Wellington Scoop

$11m Basin grandstand is cynical attempt to buy council votes, say campaigners

Media release from Save the Basin Campaign
The decision by the NZ Transport Agency to fund the construction of a new stand at the Basin Reserve is a cynical display of chequebook politics, says the Save The Basin Reserve Campaign.

“Rather than address the substantive failings of their flyover plans, the Transport Agency is attempting to pay off the sporting lobby led by Wellington City Councillor John Morrison”, said campaign convener Kent Duston. “This is cynical and manipulative attempt to buy votes around the Council table, ahead of the Council voting on the design in September.

“The proposed new stand will add to the economic woes of this project by more than $11 million”, said Mr Duston. “It will produce a utilitarian building that has the sole purpose of trying to conceal an ugly flyover a scant 20 metres from the Basin’s boundary. It will effectively be the “Lipstick On The Pig Memorial Stand”, and Wellingtonians are right to be skeptical that it is a wise investment of taxpayer funds.”

“The transport challenges at the Basin Reserve can easily be met by cost-effective ground-level roading changes, which will produce 90% of the benefits of a flyover at 10% of the cost. Spending $70 million on a flyover and another $11 million trying to hide it is a flagrant waste of money”, says Mr Duston. “In our view, the NZ Transport Agency should go back to the drawing board on the roading design, rather than throwing good money after bad.”

According to the Save The Basin Reserve Campaign, the flyover is a continuation of the NZ Transport Agency’s failed roading projects in the capital.

“As every Wellingtonian knows, the Inner City Bypass has been an utter failure, and at some times of the day results in slower traffic than before it was constructed”, said Mr Duston. “The flyover is a repeat performance of the same inept design process. There is no evidence it will improve the traffic flows to the degree being claimed, and the proposed stand demonstrates that the NZ Transport Agency is resorting to writing cheques in order to force their project down the throats of Wellingtonians.”

“It’s been said that surgeons bury their mistakes. In this case, the NZ Transport Agency’s traffic engineers are attempting to hide theirs behind unnecessary cricketing pavilions,” said Mr Duston.

How selfish can they get?


  1. The City is Ours, 22. July 2011, 1:02

    1965: Mayor Frank Kitts told angry Thorndon residents: “The motorway is not the council’s responsibility, it has no authority to compel a government department to make decisions on the matter”.

    2011: Mayor Celia Wade-Brown tells angry Mount Victoria residents……

  2. Keith Flinders, 24. July 2011, 14:16

    Don’t forget the pay off that Wellington was meant to get to compensate for the desecration of Shell Gully in the 1970s. The motorway was built and then, “oh dear we can’t afford to give you the promised piazza”. Instead a cheap footbridge was the result.

    Same could well happen with a promised new grandstand after the event. Some stackable plastic chairs being the alternative.

    Has anyone noticed the artistic licence taken in the sketches for the support columns for the overpass. Is something so slender able to comply with earthquake codes in an area of potential liquefaction?

  3. Jeanette Low, 25. July 2011, 18:47

    I agree that the NZTA offer to build an addition to the grandstand is obviously a bribe rather than an attempt to avoid, remedy or mitigate the effects of the flyover on Wellington residents. Let’s hope Wellington Cricket have enough moral fibre to refuse to be bought off by this offer. In any event, how dare NZTA offer to spend so much of the funding they have for “transport” on this? Next they will be offering to pay for the aquatic centre in Paraparaumu to turn the locals in favour of the Kapiti Expressway!

  4. Pauline Swann, 26. July 2011, 9:15

    Nowhere in the NZ Transport Agency’s glossy brochure “Have your Say” is there any reference to $11m for a new grandstand at the Basin Reserve. What other “surprise bribes” can we expect?

    The Agency assures us that our feedback is important to us…… What a farce, as we are being asked “What do you like or dislike about locating the bridge near the Basin Reserve” with their preferred Option A or alternative Option B a done deal.

    As a Wellingtonian but also a New Zealander with the ever continuing disaster in Canterbury, I know where my priorities lie for allocation of Government funding.