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$11.5 million to buy votes around the council table

$11.5 million to buy votes around the council table

21 July 2011 - The decision by the NZ Transport Agency to fund the construction of a new stand at the Basin Reserve is a cynical display of chequebook politics, says the Save The Basin Reserve Campaign.

"Rather than address the substantive failings of their flyover plans, the NZ Transport Agency is attempting to pay off the sporting lobby led by Wellington City Councillor John Morrison", said campaign convener Kent Duston. "This is cynical and manipulative attempt to buy votes around the Council table, ahead of the Council voting on the design in September."

"The proposed new stand will add to the economic woes of this project by more than $11 million", said Mr Duston. "It will produce a utilitarian building that has the sole purpose of trying to conceal an ugly flyover a scant 20 metres from the Basin's boundary. It will effectively be the "Lipstick On The Pig Memorial Stand", and Wellingtonians are right to be skeptical that it is a wise investment of taxpayer funds."

"The transport challenges at the Basin Reserve can easily be met by cost-effective ground-level roading changes, which will produce 90% of the benefits of a flyover at 10% of the cost. Spending $70 million on a flyover and another $11 million trying to hide it is a flagrant waste of money", says Mr Duston. "In our view, the NZ Transport Agency should go back to the drawing board on the roading design, rather than throwing good money after bad."

According to the Save The Basin Reserve Campaign, the flyover is a continuation of the NZ Transport Agency's failed roading projects in the capital. "As every Wellingtonian knows, the Inner City Bypass has been an utter failure, and at some times of the day results in slower traffic than before it was constructed", said Mr Duston. "The flyover is a repeat performance of the same inept design process. There is no evidence it will improve the traffic flows to the degree being claimed, and the proposed stand demonstrates that the NZ Transport Agency is resorting to writing cheques in order to force their project down the throats of Wellingtonians."

"It's been said that surgeons bury their mistakes. In this case, the NZ Transport Agency's traffic engineers are attempting to hide theirs behind unnecessary cricketing pavilions!" said Mr Duston.


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