is pulling apart entire heritage areas. This unique area is precious to the people of Wellington and has a unique story to tell. It would indeed gain iconic national status if the council and Transit reversed their policy of deliberately allowing it to deteriorate by neglect and restored it to its original splendour.

"In Te Aro, heritage buildings are being demolished - including both listed buildings and those not listed for political reasons, key heritage areas are being ripped apart, and buildings relocated out of context into a kind of heritage Disneyland," said Ms Kedgley.

"Transit is even moving listed heritage buildings that aren't in the path of the so-called 'bypass'. It has ignored requests from the Environment Court to leave them in place. The Government needs to call Transit to heel.

"It's still not too late to save Wellington's heritage," Ms Kedgley said. "The bulldozers have been hired, but haven't yet begun their destructive work. I call on Helen Clark to step in and show the same zeal in preserving Wellington's unique heritage as she has in saving Northland's."

ENDS

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