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Save the Basin Reserve! and Government

Just Save the Basin Reserve!
    • A possible Basin Reserve flyover has emerged again in a new “surprise survey” from LGWM
      • 5 May 2018
      • Save the Basin Reserve!
      • The Save the Basin Campaign Inc has written the following letter in response to the new Let’s Get Welly Moving “surprise survey” which LGWM chose not to notify stakeholder groups, such as Save the Basin, about: The STBC, as a stakeholder group in the LGWM consultation process, takes strong issue with your organisation on a number of matters in relation to the existence of this survey: The survey has taken everyone at STBC by complete surprise. What is the purpose of the survey and who has it been distributed to? There was no prior notification to STBC (as a stakeholder) that LGWM would be commissioning the survey and it was only by chance that a member of the STBC committee was alerted to its existence. This is alarming and shows a complete lack of transparency and questions the validity of the survey. The process for public engagement on the LGWM scenarios closed in November last year – and in March this year LGWM released the summary of the feedback process on future transport scenarios for Wellington. Your website currently says “We’re using the feedback from the November 2017 public engagement to help guide our work as we develop a recommended programme of investment.” However, you continue to be asking for more views and ideas through this latest survey – with no information about this available to the public through your website. Of great concern is the fact the survey implies that a bridge/fly-over around the Basin Reserve is still an option – especially in the way the questions are constructed and presented.  For example in relation to design, one survey respondent said that the preferences for infrastructure around the Basin gave options for a bridge or tunnel on one page – suggesting that there were only two options – then on the next page the last part of this question appeared offering an at grade option. Although we are not circulating the survey to our members to complete, we know that others who have been alerted to the survey may.  If the survey was designed to be filled in by certain individuals or organisations, either targeted or randomly selected, the results will be invalidated if others complete it.  No-one should trust the results of this survey. We would appreciate a response to this email. [etc]
      • Accepted from Save the Basin posts
      • Tagged as:
      • consultation

    • Sore Losers: Nick Smith and the Government Water Down the Environmental Legal Assistance Fund
      • 7 Jul 2017
      • Save the Basin Reserve!
      • The rules of the Ministry for the Environment’s Environmental Legal Assistance Fund, which groups including Save the Basin have used to help fund legal challenges to infrastructure projects, have now been changed so that such applications can be arbitrarily declined, by: The inclusion of a new criterion to consider whether providing ELA funding to the applicant for its involvement in the legal proceedings, will contribute to impeding or delaying the ability of people and communities to provide for their social, economic and cultural well-being in relation to important needs, including employment, housing and infrastructure.   I was rung by a Stuff journalist about this and responded on behalf of Save the Basin: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/94323541/quiet-change-to-public-fund-for-environmental-legal-challenges A subsequent exchange in Question Time (see below) makes it very clear that Nick Smith had the Government’s Basin Reserve flyover defeat in mind when he made this move. Nick Smith and the Government appear to think that fits of pique make good public policy. We beg to differ. Question Time 9. EUGENIE SAGE (Green) to the Minister for the Environment: By how much has annual funding for the Environmental Legal Assistance Fund been cut since 2013/14? Hon Dr NICK SMITH (Minister for the Environment): The budget this year is $600,000 per year, as it was last year and the year before. For the 4 years prior to that the budget was $800,000 per year but was repeatedly underspent. The spend in 2013-14 was $555,000, and the average actual spend was $520,000. As much as I like the Minister of Finance, I do not like under-spending my vote so I reduced the budget in 2015-16 and transferred it to increased support for collaborative processes. This is also consistent with our blue-green philosophy of supporting people to find solutions rather than spending it on legal aid to fight disputes. Eugenie Sage: Can he confirm that he created a new criterion for the fund recently so that community groups wanting to challenge council decisions in the courts are likely to be denied funding if their case might “impede or delay” a development project? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: Yes, I have changed the criteria. A new consideration is the issue of housing and infrastructure. The Government makes no apologies for making it harder for groups to get Government money to stop houses and infrastructure from being built. It does not prevent funding being provided in those sorts of cases, but it requires the panel to give consideration to the broader public interest. It simply does not make sense for the Government to be using public money to stop transport projects being built and stop houses being built with legal aid funding. Eugenie Sage: Does he believe that Forest & Bird would have received funding to mount a legal challenge to Bathurst Resources’ proposed coalmine on the Denniston plateau if this new criterion had been in place? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: There is an independent panel that makes the decisions on the issue of the legal aid. What I have added to the criteria is that, alongside the environmental things, issues like infrastructure, jobs, and housing have to be a consideration. But it still will be an independent consideration for the panel. Eugenie Sage: Can he confirm that last year he gave himself the power to decide which cases and which community groups would get environmental legal aid, stripping this power away from the Ministry for the Environment’s chief executive? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: Each year Ministers make a decision about the level of delegations. In this particular case, I decided not to delegate to the Ministry for the Environment, albeit I note that I followed the panel’s advice in every case. In the event that I do not follow the panel’s advice it will be a matter of open public record. Eugenie Sage: Why will he not just own the fact that his Government is trying to stop legal challenges that might impede environmentally destructive development, like the coalmine on the Denniston plateau, the Ruataniwha Dam, and the Basin Reserve flyover? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: I know of many Wellingtonians who would be concerned that the Government was spending money on stopping roading through to the airport being constructed with legal aid funds. So the Government has deliberately put into the environmental legal aid criteria that the panel needs to consider issues like infrastructure and housing. To quote the Minister for Infrastructure: “We are the infrastructure Government.”, and we want to see New Zealanders being able to get around and have a roof over their heads.9. EUGENIE SAGE (Green) to the Minister for the Environment: By how much has annual funding for the Environmental Legal Assistance Fund been cut since 2013/14? Hon Dr NICK SMITH (Minister for the Environment): The budget this year is $600,000 per year, as it was last year and the year before. For the 4 years prior to that the budget was $800,000 per year but was repeatedly underspent. The spend in 2013-14 was $555,000, and the average actual spend was $520,000. As much as I like the Minister of Finance, I do not like under-spending my vote so I reduced the budget in 2015-16 and transferred it to increased support for collaborative processes. This is also consistent with our blue-green philosophy of supporting people to find solutions rather than spending it on legal aid to fight disputes. Eugenie Sage: Can he confirm that he created a new criterion for the fund recently so that community groups wanting to challenge council decisions in the courts are likely to be denied funding if their case might “impede or delay” a development project? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: Yes, I have changed the criteria. A new consideration is the issue of housing and infrastructure. The Government makes no apologies for making it harder for groups to get Government money to stop houses and infrastructure from being built. It does not prevent funding being provided in those sorts of cases, but it requires the panel to give consideration to the broader public interest. It simply does not make sense for the Government to be using public money to stop transport projects being built and stop houses being built with legal aid funding. Eugenie Sage: Does he believe that Forest & Bird would have received funding to mount a legal challenge to Bathurst Resources’ proposed coalmine on the Denniston plateau if this new criterion had been in place? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: There is an independent panel that makes the decisions on the issue of the legal aid. What I have added to the criteria is that, alongside the environmental things, issues like infrastructure, jobs, and housing have to be a consideration. But it still will be an independent consideration for the panel. Eugenie Sage: Can he confirm that last year he gave himself the power to decide which cases and which community groups would get environmental legal aid, stripping this power away from the Ministry for the Environment’s chief executive? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: Each year Ministers make a decision about the level of delegations. In this particular case, I decided not to delegate to the Ministry for the Environment, albeit I note that I followed the panel’s advice in every case. In the event that I do not follow the panel’s advice it will be a matter of open public record. Eugenie Sage: Why will he not just own the fact that his Government is trying to stop legal challenges that might impede environmentally destructive development, like the coalmine on the Denniston plateau, the Ruataniwha Dam, and the Basin Reserve flyover? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: I know of many Wellingtonians who would be concerned that the Government was spending money on stopping roading through to the airport being constructed with legal aid funds. So the Government has deliberately put into the environmental legal aid criteria that the panel needs to consider issues like infrastructure and housing. To quote the Minister for Infrastructure: “We are the infrastructure Government.”, and we want to see New Zealanders being able to get around and have a roof over their heads.
      • Accepted from Save the Basin posts by feedreader
      • Tagged as:
      • water
      • government
      • airport
      • wellington
      • art
      • housing
      • sport
      • people
      • Wellington International Airport, Coutts Street, Rongotai, Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, 6023, New Zealand (OpenStreetMap)


    • NZTA are spineless
      • 28 Jun 2011
      • Save the Basin Reserve!
      • Fresh from a meeting with NZTA's "stakeholder engagement manager" for the Save The Basin Reserve campaign - actually a hired gun from Opus Consulting - we've learned that the NZ Transport Agency will not be fronting up to any public meetings during the consultation process.
      • Tagged as:
      • consultation
      • basinreserve
      • Basin Reserve, Dufferin Street, Mount Victoria, Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, 6021, New Zealand (OpenStreetMap)


    • Why are Labour's councillors doing Steven Joyce's dirty work?
      • 24 Apr 2011
      • Save the Basin Reserve!
      • The two Labour councillors on the Wellington City Council, Paul Eagle (Southern Ward) and Leonie Gill (Eastern Ward) enthusiastically got in behind to kowtow to the NZ Transport Agency's demands, and were firm backers of last week's extraordinary Council meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to do one thing, and one thing only - to make sure the Wellington City Council was lined up solidly behind Joyce's roading vision, whilst embarrassing a Mayor who had campaigned on better public transport. Joyce must have had a huge laugh watching these Labour patsies doing his dirty work.
      • Tagged as:
      • wcc
      • basinreserve
      • Basin Reserve, Dufferin Street, Mount Victoria, Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, 6021, New Zealand (OpenStreetMap)


    • Newsflash: Consultation delayed until 15 March
      • 17 Feb 2010
      • Save the Basin Reserve!
      • We've just received news that the NZ Transport Agency will be delaying the start of consultation on the Basin Reserve flyover until Monday 15 March 2010: From: Wayne Hastie, GWRC Further to the presentation to the Transport and Access Committee last week, we have been advised about a delay to the consultation process.
      • Tagged as:
      • consultation
      • basinreserve
      • Basin Reserve, Dufferin Street, Mount Victoria, Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, 6021, New Zealand (OpenStreetMap)


    • Rumour: five options for the Basin, consultation starts 22 February
      • 9 Feb 2010
      • Save the Basin Reserve!
      • Rumours are flying that the NZ Transport Agency will begin consultation on the options for the Basin Reserve on Monday 22 February, and that five options will be presented - three involve building an unnecessary flyover, and two are "at grade", i.e. ground level without a flyover. Consultation will run for six weeks.
      • Tagged as:
      • consultation
      • basinreserve
      • Basin Reserve, Dufferin Street, Mount Victoria, Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, 6021, New Zealand (OpenStreetMap)


    • The NZTA consultation process
      • 17 Jan 2010
      • Save the Basin Reserve!
      • Before Christmas the NZ Transport Agency began an "engagement process" with groups who are regarded as stakeholders in the Basin Reserve project. (This is euphemistically referred to as the "Basin Reserve Traffic Improvements", rather than being called a flyover. George Orwell would be proud.) In a series of meetings - which included the Save The Basin Reserve Campaign - NZTA outlined the next stages of the consultation process.
      • Tagged as:
      • consultation
      • basinreserve
      • Basin Reserve, Dufferin Street, Mount Victoria, Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, 6021, New Zealand (OpenStreetMap)


    • Cost of flyover rises by $10 million (Updated)
      • 2 Mar 2009
      • Save the Basin Reserve!
      • In the original consultation documents for the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan, the flyover was being costed by NZTA at $27 million - although they have declined to provide any substantiation for their figures, and are currently claiming "commercial sensitivity" for how these numbers were arrived at. But in the media coverage of the prioritisation of the flyover as the number 2 item on the regional transport wish-list, the cost has inexplicably risen by $10 million, to a quoted $37 million.
      • Tagged as:
      • transport
      • consultation

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