Wellington Scoop

Losing their homes and dreams, to make way for four lanes of speeding traffic

You can’t help feeling sorry for the 15 (or more) Raumati South families who’ve discovered that their houses will be demolished to make way for the southern entrance to the new Kapiti expressway. And for the many other families whose houses will survive, but whose quality of life will be destroyed by four lanes of speeding cars and trucks nearby. On what the locals are describing as an autobahn, a truckies’ dream. An expressway which Labour and Green MPs have promised will be cancelled if there’s a change of government.

At last week’s meeting of the Kapiti Coast District Council, there was a six-hour debate on the location of the expressway entrance. The controversial decision which will force houses to be bulldozed was supported by six councilors and opposed by three.

The Kapiti Independent News reports that Mayor Jenny Rowan talked about “the greater good” in choosing to bulldoze houses:

No one likes to make decisions that could result in people losing their homes and their dreams (but) at the end of the day, we have to make decisions for the greater good.

The effect of this “greater good” was put into human terms by a Waikanae couple who say their dream retirement home will be destroyed by the expressway: It is such a beautiful place. Everyone plants trees to attract the tuis – an expressway will ruin Waikanae.

Last week’s council decision was specially controversial because there was an alternative route for the entranceway – through an empty, swampy corner of Queen Elizabeth Park. No one would lose their homes if this option had been chosen. But the mayor talked darkly of longer term inter-generational and open space issues attached to this option. And a majority of councilors agreed with her.

The decision will now be part of a submission to the New Zealand Transport Agency. February 4 is the deadline for this latest round of public submissions. “We are committed to keeping the community informed and giving people the opportunity to have their say,” says the agency’s regional director. The people have their say. Is anyone listening?

Kapiti people have been having their say and stating their unease about the expressway since the government first announced it was to be one of the roads of national significance. At that time, Greens MP Sue Kedgley said the expressway would sever Kapiti and destroy communities. Six months ago, local residents had to use the Official Information Act to obtain plans which showed how it would cut through quiet residential areas. In November, the Alliance For Sustainable Kapiti said that as many as 86 properties would be needed, and the impact would be far more severe than people realised.

Last week’s vote by Kapiti councilors was a reminder of the reality of the impact, if the expressway is built.

Read also:
How the expressway will test a Christian community


  1. sam, 31. January 2011, 16:46

    Typical nimby attitudes. Deal with it. “Everyone plants trees to attract the tuis.” Give me a break. We all pay a fortune in tax for decent roads & resource consent will make them offset any environmental impact.
    “It is such a beautiful place.” Raumati South is low decile & prone to flooding – get out while you can.

  2. Geoff, 31. January 2011, 20:03

    Build a light rail/cycleway instead imo.

  3. Nell, 31. January 2011, 23:28

    New roads dont solve the car congestion problem! When will we learn. Kapiti needs some better more compact developments and lots more public transport.

  4. Maximus, 1. February 2011, 8:50

    Well it is not like the current situation is working very well – something needs to happen! I only hope that when they do build the new road, that they plan the intersections properly so that north-south traffic can flow freely without getting held up by east-west traffic, like the current Waikanae roundabout where massive traffic jams build every day…

  5. Lisa, 2. February 2011, 20:54

    Actually Sam it’s not NIMBY. The whole community has been through a lengthy process over many decades and was at a point where there was agreement even with the national funding body. It is only one Mr Joyce who has no idea of the downsides of this investment who has ruined a structured consultation process. Mr Joyce needs to have lived in developed countries over decades and find out what happens 2 or 3 generations down the line and the societal problems that have to be overcome, the congestion that was never expected, need I go on. If he had, then he would understand what the community are up in arms about; they are an informed community who have done their research.

  6. Mark Harris, 2. February 2011, 23:31

    Stephen Joyce wants to build motorways to reduce congestion. Auckland has how many motorways already? And how much congestion?

    It’s not NIMBY to try to understand the national significance of this road – the trouble is that there isn’t any. 95% of the time it is perfectly adequate. The Western Link Road would have removed a quarter of the traffic from SH1 and allowed upgrades to occur to fix the other 5%, and would be done in 2 years. Joyce’s tribute to the trucking industry won’t be STARTED for 3 years and won’t be finished before 2020.

    NZTA commissioned a report by SAHA, a consultancy, for $150,000. It said this road had an economic return of 0.6 – i.e a payback of 60 cents for every dollar spent. NZTA tried to suppress the report. When it was requested under the OIA, NZTA delayed while they spent another $50,000 getting SAHA to massage the figures and use some very dubious maths to raise the payback to 1.2. That’s the only version you’ll find on their website.

  7. Nick Fisher, 9. February 2011, 11:07

    I have noticed several comments along the lines of “pay the compensation and get it done!”
    But that is the point; there will be NO compensation to anyone.
    And we would have had a solution up and running by 2012 if Joyce hadn’t butted in. We were ‘getting it done’! Now we have to wait until at least 2020 for any improvements.
    Neither the true BCR of .6, nor the massaged one of 1.2 includes costs to the local community. Devaluation alone is around $250M, but the government doesn’t want to know. How is this fair?

  8. Colin Baxter, 4. May 2011, 20:18

    There is no justification for this proposed Kapiti expressway on traffic volume grounds.
    See http://savekapiti.co.nz/facts/trafficvolumesinkapiti/

    There is no justification for this proposed Kapiti expressway on road safety grounds.
    See http://savekapiti.co.nz/facts/safetyofsh-1inkapiti/

    They are trying to reroute SH-1 in to an earthquake danger zone which is also an tsunami evacuation zone.
    See http://savekapiti.co.nz/facts/earthquake/

    There is a designation that will result in ZERO homes being destroyed.
    That designation has been agreed to 10 years and was funded and about to start building.

    PLEASE think before you vote in November.
    Even Nathan Guy supported the WLR in Nov 2009.
    See http://savekapiti.co.nz/media/video/