Hutt voices its anger over Melling Interchange delay
Chris Bishop - MP for Hutt South
28 May 2019
A serious message has been sent to the Government by more than 300 people who gathered in Lower Hutt to make their disappointment known over the Melling Interchange being delayed, Hutt South MP Chris Bishop says.
“The message to New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and the Government is that a new Melling Interchange is a critical project for the Hutt Valley and must be progressed as soon as possible, not in a decade or more.
“Residents are so angry a march on Parliament is being seriously considered.”
In April, NZTA announced funding for the proposed Melling Interchange on State Highway 2 would not be considered until 2028 or later.
“It is outrageous that a child at primary school in the Hutt Valley today will finish secondary school before construction of a new interchange even starts,” Mr Bishop says.
“Last night, Hutt residents heard how important the project is to the community. It will improve safety at the intersection with Melling Link, ease congestion, and allow for better walking and cycling connections.
“The interchange is also a vital part of the wider RiverLink development, which will greatly improve flood protection along the Hutt River and help stimulate development in that area as well as the Lower Hutt CBD.
“Transport Minister Phil Twyford came to Melling last year for a photo opportunity and said the interchange project ‘ticks all the boxes’. Yet a few months later NZTA said no funding would be considered until 2028 or later.
“There is huge anger in the Hutt at this decision, and already thousands of people have signed my petition calling for construction to be fast-tracked, which National promised to do at the 2017 election.
“I am now planning to work with local residents to organise a possible march on Parliament.
“It is very disappointing that NZTA would not front last night to address the meeting, despite being invited.
“Last night Prue Lamason from the Greater Wellington Regional Council said the Government was playing Russian roulette with the lives and livelihoods of Hutt residents. She is right.”
“As the MP for Hutt South I will continue to fight hard for this important project for the future of the Hutt Valley.”