Aug 21, 2013

Motorway madness

I blogged on Monday about the desecration of wāhi tapu that will occur if the planned motorway bypass in Kāpiti goes ahead, as looks likely.

Later that same day, the ruling of the High Court on the appeals of Save Kāpiti and the Alliance for a Sustainable Kāpiti were made public. They rejected the appeals on all grounds. This is a win for the Government, and the conservative Kāpiti Coast District Council that has been working in an alliance with NZTA.

David Farrar has blogged at Kiwiblog saying:

It was due to local input, that the Government ended up doing the Western Link Road. Originally what was proposed was basically four-laning the current State Highway 1, but many locals were opposed to that, and hence the long sought after Western Link Road was then changed in design from two to four lanes to become the new SH1, and the existing section will become a local road.

At best, this is Farrar being disingenuous. The initial proposal, which was so bad no one could it support it, was deliberately put up by the Government who knew it wasn't going to be accepted.

They then did a round of so-called consultation  that divided the community by proposing three different alternatives, all of which would have done significant damage to natural heritage, property values and the local economy in different areas of the Coast. It pitted local communities against each other, as you would expect.

In reality, the majority of Kāpiti residents are opposed to a four-lane motorway dividing their community. But we are represented by a conservative council that hasn't stood up for the interests of the local community. Mayor Jenny Rowan is now complicit in the damage that this project will cause. It is infuriating to see her laud the High Court's ruling. She should be representing the interests of the community and fighting for the tangata whenua.

David Farrar and other motorists in Wellington will apparently see 12 minutes cut off their travel times to Auckland if the entire Levin-Wellington corridor is built, but this is not justification enough for the project. Congestion in Kāpiti is minimal anyway. The real bottleneck areas are in Paremata and before Pukerua Bay.

Also, the numbers don't stack up at all, it has a cost benefit ratio of only 0.2! That is incredibly low. It will also significantly damage the local economy which has been built around the current SH1, and our attractiveness as an area of retirement and raising a young family. Who would want to retire next to a trucking bypass?

Councillor and mayoral candidate K (Guru) Gurunathan has said that Save Kāpiti has 'waged a heroic struggle' but that now we should stop protesting and let the Government get on with it. I know his wish won't be granted and the anti-expressway movement will continue to fight. An appeal to the Supreme Court is a possibility.

The Dom Post reports:

Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai Marae chairman George Jenkins said he believed there would be protests by individual iwi members and members of the public when construction started.

Like George Jenkins I also expect protests, and probably land occupations. When our wāhi tapu are under threat, we won't sit meekly by and enable it's desecration.  In my view civil disobedience is now inevitable.

One thing I know for sure is that the bulldozers will have to get past me.

Post by Jack Tautokai McDonald

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