Wellington Scoop

High Court rejects Transport Agency’s bid to get approval for Basin flyover


The High Court today dismissed the NZ Transport Agency’s attempt to overturn the rejection of its controversial plan to build a 300-metre concrete flyover alongside the Basin Reserve.

In a decision released this afternoon, the Court stated:

The Transport Agency has not established that in its decision the Board of Inquiry made any error of law … Consequently the Agency’s appeal is dismissed.

And earlier:

The Board’s decision does not contain any of the errors of law alleged.

The Transport Agency had appealed against the Board of Inquiry’s decision to decline consent for the $90m flyover alongside the Basin Reserve.

The DomPost reports that the plans for a two-lane one-way flyover, alongside the country’s most famous cricket ground, are now dead in the water.

The full decision is here.

Welcoming the decision, Save the Basin spokesperson Tim Jones said: “We hope the Transport Agency and the Government will finally take the message on board that a Basin Reserve flyover would be ugly, unnecessary, outdated and inappropriate, and that Wellington deserves modern, sustainable transport options that are appropriate for a modern capital city.”

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said she was “glad the ugly flyover won’t happen” and she had consistently voted against it. She called for integrated planning.

Wellington MPs Grant Robertson and Annette King say it’s time for the Transport Agency to work with the community on other options.

Christine McCarthy of the Architectural Centre, noting that the legal proceedings had been long and expensive, said her organisation looks forward to working with the Transport Agency as it seeks to make impprovements round the Basin.

Other options are now being considered even by the Chamber of Commerce, a long-time flyover supporter. John Milford said tonight work must start urgently to find “another solution” at the Basin.


  1. Peter Dunne, 21. August 2015, 14:48

    Great news! One wonders if NZTA now gets the message, and abandons Takapu Valley and/or SH1 plans near Tawa. [via Twitter]

  2. Generation Zero, 21. August 2015, 14:50

    Fantastic news! Time to focus on a high quality rapid public transport solution instead. [via Twitter]

  3. Greenwelly, 21. August 2015, 14:51

    This will put a fairly big spanner in the BRT plans to route the Kilbirnie-City bus route via the Basin Reserve (as opposed to the current Bus Tunnel). Looks like lots of transport planners might need to go back to the drawing boards,

  4. Grant Robertson, 21. August 2015, 14:53

    A great victory for SaveTheBasin and the Architectural Centre. Maybe NZTA can now finally look at other options? [via Twitter]

  5. Paul, 21. August 2015, 15:17

    Great Result!! Perhaps NZTA will pull their head out of the sand and actually look at some of the other options

  6. Councillor Helene Ritchie, 21. August 2015, 15:27

    Flyover done over…so let’s now do something positive for Wellington and support the protection and enhancement of our Town belt. NZTA, the Chamber of Commerce and the Government could join us instead of obstructing us. Now that would really be progress for Wellington.

  7. Newtown, 21. August 2015, 15:32

    What a relief!!! Well done to all of those opposing the Basin Flyover, let’s focus on modern transport solutions…

  8. luke, 21. August 2015, 15:42

    Awesome stuff. Put Light Rail back on the table.

  9. Michael Wood, 21. August 2015, 16:57

    Great news! Shows what a good campaign based on building a better city can achieve. [via Twitter]

  10. Elaine Hampton, Past President, Mt Vic Residents Assn, 21. August 2015, 17:46

    The Mt Victoria Residents Association is delighted with Justice Brown’s decision that the appeal by NZTA is dismissed.
    It opens up an opportunity for a sensible solution that can take Wellington forward into the 21st century and preserve local Heritage that is of National Significance.

  11. Trefor, 21. August 2015, 18:51

    Tremendous result for commonsense. Time for NZTA to work with people instead of ramming their plans down throats, and using blackmail against Councils. The culture of NZTA is brutal and arrogant. Time to change this. Good start.

  12. Charles S, 21. August 2015, 19:07

    Will NZTA Wellington now drop silly plans to bulldoze Takapu Valley and community as Peter Dunne asks, given the Regional Council, Wellington City Council and Regional Transport Committees have all formally voted against it?

    The Basin Flyover saga shows the immense arrogance & derision with which NZTA Wellington treat local councils and communities. If they don’t drop the Takapu Valley plans they’re heading for a second ‘Basin Flyover’ style fight. There’s already enough ammunition for pre-determination, shepherding, option analysis errors etc, to tie them up for years, and this decision has given great heart to opponents. Thank you Save the Basin.

  13. Mark, 21. August 2015, 21:31

    With light rail, there’s no need for a new Mt Vic tunnel, nor any flyover or basin tunnel at all. Big savings there already, and the benefits just keep on coming from there on.
    It’s an equivalently large project, so the business council can jump on board to collect the income from the construction.
    It eliminates any need for rapid-bus, which is nonsensical with such a tight little CBD. It solves transport issues for almost all major high schools, the hospital, the zoo, the sports grounds, opens a new residential corridor, and finally makes WGN airport – city a nice journey for residents and visitors.
    If we do it right, we make Wellington a legendary forward-thinking place to live and visit, less fossil fuel oriented and future proofing better than any other solution offered to date.
    It’s not radical, it’s established technology and it’s doable FAST !!!

  14. Curtis Nixon, 21. August 2015, 22:42

    Yes to light rail. Run it and the commuter buses along the quays, Victoria and Wakefield Sts to Kent Tce, Newtown to the airport.

    There is a perfectly good at-grade solution to the Basin traffic -get rid of the 30ish car parks around the outside, demolish some of the buildings on the corners of Adelaide Rd and Paterson St, and add more traffic lanes.

    Have cars, taxis, city shuttle buses and delivery vehicles on the Golden Mile. There simply is not room to run a major 21st century transport route with rapid bus transit or trains through there. Shift the heavy commuter route 1 or 2 blocks north – it’s not too far to walk from Customhouse Quay to Lambton Quay or from Wakefield St to Courtenay Place.

  15. Richard M, 22. August 2015, 7:28

    The harbinger of doom for the Takapu Valley project. NZTA should learn their lesson and just get on with P2G. The communities, Councils and Committees have made their wishes abundantly clear, do NOT bulldoze Takapu Valley and do not rip up Tawa until or unless there is an established need. NZTA has had a clear bias in this project from the very beginning as they have with the Basin project. They can expect the same result.

  16. Newtown, 22. August 2015, 8:47

    Now that it’s over, I can’t stop thinking about:
    The irony of NZTA spending ~$11m of taxpayer money to fight taxpayers
    The flip-flopping of WCC and certain councillors isn’t giving much confidence in their ability to support its residents and to transform Wellington to a modern, pedestrian friendly city, e.g. Copenhagen, using contemporary urban design principles.

  17. RS, 22. August 2015, 9:14

    Will be interesting to see what happens with costs too. Looks like NZTA could be having to stump up with more taxpayers’ $ to shell out. I’m appalled at NZTA’s behaviour in Wellington that’s come out through this (and the Takapu Valley issue). The CEO should be held to account for this. He’s a Wellingtonian too. We expect better.

  18. Big follies, 22. August 2015, 9:21

    The relationship that John Milford and the chamber of commerce has with these things is very tight. I wonder if it’s because John Milford’s predecessor was Raewyn Bleakley, who is now Regional Director Central at the NZTA in Wellington? Remarkable how Milford’s press releases have seemed so aligned to NZTA on this and Petone to Grenada (and Takapu Valley smashing).

  19. Roger Smith, 22. August 2015, 9:31

    Would like NZTA to take a good look at themselves and their behaviour at their Monday morning meeting. Time to stop the arrogance and bully tactics and start listening properly. Not the faux consultation of pre determined decisions, and manufactured consent by ‘public engagement’ reports written by consultants on the teet. Start serving the public again.

  20. Dr Sea Rotmann, 22. August 2015, 12:22

    Fantastic news and gives hope for other crazy projects like Takapu Valley and runway extension to be stopped too. Maybe it is possible to let reason prevail over outdated ideology that would lock us into expensive white elephants? This city has so much to offer and can do so much better in light of the challenges we all face. Big congrats to the save the basin team. You are heroes!

  21. Esjay, 22. August 2015, 15:03

    Perhaps NZTA will now provide a sensible plan that will be approved by a thorough consultation process. While light rail may appeal to some, all it needs is for a financier to cough up $1 million per kilometer plus the cost of the units. At the same time the financier could throw money at the airport runway extension. All this for a population of 200,000 or so! Financiers need a return on investment with the least amount of risk. Can someone please put their hand up?

  22. Polly, 22. August 2015, 15:42

    Who in the council decided to have the lawyer question the “heritage” listings in and around the Basin at the hearing? How much did that cost ratepayers?