Wellington Scoop

Saving the Basin, again

by Tim Jones
I read some interesting news over the weekend. John Milford, the chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce (who’s been a major supporter of a Basin Reserve flyover) says his organisation plans to churn out hundreds of submissions to the Let’s Get Welly Moving process.

The DomPost reported that he said:

“That needs to move forward. We will have about 400 submissions on the process, saying get on with it.”

And we know what those submissions will say, because he’s already told us:

…if we don’t do something at the Basin then we’re wasting our money. If we want to be efficient between Ngauranga and the airport we need some sort of grade separation there…. nothing short of a solution that addresses everything in one hit will do. That suggests Scenario D, with its two new tunnels and grade separation at the Basin …

“Grade separation at the Basin” means bridges (flyovers) and/or tunnels – the transport planners refuse to rule out one or more new Basin Reserve flyovers.

And we know that “addressing everything in one hit” doesn’t work – in practice, that means spending billions on roads and throwing in some vague promises about light rail in the distant future. Scenarios B, C and D all include the option of one or more bridges at the Basin. Only Scenario A does not include this.

If you don’t want the Chamber of Commerce dictating what happens at the Basin to suit the roading and trucking lobby, then submit now. It’s really simple: Just go to the form at


and say in your own words something like:

I reject Scenarios B, C and D – all of which could lead to a flyover at the Basin Reserve. I support Scenario A.

If you have a bit more time, then read our submission guide, and write a more detailed submission.

The Chamber of Commerce were so confident the previous Basin Reserve flyover proposal would be approved that they barely bothered to turn up. This time round, they’re better organised – and therefore more of a threat to the Basin Reserve and to the livability of our city.

We mustn’t let them win by default.

Tim Jones is co-convenor of the Save the Basin Campaign.


  1. IanS, 5. December 2017, 8:05

    Yes Tim. We need Scenario A implemented as soon as possible. But we need more. We Need Scenario A+ which includes a Light Rail system from the station to the airport/Miramar, plus we need congestion charging to change motorway usage habits.

    The light rail system needs to include stops near Te Papa, Pukeahu Park, the hospital, Newtown, the zoo, Kilbirnie, Airport and Miramar. A light rail system will avoid the Basin area and significantly reduce traffic volumes there.

  2. Tim Jones, 5. December 2017, 8:23

    IanS: Looking forward to hearing more about this – sounds good!

  3. TrevorH, 5. December 2017, 8:25

    For the greater good of Wellington I reject scenario A. This is not about “saving the Basin” but Nimbyism, pure and simple.

  4. David Bond, 5. December 2017, 14:12

    TrevorH, I’m not sure if you realise it, but each of Scenarios B-D includes and builds on the scenario preceding. Therefore you can’t reject scenario A without rejecting B,C and D too. Or if you want B,C or D you need A as well. That’s the strategy they have announced.

    But of course what you really want is perfectly clear. You want a flyover imposed on someone else’s back yard. Sebyism, pure and simple 🙂

    And “For the greater good of Wellington” in your view perhaps, but not in everyone’s.

  5. Michael Barnett, 5. December 2017, 20:26

    Well said David. I agree

  6. Glenn, 6. December 2017, 6:50

    Interesting article, Save the Basin are mortified that one group are going to churn out hundreds of submissions in support. But hey if you disagree, then use their form and churn them out yourself. Kinda double standard. Personally I don’t believe this has nothing to do with saving the Basin.

  7. Brent, 6. December 2017, 8:09

    Grade separation also means tunnels. That’s what Tim Jones and others wanted first time around as they opposed the flyover. People should be careful of what ANYONE says about this (by urging people to vote for option A he is doing exactly what he accuses the Chamber of doing!) and go to the website themselves and make up their own minds.

  8. Tim Jones, 6. December 2017, 9:07

    Glenn – the link above is to the official submission form. Save the Basin has not created its own submission form.

    Brent – LGWM has not made a commitment to use tunnels. It has said it could use tunnels and/or bridges (flyovers). It has always refused to rule out proposing one or more flyovers at the Basin.

  9. Selkie, 6. December 2017, 10:03

    For me part of it is publicly-funded bodies – WREDA’s Derek Fry in particular – pushing a particular outcome without (a) any expertise in transport planning that qualifies them to say this, and (b) picking one that is going to stymie Wellington’s liveability and lock us for another few decades into building more car capacity which will fill up so we build more car capacity so it fills up so…

    Secondly, why do we only get a 10-year (actually 9) planning horizon when Auckland’s version of this project was 30 years? And yet *even within* that 10-year horizon they admit there’ll be population density in Te Aro and north Newtown to make mass transit viable.
    And even the “gold plated” “all the things” scenario provides nothing but a designation for mass transit. Not even moving the services – that’s *d extra. What’s going on?

    Did LGWM’s transport planners resign during the making of these scenarios?

  10. Ellen Blake, 6. December 2017, 15:44

    LGWM needs submissions to help refine what they have proposed. So the more submissions the better. Scenario A supports walking, public transport and cycling without heavy road investment. Here are some ideas to include with scenario A to improve walking around our city. http://www.livingstreets.org.nz/node/4993

  11. Alastair, 6. December 2017, 17:46

    LGWM is less about the Basin (which in my experience is rarely “clogged” in the way anyone in drivers in a major city would understand) than how we want to travel around in 2030 and beyond. Given the need to reduce carbon emissions and other factors, it’s unlikely that private cars will be a dominant mode, and we need to be planning for an increase in active and public transport.

  12. TrevorH, 7. December 2017, 7:15

    @Alastair: heard of electric cars? They need roads too and they will be the main mode of transport for most people by 2030. I have lived overseas for much of my working life and commuted in major cities like New York and Washington. The mind-numbing congestion to and from the airport and the hospital around the Basin is up there. We need to go under the Basin, or if that’s not possible, through it.

  13. David B, 7. December 2017, 13:06

    @ Trevor, New York and Washington have effective metro systems and don’t rely solely on road-based transport in order to function.

    Wellington has an excellent rail system which greatly helps keep traffic at-bay in the corridors where it operates. Unfortunately 50 years ago the ball was completely dropped in NZ transport-planning and the intended connection of Wellington’s southern suburbs to the rail system did not happen.

    The failure to do this is a main contributor to the problems of today. The solution is to re-activate and complete this vital project. Only by building a dedicated rail link to the area will road traffic be reduced. Building more roads will stimulate more traffic not reduce it. It is also much easier to put a rail link underground than a motorway.

    As for electric cars, apart from being free from exhaust emissions, the problems they will cause are likely to be similar to what we face now. If you mean driverless cars then yes, these are more likely to make a difference but it is a bold (and foolish) person who claims to know how this will play out and that it will replace the need for mass transit in urban areas.

    One scenario is that autonomous vehicles will need fewer roads not more, so continuing to pursue a road-building policy which even NZTA admit will not solve our traffic problems seems irresponsible in the extreme.

  14. Elaine Hampton, 7. December 2017, 15:11

    It has to be remembered we are busy polluting our clean and green with dairy run off, we can’t swim in our rivers or drink river water, and car pollution from our roads kills more people than cancer annually in NZ, our pavlova paradise. (NZTA figures). Why are we committing our children to this insanity? The best electric cars are rapid transit / light rail cars.