Wellington Scoop

Appeal against approval of new Kapiti expressway – “the game is not over”

News from Save Kapiti
The game is not over. SaveKapiti yesterday lodged an appeal against the decision of the Board of Inquiry into the MacKays to Peka Peka expressway. “We believe that the Board has misunderstood and therefore misapplied the law around the baseline that the proposal should be considered against,” said spokesman Mark Harris.

“In our view, the baseline should be the Western Link Road project, but the NZ Transport Agency has only assessed the M2PP against no road at all (otherwise known as the ‘do nothing’ scenario). The WLR had been consented and approved and was in the District Plan and should therefore have been considered as the existing environment.”

This point of law is supported by the High Court decision in Queenstown Central Limited vs. Queenstown Lakes District Council (2006).

It is important because the benefits and costs of any project must be measured against the appropriate environment so they can be judged on their true merits.

“Measuring the M2PP against no road at all means that NZTA can claim benefits that would already have existed under the WLR. The expressway has fewer benefits at a much higher cost and, in fact, erodes some of the benefits that the WLR would have delivered. In addition, we would already have been enjoying the benefits of the WLR which was due to have been completed in 2012.”

The appeal was lodged in the High Court in Wellington.


Press Release – Save Kapiti
Work on the MacKay’s Crossing to Peka Peka Expressway can not proceed until the latest legal challenge is heard, explained SaveKapiti spokesman Mark Harris at the Kapiti Speakers’ Corner today. Just prior to the weekend, SaveKapiti announced it was appealing to the High Court against the Board of Inquiry’s approval of the Expressway. He said that the appeal process will start in the High Court on June 17 and would halt actions on the Expressway while it continued.

The challenge will argue on a point of law that the Board compared the Expressway with a do-nothing option — when it should have compared the Expressway plans with the many benefits offered by the Western Link Road (WLR).

Mr Harris outlined the benefits of the WLR, which he said was a ’much better’ idea than the Expressway and would cost much less.

But, he said the NZ Transport Agency had ‘lied and cheated’ and had tried to marginalise opponents.

And, in a dramatic move, he asked listeners to look west at the impressive sight of Kapiti Island – which he said would be obliterated by the massive bulk of the Expressway. He said the new road will, on average, be 8 metres above the existing ground level he said.

Mr Harris stressed the advantages of the previous plan for the two-lane WLR, developed by the Kapiti Coast District Council.

And he accused local politicians of failing to support his group in their fight against the Expressway, which he said would only generate a total of 650 jobs, with only about 150 of these in Kapiti, compared with the 4,000 predicted for the Western Link Road.

Mr Harris rejected claims by two Kapiti District Councillors that the new motorway will bring prosperity to the district. He criticised Clrs. Roger Booth and Tony Lester for claiming, on National Radio, that the Expressway will bring prosperity to Kapiti. Mr Harris argued that Clrs Booth and Lester had no evidence for this, and claimed instead that the new road will take prosperity and traffic through, and not to, the District.

There was a dramatic confrontation during the event when Observer reporter Joel Maxwell appeared briefly among the listeners (he wasn’t covering the meeting). Mr Harris asked him why the Observer wasn’t covering what happened and why it was failing to use news releases from SaveKapiti. But after an angry exchange Mr Maxwell refused the challenge and walked off.

The gathering at Speakers’ Corner was the fifth to be held at noon on a Saturday and, as has become customary, it was preceded by a musical blast from Cr K Gurunathan using an ancient Jewish shofar horn.