Wellington Scoop

Getting on with LGWM, not opposing it

by Conor Hill
One of the strangest things about the Wellington Mayoral race is how two candidates who voted for Let’s Get Wellington Moving have now morphed into opposing it.

While I don’t think it’s the perfect package, the main issues are to do with delivery. We waited almost 5 years for an announcement that lacked the sort of detail you would expect after that time frame. Something as simple as a mass transit route and technology is not a clear part of the package. Long awaited changes to the Golden Mile are still awaiting a business case and another round of consultation.

While it’s obviously tempting to slate the whole package, it was unanimously agreed on by both the city and regional councils. It has the backing of cabinet. The idea that is a politically compromised solution is a piece of electioneering dreamt up after it was too late to actually do anything.

We could argue about this forever. We could talk about which project should occur when, which seems to be all some candidates want to do. The re-litigation would probably take almost as long as delivering anything.

I can imagine that if you were a career councillor or a career bureaucrat, that may appeal to you.

Instead, I say let’s push hard to deliver the projects in Let’s Get Wellington Moving as fast as possible. What the alternative actually is, I don’t know. Maybe it involves hoping for a change of central government. Then hoping that Simon Bridges, a man who did nothing for Wellington city as transport minister, all of a sudden would have a change of heart and make us a priority.

We’ve been waiting long enough for the changes outlined in Let’s Get Wellington Moving, from light rail, to removal of cars from the Golden Mile, to a second Mt Vic Tunnel. We could argue about timing forever. But the facts remain: Let’s Get Wellington Moving has $3.5billion of crown investment for Wellington city across roads, public transport and active modes. All councillors voted for this package, and it has the support of cabinet.

Pulling out of it now, for yet another round of consultation and litigation, strikes me as a piece of electioneering which does not have Wellington’s best interests at heart.

Conor Hill is a Wellington mayoral candidate.


  1. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 4. September 2019, 22:19

    Conor nails it. It’s taken too long to get to this stage. Let’s not delay it any longer. Wellington needs a game-changing improvement to public transport, and resolution of obvious road network choke points to support the current growth in the eastern suburbs especially.

  2. Mequil, 4. September 2019, 23:16

    Wellington needs the state highway network to be completed properly – then the mass transit system can follow initially with bus lanes, then you join them up to become a dedicated corridor for future mass transit.

    Duplicate the tunnels, put karo drive underground (creating an amazing urban space above), solve the Basin through a minor grade separation, 4 lane ngauranga-aotea, and build Petone-Grenada. Allowing my electric car to bypass the city centre will mean I won’t have to drive round the bays to get to the eastern suburbs so you can dedicate two of those lanes to the future mass transit system.

  3. David Mackenzie, 5. September 2019, 7:03

    Start it. Refine it as you go, when problems arise. Vote “Conor.”

  4. Mary Anderson, 5. September 2019, 9:52

    Enterprise Miramar Peninsula Inc is critical of the Wellington City Council’s failure to obtain independent advice on Shelly Bay traffic issues.

  5. Patrick Morgan, Cycling Action Network, 5. September 2019, 14:24

    Obviously transport is a defining election issue. Why? It’s a fault line in the battle over how our cities should be.

    On one hand there’s the BAU / status quo brigade, fighting for unrestricted car access, tunnels, four lanes to the planes, free parking, cheaper fuel etc. This has been NZ for the past 6 or 7 decades. It locks us into high-carbon, expensive, unsafe car dependency.

    On the other, many have worked out that the current system is broken. It delivers pollution, congestion, hostile, unsafe streets that kill people and degrade the city. These folk say we should ditch this broken system and instead build what works: healthy streets supported by great public transport, walking and cycling. Safe traffic speeds, trees, art, great public spaces. Transit-oriented development and affordable housing.

    Wellington’s election is primarily about which of these camps you fall into.

    The LGWM RPI (recommended plan for investment) is consistent with Govt transport policy, WCC urban growth plans, GWRC transport strategies, and public feedback collected over 3 years by LGWM. It’s time to build stuff, not stuff around and talk.

    I note that at recent elections. the ‘four lanes to the planes’ crowd did badly, and pro-cycling candidates have done well. Wellington wants a modern transport system, not the failed ideas of the past.

  6. Michael Barnett, 5. September 2019, 15:18

    I see mayoral candidates Lester and Foster are both pushing for a second Mt Victoria Tunnel as a top priority. This leads me to conclude that either they understand nothing about urban transport planning or choose not to, preferring to appeal to popular prejudice of a public that also do not understand the issues. 
    The sad thing is that it has taken LGWM five years to get to the point where it has come up with sound ideas to get Wellington moving. I am now led to ask: What was the point of LGWM, if politicians like Lester and Foster are just going to ignore the findings they don’t like and do what they think will win them votes?

  7. John Rankin, 5. September 2019, 16:09

    +1. Enough talking. Let’s get LGWM moving. Keep our eyes on the prize, “moving more people with fewer vehicles”.

  8. Brendan, 5. September 2019, 20:13

    JR great post! Let’s get Wellington really moving with a second tunnel but with it tolled so that the revenue can be spent on ‘nice to haves’ like Light Rail and cycle ways.

  9. Hel, 5. September 2019, 20:36

    Well said mequil. The truth of the matter is we need to improve the road network and public transport and pedestrian/cycleways, it is not one or the other.

  10. Geoff, 5. September 2019, 21:51

    Patrick, have to disagree with you on our choices. You can be pro-car and pro-cycle or anything. The left often label people to identity groups to create division.

  11. Northland, 5. September 2019, 22:44

    Patrick, it’s not a battle of the extremes. Plenty of cyclists regularly drive and vice versa and appreciate the advantages that each mode of transport offers at different times.

  12. Ripe Brie, 5. September 2019, 23:05

    Patrick – you say the status quo is unsafe streets that kill people. I put it to you that there have been more deaths/injuries from walkers vs public transport travelling at “safe speeds” in bus lanes in Wellington in the last decade than by private vehicles.

  13. Henry Filth, 6. September 2019, 13:33

    Why not push “trains to the planes”?

    It’s about as likely as any of the other stuff on the wish list

  14. Kerry, 8. September 2019, 8:35