NZTA’s lust for kicking people out of their homes for the Kapiti Expressway still hasn’t been satisfied — three houses at the end of Chilton Drive in Paraparaumu are now ‘required’ for beautification for the road.
And octogenarians Jo and Trevor Patten, who will be living next to the Mazengarb work, have been told by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) to seek advice from the Bible for some of their concerns.
It’s worth noting that the three Chilton Drive homes are not actually part of the road. The NZTA just wants to knock them down so they can make the motorway look prettier!
Their view was previously shielded by the aforementioned ‘required’ houses, which also offered protection from the increased noise levels expected from the huge road.
These residents did not have a chance to address their concerns at the Board of Inquiry in January 2013, because NZTA only told them about the loss of the homes in October 2013.
NZTA considers the loss of three family homes and the severe changes to the visual amenity of dozens of others a “minor alteration” (NZTA State Highways Manager Rod James).
Octogenarians found out from neighbours
The Pattens, both in their 80’s, who will be living next to the Mazengarb work, found out about the changes from their neighbour, whose home is being taken.
They took their concerns to the Kapiti Observer who ran an article on 31 October 2013.
That night, NZTA Alliance Liason Officer Darren Utting turned up at their door. He didn’t need to wear a costume.
Since then, Jo and Trevor Patten have had repeated meetings and correspondence with Mr Utting.
However, rather than allaying their fears, this has further increased their frustrations. I met with Jo and Trevor last week, and they showed me an excerpt from Mr Utting’s last email to them:
“A hearing will cost time and money and so this gives me a little discretion if a hearing can be avoided.
“It appears from your bookshelf you hold Biblical principles in high regards, as do I.
“If I can be so bold as to suggest that we can follow a 1 Corinthians 6 approach and reduce media and legal involvement I would feel more comfortable discussing options here”
The message of 1 Corinthians 6
1 Corinthians 6 reads: “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?”
This refers to a preferred Christian approach to settle disputes as gentlemen before God, without resorting to going to a court of law. Mr Utting is actively discouraging the Pattens from making a submission against the resource consents needed for the Mazengarb alterations.
He is advising them against engaging in the legal process set up to protect their homes and visual amenities.
The Pattens haven’t heard back from Mr Utting since they emailed him back expressing their shock at his reference to their religious beliefs. Jo Patten told me she found it highly inappropriate and felt Mr Utting was inferring that it was un-Christian of her to oppose the Expressway changes.
Feeling frustrated and insulted by Mr Utting who had previously told her that the Mazengarb changes required an application to KCDC, Jo phoned the council with her concerns.
She was told that the council had “nothing at all to do with the expressway”. She was then re-directed back to Mr Utting, who is the reason for her complaint in the first place.
Mr Utting’s offensive approach is indicative of the way NZTA has treated the Kapiti community since the first time they visited someone’s home informing them that State Highway One was being built over the top of it.
Esteemed Maori writer Patricia Grace is currently experiencing the same ‘insulting and aggressive’ tactics in the handling of her family’s ancestral land (DomPost 6 Feb, 2014).
The merry-go-round Jo Patten experienced in addressing her concerns to KCDC are to be expected from a council that sided with NZTA rather than stand up for the rights of their community.
It is just another situation which highlights the shoddy and inadequate process surrounding the Expressway which will ensure that if the road is ever build, it will be a disaster for the Kapiti community.