Wellington Scoop

The survey they’re not mentioning


by Lindsay Shelton
Are the LGWM planners still dreaming of a flyover alongside the Basin Reserve? Most of us thought they’d given up the idea. But the flyover has emerged again in a new survey from LGWM – a survey that seems to have taken most people by surprise.

The survey isn’t listed in the official LGWM programme of consultation and community engagement. That process ended before Christmas, after involving 2000 people and fifty stakeholder groups. The project website states that feedback is now closed.

The website also states that LGWM is

…using the feedback from the November 2017 public engagement to help guide our work as we develop a recommended programme of investment…to be delivered in the middle of this year.

But the unheralded and unannounced survey indicates that LGWM has decided that last November’s consultation was not enough, and – for reasons unknown – it wants more public input. The introduction to the survey doesn’t mention that views from 2000 people have already been collected:

We’re seeking views on a number of possible transport solutions for Wellington from members of Wellington based research panels. Results from this survey will help contribute to the development of future transport initiatives. If you are not a member of the research panel but have been forwarded this email and link from a third party, you are welcome to complete the survey but your response will not be included in our analysis.

And here it is, even if your response isn’t wanted:


At some point in the survey, depending on what you’ve answered earlier, you will be asked whether or not you support a flyover (they call it a bridge) at the Basin Reserve – a question that makes it clear that a flyover is still on LGWM’s agenda.

At-grade changes at the Basin are given as an option only on the subsequent screen, so when people are saying what they think about a flyover (or a tunnel) they haven’t discovered that they also have that option.

None of the involved community groups seem have been advised that this new survey exists. None of them has any information about how the data will be analysed, or what influence it could have in the last weeks of developing LGWM’s preferred plans.

The survey has no closing date. But a prize draw is advertised, implying that the closing date is before 18 May. (Final LGWM recommendations are promised for the middle of the year.)

After a long process that has made a feature of openness, LGWM should not be withholding information about its unannounced last minute survey. It should be telling us why it is needed after such detailed consultation at the end of last year, consultation from which LGWM says 2000 people gave “a wealth of feedback about the scenarios, their preferences, and what they’d like to see changed or improved.” How many more people are being asked to complete the new survey? How will the data inform LGWM’s future decisions and how will it impact on the public opinion that has already been gathered?

March 13: LGWM feedback wants better public transport, less congestion, opposition to cars
March 14: It wasn’t a referendum, but the results are clear


  1. Build it now!, 2. May 2018, 12:07

    An “at grade” solution is not enough to fix the current problem, and certainly wont cater for future growth. The Basin needs to be grade-separated either with a flyover or a tunnel. I don’t care which and I don’t mind paying for it – as long as it’s done – and quickly.

  2. John Rankin, 2. May 2018, 12:10

    According to the survey front page, “the answers you provide are completely confidential and anonymous and at no stage will we collect any personally identifying information from you.” So how will LGWM determine that a respondent is not a member of the research panel? Since the responses are anonymous and individuals can’t be identified, will LGWM release the raw data, including responses from those whom the analysis will omit, so others can analyse it fully? Will those who aren’t supposed to fill it in, but do so anyway, be included in the prize draw? I think we should be told.

    The survey is worth filling in, because it asks some good questions. I have some sympathy for LGWM. They may be trying to avoid the biases that arise from any survey where respondents are self-selecting.

  3. Ian Apperley, 2. May 2018, 16:26

    It’s also worth noting that from the look of it you can submit multiple times. I.e. It could be gamed.

  4. The LGWM programme has commissioned an independent survey of Wellington City and Region residents about their travel habits, concerns, and views on a range of possible transport interventions to help inform ongoing decision-making.

    The purpose of the survey is to provide further information to supplement the LGWM public engagement process. It allows LGWM to hear from a wide cross-section of the public who are not self-selected and who may not have engaged with the programme so far.

    It’s important to note that this survey does not replace the public engagement feedback we have already received, and is just one input alongside ongoing technical work.

    The survey is a ‘closed’ survey. Research NZ has invited people to complete the survey in order to gather responses from a representative (i.e. statistically significant) sample of the city and region’s residents.

    Research NZ will end the survey when they are satisfied that the number of responses they have received from invited residents meets their sample requirements.

    LGWM intends to release the survey results publicly once the analysis is complete and has been considered.

  5. doug watson, 3. May 2018, 6:34

    is the prize a petrol voucher and smog mask?

  6. Michael, 3. May 2018, 10:43

    I tried filling out the survey and when I got to the question about stating where I lived I was thanked you for my time and informed that for this survey we need to speak with people living in the Greater Wellington Region.

    Willy, what is going on? I live in the outer Wellington City but my desire to participate is being rejected.

  7. Glen Smith, 3. May 2018, 21:33

    This survey raises serious concerns about the thoroughness, objectivity and neutrality of the LGWM process. Random surveys, as John Rankin notes, are a legitimate way of overcoming self selection biases which tend to favour extremes. But they require rigorous methodology (usually open to peer/public review/scrutiny) and sound question selection.
    The methodology here, while possibly sound, is unclear. Who are the ‘members of Wellington based research panels’ and how do they relate to the ‘representative (i.e. statistically significant) sample’.
    Of more concern is the question selection. The demographics questions are straightforward but the sections on perceptions of current transport problems and possible solutions tell us a lot about the LGWM biases and hidden agenda.
    Data shows that across-town public transport, rather than transport to/from the CBD, is one of the key limitations in PT uptake (traffic flow data shows over half of the motorway cars approaching the city bypass it via the Terrace Tunnel but only 15% of rail users transfer to bus) and a high quality PT ‘bypass’ separate from the Golden Mile is required. Yet question 13 asks about PT issues to and from the CBD but nothing about across town transport. Similarly question 15 asks about support for a second Terrace Tunnel (expanding the existing car bypass of the CBD) but no question is asked about a any PT bypass (logically rail along the Quays). The only question on across town PT is number 21 which asks whether the Golden Mile should even have a dedicated PT corridor.
    The hidden agenda behind these questions is obvious. The Terrace Tunnel is going to be duplicated, no proper across town PT ‘bypass’ is being considered and even the Golden Mile may not have a dedicated PT corridor.
    Similarly the evidence is that the cheapest and least destructive way of getting the most direct and fastest rail corridor, along with required increased road capacity, to the East is by building the Mt Victoria Tunnel as a stacked multipurpose tunnel with rail/ road/ cycling and walking compartments (recommended by an international Tunnel expert and likely 25% cheaper than separate tunnels). Yet Q21 only asks about a Mt Victoria Tunnel with ‘vehicle lanes and dedicated cycling and walking facilities’ and the only light rail option considered is ‘from the railway station to the airport via Newtown.’
    Interpretation- a car only Mt Victoria tunnel will be built as planned and the logical solution of a multipurpose tunnel isn’t even on the LGWM radar.
    No option of rail ‘heavier’ than light rail (required to remove the potent inhibitor of transfer at the Station) is even considered, or responders asked about the value they put on seamless across town PT.
    Interpretation- the LGWM team can’t be bothered to even properly examine options for removing the Station transfer penalty, which will be a potent inhibitor of PT utilisation forever.
    The Basin questions are similarly vague and biased. I support bidirectional East/West traffic through a short trench in the high ground east of Arras tunnel (not given as an option) with a short bidirectional south/ north overbridge above it (is this a bridge?- no definition of a bridge is supplied or what location they are talking about) as part of an option X design. Survey responders, realising that car grade separation is ideal (and achievable) will likely vote in favour of a bridge (cheaper and technically easier than a tunnel) which will then be used to promote a more substantial flyover. No questions about grade separated cycleways, walkways, entrances to and from the Basin are asked.

    This survey represents a thinly disguised promotion of the LGWM’s apparently unchanged and profoundly flawed predetermined agenda.

  8. glenn, 4. May 2018, 12:45

    No it doesnt. Only 2000 people responded to the original (and i would suggest, many of those were multiples). Therefore over 500,000 people in the Wellington region didnt care/respond.
    Just build the damn roads, get on with it, the pc/bureaucratic nonsense has gone on long enough. You dont like it…then move on.

  9. Gillybee, 4. May 2018, 16:19

    “Only 2000 people responded to the original (and i would suggest, many of those were multiples)”
    Evidence please?

    “You don’t like it…then move on”
    Not a very mature response. There are legitimate concerns that an unelected body (NZTA) is riding roughshod over the wishes of Wellington voters who have consistently voted for better and improved public transport.

  10. Andrew, 4. May 2018, 17:11

    Hopefully we do not end up with another piece of ‘half arsery’ like Karo Drive. Bypass my arse, remember that protest? We could have had a cut and cover solution there, north/south roads and foot traffic unimpeded by the bypass.

  11. Molly, 4. May 2018, 19:19

    GWRC through its chair has announced support for a Wellington fuel tax today…a fuel tax for things that apparently we want? For what?
    A flyover called a bridge? Or what?

  12. Katy Mansfield., 5. May 2018, 10:35

    @D Watson, no doubt our roading experts and decision makers live up in the hills of Kelburn, Brooklyn and Roseneath or far out on the beautiful beaches of Kapiti which immunizes them from the foul and toxic air their transport plans create for us inner city dwellers.

  13. John Rankin, 5. May 2018, 11:18

    @GlenSmith: what I’m hoping to see from LGWM is a proposal with a rapid transit network as its centrepiece. Such a network will necessarily involve a mix of rapid technologies and the final mix would emerge from the kind of options analysis you propose.

    If we accept rapid transit in principle, we can say with certainty that the CBD needs 2 dedicated lanes for rapid transit (whatever the technology) plus 2 lanes for regular transit (ie buses). I would also like to see the Golden Mile remade into a place where pedestrians have priority. That implies a low speed limit for traffic, so to me it makes sense to keep regular transit on the Golden Mile and route rapid transit away from, but as close as possible to, the GM.

    On the other hand, I get the logic of wanting to run light rail as a slow service on a pedestrianised Golden Mile. We could choose to make a pedestrianised Golden Mile a higher priority than a rapid transit network. But I think it’s premature to make that choice; I want both: pedestrianise the Golden Mile and create a rapid transit network.

    That’s the challenge I’d like LGWM to meet.

  14. greenwelly, 5. May 2018, 12:10

    @Molly, the Auckland fuel tax replaced a targeted transport rate that the Auckland Council were charging. So I would be hoping that the GWRC would propose a proportionate reduction in regional rates…. but I am not holding my breath.

  15. Andrew Bartlett, 6. May 2018, 7:50

    This certainly looks like a mis-step by by LGWM and NZ Research. The link isn’t unique to the respondent, so they can’t call it a genuinely closed survey. The only way of linking it back to their sample addresses is the e-mail for the prezzy card, which isn’t required.

    There are good reasons to do a closed survey against a validated statistical panel. It is a pity that isn’t what have been delivered.

    Given the link has now been published it will be quite a skewed survey, and in the end someone else will probably have to re-do it.

  16. Tony Jansen, 11. May 2018, 13:19

    A regional fuel tax to replace the lost millions in earnings from CentrePort’s now defunct property empire?