Bianca Begovich Writes

Kapiti Road and Expressway

Thrice-Rejected Expressway vs. Superior Western Link Road

By Bianca Begovich

SaveKapiti have announced that they will seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court on the grounds that the Kapiti Expressway has not been compared to the Western Link Road (WLR).

If the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) had used the WLR as the baseline for comparison, the WLR would win hands down.

The plan to appeal to the Supreme Court follows the High Court decision against those who oppose the Expressway

In the High Court, the NZTA used what they call a ‘Do Nothing’ comparison which means that they only compared the Expressway to the status quo. .

The ‘Do Nothing’ option

Of course, there are benefits when you compare the Expressway to doing nothing.

But there is a lot of damage and destruction too.  The WLR provides the same benefits and more.  It is a superior solution in almost every way.  For more information, see my previous column ‘What’s the point of a District Plan’? (Kap Ind 12 July 2013).

The High Court Judge made the decision not to grant the Appeal because he agreed with NZTA’s evidence.  He and NZTA’s lawyer stated that the Expressway ‘supersedes’ the WLR.

But, let’s examine exactly what that means.  They are saying that the Expressway over-rides the WLR.

The comparison

So let’s compare the two.  The Expressway was rushed through four years ago with a rushed consultancy phase, a dubious advertising campaign and shoddy evidence.

The WLR was first mooted in 1994 and went through 12 years of research, information sharing and consultation with council, Iwi, the wider community, the Government and NZTA themselves…..and what was the decision from that 12 years’ of research and comparison with the 1950s-style Sand Hills Expressway?

That the Western Link Road was the best solution for Kapiti and New Zealand.

Consented in District Plan

Let’s not forget that the WLR was resource consented in the District Plan and we would have been driving on it already had it not been for political interference from transport minister Steven Joyce.

It is the WLR which supersedes the Expressway, not the other way around.  We have already been through a 12-year process to determine this.  We don’t need a court of Appeal Judge or a Board of Inquiry to tell us what we already know.

We just need someone to step out of their comfort zone and make a decision that’s based on fact, and not on the corrupt political process which has hijacked the Resource Management Act and turned the judicial system into a rubber-stamping exercise.

Mayor Rowan’s quote opposing Expressway

Here is a quote from Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC) Mayor Jenny Rowan in December 2009:

“It is ironic and disturbing to find that the [NZTA] Board has announced an option which it originally threw out, an option opposed by Iwi and the Historic Places Trust, and an option that’s been “off the agenda” in Kapiti for the past 12 years – three Kapiti Mayors before me have rejected this idea”.

KCDC, NZTA and the Government may be comfortable now in supporting a road which has been rejected over and over again.

But SaveKapiti will continue to fight for the best solution.  We are determined to continue our legal battle and we are grateful for the continued support that our community gives us in the form of donations, messages of support and turning up to our events and fundraisers.

(This article is the opinion of Kapiti Independent columnist Bianca Begovich, who also happens to be a spokesperson for SaveKapiti).