Flyover decision “a tragedy … beggars belief,” proclaims John Milford

Press Release – Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce
Wellington can’t stand still in traffic congestion, we have to keep moving on solutions, says the president of the Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce John Milford, who is urging the Government not to wait.

“The overall [flyover] decision isn’t going to change. As we understand it, we’re simply waiting on finalising aspects of the report – unless appealed on matters of law.

“Waiting for the final report is only playing out the clock. Wellington can’t stand still in traffic congestion. The Government has to keep moving on solutions.

“It’s a tragedy that the actions of a tiny minority of people have succeeded in holding back Wellington for years to come. Their opposition to the Basin Reserve bridge project will cost countless jobs and has other significant ramifications. Wellington could miss out on around $465million of investment.

“Prime Minister John Key said last year that the city was dying and the Government did not know how to ‘turn it around’. Yesterday Transport Minister Brownlee suggested that the blame for the board of inquiry’s decision falls squarely at the city’s feet.

“Is the no-go on the Basin bridge the city’s fault? No. That’s the fault of opponents of progress who need to stop holding the city back.

“The decision from the board of inquiry beggars belief. It’s fortunate that the National War Memorial Park and Underpass didn’t have to go through the same process. That project was able to get the green light without the bureaucratic and NIMBY (‘Not In My Backyard’) dominated board of inquiry process.

“The traffic congestion problems at the Basin are not going to go away. The Chamber has said all along it is a major congestion point on the road which links the city and the region to the airport, Wellington hospital, and must be fixed.

“We are a year on from being handed down a death sentence and just 8 weeks out from the general election. The city cannot allow it to compromise other projects such as the $375million second Mount Victoria tunnel, and the $268million bus rapid transit network between the CBD and southern suburbs.

“We can’t stand still… otherwise last one to leave, please turn off the lights.”

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  1. Mark, 25. July 2014, 19:09

    Perhaps John would like to show us all how it’s done – instead of “standing still”, he can be one of the first to leave. I’ll turn off his lights in his absence. He can quietly leave us all in our relative peace and participative democracy, instead of the Chamber’s misguided headlong rush to spend OTHER PEOPLE’S money on projects of dubious value. As evidenced by the Board of Inquiry. Give it up, John. You lost. You lose.

  2. nato, 25. July 2014, 19:35

    What utter tripe. Kirks will find it very difficult to get me thru their door as long as this man’s in charge.

  3. City Lad, 27. July 2014, 0:57

    John Milford should get out and about more often and become conversant with city streets. Head straight up Taranaki Street, carry on through Wallace Street, left turn into John Street and there’s the hospital, Basin free from his office. And if he’s coming from the Terrace Tunnel he should do the same.

    Catch a bus to the airport (15 minute service) best in the world. And Basin free also!! I hope this is of assistance to Mr Milford and allows him to promote Wellington as absolutely positively traffic congestion free.

  4. Lin, 27. July 2014, 2:14

    It is a very expensive project funded by the taxpayer, with meetings and committees and a board of inquiry eventually deciding not to do anything. Here is an idea: instead of evaluating extra roading, housing, business areas for Wellington and Auckland, how about rezoning to Invercargill, you know down south, plenty of land for business parks, cheap housing, less traffic and only ten minutes from one side of the city to the other. Yes I know Tim is there, but every city has a few foibles. Honestly, where could you live within 15 mins of a lovely river, sandy beach to spend your lunch hour? Two hours to Queenstown, two hours to Milford. It has it all, and Invercargill could do with the extra economic injection. It is a win/win situation as I see it.

  5. Michael Gibson, 27. July 2014, 11:50

    I remember with fondness the Mr Milford’s criticism, at a Kirkcaldies AGM, about the Wellington City Council’s stupidity about Christmas – & how badly this affected retailers.
    Why is he now only criticising the Government? The City Council’s muddled advice & its muddled meeting procedures & last-minute changes of mind, etc., were equally responsible for this whole fiasco.

  6. Lindsay, 27. July 2014, 12:15

    With respect, there has been no fiasco. The board of inquiry hearing was very well run, giving plenty of time for all sides (including the many experts paid by the Transport Agency) to express their views. The reasons for rejecting the flyover have been clearly and very fully stated in the board’s decision. Re the city council: there was consistently a majority of one against the flyover – till Andy Foster changed sides. He was the only councillor to have a last-minute change of mind.

  7. Lan, 27. July 2014, 16:47

    Always a poor plan. Wellington, with its compact city environment, should enhance what it has and encourage bikes where it hasn’t.. Nuts to spoil such a great city asset as the Basin for no discernible gain.. either environmental or economic.

  8. Michael Gibson, 28. July 2014, 7:51

    Lindsay – the “fiasco” was NOT the Transport Agency’s decision. I was only referring to Foster’s mind-changing. This is typical of the way he runs his committee meetings. I was trying to be discreet! The misunderstanding serves me right.


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