Wellington Scoop

A diatribe against nimbys and democracy

Just when you thought no one could get more hysterical, John Milford has joined the group who are distressed about the rejection of the Basin flyover.

First it was Nick Leggett who was devastated. Then Fran Wilde was hugely disappointed. And Wayne Guppy said it was catastrophic.

Their hyperbole has been overtaken by the president of the Wellington Employers Chamber of Commerce. John Milford, whose day job is running Kirkcaldie and Stains, has told us this afternoon that the flyover decision is a “tragedy … that beggars belief.” And he knows who’s to blame: “the actions of a tiny minority of people [who] have succeeded in holding back Wellington for years to come.” It’s all the fault of “opponents of progress.” In his mind, the independent board of inquiry is in no way responsible for its much-applauded decision.

There’s more. The flyover decision “will cost countless jobs and has other significant ramifications. Wellington could miss out on around $465million of investment.” (He’s echoing a past threat made by the Transport Agency.)

Like Nick Leggett, John Milford is confused about the flyover plans – he talks about problems on a road “which links the city and the region to the airport,” when the flyover would have been a one-way structure carrying traffic in the opposite direction, though no further than the Taranaki Street traffic lights.

And he doesn’t favour the democratic process of an independent board of inquiry. Appallingly, he wants the government to overrule the decision. “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.”

He sees bureaucrats as well as nimbys as sharing responsibility. Or does he mean that the four board members are nimbys? As well as everyone who opposed the concrete structure that he wants so very, very much?

Mr Milford may not, however, have stopped to consider whether some of the nimbys might shop at Kirks. Mount Victoria residents, who hated the idea of a flyover and fought it vigorously, could well be considered as target shoppers for Mr Milford’s store. But not, perhaps, after they have read his diatribe.

Maximus: $465m of investment?