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MPs and mayors frustrated by lack of progress with LGWM

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The New Zealand Herald’s Georgina Campbell has discovered that three Wellington MPs have a sense of frustration at the lack of progress with Let’s Get Wellington Moving.

“Nothing’s happened,” James Shaw told her. “I find that tremendously frustrating because that really should have unlocked a level of activity and we just haven’t seen it.”

Shaw says the biggest issue in the Wellington Central electorate is housing – not enough of it, it’s expensive, and what you do get for your money is poor quality. “If we could get Let’s Get Wellington Moving moving … that would unlock a significant amount of housing development.” He envisages thousands of apartments going up around the new mass rapid transit spine running from the railway station to the airport.

Grant Robertson, noting that his government has put millions of dollars on the table to pay for transport projects in Wellington, says the city just needs to get on with it.

“We’ve got to get Let’s Get Wellington Moving moving and make sure the Local Government authorities join Central Government in getting the money in.” His government has committed to a mass rapid transit system, better walking and cycling, and a second Mt Victoria tunnel though not until the end of the decade.

“We need a voice for Wellington at the core of Government, I’ve been able to provide that for the last three years. I think people know me pretty well in the electorate. I really enjoy being the electorate MP, it keeps you very grounded in terms of the issues people are facing.”

Asked to give an example of delivering for the community, Robertson says the $25 million of Government funding to redevelop Wellington Girls’ College is a stand out.

National List MP Nicola Willis says she has “a track record over the past couple of years of sticking up for Wellington and our people on key issues.” She’s especially proud of her advocacy during the bustastrophe and holding the regional and city councils to account when they went before the Transport and Infrastructure select committee.

But she told Georgina Campbell that progress in Wellington feels like it has stalled. “Many of the voters I speak with feel Wellington is at a bit of a standstill and they look at the numerous Labour Party MPs around the region and they say well, is Labour taking the city’s support for granted?”

The concerns about LGWM have been echoed by regional mayors, speaking to Damian George in the DomPost:

Porirua Mayor Anita Baker said the project had become guilty of too much talk and not enough action. “They just need to get on with it. The bottom line is we need to get to the airport and to the hospital. It’s a bit of a joke,” she said.

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy agreed the project was taking too long, and said the decision to commission a review was “actually unbelievable”. “The region wants action, action, action. It concerns me that we have delay after delay. Our city’s been gridlocked close to 10 years, and we’ve done nothing about it.”