Save Kapiti campaigners who oppose the Kapiti expressway issued a media release this morning questioning the timing of an event scheduled for Thursday to turn the first sod for the new four-lane highway. Within half an hour of their comments being published, the Transport Agency sent us a message saying the date “had been pencilled in” but “had been withdrawn.”
The Transport Agency’s message brought this response:
“We’re grateful to the Transport Agency for clarifying this, as there has been little communication one way or the other,” said Mark Harris, spokesman for Save Kapiti.
“We’re equally pleased that the Transport Agency is prepared to respect the processes of the High Court, which is reassuring as their grasp of due process throughout the last 3 years has seemed to us more like tick-box compliance than actual respect.”
Earlier Media release from Save Kapiti
Anti-Kapiti Expressway lobby group Save Kapiti have expressed surprise that the government and the Transport Agency are intent on going ahead with the “sod-turning” ceremony to mark the beginning of construction of the expressway on Thursday.
“There are a couple of key facts that the Transport Agency seem to be ignoring”, says spokeperson Mark Harris.
“One, the High Court has not yet delivered its judgement on the appeal against the Board of Inquiry’s decision to grant consent.
“Two, even if the decision is delivered in the early part of this week, by law the parties have 10 working days to consider the judgement and decide whether to appeal the decision further. This right of appeal is regardless of the outcome of the appeal and is available to all parties – the Board of Inquiry, the Transport Agency and Save Kapiti.
“The Transport Agency will be jumping the gun if they go ahead with the “sod turning” ceremony on Thursday”, says Mr Harris. “This really raises a question as to whether NZTA has due respect for lawful processes in New Zealand.”
The appeal was heard at the High Court in Wellington on 10 July before Justice Gendall, who reserved his decision.
[The Transport Agency's reply is the first comment below this article.]