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Fifty million reasons to save the Basin

Save The Basin Reserve Campaign

Media Release

Fifty million reasons to save the Basin

The decision to deface the Basin Reserve with a hugely expensive flyover is a slap in the face to Wellingtonians who have overwhelmingly opposed it, says the Save the Basin Reserve campaign.

Earlier today the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) confirmed that they intend to push ahead with the project as part of the Levin to Airport “Road of National Significance”.

The campaign’s co-convenors Cr Iona Pannett and Kent Duston condemned the project saying that the $50m+ price tag did not justify sacrificing the Basin’s iconic ground in order to save a few seconds of travel time.

“The irony of NZTA proceeding with Transmission Gully on the basis of 89% support, yet also proceeding with the Basin Reserve flyover in the face of 89% opposition will not be lost on those who have made their feelings be known about the project,” said Mr Duston. “It’s pretty clear that the Minister is prepared to listen to submitters – but only when it suits his agenda.”

The Agency’s threat that the Minister will exercise his call-in powers under the Resource Management Act is of real concern, said Cr Pannett. “This may significantly limit community involvement at a local level, and leave cricket lovers and those concerned about the heritage values of the Basin Reserve without a voice.”

“Serious questions have to be asked about the costs of the project,” said Cr Pannett. “In one document released today, it says that the project will cost $36m; in another $51m. The National Land Transport Programme released in August of this year said it would cost around $47m. This shows that the Agency has no real idea what the project is likely to cost in the long run, as costs have already doubled from the original estimates of $27m in 2006,” said Cr Pannett.

“The benefit cost ratio looks increasingly illusory, as it appears to show an average saving to drivers of only 11 seconds,” said Mr Duston. “In a recession, the Government should be exercising restraint around expenditure, not indulging in expensive white elephant projects that will damage an iconic part of Wellington.”


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