The Road Ahead

Kapiti’s expectations for 2018

By Jeremy Smith, our Local Govt. correspondent 

The biggest news for the district in 2017 was the opening of the Kapiti expressway, the first of the district’s “ roading threesomes”.

But there’s another two years of earth moving for the remaining two, Pekapeka to Otaki and Transmission Gully, with considerable economic benefits for the district.

But as with so much of Kapiti the money comes from outside, from the taxpayers, through the New Zealand Transport Agency.

So about April 2020 this particular economic stimulus will be over. Apart from the cities, the only other council to benefit as much from roading largess as Kapiti is the Waikato District council, covering the massive Waikato expressway from Cambridge to the Bombays.

At the nerve centre

Kapiti clearly benefits from being right on NZ’s “central nervous system”, the Highway 1/ Main trunk rail combination from Auckland to Bluff. The arrival of the Labour/NZ First/Green government with its talk about money for rail could be a chance to press for passenger trains to Otaki.

Within the council itself the big task is competing the long-term plan, the path ahead for the next 20 years through to 2038. It’s expected to be in place by the end of June.

One of the major themes here is resilience, with the focus on natural disasters. For instance major coast erosion with the potential cost to the council, and ratepayers, from storm surges taking out

Part of the coastal track south of Raumatti South (photo, 2017)

dwellings and infrastructure along the beaches.

Few big employers

One of the unusual aspects of Kapiti is that for a council with 50-thousand plus people it has very few major employers. In many ways it is a commuter suburb for Wellington. The majority of local businesses are either owner/operated or small-scale owner plus several employees operations.

The council’s economic development leadership group (KEDLG) has been meeting potential investors in Kapiti particularly with the end of expressway spending within two years.

A logistics hub?

One of the suggestions is making Kapiti into a lower North Island logistics hub but choosing a moving company that is reliable is helpful. The latest report to council says one of the big transport operators may be interested. Another suggestions is for a hotel investment along Paraparaumu beach.

Nothing definite on either of these so far: perhaps something to look out for during 2018.

And next, the big problem facing the Mayor

Guru — his (KCDC paid) lawyers won’t come cheap

One cost the council can anticipate: the result of the defamation action against Mayor Gurunathan.

Win or lose the lawyers don’t come cheap.

Simple solution to Mayor’s potential legal defamation costs.
The Mayor issues a public apology.