Wellington Scoop

Flyover appeal “irresponsible use of taxpayer money,” says councillor

News release from Cr Iona Pannett
Wellington City Councillor Iona Pannett has today called on the New Zealand Transport Agency to end its flyover fixation, after the Agency announced its decision to continue the legal fight over the Basin Reserve project, resulting in many more months of uncertainty for the area.

“The Agency’s decision to appeal the Board of Inquiry’s decision on the flyover is very disappointing as the Board of Inquiry undertook a rigorous analysis of the Transport Agencty’s case and found it wanting. The Agency and its predecessor Transit have been fixated on this project since 2001. It is time for the Agency to accept the Board’s decision and to reconsider better alternatives,” said Cr Pannett.

“The appeal decision is an irresponsible use of taxpayer money. The Agency has already spent well over $11m on the application. An appeal will eat up further resources which could be better utilised elsewhere,” said Cr Pannett

“The grounds for appeal are spurious; the decision in no way jeopardises other roading and non roading infrastructure projects around the country. Furthermore, some of the arguments advanced by NZTA are points of fact, not law as required by the Resource Management Act. The weight given to transport benefits by the Board or the location of the proposed pavilion for example should not be admissible”, said Cr Pannett.

“This appeal indicates that the Agency has failed to accept that they did a poor job of presenting their case and now want a second bite of the cherry.

“They have also failed to accept the legitimacy of the process in spite of requesting that the application be heard by a Board in the first place. The Boards of Inquiry were supposed to be a legal one stop-shop granting consent to all projects before them. The decision has thus taken the Agency by surprise and given their fixation, they seem to not be able to see any other alternative,” said Cr Pannett.

“It now makes NZTA’s commitment to work with the Councils in the area on a solution to the Basin seem less than credible and unfortunately jeopardises that process.

“It is pleasing that the Wellington City Council will not be supporting this appeal and that the Council has recognised that fresh ideas need to be looked at,” said Cr Pannett.